Saturday, 29 December 2012

Ten more funny things that you might probably not have seen on the way to the forum

Watch PETA’s Brilliantly Lewd, Bouncingly Phallic New Ad
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
We’re not usually ones for base humour, but a little surrealist veggie-based lewdness never hurt anybody. To celebrate World Vegan Day and promote the er, apparently, very positive ramifications of a vegan diet, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) commissioned Fallon to create this ad full of dudes showing off their extremely phallic vegetables with all manner of gyrating and bouncing.
Yes, it’s totally puerile and absurd, but for our money, pretty darn effective. At least, um, we couldn’t look away.
Click through to watch the video, and let us know what you think in the comments.
[via It's Nice That]
Probably not safe for work but hey, who needs it to be all the time?

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Queen and Commoner: 1906
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Queen and Commoner: 1906
The Ohio River circa 1906
“Coney Island Co. sidewheeler Island Queen at Cincinnati”
Let her not blind us to the more modest charms of the Guiding Star
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
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The iPod’s 4,000-lb grandfather
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

Ben Marks of Collector’s Weekly says:
We just published an article about orchestrions, which were like player pianos on steroids. Popular in the early 1900s, electric-powered orchestrions were built around a piano or pipe organ and incorporated at least three other instruments, including at least one drum. The big ones were 12 feet wide, 12 feet tall, 5 feet deep, and weighed a couple of tons. The best orchestrions had pipes that were so finely tuned, they could imitate the sound of violins and cellos.
Our article includes numerous quotes from Art Reblitz, who’s a mechanical musical instruments author and restorer.
Here’s a snip: “Some orchestrions had automatic roll changers so you could play a long programme of music without changing rolls yourself,” Reblitz says. “If you didn’t ever have them tuned, they could get pretty bad-sounding, but they were never drunk, like the band was some of the time. You didn’t have to worry if the band was going to show up tonight or not.”
The iPod's 4,000-lb grandfather has lots more information and images of these wonderful machines.

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Why some people [including me] think vinyl sounds better than MP3
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Leo Kent says: “Humans Invent has done an in-depth feature on Vinyl, examining why it sounds so much better than CDs or MP3s.”
The integral difference between vinyl and CD or MP3 is that a vinyl record is an analogue recording – that is, the physical recording is made to vary in correspondence to the variations in air pressure of the original sound. Put simply, the groove that is cut into the vinyl by the cutting lathe mirrors the original sound wave.
Digital sound, meanwhile, is produced by changing the physical properties of the original sound into a sequence of numbers, which can then be stored and read back for reproduction. In practical terms, you’re getting a representation of the sound – the CD taking a snapshot of the analogue signal at a specific rate (44,100 times per second, to be exact).
But what of the fabled ’warmth’ attributed to vinyl? Christoph Grote-Beverborg has processed thousands of records across the electronic spectrum (and far beyond) for labels such as Tresor, Honest Jons and Ostgut Ton:
“In terms of uncompressed digital audio vs vinyl, I can only repeat what has been said before: with digital audio the resolution is more limited than with analogue audio. The same goes for frequency range. But the real thing is what you hear. With vinyl you get a certain kind of saturation and added harmonics that you don’t have with digital. The sound has a body; it’s just more physical.”
I don’t care too about sound quality much, myself. David once told me, “I like the sound of AM radio”, and I agreed with him.
Behind the tech that makes vinyl so special

The Late Movies: Fun with Books
via Stephen’s Lighthouse
A collection of some videos to waste time with today or on the weekend: The Late Movies: Fun with Books from Mental Floss.
  1. The Joy of Books
    Created by Sean Ohlenkamp for Type Books (Toronto, ON)
  2. Bookmans Does Book Dominoes
    Created by Bookmans Entertainment Exchange (Arizona) for Ignite Phoenix 8
  3. Ex Libris
    Created by Garik Seko
  4. Organizing the Bookcase
    Created by Sean Ohlenkamp
  5. Books Shape You
    Created for the New Zealand Book Council
  6. Book Dominoes
    Created by Areaman Productions for Library Ireland Week 2011
  7. The Library Tea Trolley Dance
    Performed by The Tea Set at bMoSo Academy of Song & Dance
  8. The Book Sculptures of Su Blackwell Sculptures
    Created by Su Blackwell 
  9. Knock On Effect World record-attempt book dominoes
    Created by Responsible Fishing UK in Barnsley Library (UK)
  10. Flying Book
    Created by Ogilvy and Digital Magic for Amway’s Flying Book (Thailand) charity project
That is quite enough time wasted looking at all ten videos and then still not choosing one as an example!
Go. Waste. Your. Own. Time.

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The Duck Doctor and Cartoon Mortality
via Fustar by fústar
Our little one (Willow) has become a hard-core Tom & Jerry addict. One who requires/demands her fix of cat-on-mouse ultra-violence every evening before bed. No complaints from me.
One of her current faves is The Duck Doctor (1952): featuring a cute (but reckless) duckling who Tom wants to shoot and Jerry tries to protect. She seems especially fond of duck-based Tom & Jerry cartoons, and there were quite a few (Just DuckyDownhearted DucklingSouthbound Duckling). All voiced by Red Coffee – a guy who built his modest career on an ability to, um, sound like an adorable baby duck.
Anyway…what separates Duck Doctor from the pack is this: Tom dies at the end. Not, “cartoon dies” (as in, he’s miraculously restored in the next scene), but dies dies. An anvil cracks him on the head, he falls into a grave he’s dug for himself, the anvil becomes his headstone, and the cartoon ends. He’s dead. DEAD! See for yourself.

Of course he was back (none the worse for wear) a month later in the next theatrical short (The Two Mouseketeers), but for that month he was, as far as any traumatised 1950s kid was concerned, dead.
There are a few other T&J ’toons that end without the normal restoration, but I think this is the only one that actually ends with a grave! It’s pretty unsettling (although Willow doesn’t seem remotely bothered by it). Any other examples of traditional ’toons with such terminal conclusions?

The Disturbing Origins of 10 Famous Fairy Tales
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
If you know anything about us, you should know this: we’re suckers for a good story. Luckily, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version*, edited by fabulist extraordinaire Philip Pullman and on shelves today [9 November 2012], is packed with them, complete with smart commentary and playful prose.
While reading, we were struck by how many of our most pervasive stories can be found in the Grimm tales, or even earlier, and also by how much some of the stories have changed along the way – all the blindings and sexual misconduct and death have been mostly scrubbed away. Then again, none of the stories with people getting nailed into barrels and thrown down hills or into ponds have really made it into the mainstream.
Take a look at a few terrifying, gruesome, often bizarre early versions of ubiquitous fairy tales, and maybe you’ll think twice before reading Little Red Riding Hood before you go to bed.
*In keeping with my determination to avoid purchasing from because of their UK tax situation I have given the link to the Book Depository.

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