Read Vanity Fair's excerpt of the new Robin Williams biography

The New York Times' culture reporter Dave Itzkoff has a new biography of Robin Williams called Robin. Vanity Fair has an excerpt about the months leading up to his death. It's sad and fascinating.

So why did Robin persist in making these films, each one a far cry from the Hollywood features he had once thrived on, and which were lucky to receive even a theatrical release? Why did he continue to fill every free block of time in his schedule with work, whatever work he could find? Yes, he needed the money, especially now that he had two ex-wives and a new spouse he wanted to provide with a comfortable home. “There are bills to pay,” he said. “My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.” He hadn’t lost all his money, but, he said, “Lost enough. Divorce is expensive.”

Robin continued to bounce from one low-budget film to the next. But he finally seemed poised for a professional resurgence when he was cast in The Crazy Ones, a new CBS comedy show that would make its debut in September 2013. The series was Robin’s first ongoing television role since Mork & Mindy ended three decades earlier, casting him as Simon Roberts, the irrepressible, not yet over-the-hill co-founder of a fast-paced Chicago advertising agency he runs with his straitlaced daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar).

The Crazy Ones seemed perfectly calibrated for the older audience cultivated by CBS, which had a track record for giving new lifeblood to bygone TV stars, while the show provided Robin with distinct opportunities to improvise in each episode.

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Good deal on 2-port USB wall charger

Use code FORMOM32 to get this 2-port USB wall charger for $6 (regularly $8). It's not much bigger (1.4" x 1.2" x 1.2") than the standard issue Apple iPhone charger, and the prongs fold back, making it good for travel bags. I use one when I'm traveling to charge my Phone, Kindle, Apple Watch, and battery pack. Read the rest

World's biggest orgy to be attempted in Las Vegas

An organization for sexual enthusiasts called Menage Life is planning to break the record for the world's biggest orgy. The current record was established in 2006 in Tokyo when 500 people congregated to copulate. The Las Vegas orgy will take place at the Embassy Suites on June 2, and Menage Life is aiming for at least 1,000 participants.

From Las Vegas Weekly:

Players must purchase an appropriate Sin City 8 pass (for the orgy, couples are $200 and single women are $25) and arrive with a registered partner (no single men are allowed) and photo ID before getting down. And mutual consent will be strictly enforced by onlooking security officers “who are members of the lifestyle,” according to the website. Those making advances without permission or failing to heed the word “no” will be removed from the premises.

Participants will also receive free condoms, lubricants, towels, hand sanitizer and other sex complements, with event organizers promising a clean space with clearly marked and separate receptacles for waste and linen disposal. Menage Life will also distribute masquerade party-style masks for those requiring discretion, setting the stage for a giant, Eyes Wide Shut-like fantasia.

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Dr Dre loses trademark legal fight with Dr Drai, gynecologist

Dr Dre, seller of weighted headphones, has fought a three-year court battle to stop Pennsylvania gynecologist Draion Burch from using the moniker Dr Drai. This week, the US trademark office dismissed Dr Dre's case.

Via BBC:

Mr Burch had also argued that consumers would be unlikely to confuse the two names "because Dr Dre is not a medical doctor nor is he qualified to provide any type of medical services or sell products specifically in the medical or healthcare industry".

He further testified that he did not seek to trade on Dr Dre's reputation because the association would be "a bad reflection on me as a doctor" - citing lyrics he characterised as misogynistic and homophobic.

The gynaecologist is the author of books such as 20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina and describes himself as one of America's top health experts.

Dr Dre can currently be seen in the Netflix documentary The Defiant Ones, which charts his rise from the streets of Compton to the multi-millionaire executive in charge of Beats 1.

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Kentucky cop drove rape victim to hotel and raped her again, says prosecutor

In 2017 Hillview Police Department detective John W. Nissen was assigned to drive a rape victim to her home. But prosecutors say he drove her to a hotel instead, and raped her. Read the rest

EPA head Scott Pruitt flies first class because he thinks people who fly coach want to kill him

On May 1, 2017 Nino Perrotta, "Acting" Special Agent in Charge of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s personal security detail, wrote a memo to justify his boss's flagrantly wasteful travel habits. Perrotta wrote, “We have observed and increased awareness and at times lashing out from passengers which occurs while the Administrator is seated in coach with PSD [his personal security detail] not easily accessible to him due to uncontrolled full flights."

Does the above sentence even make sense? I guess it's the best we can expect from a gentleman whose describes himself as "Acting" Special Agent in Charge. An Acting Special Agent in Charge might held to a higher standard than an "Acting" Special Agent in Charge, but who knows -- anything is possible in the Trump "administration."

"Therefore," the "Acting" Special Agent in Charge continues, "we believe that the continued use of coach seats for the Administrator would endanger his life and therefore respectfully ask that he be placed in either business or first class accommodations.”

