MADtv's violent Rankin/Bass Christmas spoofs

Some of you may be old enough to remember these most excellent MADtv parodies of Rankin/Bass stop-motion kids' movies, and some of you need a pop culture elder like myself to point you to them. Either way, I think they're brilliant and hope they'll make you laugh as hard as I did when I first saw them. They're definitely not for little eyes though!

This first one is called "Raging Rudolph" (1995) and it's an ultra-violent, Scorsese-esque takeoff of the perennial favorite, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964):

After the success of the first one, MADtv came out with "Reinfather" a year or two later which, as you guessed, spoofs The Godfather:

In 1999, they aired "A Pack of Gifts Now," a take on Apocalypse Now. A bit of trivia on this one, Patton Oswalt pitched this skit when he was a writer at MADtv. They produced it a year after he left:

Now, all three of these were created by Corky Quakenbush of Space Bass Films. If you liked them, you'll be happy to know he made more in the spirit of the MADtv ones.

On this later one for Larry the Cable Guy, Quakenbush writes, "This is the cleaned up for television version. Jinno was tasked with digitally removing all the bloodshed we meticulously animated as well as us having to edit out 30 seconds of the senseless massacring of every virtually unarmed character from the original Rudolph special prior to rocket bombing Santa's castle..." That's Blake Shelton in the intro:

There's more... Read the rest

Remove.bg, the background-removing photo tool that people are going gaga for

Remove.bg, a new free web app released by developer Benjamin Groessing on Monday, keeps popping up in my feeds so I thought I'd try it out. With one click, it removes the background of a photo using AI:

To test it out, I chose this photo cribbed from Aliexpress:

Remove.bg spit this out in less than 10 seconds:

Not bad. I suspect that the app read that pipe as "fingers." Anyone care to take this image and set her in an exotic locale by giving her a nice new background? Read the rest

Ankle scarves are only trending online, not on the streets

Nope, ankle scarves are not the latest thing to come out of Italy or Germany or wherever. I was skeptical when I came across this Country Living article that declared them a "trend," as the image is clearly Photoshopped. So, I started digging. First I went to its source, an Italian website called Lercio. Then I clicked to Lercio's source, a German site called Der Postillon and that's when I knew my suspicions were true. Ankle scarves are fake news parading around on English sites as a real trend.

And that's when I came across this article on Lifehacker. Its author, Nick Douglas, breaks it down for us:

That’s because there is no ankle scarf trend. I’m not saying that there’s really only one person who once wore tiny scarves on their ankles. I’m saying that the photo comes from this joke article on the German satire site Der Postillon.

See, Der Postillon published a joke article that teens in Berlin are wearing scarves around their ankles, to stay warm while wearing fashionably short pants. Then the Italian satire site Lercio syndicated that article. Lercio isn’t pretending to be real any more than Der Postillon is; the front page includes stories about a hermit hiding inside his mailbox, and the pope fighting over parking spots for the Popemobile.

When a blogger for the American site BestProducts.com—not a satire site—picked up the ankle scarf story, she either failed to notice that it was satire, or decided that it would make a better story if she didn’t mention that part.

Read the rest

Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama surprise 30 Rock visitors with silly acts

Visitors to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, who thought they were on an NBC Studio Tour, got a big surprise when the elevator stopped on the wrong floor. Both Jimmy Fallon and Michelle Obama were waiting for the doors to open to play comedic bits on the unsuspecting tourists. Hot-cha! Read the rest

Jeff Goldblum's jazz album hit the no. 1 spot on the charts

Did you know... Jeff Goldblum plays jazz with the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra weekly at an L.A. club called Rockwell (road trip!)? And that, at the age of 66, he has released his debut album? Well, both of those are true. And, during the week of Thanksgiving, that new album of his -- The Capitol Studios Sessions -- got 10 Goldblums out of a possible 10 Goldblums on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart.

Rolling Stone:

His weekly gig... is hardly a vanity project — “If I’m not out of town doing something, I’m there every week” — but the 66-year-old actor has taken the idea to its logical, if odd, conclusion: his debut album that recreates the Rockwell vibe in a studio with a live audience.

Bolstered by guest vocalists Haley Reinhart, Imelda May and Sarah Silverman alongside trumpeter Till Bronner, Goldblum’s The Capitol Studios Sessions — which hit Number One on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart — blends standards (Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” Charles Mingus’ “Nostalgia in Times Square”) with the actor’s goofy, whimsical crowd banter. Imagine if Tom Waits’ Nighthawks at the Diner swapped a rumpled shirt and newsboy cap for a tuxedo with tails for a start.

