Monday, January 7, 2013

Paws & Claws ~ December 31. 2012 ~ New Years Eve ~ Stay Safe & Warm















Happy New Year ~

This year is nearly over ~

Take a few minutes to think about how you've grown ~
What you have learned ~
What you did ~

And smile.

Stay Safe & Warm ~

Ursa ~ AKA Jeanne
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2012 December 25
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Yosemite Winter Night
Image Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (AstroPics.com, TWAN)
Explanation: In this evocative night skyscape a starry band of the Milky Way climbs over Yosemite Valley, Sierra Nevada Range, planet Earth. Jupiter is the brightest celestial beacon on the wintry scene, though. Standing nearly opposite the Sun in the constellation Taurus, the wandering planet joins yellowish Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. Below, Orion always comes up sideways over a fence of mountains. And from there the twin stars of Gemini rise just across the Milky Way. As this peaceful winter night began, they followed Auriga the charioteer, its alpha star Capella near the top of the frame.
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2012 December
See Explanation. Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version. Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.
Hyades for the Holidays
Image Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)
Explanation: Recognized since antiquity and depicted on the shield of Achilles according to Homer, stars of the Hyades cluster form the head of the constellation Taurus the Bull. Their general V-shape is anchored by Aldebaran, the eye of the Bull and by far the constellation's brightest star. Yellowish in appearance, red giant Aldebaran is not a Hyades cluster member, though. Modern astronomy puts the Hyades cluster 151 light-years away making it the nearest established open star cluster, while Aldebaran lies at less than half that distance, along the same line-of-sight. Along with colorful Hyades stars, this stellar holiday portrait locates Aldebaran just below center, as well as another open star cluster in Taurus, NGC 1647 at the left, some 2,000 light-years or more in the background. Just slide your cursor over the image to identify the stars. The central Hyades stars are spread out over about 15 light-years. Formed some 800 million years ago, the Hyades star cluster may share a common origin with M44 (Praesepe), a naked-eye open star cluster in Cancer, based on M44's motion through space and remarkably similar age.
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2012 December 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Curiosity Rover at Rocknest on Mars
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS, MAHLI
Explanation: What's in this smooth soil on Mars? In late October, NASA's robotic Curiosity rover stopped near a place dubbed Rocknest as it continues to explore Gale Crater on Mars. Rocknest is the group of stones seen near the top left of the above image -- just to the left of Curiosity's mast. Of particular interest was the unusually smooth patch of soil named Wind Drift seen to the left of Curiosity, which was likely created by the Martian wind blowing fine particles into Rocknest's wake. The above image shows part of Mt. Sharp in the background to upper right, and, oddly, almost the entire rover itself, digitally reconstructed from 55 frames while digitally removing an extended arm. Curiosity scooped several sand samples from Wind Drift into its Chemistry and Mineralogy Experiment (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory for a detailed analysis. Preliminary data from the soil indicates a small amount of one-carbon organic material the origin of which it presently unknown. Although the organic signal might be just contaminants from Earth, the exciting possibility that it could be from Mars itself will remain a focus of future exploration and research.
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APOD's 2013 calendar

The 2013 APOD calendar is available for download in PDF format (1.6 Mb).
Designed for 8.5" x 11" paper (landscape orientation), the calendar is easily printable. For best printed results, print it double-sided in color on bright white light card stock or 24-lb paper with a spiral or comb (GBC) binding and punch a hole for hanging; many local printing shops (Staples, Kinkos, etc.) offer binding services. Containing some of the best APOD images of 2012, the calendar makes a great inexpensive holiday present! :ssmile:
Since the calendar is in PDF, it can be viewed on devices such as the Kindle and many ereaders.
The last page of the PDF appears upside-down; this is deliberate. When printed, this page serves as the back cover of the calendar and allows one to see thumbnails of all the images in the calendar in the correct orientation (in relation to the front cover).
Happy holidays!
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POOR PEOPLE ?

One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.


On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, 'How was the trip?'

'It was great, Dad.'

'Did you see how poor people live?' the father asked.

'Oh yeah,' said the son.

'So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?' asked the father.

