Spend a "bunderful" night in the Wienermobile through Airbnb

Hot dog! First, Hearst Castle made it possible for everyday folks to swim in their pools (as a fundraiser). Now, Oscar Mayer has turned one of their Wienermobiles into a rentable RV of sorts. AlexanDog + Jake N' Bacon, two Chicago area Hotdoggers (that's what the drivers of these iconic hot dogs on wheels are called), have listed their one-bedroom Wienermobile on Airbnb.
And, starting on July 24, you can rent the darn thing for $136/night:

Housed inside an authentic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, this cozy space for two is located in Chicagoland. Complete with a bed for dreaming of wienies, sitting area for discussing at length whether a hot dog is a sandwich (spoiler alert – it is!) and other amenities like adjacent outdoor spaces for the bathroom and a hot dog picnic zone, this hot dog paradise is the ideal respite for two music lovers in town for the festival weekend… or just those who relish a good story.

Amenities include a mini fridge stocked with Oscar Mayer hot dogs and all the Chicago-style hot dog essentials, an Oscar Mayer roller grill to take home, an outdoor space for comfortable hot dog eating and a custom Wienermobile art piece by local artist Laura Kiro. And to help you celebrate your love of hot dogs during your visit, each guest also will receive a welcome kit, complete with all the hot dog-inspired accessories you could want after a music-filled, festival day.

It sleeps two non-smoking adults (on a sofa bed) and breakfast is included.

What's next? Hanging out in Pee-wee's playhouse? Count me IN!

Taika Waititi's directing Thor 4!

Thor: Ragnarok was, by one million miles (or parsecs, if you will) one of the most delightful surprises in a decade of superhero flicks. Much of the film's charm was arguably due to the joy that Taika Waititi brings to every project he's associated with. Good news everybody: he's coming back for Thor 4!

From Gizmodo:

Thor will be back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Taika Waititi will once again be steering the ship.

The Hollywood Reporter says that the Thor: Ragnarok director has signed on to direct a fourth Thor movie. He’ll also write, according to EW. This happened after some issues arose with what was expected to be his next film, Akira, which is now going to be delayed.

Yeah, the rear end of the good news is that Waititi's on-again-off-again push to make a live-action version of Akira is going to have to wait a little while longer. That sucks but hey: more Korg, more Hemsworth, more Waititi! I suppose it stands to reason that they'd let him take a crack at the sequel. the film, which had a budget of $180 million, made $853,977,126 in theaters, worldwide

io9 has to say the delay could might be caused by the timing of Thor: Ragnarok (ironic) and issues with Akira's script. What'll happen to Waititi's Akira remains to be seen. However, I'd love to see it made. I might not be a huge Akira fan, but I'd be moderately enthused to see it made, because WAITITI!

Image via YouTube

#Vanlife: Camping California's coast -- Morro Strand

This is the first in a series of reviews of Federal, State and County provided campsites along California's amazing coastline.

I started my summer of #vanlife at the Californa State Park campsite of Morro Strand. It was pretty depressing to sit there, but you can leave and see wonderful things.

Morro Strand is a cement parking lot next to the beach along California's beautiful central coast. You can see Morro Rock, and easily drive to San Simeon, Cambria, Los Osos or Montaña de Oro. Hearst Castle is also close by.

The campsite has solid support by rangers, the camp host is very nice. There is no shade at most of the campsite. State-provided wifi is sufficient and will allow you to run a VPN. The site is so nestled into a residential area along the coast that it appears pizza and other forms of local food delivery are available to campers.

There is drinking water available and there are restrooms, however no showers! If you'd like to shower however, you are allowed to take your camping pass and drive to Morro Bay State Park and use theirs. The showers at the Morro Bay Campground have long been amongst the best in the Californa system.

Morro Bay was so crowded in late June, however, it looked like a refugee camp.

Morro Strand was mostly RV campers, and mostly groups of 2-3 campers who situated next to one another who were throwing multi-day beach parties. The camphost and rangers kept things well under control and life was always family friendly, clean and relatively quiet.

If you want to be on the central coast and can not get into San Simeon or Morro Bay, Morro Strand is an option -- but not a beautiful one.

