These are the bullets that killed JFK

The above GIF was created from new 3D scans of the bullets that killed president John F. Kennedy. The GIF shows two bits of the bullets that killed the president along with another mostly complete bullet plucked from Texas Governor John Connally's hospital stretcher. The National Archives temporarily removed the historic projectiles from the vault so that the National Institute of Standards and Technology could create digital replicas of them at microscopic resolution. Next year, the digital replicas will become part of the National Archive's JFK Assassination Records publicly available online. From Smithsonian:

These bullets now enter the National Archives’ digital collection alongside three others thought to hail from the same firearm: two discharged as test shots, and another from an earlier failed assassination attempt on Army Major General Edwin Walker. All were imaged with a specialized microscope that scanned their surfaces, charting their features much like a satellite recording the topography of a mountain range. The pictures were then stitched together by NIST ballistics specialists to generate a vivid 3-D rendering detailed enough to show grooves left by the barrel of the gun.

For a brief moment I forgot this amazing 1975 Pontiac Firebird is a 1975 Pontiac Firebird

I found myself actually considering this Pontiac Firebird.

Bring a Trailer:

The 400ci L78 V8 reportedly was rebuilt to stock specs in 2015, and the car is said to have accumulated less than 500 miles since. The V8 was rated at 185 horsepower when new and is equipped with a Rochester four-barrel carburetor and a dual-snorkel air-cleaner housing. Components for the factory air conditioning have been removed, but the bracketry remains. The carburetor was adjusted in February 2019, and service in November 2019 included checking the fluids and changing the engine oil. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a TH350 three-speed automatic transmission that, per the seller, is a replacement component installed at the time of the engine rebuild.

I wonder if it rattles.

Paul Reubens going on 20-city tour for Pee-wee's Big Adventure's 35th

Pee-wee's Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour

The 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure is nigh. So, soon, you'll not only be able to see the 1985 hit film on the big screen, but you'll also get to hear never-before-shared stories about the movie from Pee-wee's creator, Paul Reubens. Yes, please, and thank you! Pee-wee's Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour with Paul Reubens is headed to 20 U.S. cities in early 2020.

Pee-wee Herman himself hipped me to this, dude.

Previously: Now you can send shout-outs from Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman, to people you know

Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 2)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I continue my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

The cop pulled the vice principal’s chair out from behind the desk and sat down on it in front of us. He didn’t say anything. He was young, I saw, not much older than us, and still had some acne on one cheek. White dude. Not my type, but good looking, except that he was a cop and he was playing mind games with us.

“Are we being detained?” Somewhere in my bag was a Black Lives Matter bust-card and while I’d forgotten almost everything written on it, I remembered that this was the first question I should ask.

“You are here at the request of your school administration.” Oh. Even when there wasn’t a fresh lockdown, the administration had plenty of powers to search us, ask us all kinds of nosy questions. And after a lockdown? Forget it.

MP3

Do you dare look upon this horse-wolfpack hybrid?

I haven't read the later books in the Southern Reach series, but I imagine if the phenomena had eventually extended past the swamp to interact with horses and wolves the result would have looked very much like this:

It seems to be a knockoff of "Twilight Hunters" from the Trail of Painted Ponies series:

The series includes several horse/animal combinations. Artist Lori Musil explained her first horse in the series, a horse/cow hybrid, was inspired by searching for a horse on her friend's farm:

The house was surrounded by a picket fence and beyond that, as far as you could see, all you could see were Herefords. I walked around for a while, moving among the cows, calves and bulls, but I couldn’t find the horse. Finally I gave up, and after my friend had a good laugh, she came out with bucket of grain, shook it, and this head popped up with the ears standing straight. Apparently he would hide among the cattle when he thought he was going to be ridden, but when it came to grain, he couldn’t resist.

You can see other horses in the series here.

In praise of slow gaming

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a game that my MacBook can't even look at sideways with it it turning into a steaming slagheap of aluminum and silicon. The RPG, in it's PC and Mac iterations asks for too much for my poor laptop's increasingly outclassed 15 processor. Happily, I discovered that it's available for my Nintendo Switch, albeit with significantly scaled-down graphics (there'll be a review coming later.). I downloaded it the other night and, with the snow coming down hard enough here in west central Alberta's back country today, I spent around an 90 minutes playing the game.

I scarcely made any progress. It was lovely.

There's something about many modern games that gnaws at me. Even in open-world games, I feel like a fire's lit under my ass to get things done. Skin 15 whatzitbeasts. With minimal motivation, kill the outlaws camped on the outskirts of town of town (becasue the well armed local garrison can't handle them.) Go where you want to, but do these things. In. A. Timely. Manner. Even my favorite games of the past few years—Fallout 4 and Skyrim—which let you wander and do whatever, still do what they can to make you feel like there's shit that needs doing, yesterday. So far, and admittedly, it's early into the game, Divinity: Original Sin 2 hasn't made me feel this way. Perhaps it's that the narrative is slowed down by forcing gamers to read and consider their responses to NPCs. You have to consider your responses to everything, really: taking an NPC into your party when you're unsure of their motivations can change the course of the game. Arming your group with the wrong weapons and armor or using your resources with abandon can screw you down the road. Pause. Read. Think. Act. Or maybe say fuck it until later and learn how to craft something. This sensation of a lazy riverboat ride of a gaming experience is helped along by the fact that, on battery power, you can only play for two hours at a time. That's a pittance for a game that offers close to 200 hours of gameplay. So far, I haven't felt rushed. I don't want to keep playing all night. But I'm looking forward to coming back to the deep world building that the game's writer's have worked their asses off for and the enjoyable, liesurely pace that the game has offered me so far.