The son answered:
'I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.'

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, 'Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.'

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!

Pass this on to friends and acquaintances and help them refresh their perspective and appreciation.


'Life is too short and friends are too few.'
Thanks Dana ~
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If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow
that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged,
models deposed and dry cleaners depressed? Laundry workers could decrease,
eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bedmakers will
be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be
deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, organ donors will be
delivered, software engineers will be detested, the BVD company will be
debriefed, and even musical composers will eventually decompose. And on
a more positive note, perhaps we can hope politicians will be devoted.
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feriation
n. the act of observing a holiday
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"There’s also a certain flavor of geographic comprehension that comes with taking in a map all at once in a large format."
From Dana Stabenow's facebook page
Or there is when all areas depicted are to the same scale. As in, oh, I don't know, Alaska?

It is a great map of the South 48.
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Cocktail name
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Fifty Shades of Grey
Four guys have been going to the same fishing trip for many years. Two days before the group is to leave, Ron’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going. Ron’s mates are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do.
Two days later the three mates get to the camping site only to find Ron sitting there with a tent set up, firewood gathered, and dinner cooking on the fire. “Shit Ron, how long you been here? How did you talk your missus into letting you go ?”
“Well, I’ve been here since last night. After dinner at home yesterday evening, I was sitting in my chair and my wife came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes and said, ‘Guess who ?’”
I pulled her hands off, and she was wearing sexy brand new lingerie. She said had been reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and she had a devilish look in her eyes!!!
She took my hand and led me to our bedroom. The room had candles and rose petals all over. On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.

And then she said, “Do whatever you want.”

So . . . . here I am !
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Crazy Dreams
My wife woke up this morning and said she had been dreaming someone was vacuuming her vagina.

“That’s just stupid”, I said as I put my teeth in and got out of bed.

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2012: End of the World!
Mathematicians know that 2012 is indeed
the end of the world, based on factors.


The factors of 2012 are: 1, 2, 4, 503, 1006, and 2012.
And 1006 is the year of the brightest supernova ever recorded.
And 503 is the error code that means "server unavailable."
And 4 refers to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Thus, the world will end in 2012.


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“Restless genes” by David Dobbs, about the genetics and other factors behind the human urge to explore, is one of the best science stories of the year, let alone the week. It’s beautifully written without sacrificing nuance. I know David personally, and I know how much he agonises about capturing the complexity of the science that he covers. And when someone does that, and puts in the work, you get results like this.
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8 math talks to blow your mind
Visual depiction of the true meaning of a Ph.D. degree
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The future of tire design.
What is color?
Japanese beatboxer takes on Donkey Kong.

Two unusual staplers.
Is it better to walk or run in the rain?
Cleaning the world's tallest building.
Useless Machine: Advanced edition.
The cheap all-terrain wheelchair.
A street performer and a ring.

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Wet and Hard

Wet and hard
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Excerpt from Beer in the Sergeant Major's Hat, a parody found in Raymond Chandler's notebook:
Hank went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.
'The hell with it,' he said. 'She shouldn't have done it.'
It was a good bathroom. It was small and the green enamel was peeling off the walls. But the hell with that, as Napoleon said when they told him Josephine waited without. The bathroom had a wide window through which Hank looked at the pine and larches. They dripped with a faint rain. They looked smooth and comfortable.
'The hell with it,' Hank said. 'She shouldn't have done it.'
He opened the cabinet over the washbasin and took out his toothpaste. He looked at his teeth in the mirror. They were large yellow teeth, but sound. Hank could still bite his way for a while.
Hank unscrewed the top of the toothpaste tube, thinking of the day when he had unscrewed the lid of the coffee jar, down on the Pukayak River, when he was trout fishing. There had been larches there too. It was a damn good river, and the trout had been damn good trout. They liked being hooked. Everything had been good except the coffee, which had been lousy. He had made it Watson's way, boiling it for two hours and a half in his knapsack. It had tasted like hell. It had tasted like the socks of the Forgotten Man.
'She shouldn't have done it,' Hank said out loud. Then he was silent.
He had written it on Aug. 7, 1932, and dedicated it to "the greatest living American novelist -- Ernest Hemingway."
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Hip Hop Horse
Thank you Teresa
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309376_187463028066483_98735011_n.jpg
Turn your old wine bottles into classy planters...Drinking wine in the name of gardening? Yes, please.