I got an awesome vintage floral print shirt at a shop in Cambria.

'Station Eleven' is a haunting tale of the apocalypse

I was attracted to Station Eleven by the short description,it smacked of Commedia dell'arte: a post-apocalyptic tale of new-troubadours desperate to keep music and performance alive in a time of death. I was captivated, however, by the author's format in story telling.

Emily St. John Mandel starts this book off like almost any other book about the apocalypse. People are doing things so high-up on Maslow's hierarchy of needs to demonstrate how far or bad they are about to fall. The book opens in a theater, where stuff happens. Shortly thereafter humanity loses its shit.

Years after the collapse, we meet the Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and a troupe of Shakespearian actors who merged and travel the north-central former United States and Canada, entertaining folks. Star Trek gave a member of the Symphony the quotation “Because survival is insufficient.” and it has become their guiding light. Life on the road is very hard, but it is their life.

The book temporally jumps all over the place, telling the life story of a famous Hollywood actor who died the night before the world fell apart, and following some key players in his life through their experience of the new world order. The jumps are connected, but disjointed. The story is touching, occasionally heart-rending, and utterly meaningless to the destiny of the folks who survive the actor. The interactions with him helped make them who they are, they may inform some decision-making, and perhaps even scarred one or two for life, but they mostly serve to show how everyone's concerns about everything beyond survival are either immaterial or amazingly important.

St. John Mandel doesn't answer the question of survival being truly insufficient. The book suggests art may be most valuable when simply practiced for one's own need, sanity, enjoyment or otherwise. The titular artifact in the story, 'Station Eleven' is the name of a comic book/imaginary satellite of human survivors after a 'fictional' loss of the Earth to humanity. It is mostly written in private, almost never shared with anyone and likely the most important piece of art in the story.

I would love to read the fantasy comic and learn more about Dr. Eleven and the Undersea.

Aside from walking my dogs, and getting my work done, I read this book non-stop.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel via Amazon

Over those AirPods? Here are 10 pairs of earbuds that bring the noise

They might be the shiny new thing, but AirPods aren't for everybody. Maybe you're looking for a new sound or you understandably lost those tiny buds during a brisk run. If so, here's 10 headphones and earbuds that break out of the Apple mode with a return to quality and wearability.

Klipsch R5 Bluetooth Neckband In-Ear Headphones

The Bluetooth 4.2 aptX audio is top-notch, but these earbuds are all about the comfort with four different types of ear tips, including the super-secure Comply Comfort Ts-100s. Pick up the Klipsch R5 Bluetooth Neckband In-Ear Headphones for $66.95, a full 43% off the list price.

TRNDlabs Ventura Wireless Headphones

The 40 mm drivers on these headphones deliver a big sound, and you'll be able to blaze through multiple playlists with up to 10 hours of battery life. Grab a set of TRNDlabs Ventura Wireless Headphones for $34.99, down 64% from the original price.

360 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound Earbuds

With infrasonic frequencies in the back cavity, these headphones replicate the seat-rattling feel of a subwoofer in a tiny package. Perfect for gaming, these 360 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound Earbuds are $72, more than half off the MSRP.

Culture Audio V1 Noise-Cancellation Bluetooth Headphones

The AptX and AAC low latency tech in the V1s filter out surrounding noise for a fully immersive experience. But if you absolutely must get back to the real world, a built-in sensor automatically pauses the music when you remove the headphones. The Culture Audio V1 Noise-Cancellation Bluetooth Headphones are now $135, more than 30% off the original cost of $200.

Oomo 3D 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth Earphones

Finally, a pair of Bluetooth earbuds with true Surround Sound. Every frequency comes through the 10mm speakers clearly, and the ergonomic design keeps them secure no matter the environment. Pick up the Oomo 3D 5.1 Virtual Surround Sound Bluetooth Earphones for $99.95, a 23% discount off retail.

ARMOR-X GO-X3 Bluetooth Headphones

The IPX4 waterproof rating and sturdy ear hooks provide security on long workouts, and the Bluetooth 4.1 connection keeps the sound consistent. Right now, the ARMOR-X GO-X3 Bluetooth Headphones are $29.99, half off the MSRP.