Slow, for me at least, is where it's at.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Ryan Hyde

Take your cereal on the road with this innovative combo cup

The bummers of adulthood are too many to count, but one of our least favorites is the inability to sit down and enjoy a nice bowl of cereal. When you've got a long commute ahead, let's face it: That extra time it takes to pour the milk and chow down is too precious to spare.

That's why we're putting the CrunchCup™ Portable Cereal Cup on our Christmas list this year.

The simple genius behind this thing is pretty impressive. It consists of two cups—one nested inside the other. You pour your milk into the bigger one, then your cereal of choice into the smaller one. Screw on the top, then take it on the road.

The cover on the lid gives you enough space for a hearty bite with every sip, and it combines the two on the way to your mouth. It might even be a better solution than the traditional bowl if you're the type of eater who likes to keep their cereal crispy.

The CrunchCup™ Portable Cereal Cup is on sale now for 33% off the original price, and you can knock an additional 20% off that by using the holiday coupon code GREENMONDAY20.

Willem Dafoe wanted to be left alone while filming Togo

Rumors from the locals in Nordegg, Alberta would have it that while filming Togo last year, Willem Dafoe stayed at the Goldeye Centre: a wilderness lodge around 30 minutes of hard driving west of the village of Nordegg. I was told that the staff at Goldeye were told that Mr. Dafoe was not to be looked at or spoken to, unless he spoke to them, during his stay.  There's not a lot of folks up here. Everyone knows everyone's business. I can't confirm that the statement about the staff's vow of situational silence is true, as we left to travel south to Texas shortly after the information was rumored along to me. But this isn't an area where lying's a popular game for the locals to play.

Anyway, here's the the trailer for Togo: the Untold True Story, I guess.

Marianne Williamson assails Trump for pardoning Charles Manson's corpse (he hasn't)

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson posted a tweet late Sunday condemning Donald Trump for posthumously pardoning Charles Manson, the cult leader jailed for life after his followers murdered nine people in 1967. Trump, however, has not issued such a pardon, and Williamson's tweet vanished several hours later.

"There is something deeply sinister about Trump pardoning Charles Manson, even posthumously. Dog whistles of the very worst kind..." Williamson wrote.

But it was Williamson who was whistled, and she later added: "I erroneously tweeted that President Trump had posthumously pardoned Charles Manson. Glad to have been wrong."

Manson died in 2017. Denied parole three times, he was never considered for any kind of clemency. Furthermore, Manson was charged under California state law and tried in Los Angeles County Court, making a presidential pardon impossible as he was not convicted of a federal crime.

Presidential pardons for the dead are rare. Only four have received such a pardon, the latest being Trump's recent pardon of heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, a likely ingredient of whatever fake news Williamson credulously commented upon.

Williamson's positive, spiritually-themed messaging stood out at early Dem debates, but also drew attention to questionable advice in her books, and she has so far failed to make headway in opinion polls.

Chipotle CEO: If employees call in sick, a nurse might make sure they're not faking it

According to Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol, when their restaurant workers call in sick, they might have to talk to a nurse to make sure they're not fibbing.

"We have nurses on call, so that if you say, 'Hey, I've been sick,' you get the call into the nurse," CEO Brian Niccol said last week. "The nurse validates that it's not a hangover — you're really sick — and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again."

Later, a Chipotle spokesperson told the New York Post that Niccol's statement wasn't entirely accurate: “You don’t have to call a nurse if you’re taking a sick day... All employees who call off sick for any reason receive paid time off.”

After all, it isn't too tough to feign an illness over the phone.

From CBS News:

The CEO detailed steps taken to recover the trust of customers after a slew of high-profile safety scares that battered Chipotle's brand and led Niccol's predecessor, Steve Ells, to step down in late 2017...

Chipotle handles things differently these days in its 2,500 restaurants, acccording to Niccol. "We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago," he said. "Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check."

Image: "The first Chipotle, near the campus of the University of Denver" by CW221 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth" and other Cthulhuian Yuletide classics

Oh tidings of madness and woe. Gather 'round the Necronomicon, little cultists, and let's all sing these beloved holiday odes to Elder Gods. All the classics are here: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth," "Freddy the Red-Brained Mi-Go," "All I Want for Solstice is my Sanity," and "Awake Ye Scary Old Ones." And who can ever forget that rubber-room holiday favorite "Away in a Madhouse?"

These songs were all created by members of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. You can hear more via this YouTube link.

[H/t Geeks Are Sexy]

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