to cut the Bottle you will need a Bottle Cutter
found at any hardware or Craft store

usa Sandpaper on the edges to make it Smooth and not sharp
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Christmas Medleyhttps://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151211735681939&set=vb.688836938&type=2&theater
The last performance for the Grand Fiesta! Created a master mix of my 3 Christmas songs and performed them the last week of the fiesta =] Enjoy!!
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The stones of Pennsylvania's Ringing Rocks Park chime like bells when struck with a hammer.
The rocks are a volcanic basalt, but the mechanism of their ringing is not completely understood.
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vecke
n. an old woman
graocracy
n. government by old women

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Alexis Madrigal, Becca Rosen, and Megan Garber tell you about the year in technology.
Giant crabs are marching on Antarctica. Douglas Fox narrates their invasion.
A superb post by Dana Hunter on Mt St Helens’ legendary explosion. And there’s apparently a “volcanal explosivity index“…
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Let’s call our friends…
This is too funny!
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Pinned Image
Fractal cybernetic penis of a being living in a world happier than our own. Imperfect circle by *gateman45 on deviantART
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If it's a sin to end a sentence with one preposition, then presumably it's even worse to end it with two. How far can we take this? For the August 1968 issue of Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics, Darryl Francis devised one sentence that ends with nine prepositions. If the Yardbirds' 1966 single "Over, Under, Sideways, Down" were exported to Australia and then retrieved by a traveler, the question might be asked:
"What did he bring 'Over, Under, Sideways, Down' up from Down Under for?"
Inspired, Ralph Beaman pointed out that if this issue of the journal were now brought to a boy who slept on the upper floor of a lighthouse, he might ask:
"What did you bring me the magazine I didn't want to be read to out of about '"Over Under, Sideways, Down" up from Down Under' up around for?"
"This has a total of fifteen terminal prepositions," writes Ross Eckler, "but the end is not in sight; for now the little boy can complain in similar vein about the reading material provided in this issue of Word Ways, adding a second 'to out of about' at the beginning and 'up around for' at the end of the preposition string. The mind boggles at the infinite regress which has now been established."
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Timeline of the future
  • For timelines of predicted near-future events, (up to 2299 AD) see:
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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    A curious excerpt from The Pursuit of the Heiress, a history of aristocratic marriage in Ireland by A.P.W. Malcolmson, 2006:
    Another strange tale, which this time ended less happily for the heir presumptive, is that of the 3rd Earl of Darnley, an eccentric bachelor who suffered from the delusion that he was a teapot. In 1766, when he was nearly fifty and had held the family title and estates for almost twenty years, Lord Darnley suddenly and unexpectedly married; and between 1766 and his death in 1781, he fathered at least seven children, in spite of his initial alarm that his spout would come off in the night.
    I thought this couldn't possibly be true, but Malcolmson gives two sources, a letter from the Rev. George Chinnery to Viscountess Midleton, Aug. 18, 1762, kept at the Surrey History Centre in Woking, and a typescript family history by Rear Admiral W.G.S. Tighe. An Irish auction house supports the story.
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    "nice guys" of okcupid
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    Chocolate-Chip Cookies

    Ingredients

      • homemade chocolate chip cookie mix* (see below)
      • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
      • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line four baking sheets with parchment paper.
    Melt the butter. While it’s still warm, stir in the sugars from your homemade chocolate chip cookie mix. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
    Pour the flour mixture from your homemade chocolate chip cookie mix into a bowl. Stir in the melted butter mixture until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
    Drop tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about two inches apart. Bake 2 sheets of cookies at a time, rotating sheets halfway through, for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are set at the edges but still appear slightly undercooked in the middle.
    If you don't want to make all 4 dozen cookies at once, drop the dough onto the baking sheets as above. Pop the sheets into the freezer until the dough is set, then transfer the dough balls into a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to six months. When you're ready to bake the cookies, the dough can go straight from freezer to oven; just add two extra minutes to your baking time.