You'd think Perrotta's request would include specific examples of "lashing out," but there is nothing of the kind in the 87-word memo. Apparently, "Acting" Special Agents in Charge don't need to provide examples. They simply "act" and things get approved.

Eventually, examples of "threats" against Pruitt were released to the public.

From The Washington Post:

Documents released Monday to the Post, the New York Times and BuzzFeed in response to public records requests show that the EPA was working on 33 threat investigations as of mid-March.

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Learn Electronics With Arduino - a good book

Many Arduino books assume you know at least a bit about electronics. Learn Electronics With Arduino by artist Jody Culkin and Eric Hagan is written for people who want to learn about electronics but are complete electronics newbies.

The 384 page book covers basic electronics equations, components, and circuits, as well as how to use and program an Arduino microcontroller. It has many step-by-step instructions for projects and the authors do an especially good job of explaining each line of programming code used in the examples. You'll also learn how to use a solderless breadboard and a multimeter. It's full-color with lots of photos and clear illustrations.

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Illinois police say legalizing weed will result in euthanization of drug-sniffing dogs

Weed shouldn't be legalized in Illinois, says Howard Buffett, Sheriff Macon County, because what will become of all the dogs trained to ferret out the deadly drug? "The biggest thing for law enforcement is, you're going to have to replace all of your dogs,” say Macon, who just so happens to run a "private foundation that paid $2.2 million in 2016 to support K-9 units in 33 counties across Illinois," according to The Pantagraph.

Chad Larner, who is training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County, says retraining dogs would amount to “extreme abuse.” Larner says if the crazed dope smokers get their way and make pot legal in Illinois, pot sniffing dogs will have to be euthanized.

From The Pantagraph:

Dan Linn, executive director of the marijuana advocacy group Illinois NORML, called that suggestion a “red herring.”

“The idea that legalizing for adults to have an ounce on them will equal ... all these dogs being euthanized, that seems kind of ridiculous and hyperbolic,” he said.

Both [Bloomington Public Affairs Officer Elias] Mendiola and [Normal Assistant Police Chief Steve] Petrilli said retired K-9s in Bloomington and Normal typically continue to live with their handlers, and dismissed the idea that any would be euthanized because of retirement.

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Desktop probability machine

Tim of Grand Illusions shows off this nifty normal curve distribution demonstration machine called the Galton Board. It has 3,000 tiny metal beads that fall through a grid of pegs, landing into one of 28 columns at the bottom. Each time a bead hits a peg, it moves to the left or the right. It's rare for a bead to fall to the left every time it hits a peg on the way down. It's equally rare for it to fall right every time it hits a peg on the way down. That's why most of the beads end up in the columns in the center.

The Galton Board is math in motion, demonstrating centuries-old mathematical concepts in an innovative desktop device. It incorporates Sir Francis Galton’s (1822-1911) illustration of the binomial distribution, which for a large number of beads approximates the normal distribution. It also has a superimposed Pascal’s Triangle (Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662), which is a triangle of numbers that follows the rule of adding the two numbers above to get the number below. The number at each peg represents the number of different paths a bead could travel from the top peg to that peg. The Fibonacci numbers (Leonardo Fibonacci, 1175-1250), can also be found as the sums of specific diagonals in the triangle. When rotated on its axis, the 3,000 beads cascade through rows of symmetrically placed pegs in the desktop-sized Galton Board. When the device is level, each bead bounces off the pegs with equal probability of moving to the left or right.

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Upright guitar stand for $12

I bought this stand for my Fender Telecaster, which has previously taken up space on a couch. The ChromaCast CC-MINIGS Universal Folding Guitar Stand with Secure Lock has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 1,400 reviews. It's very sturdy and the parts that touch the guitar are nice and soft so you won't scratch your beloved instrument. Read the rest

Japan's prime minister treated to dessert in a shoe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and their wives enjoyed a private dinner in Israel. By all accounts, they had a lovely evening, which was marred only by the dessert, which was served in shoes.

From Business Insider:

"This was a stupid and insensitive decision," a senior Israeli diplomat who served in Japan told the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Aharonot, according to The Jerusalem Post.

"There is nothing more despised in Japanese culture than shoes," the diplomat said. "Not only do they not enter their houses while wearing shoes, you will not find shoes in their offices either. Even the prime minister, ministers and members of parliament do not wear shoes to work ... It is equivalent to serving a Jewish guest chocolates in a dish shaped like a pig."

Prime Minister of Israel 🇮🇱 and his wife ❤️ host the Prime Minister of Japan 🇯🇵 Great honor to cook for you! Not obvious for me #unforgettable night ❤️🇮🇱

A post shared by segevmoshe (@segevmoshe) on May 2, 2018 at 1:04pm PDT

Chocolate selection from the world 🌎 by #SegevArt ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / A metal shoe by @tomdixonstudio

A post shared by segevmoshe (@segevmoshe) on May 6, 2018 at 10:57pm PDT

Image: By indigolotos/Shutterstock Read the rest

Woman arrested and handcuffed in Georgia for driving with a Canadian license

Emily Nield (27) of Ontario, Canada, attends college in the United States. She was driving from Georgia to Tennessee when a cop pulled her over for speeding. The officer asked for her license and things quickly went downhill from there.

