• Simple camera trick for cooler photos

    Maybe you knew this one already and have been doing it for years, but I tried it and now I have a new option when taking pictures with my phone. I used an iPhone but I'm sure as long as your phone has the panorama feature to your camera yours will work just as well. Flipping your camera sideways while using pano and tracing your tall subject slowly upward gives a much cooler picture than the regular stand-back-and-snap composition.

    I did it (a good looking model to use as a subject was unavailable) and it was as easy as the video shows. The camera even flips the photo for you so that it's immediately right-side-up for posting or texting…but not for emailing, which I tried. So, when emailing you have to do one extra step to fix it. What I like about camera_bro tips on Tik Tok is how quick and easy the videos show the non-photog types like myself how to take a better picture. I know, I know. You already knew all of this.

  • "Tawny Kitaen dead at age 59" seemed like a fake story

    I cannot be alone on this one. When I saw Saturday morning that actress Tawny Kitaen had reportedly passed away, my first thought was, 'that sounds like a hoax'. No known cause of death was given. I was definitely burned by comedian Sinbad "dying" in 2007. Sinbad is alive today, though he suffered a stroke last November. As far as Kitaen goes, maybe I didn't want to believe it. Either way, I waited for more reliable news sources to confirm what TMZ and The Daily Mail were blurting out as fast as they could.

    Kitaen had her share of personal troubles through the years, especially with her ex-husband MLB pitcher Chuck Finley. Videos I'd seen of her being herself at home did not really endear her to me, but her contributions to my affinity for hair bands and comedies are absolutely stellar. She's on the cover of Ratt's Out of the Cellar album and appeared in their "Back For More" music video, as she was dating Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby at the time. She went on to marry David Coverdale of Whitesnake and writhed on the hoods of Rolls Royces in their "Here I Go Again" video. She was perfect as Tom Hanks' intended in the hilarious Bachelor Party, though I doubt this movie has aged well. All of these are 80's cheesiness that I fully own and adore just the same, but Kitaen's guest role in the "Penis vs. Brain chess match" episode of "Seinfeld" was absolutely brilliant (actually entitled "The Nose Job").

    Tawny Kitaen is just the perfect fringe personality from a past era, known only to those of that era, to be believable enough if she passed away unexpectedly. It seemed like perfect bait for us suckers. So much so that many people I texted with and spoke to were equally suspicious that it was a fake. Unfortunately, as Saturday went along more confirmation of her death came in and I was bummed. I give prayers to her family because the truth is as an icon of my youth I adored her and I am extremely sad to see her go.

  • Firefighting goats dispatched to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

    Every year around this time goats are sent to Simi Valley in California to the grounds near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to combat the ever-present danger of wildfires. They do not put on fire helmets or ride around in firetrucks, though I bet we can find photos of that on the internet somewhere, the goats are brought in to eat the surrounding dry vegetation thus giving less fuel to any possible fires and creating a fire break. Listen to the robot in this video explain the whole thing:

  • Dennis the Menace pitches in for No Pants Day

    If you are interested in recognizing the celebration of No Pants Day, like Dennis the Menace will this year, then you should express yourself and go sans trousers this May 7th, always observed on the first Friday of May. Regular U.S. mail service and parking enforcement are still in place as this ridiculous day is not a U.S. national holiday.

    Over 25 comic strip artists have banded together to help get the word out about No Pants Day, sure for obvious fun and silly reasons, but now a real cause has been attached to it. COVID has decreased the amount of donations to clothing charity services as well as limited those in need from being able to get used clothes. No Pants Day is being used as a clothing drive with the help of cartoonists.

    via AP:

    In a gracious move among comic strip distributors, King Features reached out to fellow syndicators Tribune Content Agency, Andrews McMeel Universal and Washington Post Writers Group to pull off Friday's event.

    "We may be business competitors, but we're all part of the same family," said Fougner. "We all love comics and we love our communities. And, at the end of the day, that's really what cartooning is about. So we want as many cartoonists as possible to take part in initiatives like this."

    Olive Brinker's "Rae the Doe" has a character donating clothes at an LGBT center while "Dennis the Menace" urges readers: "Give to a charity that helps people in need of clothing, like Room to Grow."

    The event is the latest attempt by the comics community to help society. Last year, more than 70 comic strips and panels banded together to hide six symbols in the artwork to honor workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

    I will likely be wearing pants this Friday but I will now get some of my unused clothes over to Goodwill or the Salvation Army to participate. Also, I do hope anyone going pantsless in the spirit of the day has the good sense to still wear something presentable down below. Do not go balls out for this one, gents.