    Read more: http://www.kitchendaily.com/recipe/chocolate-chip-cookies-142861/#ixzz1MUETI4RV
    Chocolate-Chip Cookie MixThese cookies are chewy and delicious! Keeping the sugars separate from the flour mixture, and stirring the sugars into the melted butter when you make the cookies, is an added step you won't find on a box of cookie mix. But it only takes a couple extra minutes, and the cookies are worth it! Makes 4 dozen cookies

    2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1 large Ziploc bag and two smaller Ziploc bags

    In large Ziploc bag, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Place the sugars in one of the smaller bags and the chocolate chips in the other small bag. You can store the smaller bags in the larger bag with the flour, sealed, in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Or use it now in the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe.

    Read more: http://www.kitchendaily.com/2010/01/29/make-your-own-mixes/#ixzz1MUFDJOuD
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    "Adrian is my inverse chaperone. He checks up on me to see if I'm doing anything, and if I'm not he tells me to do something." -- me
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    For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures,
    mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid,
    1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and
    1/2 gallon hot/warm water
    and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze
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    belt loop puzzle
    A puzzle by Harry Langman:
    A thin belt is stretched around three pulleys, each of which is 2 feet in diameter. The distances between the centers of the pulleys are 6 feet, 9 feet, and 13 feet. How long is the belt?
    This has a surprisingly neat solution. The belt can be divided into straight and curved sections. The lengths of the straight sections are the same as the distances between the centers of the pulleys, and the curved sections total one complete circumference. So the total length is 6 + 9 + 13 + 6.2832 = 34.2832 feet.
    From Scripta Mathematica, March 1949.
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    Q. How many flies does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
    A. Two. But I have no idea how they get in there.
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    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M%C3%B6bius_strip.jpg
    In 1913 mathematician P.E.B. Jourdain proposed a familiar paradox:
    On one side of a blank strip of paper, write The statement on the other side of this paper is true.
    On the other side, write The statement on the other side of this paper is false.
    "The paradox in this form is quite vulnerable to an absolute refutation," wrote Valdis Augstkalns in a 1970 letter to The Listener. "One takes the paper, gives it a half twist, and joins the ends to form a Möbius strip. The serious and philosophically legitimate question is transformed to 'Eminent members of the panel, which is the other side of the paper?'"
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    Happy Holidays, folks! I hope everyone is planning a fun and safe New Year's Eve. Remember, friends don't let friends drive drunk, click it or ticket, beer before liquor never sicker, liquor before beer never fear, always split aces and eights, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, when the going gets tough the tough get going, no glove no love, and that's never going to heal if you don't stop picking at it.
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    Christmas is best day to bust cheaters
    LONDON - A British divorce lawyer says Christmas Day is the top day for "text message bustings" of unfaithful spouses. Ayesha Vardag said she has noticed Christmas Day has become the most popular day of the year for suspicious spouses to conduct the "text message bustings" by finding messages sent to or from an unfaithful significant other, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday. "It is really very sad," said Vardag, whose high-profile cases include representing German heiress Katrin Radmacher in her $160.8 million divorce case. "There is a psychological sense of Christmas being the barometer of how a family is doing. But the other thing we find a lot is that there are a lot of text message 'bustings' on Christmas Day, usually because the husband leaves the phone around and the mistress is sending messages. "We see that a lot ... it is amazing how many times that is what catches people out," she said. "It has just become very obvious and transparent. Husbands will go off and call the mistress and then the wife will wonder where they were or who they were calling, they will either find the number on there or the text message. "I do wonder whether there is an element of people wanting to get caught because it is an easier way of dealing with it than saying that they want to leave," Vardag said.
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    Group blasts playground yo-yo ban
    LONDON - A British health and safety watchdog criticized teachers for banning yo-yos on a playground, saying safety concerns are based on myth. The Health and Safety Executive, a non-governmental public agency, said teachers at the school -- whose name was not reported -- went "over the top" in banning children from paying with yo-yos on the playground, The Sun reported Tuesday. The organization's "mythbusters" panel, which criticizes organizations for taking safety measures deemed to be based in myth, said there is no real reason to ban the traditional toys. The group questioned other recent restrictions, including the case of a charity chop banning knitting needles to prevent people from stabbing themselves and airlines ceasing to sell boiled sweets in case passengers choke on them.
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    Kangaroo Island, Australia - Lonely Planet Travel
    Author John Vlahides visits unspoiled Kangaroo Island to see some of Australia's most iconic animals in their natural habitats.
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    What bites but has no teeth?

