I'm no coin collector but I'm certainly hoping to get this great new quarter, which depicts the fruit bats of the National Park in American Samoa, as change sometime this year.
Designer: Richard Masters
Sculptor-Engraver: Phebe Hemphill
Mr. Masters’ design depicts a Samoan Fruit Bat mother hanging in a tree with her pup evoking the remarkable care and energy that this species puts into their offspring. The design is intended to promote awareness of the species’ threatened status due to habitat loss and commercial hunting. The National Park of American Samoa is the only park in the United States that is home to the Samoan Fruit Bat. Inscriptions are "NATIONAL PARK," "AMERICAN SAMOA," "2020," and "E PLURIBUS UNUM."
This coin, part of the America the Beautiful collection, has a release date of February 3.
image via CoinWeek Read the rest
Big Data is now dapper. An enterprising Etsy seller is making scarves that looks like oversized versions of CVS' impossibly long register receipts, coupons and all. These 59-inch-LONG fleece scarves are available from ReceiptScarves for $19.
Of course, I'm reminded of the IKEA rug that looks like an IKEA receipt.
(OddityMall) Read the rest
Every year in Japan, animals escape from zoos in a planned exercise. Except they aren't really animals, they're humans in animal costumes. And they aren't really escaping, they're part of an annual drill to train staff on what to do when a real animal does. While funny to watch, escaped animals are no joke in a country known for earthquakes.
Director of Tama Zoological Park, Yutaka Fukuda, told Metro in 2015:
‘In the event of a big earthquake, a tree could fall on a cage, or many other things could occur that may lead to an animal escape.
‘We think it is very important, and it is our responsibility to carry it out with seriousness.’
Look for the real lions, their reactions to the drill are priceless.
screenshot via The Guardian Read the rest
Rob Sheridan, one of the creators behind DC's upcoming High Level comic series and NIN's former art director, swallowed an unmeasured handful of 'shrooms before heading into see the "disasterpiece" known as Cats. He soon regretted it.
Birth. Movies. Death. then interviewed him on the experience:
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As a masochistic connoisseur of bad cinema, I knew since the Cats trailer came out that I needed to see this hideous disaster, in a theater, and very high. I was visiting with family for the holidays so I didn't get to see it right away when everyone on Twitter was shrieking in horror about what they'd just experienced. So after New Year's, the full Cats experience became a priority. On Monday I have to dive heavily back into work and start a whole health kick, so this strange post-holiday week was pretty much my last chance, and I decided I was going to go all in. Instead of taking an edible as I'd planned, I remembered some mushrooms someone had given me a while back and felt like if there was any chance I was going to enjoy Cats on any level, it would be melting into a psychedelic trip – just get weirded out and giggle and maybe make it fun.
Nearly ten grand. That's what it will cost to get the STAR WARS Millennium Falcon Hyperspace Jump Experience bouncy house into your life. Magic Jump, the company behind this 1,100 pound officially-licensed monstrosity, also offers financing for $237.38/month. Or you can find an entertainment company with one in their inflatable jumper repertoire to bring you this:
Passengers will encounter a Chewbacca inflatable as they enter and an R2D2 inflatable replica and C-3PO graphic as they jump their way around the ship. Passengers will feel the rush as they imagine piloting the Millennium Falcon like Han Solo and Chewbacca as they explore the cockpit area; pretend to operate the cockpit's master control panel with its gears, switches, and buttons; and eject themselves down a small slide. In the main cabin, they'll come across inflatable pop-up obstacles such as a bunk, storage container, and holo-map where they can see a holographic-like rendering of the Death Star. Passengers can step up to the laser cannon turret where they can pretend to defend against Imperial forces, and they can also pretend to play dejarik at the hologame table. The pièce de ré·sis·tance is the climber/slide in the center of the ship with ceiling hatch graphic showing explosive battle with a Star Destroyer and TIE fighters.
images via Magic Jump Read the rest
For over 20 years, Barbara Walters anchored ABC's newsmagazine 20/20. So, there was PLENTY of material to make this supercut of her saying, "This is 20/20." Read the rest
Thinking it was a really old bottle of alcohol, Antiques Roadshow expert Andy McConnell took a tiny drink of some brown mystery liquid in a 2016 episode. Repulsed by the taste, the glass expert said, "I think it's port - port or red wine... or it's full of rusty old nails and that's rust." In a new episode, the show's host, Fiona Bruce, has now revealed that he was partially right. There was rust, as well as urine, a single human hair, and a couple other things.