  • Paris Hilton's shirt never said "Stop being poor" she asserts

    In the fall-out of feeling like an ass after watching the "Free Britney" documentary for admittedly reveling in Ms. Spears' troubles in the 2000's, I want to think twice when chances to criticize young women arise. Women who are just trying to do their thing. Kardashians are easy targets and Paris Hilton has always been in the cross-hairs for everyone with an opinion. But for what? Being too rich and beautiful? Soaking up the spotlight with no discernible talents? Who cares? None of that affects me. So, it certainly feels right to help counteract the hate a person gets when they did nothing wrong. So, here is Paris Hilton vindicating herself on Tik Tok:

    @parishilton

    Debunking the #STOPBEINGPOOR myth. 🙅🏼‍♀️😹 Don't believe everything you read. 😏 #greenscreen #Iconic 👑

    ♬ original sound – ParisHilton

    I know. Her flippant, self-assured smirk and being sure that "you have seen it" photo wearing the "Stop being poor" shirt is a little annoying. Her satisfied chuckle when she reveals that the shirt says "Stop being desperate" is not as clever as she wants it to be and also grates the nerves. BUT, she is still right. Some jerkweed drummed up a falsehood with photoshop to besmirch her just to fall into their narrative of how they think Paris Hilton sees everyone else. Totally unfair. Active hate is not a pastime. Even my little stabs at her video delivery is trifling. If we want a fair target, Melania Trump's "I really don't care. Do U?" jacket that she wore to visit a migrant child detention center, or really ANYone with a MAGA hat, deserves the real scorn. Free Paris!

  • Roller coaster malfunction forces riders to descend by foot from 213-foot peak

    One of the tallest, fastest roller coasters in the world added an unexpected extra thrill into its repertoire. See those narrow stairs? Walk down. The roller coaster the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the U.K. forced a group of riders to do just that. This was due to a mechanical malfunction at the park, but maybe the roller coaster had its own plans. Fortunately, the riders found it amusing and video-recorded the event that many would consider to be a pants-shitting experience, from ride to unscheduled descending.

    The walking down the roller coaster stairs came at no extra charge to these riders. Think that's just a wisecrack? It's not. Guided tours are available to anyone who would like to experience walking up and down the gigantic roller coaster's stairs.

    It could have been worse. Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey is twice as high as the Big One at 456 feet.

  • 100 year-old enormous fresh water fish caught in Detroit River

    Ty Cobb was busy batting .350 plus for the Detroit Tigers at Navin Field (later named Tiger Stadium), James L. Couzens the former Detroit mayor, was elected to U.S. Senate and served during the Coolidge and the Hoover presidencies, and the Purple Gang was rum-running booze from Windsor, Canada across the Detroit River back to sell it in Prohibition era America. It was the 1920's and a tiny little sturgeon flapped its fins for the first time. On April 22, 2021 that female fish was caught near Grosse Ile by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This historic sturgeon weighed in at 240 pounds and measured nearly 7 feet in length.

    via AP:

    "Based on its girth and size, it is assumed to be a female and that she has been roaming our waters over 100 years. She was quickly released back into the river" after being weighed and measured, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

    It took about six minutes to get the fish into the boat with a net.

    "I felt the fish thumping on the line. As it got closer, it just got bigger and bigger," said Jason Fischer, who was with fellow biologists Paige Wigren and Jennifer Johnson.

    Wigren recalled thinking, "Yep, this is going to be a real good fish story."

    "She was tired out and didn't fight us very much," Wigren said. "Imagine everything that fish has lived through and seen."

    Lake sturgeon are listed as a threatened species in Michigan. Anglers can keep one a year, but only if the fish is a certain size and is caught in a few state waters. All sturgeon caught in the Detroit River must be released.

  • Mysterious bones found while digging Las Vegas pool

    Digging a hole in Las Vegas could result in an unwanted discovery. Typically, or maybe stereotypically, one would expect some Joe Pesci-style mischief where mob corpses are unearthed when trying to dig a new pool in Las Vegas. In this case, the bones found in the backyard of Matt Perkins' home predated the Bugsy Siegel era by approximately 6,000-14,000 years and are from a large animal, possibly a horse. However, some kind of ice age version of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro whacking and burying a prehistoric horse on what is now the Perkins' backyard is always a possibility.

    via AP:

    "The pool guy said he was going to come to check out the pool," Perkins told KTNV-TV. "We assume that was normal, we wake up he's out front with the police."

    The pool builders discovered the bones about five feet (1.5 meters) below ground. After an investigation, police said the bones did not belong to a human and raised no law enforcement concerns.

    Perkins is now deciding how best to preserve the fossil.

    Well, this is good news. The Las Vegas horse murders of 8,204 AD finally have a solid lead.

  • Strange white orbs wash up on Argentina beach

    On the lovely beach of Mar del Plata in Argentina, 250 miles south of Buenos Aires, thousands of white translucent orbs started to appear all along the beach this past weekend. These large pearl-esque objects were actually snail eggs. They are embryos of the carnivorous snail Adelomelon brasiliana, which lives near the coast of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina and can grow up to 8 inches in length. Though it is not uncommon to find these snail eggs occasionally on the beaches in southern South America, this multitude is very unusual.