    ANSWER: Frost.
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    QUOTE: "Never mistake motion for action."


    HINT: (1899-1961) His distinctive writing style is characterized by economy and understatement and had a significant influence on the development of twentieth century fiction.

    ANSWER: Ernest Hemingway
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    RANDOM TIDBITS

    A rubber band in some regions is known as a binder, elastic or lacker band or gumband in Australia.

    Synthetic Rubber - About 3/4's of the world rubber come from crude oil.

    Chicle, widely used as a base for chewing gum, is another latex product.

    Latex is the sap of various plants, mostly from the rubber tree. If you expose the sap to the air it hardens and become 'rubbery'. Over the year various cultures learned that if you add certain other juices and saps to the mass it becomes more elastic and lasts longer.

    Latex is used in many types of clothing. It is different from rubber in that it is less refined and often thinner. Worn on the body (or applied directly by painting) it tends to be skin-tight, producing a "second skin" effect. It has a shinier finish than rubber.

    A story says that the first European to return to Portugal from Brazil with samples of such water-repellent rubberized cloth so shocked people that he was brought to court on the charge of witchcraft.
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    Working in an office is not conducive to health. 200 years ago we lived an agrarian lifestyle that was filled with hard work that kept a man lean, strong and healthy. Today we sit on our asses and watch them expand.

    So people go out running, or lift weights or jump around to get in shape. Can you imagine if your great, great, grandfather saw you outside running at 6 in the morning?

    I'm sure he'd say something like this: "Hey, Marge, have you seen this guy outside running?"
    "Yes, dear, he does that every morning."
    "Where does he go?"
    "Just round and round the farm."
    "Is he mental?"
    "Must be."
    "Maybe he was hit in the head and lost his mind?"
    "Could be."
    "Does he ever come back carrying anything?"
    "No, he just comes back all sweaty and collapses on the porch."
    "Poor dumb bastard."
    "Sure is."
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    Portland On The Web: New York Times, Eater, Thrillist & More
    Well, it's been one fantastic year here in Portland town. Unless, of course, you are one of 135 people who ate some of the Oregon Zoo's
    human feces tainted fruit salad and became violently ill recently. The zoo has avoided health inspections for six years due to a government loophole that allowed the zoo to opt out of yearly checks.
    But it's not all bad news on the PDX food front. Andy Ricker plans to open another
    Whiskey Soda Lounge in Brooklyn, exposing our east coast look-a-like to his addictive fish sauce wings. And food entrepreneurs can now take a 12-week course at PCC to learn how to hock their products in the retail market. Most importantly, baby elephant Lily was spared from the fruit salad's wrath and is doing well.
    We here at PDX Pipeline hope you have fun and stay safe this New Year's Eve. We're looking at you
    Acrocats. See you next year!

    Here is a round-up of the goings-on in Portland this week:
    Portland Pulp:
    Oregon Zoo's restaurant less exotic, more covered in feces than expected
    New York Times: Andy Ricker to open Whiskey Soda Lounge in Brooklyn
    OregonLive: Portland food entrepreneurs enjoy a special class to help get recipes to market
    Thrillist: Who partied the hardest?
    Eater: PDX tastemakers name their 2012 restaurant standbys
    ----------------------------------------------------
    SORE THROAT AND COUGH REMEDY

    ¼ teaspoon Cayenne
    ¼ teaspoon Ginger
    1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
    2 Tablespoon Water
    1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

    Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.
    Note: this doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

    If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.
    If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days
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    Why do gay men have moustaches?
    To hide the stretchmarks.
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    "When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned." - Pastor Martin Niemöller, Congressional Record, 14, October 1968, page 31636
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    v
    I think pets should be named purely based on pun potential.
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    Fark's 2012 Headline of the Year Contest
    It's that time of year again, and the competition is fierce. But Fark's Headline of the Year Contest is much less about the story itself and more about the pun that can be made of a headline. The best submitted headlines of the year are up for voting. Some of the headlines are:
    14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati wins Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling Snigdha Nandipati

    Hand, foot and now a partial body in Montreal. Could this be the work of separatists?