Here's a taste:

(I ask you: Could he be any cooler?)

Rolling Stone's Jason Newman interviewed the silver fox about his 50-year musical journey and it's a great read.

(RED) Read the rest

NASA makes cool space mission posters that reference pop culture

So, get this. For many years now, NASA has been putting out some really fun posters to bring awareness to their space missions. They reference everything from Star Trek to Star Wars and lots in-between.

Bored Panda writes:

Since the very first International Space Station mission in 2000, NASA has been creating expedition posters usually featuring a group photo of the crew. These posters were used to advertise expeditions and were also hung in NASA facilities and other government organizations. However, when astronauts got bored of the standard group photos they decided to spice things up a bit.

They call them "cringy" but I love them. I think they're fun and creative.

Here's a few of them (more here):

images via NASA, lead image cropped to fit Read the rest

38-year-old Macaulay Culkin is Home Alone again in this fun ad

Kevin McCallister (played by Macaulay Culkin, of course) is no longer a boy but has been left home alone again in the same house he was back in the early 1990s. The difference? This time the house is controlled by voice-activated devices so he's able to get stuff done without lifting a finger by talking to Google Assistant.

It's a cute advertisement but remember, ya filthy animal, that EFF has put "creepy, surveillant" devices like the ones featured in the video on the don't-buy list.

Personal side note: My awesome cousin James was the art director on this!

Thanks, Andy! Read the rest

Adam Sandler remembers Chris Farley in a heartwarming song

On December 18, 1997, comedian Chris Farley died of a drug overdose. He was just 33. Some 21 years later, his buddy Adam Sandler has written and performed a sweet, though sad, tribute song in the late comedian's honor as part of his new Netflix special Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh.

screenshot via SNL/YouTube Read the rest

Fried chicken chain offers 'Emotional Support Chicken' to ease holiday air travel

Someone over at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's marketing department has a sick sense of humor. For Philly fliers, the fast food chain is offering "Emotional Support Chicken" which are specially-marked, chicken-shaped carrier boxes filled with, yep, fried chicken.

The box reads:

This chicken provides comfort and nourishment during stressful air travel. Unlike other chicken, it is marinated in real Louisiana spices for 12 hours and must be permitted to fly without restriction. Do not leave unattended, as Popeyes' is not responsible for lost or stolen chicken.

From its press release:

Emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship, especially during a highly stressful time like air travel. However, according to recent headlines, some travelers are pushing the envelope with the types of animals they try to bring on flights and classify as "emotional support animals," including the likes of peacocks, squirrels and tarantulas. Knowing this, Popeyes decided to launch its new "Emotional Support Chicken" to bring holiday travelers some humor to what is one of the most stressful places to be during the holidays – the airport.

"Emotional Support Chicken" is ONLY available at the Gate C31 Popeyes in the Philadelphia airport.

image via Popeyes

(Cosmo) Read the rest

Yellies toy spiders: "The louder you yell, the faster they move"

This year's hot -- and controversial -- holiday toys are Hasbro's Yellies, a line of plush spider-like ("Spooders) creatures that move faster when you scream at them.

The toys are creating quite a kerfuffle with parents who think the toys are a bad idea.

One mother shared that her son was scared of the toy and that it actually fed off her kid's "screams of terror":

...Being the mother of a naturally loud and boisterous kid, I thought it would be the perfect Christmas present... well I couldn’t wait for Christmas. So I crack it open tonight, and get a good look at it. I test it out. I’m amazed at how powerful the little motor is... how fast the little legs move... how its creepy little eyes glow a lovely shade of radioactive green. So I call Leo in. He looks at it, cocks his little head to the side. And then, obviously, I yelled at it. The spider ran for it. Leo starts screaming... the louder he screams, the faster the spider pursued him. He runs. And this is when we discovered the fun little feature in which the spider has a tendency to stop abruptly... pause for a couple seconds... spin in several erratic circles... and then turn towards wherever it senses sound... and take off in that direction.

