Alligator visits human home, tries to ring doorbell, flops over adorably

DING DONG! Are you familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Alligator sightings are pretty common in South Carolina's Lowcountry region around this time of year. But a genuine gentleman alligator whose momma raised him to ring the doorbell when he comes a-callin on a human neighbor--well, that's just downright precious.

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The U.S. Navy now has an unmanned drone warship. Could it be hacked at sea?

The U.S. 'Sea Hunter' unmanned ship, a DARPA project.

The U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are now testing a new unmanned drone warship.

The first Navy drone ship is a 132-foot ACTUV (Antisubmarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these “robot ships” could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States.

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Social Justice Kittens: the postcards

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Chloe from Portland's Reading Frenzy writes, "Six of our favorite Social Justice Kittens are back in postcard form! Next up: MRA Puppies! Postcards by Sean Tejaratchi/LiarTownUSA (previously) published by Show & Tell Press!" Read the rest

LISTEN: Timbertops, a rare children's album from 1974

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When I was a wee lad, the first LP I owned was Timbertops, a children's "concept album" released by The Buttercups in 1974. I was captivated by the premise—a young girl is visited by all sorts of peculiar anthropomorphic characters in her treehouse— and by the music, which was already dated (it was by then the mid-80s) but full of fun and very catchy.

If you tried to find MP3s or the band online, you wouldn't have had much luck before today. But for a couple of UK library references, it's as if it never existed. And the band (not to be confused with the new The Buttercups) never did another record. I still have no idea who the singer is! The writers were Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, one of the great songwriting partnerships you've never heard of. My best guess is that it was a quick, one-off stab at the kids' music market that came to nothing.

Anyway, I finally remembered it and spent ages tracking down an LP, digitizing it and uploading it all to YouTube, no copyright intended. It was really something to reacquaint myself with the cast, and I'm pleased to report that the creators mostly avoided stereotypes and other crutches oft-found in similar stuff from the era (Note: mafia frogs Ricky and Rocky are vaguely coded Italian; Welsh witch Myfanwy is depicted as a gypsy, and then there's MacGregor, a gruff Scottish terrier with a plaid beret.)

It's true that Timbertops might be a bit too kiddie for most grown-ups. Read the rest

Walt Whitman — patriotic poet, gay iconoclast, shrewd marketing ploy, or all three?

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About four months ago, cigar boxes, matchbooks, and coffee tins bearing the name and likeness of 19th-century poet Walt Whitman began appearing on the Show & Tell section of Collectors Weekly. Turns out, as Lisa Hix learned when she spoke to Ed Centeno, who posted the items from his personal collection, Whitman's name and bearded visage were once used to sell everything from tobacco products and booze to apple sauce. For the record, Whitman did not smoke, and as the son of an alcoholic father, he argued on behalf of Temperance causes. Presumably, Whitman ate apple sauce, but marketers never asked his permission to to sell stuff when he was alive (1819-1892), nor was Whitman ever compensated for the use of his good name.

All this advertising attention to Whitman is curious since, in general, poets don't make good marketing tools. The Whitman name is particularly problematic. While some people are inspired by his steadfast support of the Union cause during the Civil War, imperiling his own health to work as a nurse in a Washington, D.C., Army hospital, others see him as a very early champion of gay identity, as well as a hell of an erotic writer. Being patriotic and gay are obviously not incompatible, but the latter often gives those who would make money off the former pause.

Here's a snip:

During the Gilded Age, new industrial technology, particularly in chromolithography and tin-stamping, caused an explosion in product branding and advertising with colorful product labels, tin boxes, and tin signs.

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Angelina Jolie on a secret hunger strike to call attention to Syrian refugees, and other tabloid stunners

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Pictures never lie, do they?

So there’s no arguing with the graphic video footage that the National Enquirer’s latest edition offers showing singer Prince’s last moments dying in an elevator at his Minnesota mansion, and of a suicidal O.J. Simpson trying to hang himself in his prison cell.

Dramatic images indeed - if the video actually existed, and if the Enquirer had it. Which it doesn’t.

But somehow that doesn’t stop the from littering its cover with photos of Prince sprawled lifeless on an elevator floor, and of prison guards cutting O.J. down from his hand-crafted noose (apparently an impromptu concoction of towels, sheets and old shirts like you might find at a Maker Faire run by Dr Kevorkian.)

Beneath the blazing “World Exclusive” headlines you have to look really closely to find the hidden words: “Photo Recreation” on these pictures. And it’s far from certain that they are recreating video that even exists. Prince had video surveillance at his home studio, but were there cameras in his elevator, and did they film his demise? Prison CCTV cameras may cover hallways, but rarely peer into individual cells. Read the rest

Kasich quits Republican race

Pic: Reuters
A day after Cruz threw in the towel, John Kasich follows suit. Trump is not officially the Republican nominee--the Republican convention this summer is when he will be anointed (or somehow shivved) by the party--but this leaves him without a campaigning rival.
Mr Kasich's announcement clears Mr Trump's path, although he was never a significant threat and only won his home state. Earlier on Wednesday, he had released a Star-Wars themed advert describing himself as the "only hope" against Donald Trump.
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Trees "eating" things

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My new favorite subreddit is r/TreesSuckingOnThings, a growing collection of photos of trees growing slowly to encase and envelope signs, railings, motorcycles and other things attached or adjacent to them.