    Blind, deaf, 3-legged dog saves family from house fire, sure plays a mean pinball

    Missing algebra teacher found dead -- investigators looking to solve for why, query ex

    "Police search for three armed men in home invasion." STANDARD HANDCUFFS WON'T WORK, PEOPLE
    See them all at the contest page, and vote if you're a member. Link
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    How are a blonde's legs like cheese wiz?
    They're both useless unless they're spread!
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    Some days, there is a confluence of humor that just cannot be denied.
    Today is one of those days!

    (1) The attached image is from an ad for a Mexican restaurant. It sets up the second part of the post. hehehe

    (2) This quoted story below is from a thread about things people have seen on security cameras: http://goo.gl/MSpU3

    QUOTE:

    I worked at a burglar alarm place. At about 2:30am, a couple of hispanic guys broke into a Mexican Taqueria, and began making themselves tacos. Police responded in 13 minutes, the owner showed up a few minutes later. The guys didn't speak any English and the cops didn't speak Spanish. They kept saying "Trabajo" which means "Work" or "Job", and I knew that much to translate for the cops. The owner said "Don't arrest them until I get down there, I might know who it is."

    By the time the owner showed up, the guy had made tacos for the cops and his buddy. The owner, having to show up at 3am, was a bit weirded out but he ate one too. Finally he calls in and says "I don't know these guys, this is my wife's restaurant and she doesn't know them either. I offered this guy a job though, those tacos were good."

    END QUOTE
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    Resolutions for the NEW YEAR.
    1. Apply what life has taught me this year into the NEW YEAR.
    2. Call my family more often, tell them I love them.
    3. Spend time getting my home done, now that the roof won't
    leek.
    4. Get better more restful Sleep to be healthier.
    5. Work smarter not harder.
    6. Enjoy time with my friends, family, and my peeps.
    7. Wind therapy. (Let’s ride)
    8. Massage Therapy.
    9. Let go and be who I am with everyone. (No exceptions any more, if you don’t like me then get out of my world)
    10. Fly to Oregon make a long road trip, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and back to Florida. (Maybe I'm here to stay) (Mom, you can come visit me and we'll have some fun together)
    11. ENJOY LIFE, BE HAPPY, HAVE FUN WITH LIFE and EVERYONE WHO IS IN MY WORLD, NEAR and FAR.
    12. Be open to change and opportunity that my come my way for a better life.
    13. Breath, take life in, learn all I can and make my world ROCK. This IS MY YEAR to RULE MY WORLD.
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    What do you get when you cross a rooster and a telephone pole?
    A 40ft cock that wants to reach out and touch someone.
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    Cinnamon Roll Pulls

    1 unsliced round loaf sourdough bread
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract

    1 cup sugar
    1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

    1 cup powdered sugar
    1-2 Tbsp milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    To make Vanilla Honey Butter: Whip butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar together until smooth; stir in honey and vanilla. Set aside. (You can use regular butter if desired)

    Cut the bread lengthwise into 1/2" slices, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread vanilla honey butter in between slices. Rotate the bread 90 degrees and slice the bread again into 1/2" pieces, without cutting through the bottom crust. Spread more vanilla honey butter in between new cuts. This doesn't need to be perfect - just make sure there is lots of butter in between all the cuts. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Generously sprinkle in between all cuts. (You may have extra butter and cinnamon sugar. It will just depend on how large your bread loaf is.)

    Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until bread is warm. Unwrap cinnamon bread and place on serving platter. Combine powdered sugar and milk - adding milk until you get the consistency desired. Drizzle icing over bread and serve immediately.
    Since I don't like sourdough, I think I'll go for the sugar overdose, and use Kings Hawaiian bread ~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What's the best way to force a man to do sit ups?
    Put the remote control between his toes.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    There was this boy in high school that was what you would consider a nerd. Anyway he had his own lab in the basement of his home and one night he came up and said "Dad look what I made." So he poured a flask of fluid into a pot of soil and instantly grass started to grow.
    Of course his dad was really impressed with this and asked his son if he can make something to make his penis grow. His son thought for a minute and said that if he did then dad would have to buy him a convertable.
    Dad agreed.
    The next night the son came out of the basement and gave his dad a vial. The next morning his father came to him and told him that he had something to show him. They went to the front yard and the boy saw a cherry red ferrari.
    The son looked at his dad and said "I only asked for a convertable."
    The dad replied "the convertable is in the garage. The Ferrari is from your mother."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Using data from the U.S. census, Brandon M-Anderson created the dotmap above, which depicts each of the 300 million U.S. residents with one dot. The original map is zoomable, so I was able to zoom repeatedly to find my neighborhood. Togle back and forth (upper right hand corner of map) between the map and the dot map.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Remember "too big to fail." Here's what comes next...
    Over the last year, federal investigators found that one of the world's largest banks, HSBC, spent years committing serious crimes, involving money laundering for terrorists; "facilitat[ing] money laundering by Mexican drug cartels"; and "mov[ing] tainted money for Saudi banks tied to terrorist groups". Those investigations uncovered substantial evidence "that senior bank officials were complicit in the illegal activity." As but one example, "an HSBC executive at one point argued that the bank should continue working with the Saudi Al Rajhi bank, which has supported Al Qaeda."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Safest Way to Drive
    Peter Ludwig, a caver from Austria who is appalled by American driving habits, offers the following advice:
    The probability of being involved in a traffic accident is directly proportional to time spent on the road.
    Driving fast decreases one's exposure.
    One third of traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers; two thirds are caused by non-drunk drivers.
    Therefore, the safest way to drive is drunk and VERY fast.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`
    Never give up. And never, under any circumstances, face the facts.
    - Ruth Gordon
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "My father spent the last 20 years of his life writing letters. If someone thanked him for a wedding present, he thanked them for thanking him and there was no end to the exchange but death." -Evelyn Waugh
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    "The noblest of all dogs is the hot-dog; it feeds the hand that bites it. -Laurence Peter
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You are provided an empty grid with data on the x- and y-axes for the distribution of colors within the grid. Then use your mouse to fill in the blanks.

    I thought the 20x20 grid was a difficult (but fair) challenge. Found by Alex and posted this morning at Neatorama.
    The game is here.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    from the website of the incomparable Cloud Appreciation Society.
    Their Cloudspotter's Guide is an excellent book.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Highlights from Pogopalooza 9 (2012) here, and some background from NPR.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    "Accuracy is to a newspaper what virtue is to a lady, but a newspaper can always print a retraction." -Adlai Stevenson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    When my daughter was about 9-years-old I became pregnant again. Of course, she wanted to know how it happened, so I gave what I considered an appropriate explanation of the process.
    She asked, "Did you do that to get me?"
    I said "yes," and she responded, "And you did it again?"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Because of the reaction people have when they wake up and realize it's a workday again and the weekend is over, the first day of the week is called Moanday.

    Many people too busy to cook on the second day of the week just open a can of beans. Hence the day is known as Tootsday.

    By the third day of the week, people are wondering when they can ever find the time to get everything done this week that they need to, hence the day is known as Whensday.

    Too bleary to even count properly, people think it's only Day Three of the week on the next day, therefore it's er- roneously called Thirdsday.

    On the last day of the workweek, people often go out "for a few" after work. By the time they get home, they're too tired to cook anything elaborate, so they just throw a piece of meat, chicken, or fish in the skillet. That's why the day is known as Fryday.

    Saturday night all the singles let loose. There's a lot of sexual hijinks. It's pretty obvious why the day is called Satyrday.