From CBC:

"She kept saying, 'No, Canadian licences are not accepted,'" said Nield. "I was flabbergasted. I just kept saying this can't be right — a Canadian license is always valid."

Nield told CBC Toronto she was then asked to prove she was Canadian and although she had copies of her passport, Nexus card, and birth certificate on her phone, the officer wanted to see an original hard copy.

"When I failed to produce it, she reached through the window of my car and she put handcuffs on me," said Nield.

"She told me that I have just been arrested for driving without a licence and that I needed to go to jail."

In the back of the officer's cruiser Nield managed to take a video on her cellphone and send it to friends on SnapChat.

Nield was taken to jail and released on $880 bond. Three days later, a judge dismissed the charge. The probate court solicitor said he will erase her arrest record, which could take a couple of weeks.

The Georgia Department of Driver Services website states, "non-U.S. citizens holding a valid foreign driver's license are allowed to drive in the state of Georgia."

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John Oliver has an easy time making fun of cartoonish Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani is like having a second Trump in the White House, only not as smart. John Oliver has a field day with Giuliani's latest client-damaging crazy talk on a recent Fox News interview. He also looks at Giuliani's career, which reveals that he's always been out of his mind. Read the rest

Shock your way to mosquito bite itch relief

I'm going to Japan for a month this summer. I know two things for certain: it will be mushi atsui (muggy hot) and I will get bitten by ka (mosquitoes). My favorite way to relive the itch of a mosquito bite is with this little device, which delivers a tiny spark of static electricity when you press the trigger. About 10 presses of the trigger will stop the itching for hours. Everyone in my family uses it. Thay cost about $10 on Amazon. It doesn't need batteries. It has a piezoelectric crystal in it. I've had one for years and it still works. Read the rest

Three women are suing Charlie Rose

Three former CBS employees are suing television journalist and talk show host Charlie Rose for sexual harassment and threatening their jobs when they were in their 20s. The lawsuit, which was filed in the New York Supreme Court today, "alleges that Rose habitually made sexually suggestive comments and engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with the three employees," reports Variety. The lawsuit also complains that CBS executives knew that Rose routinely harassed women but did not warn new employees.

From the lawsuit:

At various times, Mr. Rose threatened to fire Plaintiffs, intimidated them and/or verbally abused them as part of his predatory behavior, sexual dominance over them, and retaliation against them. A few examples of his conduct include:

(a)Mr. Rose told Ms. Harris that she lacked skills and talent and “I didn’t know that I hired a fucking kindergartner;”

(b)Mr. Rose told Ms. McNeal “you can’t be a fucking idiot and have this job”; and

(c)Mr. Rose told Ms. Wei she was a “fucking idiot” for booking a flight on a plane that did not have flat folding seats, when Ms. Wei had previously advised Mr. Rose of same before booking the flight

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Miami cop Mario Figueroa suspended after kicking handcuffed man in the head

Miami Police officer Mario Figueroa looks like he enjoyed kicking a defenseless, handcuffed man in the head. Unfortunately for Officer Figueroa, his violent assault was caught on camera. A non-officer would have been immediately arrested for attacking someone this way, but since Figueroa is a police officer, he gets a paid vacation pending the results of an internal investigation.

From Miami New Times:

The victim — reportedly identified as 31-year-old David V. Suazo — of the officer's kick is clearly not resisting during the video clip. It shows cops placing handcuffs on his limp arms as he lies face-down in a field of grass. Then, out of nowhere, a Miami cop sprints and kicks the man squarely in the head.

MPD released a police report to the media late Thursday afternoon — police say they tried to apprehend Suazo after he was allegedly caught driving a blue Jeep Cherokee that had been stolen in Broward County. The cops say Suazo fled, crashed into a wall, and then fled on foot and tried to resist arrest before being tased, but the clip shows Suazo clearly complying with officers' demands. County records show that Suazo was booked into the Turner Guilford-Knight Correctional Center on charges of grand theft, fleeing a police officer, resisting an officer without violence, and driving with a suspended license, but the police account reportedly makes zero mention of the fact that officers kicked Suazo right in the head on camera.

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How to use a Japanese purikura machine

Purikura means "printing club" in Japanese. It's basically a place for teens and kids to take their pictures in photobooths, filter them, and print them out as stickers. I took my daughters to the purikura shown here on Takeshita Street, and we really didn't know what we were doing, because the touch screens were in Japanese and loaded with options. I also noticed signs that said "No Men Allowed." The guy working there noticed that I was looking at the sign and he said, "Family OK!" and gave me the OK sign with his hand.

This video explains how to use a purikura machine. It still confuses me. Read the rest

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