  • Watch LeVar Burton counter Meghan McCain's 'cancel culture' question

    Somehow The View's Meghan McCain is still offended by the Suess Enterprises decision to stop publishing six books with racist and insensitive material in them. McCain, like many conservatives trying to paint the Left as overly sensitive schmucks trying to ruin America by myopically eliminating all that is Dr. Suess, avoids the fact that Green Eggs And Ham, The Lorax, The Sneetches, etc. are not going anywhere. Just the six racist ones, you twit! Remember when adult toddler Kevin McCarthy (R-Moronsville) inexplicably read Green Eggs and Ham as some kind of protest against evil-doers trying to take away his beloved book, and presumably his blankie next? No one is.

    When trying to be outraged makes one dodge key facts about an issue and distort all understanding, it's probably too desperate even for Meghan McCain to think she's going to either 1. Find a like-minded ally in LeVar Burton and that he shares her misguided "cancel culture" views and trash talk Suess Enterprises, OR 2. Really stick it to LeVar Burton with a pointed question that will leave him stammering and blubbering in a corner, crowning her victorious. You really thought LeVar Burton wasn't going to answer with something thoughtful and informed? You clearly never watched Reading Rainbow, Ms McCain. Mr. Burton calmly explains "consequence culture" to someone who will still probably never get it.

  • Actor and activist Danny Glover speaks at Chicago rally

    Actor Danny Glover, of Lethal Weapon fame, took a red-eye from San Francisco to speak at a rally in the Chicago Loop early Wednesday morning in support of an ordinance bringing civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department. Apparently, Glover had trouble saying a specific word with his freezing and sleepy mouth in front of the approximately 150 demonstrators. Or, perhaps, he's getting too old for this shit? I would wager it's just the former. Glover is an iron man of activism.

    via Chicago Sun-Times:

    Glover praised the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance and elicited laughter after stumbling over the pronunciation of the word "ordinance" several times.

    "Look here, it's cold out here, and my mouth doesn't work at this time in the morning," he joked.

    In the wake of the Adam Toledo police shooting video, as well as the building distrust of CPD, some officials and activists are looking for change in how the police department operates.

    The ordinance would create a civilian oversight commission to bring accountability and community control to the police department, said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), a main proponent.

    "We've seen that mayoral control of the police department has not worked," he said. "We want democracy, we want proven accountability measures like giving civilian commissioners a real say over policy and the hiring policy of the police chief."

  • How are there always crumbs in the silverware drawer holder?

    Grossed out by the amount of miscellaneous crumbs that found their way into the plastic silverware tray, I cleaned it out. That was about 2 weeks ago. Not a thorough scrubbing, by any means, but I took out all the silverware and used a damp paper towel to get the crumbs out. Well, like the swallows of Capistrano, the crumbs are back. A mouse's feast. How?

    You know what I don't ever do? Prepare food, wipe the counter, eat directly over the silverware drawer when it's open. The drawer remains closed for those events. I found rice in there, man! WTF? The 2 adjacent drawers, one holds cutting boards, the other plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., were completely devoid of a single crumb—and I never clean those out. So, why the silverware drawer?

    Silverware tray manufacturers concede that crumbs in the damn tray is a thing, and enough of a known nuisance to make mesh versions that let crumbs fall through to a catch-all bottom tray. After photographing my silverware drawer and seeing how unsightly and beat up it is I did scrub it and those dark smudges aren't going anywhere. Maybe I'll consider getting a new one. We have had that one for over 20 years and maybe a snazzy wire mesh tray would be just the extra spice needed around here…nah, we're good.

    One theory someone proposed on the internet was that when taking out or replacing silverware, crumbs may fall off of your sleeve. What? I'm walking around with crumbs on my sleeve? Where are all the sleeve crumbs in the plastic baggies drawer? I'm in there all the time and it's always in concert with some kind of food preparation or storage. Here's my best theory: Dishwashers (or hand washing) don't get off every speck on the silverware. A crusted piece of food grows brittle in the drawer, gets jostled around when other utensils are grabbed for, and comes off in the tray. We're pretty good about overseeing the cleanliness of the utensil before it goes into the drawer, but I suppose some could slip by. Second best theory: Elves.

  • Black bear casually sits with family and enjoys a picnic lunch

    These maniacs decided letting a wild black bear sit down with them at their picnic table was a good way to commune with nature in a remote forest of Maryland. Though a case of Miller Lite beer is prominently visible in their meal with Mama Bear, I'm guessing alcohol did not play a factor in the questionable judgment of this crew.

    via Upsocl.com:

    The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is asking people to scare off black bears if they approach them to ask for food. They even have a notice that says:"NEVER FEED It! Scare it away. Make loud noises, bang pans, or yell. Seeing bears can be very enjoyable. However, having a bear in camp can lead to problems that will persist long after you have gone home. If a problem becomes serious, your safety and that the bear's safety may become jeopardized."