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Blumoo turns your mobile device into a universal remote and it's 47% off

Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right into any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet (even an Apple Watch), offering just the mediascape you want with a simple, one-touch interface.  

Plug it in, download the Blumoo app and within minutes, it immediately wraps your home’s audio capabilities under a 150-foot sphere of control, allowing you to control equipment, stream music from  iTunes, Spotify or Pandora or find shows or movies for viewing.

The Blumoo functions with over 250,000 different audio and video components and even enjoys support from Alexa on Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap, Fire Stick & Fire TV. Once you’ve got all your home components and devices synced through Blumoo, you can even use Alexa to have your entire home entertainment system voice-activated.

Blumoo also offers an interactive channel guide customized to your cable or satellite TV service, allowing you to search shows right from the Blumoo app.

Ditch the mountain of remotes and start enjoying the streamlined world of life with Blumoo now at 47% off its MSRP.

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The other candidates photoshopped to have Trump's weird orange tan

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The brilliant Jen Lewis, having untanned Trump to ghastly effect, writes that she "had another terrible thought." This time, she tried her hand at photoshopping his presidential rivals so that they have tans just like his. The results are nasty, as you'd expect, but not quite as nasty as the Flame-faced Fuckwit of Fifth Avenue. Read the rest

Fantastic space-age "tube turntable" from 1968

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Behold the space age beauty of the Paam Tube turntable, created by French designer Yonel Lebovici in 1968. On eBay, they appear to be listed in the $700 range or less if they're non-functional.

(via Discogs on Instagram and Paddle8)

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Ben Hatke, kids' author and superhero

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You'll know Ben Hatke as author of Boing Boing-beloved illustrated kids' books like Little Robot and Zita the Space Girl, but as this Children's Book Week video shows, Hatke is a literal fire-breathing, acrobatic, sword-fighting superhero! Read the rest

Obama to declare Stonewall Inn the first national monument to LGBT rights

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The Associated Press reports that the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of America's most fabulous protest, will become the first national monument to LGBT rights in the U.S.

The gritty tavern, known colloquially as the Stonewall, became a catalyst for the gay rights movement after police raided it on June 28, 1969. Bar-goers fought back, and many more joined in street protests over the following days in an uprising widely credited as the start of large-scale gay activism in New York and around the word. Annual pride parades in hundreds of cities commemorate the rebellion.

The White House declined to comment. Yet Obama has paid tribute to the site before, most notably in his second inaugural address in 2013. In what's believed to be the first reference to gay rights in an inaugural address, Obama said the principle of equality still guides the U.S. "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

Tweet tip! Things that Stonewall was not:

• The birthplace of gay rights. • A "gay" riot. • Cornfed straight-acting country boys fixing the city. Read the rest

L.A. Japanese-American newspaper must get 10,000 subscribers by year's end -- or close its door

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LA Times reports that a 113 year-old Japanese American newspaper is in danger of going out of business.

For 113 years, the Rafu Shimpo newspaper has chronicled the story of the Japanese-American community in Southern California. It survived World War II, when writers and editors were shipped off to internment camps. Before leaving, they hid the paper's Japanese type under office floorboards. But if the money-losing paper doesn't raise about $500,000 in revenue-—by more than doubling its subscribers--it could close in December, marking the end of one of the last English-Japanese dailies in the U.S., and the oldest. "Some of the things we cover you can't get anywhere else," said Michael Komai, 64, the paper's publisher, whose family has run the Little Tokyo-based publication for three generations. "Some people aren't going to know they'll miss us until we're gone."

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Great audio/visual presentation of Billboard Top 10 songs from 1956 - 2016 (22,000 songs!)

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Polygraph studio created this great timeline of Billboard Top 10 songs from the last 60 years. Read the rest

Belushi widow & Aykroyd produce Blues Brothers animated series

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Judy Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are developing a kid-oriented Blues Brothers animated series with Bento Box, the studio behind Bob's Burgers. Read the rest

Sex doll mistaken as angel by Indonesian villagers

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After a solar eclipse last month, a fisher in Indonesia's Banggai island region found a female figure floating in the sea. He brought the figure to his remote village where some believed it to be a bidadari, a kind of angel.

Police noticed images of the figure on social media along with reports that the fisher spotted the angel "stranded and crying." The police investigated and quickly determined that the angel was in fact a sex doll. According to the BBC, the police confiscated the doll. What a shame.

"They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the police chief said.

(BBC)

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