Boing Boing 

Exaggeration postcards: sight-gags-by-mail

Retronaut rounds up a series of "exaggeration postcards" from 1907-1967, representing a golden era of visual-comedy-by-mail. Hard to characterize the Texas Jackalope card as an "exaggeration," though -- it's more of an out-and-out lie (albeit a beautiful one).

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Morse code instructional film - made possible by Boing Boing readers!

Carl Malamud sez, "This 1966 military film on good style in sending Morse Code is a real hoot. 38k views on YouTube and another 3.6k on the Internet Archive. This video was made possible by a crowd-sourcing appeal on Boing Boing in 2009 (and in the case of this particular DVD, a donation by Mary Neff ... thanks Mary!)"

INTERNATIONAL MORSE CODE, HAND SENDING

Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus: German novelty tune WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY

Here's my jam today: the Comedian Harmonists' "Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus," in a modern arrangement performed with a choir and orchestra at a concert hall in Maastricht. If this doesn't put you in a good mood, I don't wanna know about it.

Spoof letter has Stanley Kubrick explain the facts of life to a studio exec


In this fake letter produced by Steve Cox for this very funny Films That Almost Got Made That Time Forgot piece, Stanley Kubrick writes to James T. Aubrey, Jr, an amateur Desi Arnez Jr impersonator who was also head of MGM studios. Steve has Kubrick acknowledge that Aubrey is legally in a position to make a sequel to 2001, but has a dire warning for him. It's a pity it's not real -- I want to inhabit the continuum in which it is genuine. (via Warren Ellis)

Bosch's 600 year old butt-music from hell


Robbo writes, "My friend, SF author J.M. Frey, posted this curious thing she found where a detail in Hieronymus Bosch's painting 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' features musical notation inscribed on some dude's ass. Of course, someone has taken the time to transcribe these notes and have now presented to the interwebs a piano interpretation of the 600 Year Old Butt Music From Hell of Hieronymous Bosch. Feel free to gavotte along."

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Super Mario dress


Koala's $60 Super Mario dress looks lovely. It's screened on both sides. Hand-wash only.

Super Mario Dress (via Geekymerch)

Scooby Doo's masterful, spooky background paintings


The background paintings on Scooby Doo were far and away the best thing on the show, as this 2007 post from Secret Fun Blog ably demonstrates. The mediocre dialog and plotting and indifferent animation were totally mismatched with this spooky masterpieces.

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Star Wars with Chinese characteristics


Jeff writes, "Chinese historian Maggie Greene has recently written about one of the strangest treasures in her collection: a Chinese comic book version of Star Wars from 1980, which she aptly describes (with scans to prove it!) as 'a fascinating document' that includes images she thinks may reveal 'a fanciful imagining' of life in a then dimly understood America or generalized West. She notes, for example, a 'dinner scene where a duck (?) is being stuck into a toaster oven (!) & the table has not only a little hot plate, but a crockpot (or rice cooker) there, too.' Whoever drew the pictures, she also points out, 'makes some amusing flubs -- Chewbacca appears in some scenes in a relatively credible way, in others looking like an outtake from Planet of the Apes. It also often looks like something out of a Cold War-era propaganda poster, at least where the details are concerned. Were the actors really garbed in Soviet looking space suits? Was Darth Vader really pacing before a map bearing the location of the Kennedy Space Center?' [For those who can't get enough of this topic, there are related tweets by both @mcgreenesd Greene herself and Chinese literary translator and now Chinese studies grad student @bokane Brendan O'Kane"

A Long Time Ago in a China Far, Far Away …

Glorious juvenile moment of Dragon's Lair heroism

Steven Frank recounts the sweetly obnoxious story of how he became a ringer at playing the classic, cutting-edge arcade game Dragon's Lair, and how, one day, he blossomed into the nerd rock-star he was born to be: "Like the nerd version of the world’s greatest hip-hop act dropping the mic and walking off stage, I just walked away from the game."

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Prints that peer into 8-bit game characters' lurking anxieties


Christopher Hemsworth's Dear Inner Demons -- Retro Video Game Edition is a series of prints (8"x8", $16) in which we learn about the deep insecurities of our favorite olde fashioned video-game characters.

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Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton

Dooley writes, "In 1957, Irwin Allen (The Towering Inferno) produced The Story Of Mankind featuring a star-studded cast showcasing centuries of history. Who better to play Sir Isaac Newton than Harpo Marx?" Harpo in color!

Buddy Holly's unstoppable punk

Dooley writes, "Introduced on national TV by Arthur Murray's wife... 'And now we have some young singers who are creating a great deal of excitement in the Paramount Theater here in New York... Now if you haven't heard of these young men, then you must be the wrong age...' After that apologetic introduction, Buddy Holly, his drummer Jerry Alison and his bass player Joe Mauldin perform the new hit single 'Peggy Sue' and blow away the TV audience and the remainder of all recorded time." Further essential reading: Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well on Ganymede. Further essential listening: Buddy Holly Was the First Ramone.

Space-age refrigeration, 1968


Frigidaire's commitment to modernism waned in the product-development phase, as can be seen from the wood-grain on this "space-age refrigerator."

Imagineer Rolly Crump on the 1964 NY World's Fair: audio memoir


Jeff writes in with wonderful news: the release of Disney Legend Rolly Crump's More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World's Fair. This high-quality recording includes sixty minutes of all new stories about Rolly's involvement with the legendary 'Billion-Dollar Fair'. It is available on CD and as a digital download.

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Glorious sf movie posters of the heroic age


Obviously, many things are better now than they were in the 50s and 60s, but clearly science fiction movie posters have fallen from glory. Here's Dark Roasted Blend's gallery of amazing and gorgeous sf movie posters and lobby cards from the great, lost heroic age.