Read the rest

Stephen Colbert lets kids write Christmas movie concept, then shares its hilarious trailer

Instead of having grownups write a Christmas movie for kids, Stephen Colbert gathered a group of children to write their own Christmas movie concept. That part of the segment was funny enough but then he got some of his celebrity pals to star in the faux film's trailer -- Bryan Cranston, Laura Linney, Nick Kroll, Rachel Dratch, and John Oliver -- and that put it over the top. Watch the hilarious trailer for Santa Fight: Saving the Holiday from Atnas. Read the rest

New Yorkers plug in giant boombox found in Manhattan, surprise holiday party ensues

Improv Everywhere's latest mission? Place a giant red boombox at Pier 17 in Manhattan for passerby to discover and plug in. Read the rest

Porch pirates sprayed with glitter and fart smell after opening fake package booby traps

We've all seen the videos of thieves shamelessly stealing packages off of people's porches. Now someone is fighting back. Read the rest

This gingerbread house is styled after the 1974 Fisher-Price A-Frame toy, Little People and all

Saturday night was the tenth annual Mid-Century Supper Club's holiday potluck and, as is customary, photos from it have been flooding my feeds since it ended. Once again, there were lots of great creations (and costumes, whoa boy) but I was particularly gobsmacked by this gingerbread (and candy clay) house fashioned after the circa 1974 Fisher-Price A-Frame dollhouse.

Its creators are pals of mine here in Alameda, Jo Anne Yada (aka art teacher Ms. Y) and Michael Fleming (aka illustrator Tweedlebop).

Jo Anne shared on Facebook that they picked up an actual vintage Fisher-Price A-Frame toy this past summer at a yard sale and that's when inspiration struck, "We knew even waaay back then that we would be recreating it in gingerbread..."

They estimate the edible A-Frame took over 20 hours to complete. Michael focused on the house itself (he jokingly shared, "There was a learning curve.") and Jo Anne worked on the Little People.

The People were made of fondant, with the faces drawn with cake decorating marker; half a toothpick holds the heads on securely. We really wanted to diversify the People in our scene, so we made a rainbow of skin colors to include more people in addition to the classic yellow-and-red haired ones. And of course, we had to include the dog!

For their efforts, they won the potluck's People's Choice award. And, they're already starting to think about what they'll create next year. Can't wait!

images via Michael Fleming and Jo Anne Yada, used with permission Read the rest

A digital clock that makes you do math to tell the time

This clock (supposedly made for kids) cracks me up. To tell what time it is, you have to do some simple math.

Here's its story:

The Albert Clock is named after Albert Einstein and inspired by an apocryphal anecdote: that Einstein was bad at math. Designer Alex Schindlbeck, who conceived this clock for a small Paris-based company, set out to turn classroom boredom into mental calculation skills. He gave the standard alphanumeric segment font a makeover, with improved readibility of numbers and mathematical symbols. This engaging educational tool caters to children's natural play instincts, and the satifsying delight of problem-solving.

The Albert Clock is only available at the MoMA Design Store (for $340!).

(bookofjoe) Read the rest

Cheap Old Houses Instagram becomes too popular, creates home-buying wars

Cheap Old Houses is one of my favorite Instagram accounts. The folks behind it scour real estate listings around the U.S. to find and showcase cool old homes being sold at ridiculously inexpensive prices, i.e. real estate pR0n. Sure, most of the houses are in places I'd never move to or they are "major fixers" but they're all under $100K. Well, it seems that the feed is becoming too popular, as evidenced by this PSA they released on Friday:

View this post on Instagram

I have a public service announcement to make! (haha and no, I’m not going to stop posting 😉) I started this feed as a service to gather together a community of people who love and respect older homes that have been neglected and need TLC. I’m super proud of all the homes I’ve helped land in the hands of people who truly love them. That said, the feed has gotten more wildly popular than I could ever have imagined! Although (at least to my knowledge), no one has yet gotten into a bidding war because a house was posted on this feed, I do fear that it could happen. Please, PLEASE do me a favor: If you are planning to look at a house that is for sale for under $100,000 and have serious intentions to buy it, and if I haven’t already posted it, PLEASE send me a message and let me know and I will NOT post it! 💛💛💛 Thank you!!!!

A post shared by Cheap Old Houses (@cheapoldhouses) on Dec 14, 2018 at 12:31pm PST

Here are some examples of these cheap old homes:

View this post on Instagram

402 E Jefferson St, Mount Pulaski, IL — Lotsa work.

Read the rest

Parents pull the plug on kids playing Fortnite in latest Jimmy Kimmel prank

Jimmy Kimmel can be kind of a dick. You may remember that he's had parents lie to their kids, saying that they stole and ate all their Halloween candy -- all caught on camera, of course. That gag's been running for a few years now. Well, he's got a new prank. This time he's got parents unplugging the TV when their kids are playing the video game Fortnite. As you'll see, like with the "missing" candy bit, the kids don't take too kindly to it. Read the rest

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