1MORE Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones

With four drivers in each ear and a frequency range that stretches to 40,000Hz, these buds are the first to be THX® Certified. Meanwhile, the Kevlar core cables ensure they'll be around for many, many commutes. Pick up your 1MORE Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones for $169, a 15% discount from the retail price.

Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Sink into your favorite music with revolutionary Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling tech and 40 mm drivers. And with the 30-hour battery life, you'll be able to stay there the whole day. Grab a pair of Cowin E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones for $63.99, down 8% from the list price.

Cowin E8 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

These earphones for the true sound connoisseur pack the same noise-canceling system as the E7s, with HD audio on phone calls and a snug, ergonomic fit. The Cowin E8 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are now $134.99, 32% off the original cost.

1MORE Dual Driver In-Ear Headphones

With a balanced armature for crisp highs, Kevlar cables, and intuitive controls, this is a true workhorse set of earbuds that won't break the bank. Pick up your 1MORE Dual Driver In-Ear Headphones on sale for $39.99, down 33% from the original MSRP.


Scan of a 1921 book about insects

Public Domain Review calls our attention to the gorgeously illustrated 1921 Fabre’s Book of Insects.

Like Jacques Cousteau in the twentieth century, Fabre’s greatest accomplishment was perhaps to have brought out the beauty and drama in the lives of creatures that had hitherto been regarded with horror, if regarded at all. He turned his attention not just to bees, whose praises have of course been sung since the classical era, but to wasps, weevils, ants, glow-worms, caterpillars, and cicadas. He also sometimes wrote about wild flora and fauna, and in one rare chapter about his cats — all in prose characterized, a little like Cousteau’s, by a well-informed wonder at the natural world, appealing to both children and adults:

Few insects enjoy more fame than the Glow-worm, the curious little animal who celebrates the joy of life by lighting a lantern at its tail-end. We all know it, at least by name, even if we have not seen it roaming through the grass, like a spark fallen from the full moon. The Greeks of old called it the Bright-tailed, and modern science gives it the name Lampyris.

This AI turns your headshot into a portrait painted by a master

AI Portraits does an amazing job of creating original portraits based on photos of faces. The generative network was trained with 45,000 portrait images.

"Not only colors, but shapes, the lines of the face are completely redesigned by the model. In the above example, the model decides upon a Renaissance style, highlighting the elegance of the aquiline nose, the smoothness of the forehead."

Notice how the AI didn't show Isabella Rossellini's teeth. I tried it with a photo where I'm smiling and got the same result:

According to the folks who made AI Portraits, "Portrait masters rarely paint smiling people because smiles and laughter were commonly associated with a more comic aspect of genre painting, and because the display of such an overt expression as smiling can seem to distort the face of the sitter. This inability of artificial intelligence to reproduce our smiles is teaching us something about the history of art."

Here's a smart person deconstructing Steven Mnuchin's dumb speech about cryptocurrencies

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin made a fortune during the real estate boom when he “rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions.

This unctuous gentleman would like you to believe that Bitcoin is the place where financial crime is happening now, most likely as a way to distract people from the fact that the crimes perpetrated by the major financial institutions owned by his friends dwarf the fraudulent activities around Bitcoin.

Mnuchin really wanted to go after financial fraud, he'd do something about Deutsche Bank. But he won't because he likes his job too much.

Thunderdome for Democrats: Harris now leads Biden in California

Twenty democrats entered, one will lead.

The latest Quinnipiac run poll shows a US Senator from the Republic of California, Kamala Harris, leading the pack in the countries largest and probably most progressive state.

Sentator Elizabeth Warren also gains ground. Old white men still hang on, however.


The latest Quinnipiac California poll shows Harris leading among 2020 presidential hopefuls, with 23 percent of California Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters now behind her — surging six points since the last Quinnipiac survey in April. Biden, at 21 percent, has lost five points in that same period.

Closely following are Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has remained static at 18 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, now at 16 percent, more than doubling her 7 percent standing in April.

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