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HOWTO make turtle-shaped Koopa Troopa Mario burgers


Christy writes, "I made an amazing, horrible, wonderful thing: behold, the Koopa Troopa Bacon Turtle Burger, complete with animated gif. It had to be done, for the good of humanity. Side note: I was appalled to discover that turtle-shaped burgers are irresistible to small children: my 4 year old was so excited about turtle-shaped food that she ate an entire burger in one go."

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Lost Warhol originals extracted from decaying Amiga floppies

Golan Levin writes, "My lab (in collaboration with Cory Arcangel, the CMU Computer Club, The Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Museum of Art) has announced a major dead-media discovery. We have recovered previously unknown, pure-digital artworks by Andy Warhol -- extracted from decaying Amiga floppy disks from 1985."

Warhol created the works with Graphicraft, and the disks needed a lot of love and coaxing to get the files off them (to my mind, the story of the technical heroics is a lot more interesting than the pictures, but I'm not much of a Warhol fan). A documentary film about the file recovery called "Trapped" will premiere on May 10 at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Pittsburgh.

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Phone phreakers' anthem

Brad sez, "A few decades ago, phone phreaks spent all of their free time learning about the Bell telephone system and making free phone calls to each other. This song by Bonecage attempts to capture that era, and the footage for the video was contributed by phone phreaks (and ex-phone phreaks) around the world."

Spotters' guide to UFOs, 1967


Found in Bruce Sterling's tumblr: UFO typologies, 1967

Renaissance Space Invaders art


Artist Dan Hernandez painted a gorgeous series of frescoes depicting Space Invaders and other vintage game screengrabs as Renaissance and Byzantine art. They're hanging in a show called "Genesis" at the Kim Foster Gallery in NYC.

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Wearable computing breakthrough

An image from the future past.

(via via @stevenf)

British science fiction pulp covers: Gernsback continuum from an alternative universe


Here's a smashing gallery of British science fiction and science pulps from the golden age of sf. These are recognizably of a piece with the American pulps of the era, but are also distinctive in every way: line, color-choice, subject, typography, composition and character design. They are a divergent, parallel universe to the American Gernsback continuum, and all the more striking for it.

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Pinterest board full of nostalgic D&D art


Brad sez, "Trusty Sword, an Olympia, WA-based RPG developer, has posted hundreds of scanned D&D cover art from dndclassics.com [a site where you can buy all the classic D&D modules and books as ebooks, though some are larded with DRM] to Pinterest. It's awesome."

D&D 1.0 (AD&D) Cover Art on Pinterest (Thanks, Brad!)

Mary Blair gallery show at Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco


San Francisco's Walt Disney Family Museum is running an exhibition on the art of Mary Blair, one of the all-time greats of Disney history and modernist illustration and color. I've covered her work here before (for example, there's a gorgeous collection of Blair's Golden Books, and, of course, the amazing Alice in Wonderland edition featuring the rejected concept art she produced for Disney's psychedelic Alice in Wonderland animated film), and I've been lucky enough to see some of it in person while I was working at Disney, but this exhibit, called "MAGIC, COLOR, FLAIR: the world of Mary Blair," looks extraordinary.

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Beautiful, illustrated vintage Wisconsin postcard


Phil Are Go has done the world the kind service of posting a hi-rez scan of a gorgeous, vintage souvenir of Wisconsin postcard, lavishly and wonderfully illustrated with everything the state has to offer.

Wisconsin, your post card is here.

Star Wars cup ad, 1977: you like laser swords, right?

Matt sez, "The Danny Devito-like schlub in this ad feigning excitement for 'Stah Woiz' and its 'layzah swoids' in order to pawn off some collectible cups has had me laughing all evening."

Star Wars Cups (1977) - Majik Market Commercial (Thanks, Matt!)

Play the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure online


In honour of the 30th anniversary of the brilliant (and incredibly frustrating) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game, BBC Radio 4 Extra have recreated the game in an online edition. I remember playing this for endless hours, with my Peril Sensitive Sunglasses perched on my forehead, repeatedly typing "look." The R4 version allows for saved games, so you can come back to it. You can also play the 20th anniversary edition.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game - 30th Anniversary Edition (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Child's illustrated garden of Satanic ritual abuse


In 1990, in the middle of the moral panic over Satanic ritual abuse (an almost entirely imaginary phenomenon), Doris Sanford published "Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy," which was "based on months of intensive research into the nature and practice of satanic ritual abuse." Sanford claimed that "Any child who has been ritually abused will recognize the validity of this story."

The story is a lurid, freakish illustrated tale ripped from tabloids and sensationalist memoirs, which was supposed to help parents, teachers and social workers help kids who'd been victims of this nonexistent epidemic.

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How to open a book

Here's a lovely old advisory from William Matthews Bookseller, explaining how to open a book for the first time, which was a major operation in the age of hand-sewn hardcover bindings.

Unfortunately, Mr Matthews did not include any notes on how to close the books, which was a bit awkward for his customers.

(via That Book Smell)

New old-timey Twilight Zone action figures announced


Zack sez, "Submitted for your approval -- Bif Bang Pow! has a new line of action figures inspired by the classic TV series done in the scale and style of such 1980s figure lines as Star Wars. Personal favorites include the Invader from 'The Invaders' and Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis in 'Time Enough at Last,' who is getting a permanent space on my bookshelf where he can finally enjoy some good literature without worrying about breaking his glasses."

These are in addition to the existing line of Bif Bam Pow Twilight Zone toys which include some real standouts like the Mystic Seer bobble-head and the Eye of the Beholder Nurse.

Bif Bang Pow! Enters a New Dimension (Thanks, Zack!)