    Now that these geniuses have helped socialize that bear into associating people with food the likelihood that harm may come to a person or that bear in the future just increased. Thanks, bubbleheads!

  • What was my Major League Baseball game experience like during Covid times? Mostly better

    Stuck in traffic around the stadium. Throngs of people pushing their way through narrow concourses. Interminable concession and restroom lines. A stranger's leg pressed against mine while in a compact seat. All of those things were gone when I went to a Cubs game last Friday with my family during these pandemic days.

    Sparse concourse pedestrian traffic.

    The biggest struggle of the whole thing was getting the tickets on-line two weeks before. Refreshing the computer queue over and over only to see the tickets that were just there had suddenly vanished was an infuriating situation, not so different from scheduling a Covid vaccine. Eventually there were tickets available, however negotiating where we sat at Wrigley Field was not really possible—you take what you can get. With the limited 10,000 seats per game available, in a stadium that holds over 41,000, being choosy isn't as possible.

    But back to the better parts. We ordered food and drink from our seats using our phone and the Cubs on-line system. I scanned the QR code on the seat-back in front of me and placed and paid for my order. Then I went and got it, but I could have had them bring my order to me if I wanted that service. Simple. No lines. I even had a Cubs representative ask me how the whole ordering food and drink experience was. "Fine, young man, fine. Worked like a charm." Apparently, when they rolled out the on-line ordering feature this season there were some glitches, but they've been worked out. The aisle vendors are still there, just fewer of them. Do I miss the tradition of a hot dog being handed down a row of mouth breathers and dubious hand washing between vendor and guest? Hell no.

    All mobile orders at the concessions to limit lines.

    Having no other people seated around us for social distancing was my kind of spacious seating sporting event. It was kind of like going to a White Sox game during normal times. The mask rule is: unless you're eating or drinking the mask stays on. Two women plopped down directly behind us in the 3rd inning, in not-their-seats and ate popcorn. My wife turned around and politely asked, "are those your seats?" They said nothing and moved along. Why they had to be directly on top of us eating and breathing all over, instead of in their own seats, was a little confounding. We were practically in the last row under the overhang. Not a very coveted area.

    In a section far, far away.

    I'm sure this is how most professional sports venues are operating now, but this is not how I hope sporting events will forever be. I want the roar of the crowds back. I want the electricity of the fans and I'll even accept the minor inconveniences that come with the territory, but this year I will take advantage of as many games as I can and live like a king, while watching the 2021 Cubs play their special lackluster brand of baseball.

  • Poke a hole in the shell for a better hard boiled egg?

    Oh the suffering. How are we meant to endure such catastrophic toil? Peeling eggs is hard (no it isn't), and when the shell takes some solidified egg white with it, the anguish is palpable (no). Sure, you could steam your egg to congealment or even immerse them in cold water right after a thorough boil, but I tried a new method. I poked a hole into the egg with a push pin, because–the internet told me to.

    Admittedly, this is a silly thing to do. I had to find a push pin. I had to sterilize it. I then carefully pushed the point into the wide end of the egg, through the shell, with such controlled force as to not have the damn thing explode in my hand and also not stick myself. There's a flash of cognizance I had as a grown man, stepping out of my body and watching my numbskull self pushing a pin into an egg in my kitchen. He's trying to make it easier to peel an egg, because that's such a labor, and he read a hack for it on the internet.

    Egg with tiny pin hole.

    Well, it worked. No fluids dribbled out of the tiny hole like I thought might. As instructed I put the egg into an already boiling pot of water which meant I had to lower it in with a spoon because dropping it = cracking it, and fingers = 2nd degree burns. It peeled it like a champ and I was like, "yes. I did it. It was a triumph. Now, back to my needlepoint." Honestly, steaming or post-cold water dunking is easier. Do that. Sticking an egg with a pin is ludicrous.

    Moderately easier peeling of egg.

  • Electronic "dance" game gives dementia researchers hope for treatment

    An international research team from ETH Zurich has found a glimmer of hope in the treatment of dementia. While no other drug routes have made a dent in altering the course of a dementia diagnosis, an active game may have. It's the octogenarian equivalent of Dance Dance Revolution, where a participant has to move their feet to different areas of the floor in coordination to what the screen before them instructs. In an 8-week study of game-playing patients showed that they not only staved off the diminishing effects of dementia but were able to slightly raise their cognitive levels, where the control group simply worsened. The combination of physical coordination with mental acuity, as well as exercise, are believed to be the winning factors. The fact that patients found the game fun to play made it easier for the researchers to get them to do it and to motivate them to get better at it.