"Inside were these brass pins, all of these dating from the late 1840s, and the liquid – urine, a tiny pit of alcohol and one human hair," explained Bruce.
"And a mysterious little creature called an ostracod, which is like a little cockle. So [this] was not a bottle of port or wine, but a witches bottle.
"So buried in the threshold of the house as a talisman against witchcraft, against curses, against misfortune coming into the home."
McConnell replied: "Yummy. Such good news."
screenshot via News 247 Live Read the rest
Cartoonist Mimi Pond recently discovered that her local Costco sells Costco-themed pajamas for women!
Look closely at the pattern. It depicts, using cute illustrations, their famous sample food carts, and customers hauling oversized products like a pizza slice, bottle of wine, jar of peanut butter pretzels, steak, and more. Plus, tires and big-screen TVs! I don't even have a Costco membership but I want a pair of these.
Available online at Costco for $23 (includes matching socks). Read the rest
Krampus, Oh Krampus is a brand-new accordion-filled sing-along by my friends at Tight Pajamas. It's surprisingly chipper!
Susie Davis of the band wrote me:
My fascination with Krampus began after joining 'SF Krampus,' a street theater group that once a year dresses up as Krampus and prowls San Francisco’s infamous Union Square in search of naughty children. Krampus has been a part of Central European folklore for centuries. In early December children in the Alpine villages are visited not only by Saint Nicholas, who gives treats to deserving girls and boys, but also by his dreaded partner - Krampus, who comes to punish the naughty children or take them away in the basket on his back to the underworld. Its proven that children from countries who have Christmas demons do better on test scores…so maybe all we need to make the world a better place is just a little more Krampus!
The song is also available as an MP3.
Thanks, Susie! Read the rest
Allee Willis with psychedelic Fluffernutters
It's never fun to report that someone in our tribe has passed. That's especially true when that person is also someone you know and love.
Allee Willis, Happy Mutant Extraordinaire, died just after 6 p.m. on December 24 of cardiac arrest. She was 72.
My friend Heather was in tears when she phoned me to tell me the news. It was 10:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve. She had just read about Allee's sudden and unexpected death in Variety. We were both shocked and deeply saddened. We pondered together on the call, "How is it possible that she's gone?"
I first met Allee back in the February of 2011. Friends of mine here in Alameda, Jessica and Mel, introduced me to her. "You HAVE to meet her!" they insisted. At that time, a TV show called Clean House was filming the decluttering and redecorating of their home. Their excess stuff was soon to be sold in a televised public sale. Since they are well known for their massive collection of pop culture kitsch and, being the Queen of Kitsch, Allee was compelled to drive up for the sale. And because their house was out of commission for the show's filming, I offered up mine to host a party in Allee's honor, not entirely sure what I was getting myself into or, honestly, grasping the full understanding of who she was. But I was game. I invited a group of local friends, all self-proclaimed kitsch lovers. Read the rest
Friends of mine in Palm Springs are up to some real Hanukkah hijinx. Kudos to Mel, Jessica, and Sasha (the tall one in yellow) for making the world's first crazy sky dancer menorah. Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate! Read the rest
"What's even the point of having an Internet if I can't buy a replica kid's plastic Santa Claus mask from 'It's a Wonderful Life'?" That's the question my friend Evan Prodromou recently posed on Facebook. He then tagged me in the comments, "I'm pretty sure Rusty Blazenhoff could find these if I asked her."
Well, I don't anything about them or where to find them but I'm always up for a challenge. So, I went to my expert-in-all-things-novelty friend David Wahl, the Director of Awesome for Archie McPhee, and asked if he knew anything about the masks. I figured if anyone would know, it would be him. His response made me chuckle. He told me it's something he and Shana Iverson, the company's High Priestess of Rubber Chickens have already discussed. Because, of course they have!
This is what he knows:
"It’s papier mâché, so it probably wouldn’t have survived unless someone took special care of it. We haven’t seen them anywhere in any catalog or weird show. I think it was made just for the movie. It also could just be a local item to LA during Christmas that year. There were tons of small companies doing stuff like that."
Sounds right. Just to see, I searched on the internet for any mention of the masks.
In a Movieweb interview from 2006, Jimmy Hawkins, the child actor who played Tommy Bailey in the 1946 film, recalls the masks being uncomfortable:
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"...I also remember sitting on Jimmy Stewart's lap.
While looking up something else on YouTube, I came across Santa Claus, the world's first Christmas movie! This British silent film, a little over a minute long, was made in 1898 and was directed by George Albert Smith, a "stage hypnotist, psychic, magic lantern lecturer, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, inventor" and noted film pioneer. It was considered a technical marvel in its time and definitely worth a watch.
Michael Brooke of BFI National Archive reports that the movie had "considerable technical ambition and accomplishment for its period," and that it "uses pioneering visual effects in its depiction of a visit from St. Nicholas." He also writes that it is "believed to be the cinema's earliest known example of parallel action and, when coupled with double-exposure techniques that Smith had already demonstrated in the same year's The Mesmerist (1898) and Photographing a Ghost (1898), the result is one of the most visually and conceptually sophisticated British films made up to then."
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In this picture you see two children being placed in bed by a maid, lights are then shut off. Santa Claus enters the room from the fireplace and proceeds to trim the tree. He then fills the stockings that were previously hung on the mantle by the children. After walking backward and surveying his work, he suddenly darts at the fireplace and disappears up the chimney. This film surprises everyone and leaves them to wonder how old St. Nicholas disappears.
Former MTV Veejay Martha Quinn is now a deejay and blogger for iHeart80s. On Friday, she posted a bunch of holiday videos from her MTV days, including this gem that reunites the Monkees for a weird medley from Christmas Eve 1986. She writes:
This Monkees video is historic for Monkees fans as it reunited Monkee Mike Nesmith with Monkees Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz!
In the world of MTV this video gives a peek into a new era. We’re welcoming VJs Carolyn Heldman and Downtown Julie Brown, but by this time we’d said good-bye to original VJs JJ Jackson and Nina Blackwood which was part of the transformation to MTV phase 2, that would include Head Banger’s Ball host Adam Curry, VJ Kevin Seal, and Yo! MTV Raps hosts Ed Lover and Doctor Dré. This was our last Christmas video.
But guess what…out of the blue along would come something called “The Internet” and “YouTube.” Thanks to them we can enjoy these videos all over again!!
Eighties fans will enjoy following Martha on Twitter. Read the rest
Watch Dual Axis and see if it you can make it move clockwise, counter-clockwise, and up and down in your head. Trippy, huh?
This mind-boggling optical illusion was recently awarded "Best Illusion of the Year" by the Neural Correlate Society, a nonprofit that "promotes research into the neural bases of perception and cognition."
Force has uploaded the code to Github and created an interactive demo to play with. Read the rest
If Sesame Street characters doing impressions of each other doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.
The cast of 'Sesame Street' test out their best impressions of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Rosita and The Count.
'Sesame Street' is celebrating its 50th anniversary of helping kids everywhere grow up smarter, stronger and kinder. The 50th season is currently running on HBO and will premiere on PBS in the summer of 2020.
Previously, and definitely worth a watch: "Start Wearing Purple" as sung by Sesame Street's Count
Thanks, Mark! Read the rest