    And on the last day of the week--and the weekend--people look at all the items on their to-do lists that didn't get crossed off, groan aloud, and make themselves promises they won't keep. Therefore the day is called Soonday.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Today at JohnnyCat's The Litter Box blog, I learned that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon or New Jersey: "Can NOT, as in it is actually against the law." (I knew about Oregon)

    I also learned that you shouldn't "top off" your fill after the pump shuts off automatically:
    Not only is it bad for the environment and the health of everyone, the new-fangled pumps actually suck a good portion of that excess back into the hose, so you’re not getting what you’re paying for.
    Confirmed at Wikihow -
    Do not, however, try to pump more gas into the tank after it's clicked off. This is called "topping off" and is not recommended. The extra gas you try to sneak in will end up getting sucked back up by modern handles, spilling, or evaporating into the air, but you'll still have paid for it. All gas tanks are vented. Over filling just means that it's gas, not vapor, that will be vented out. Plus, you need extra room in your gas tank to allow the gasoline to expand or your car won't work as well.
    - and at an EPA website, which also offers this tip:
    Do not pump gas when the tanker truck is at the station refueling its underground gas tanks. Any water or gunk that may exist in the underground tank is stirred up by the force of the new, in-coming gas. This water or gunk can then be pumped into your car, which can cause a great deal of damage to your car.
    And a link there led me to this tip at Life123:
    Did you know that gas pumps have three different speeds? Most pumps have slow, medium and fast. Most people insert the pump into the car and then set the handle so that they don't have to hold the pump. Gas stations want you to do this because you are actually getting less gas this way-slow pumping reduces the vaporization of the gas. Take the extra effort to hold the pump at the first setting (slow), and you'll get fewer vapors and more gas for your dollar. Try squeezing the handle about a third of the way to set it at the slowest setting.
    You learn something every day.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Astronomy Illustrated in the 1840s
    v
    In 1840, astronomers knew an awful lot about the movements of celestial bodies, but they still lacked photographs. In that year, Charles F. Blunt published a very popular illustrated book The Beauty of the Heavens : a Pictorial Display of the Astronomical Phenomena of the Universe. It contained over a hundred illustrations printed by the then-new process of lithography. See a sampling of the pictures and some of the text as well at BibliOdyssey. Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2 golf balls
    12 pairs of boots
    numerous Hasselblad cameras
    and 96 bags of urine, feces, and vomit

    (but no partridge in a pear tree)

    Answer at The Atlantic.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The sharks are bull sharks stranded in a small lake after a flood; they can survive in fresh water and are apparently being fed by staff and visitors. Carbrook golf course appreciates the attention they bring, and have incorporated them into the club's web page.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Please share this! We need to raise awareness of this incident, since the media clearly won't be reporting it.
    ============

    San Antonio Theater Shooting

    On Sunday December 17, 2012, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant!

    Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting?

    There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened.

    Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week.

    Just thought you’d like to know.

    ???????


    Huffington Post:
    San Antonio Movie Theater Shooting: Gunman Shoots 1 In Theater Parking Lot
    SAN ANTONIO — Sheriff's officials say a man opened fire in a San Antonio movie theater parking lot, wounding one person before an officer shot him inside the theater.
    Bexar (bayr) County sheriff's spokesman Louis Antu says the incident started about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when the man fired shots inside a nearby restaurant. It's not clear what led to the shooting.
    Antu says the man headed toward the theater and shot a male in the lot. The age and condition of the victim wasn't immediately known, but Antu says his injuries did not appear life-threatening.
    The gunman entered the theater. Antu says the man fired a shot but struck no one. An off-duty sheriff's deputy working security then shot the gunman.
    The suspect was taken to a hospital and not immediately charged.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Frost flowers" in the Arctic Ocean

    "Frost flowers" are "a strange phenomenon where frost grows from imperfections in the surface ice amid extreme sub-zero temperatures nearing -22C or -7.6F, forming spiky structures that have been found to house microorganisms. In fact, the bacteria found in the frost flowers is much more dense than in the frozen water below it, meaning each flower is essentially a temporary ecosystem, not unlike a coral reef."
    The cold, moist air above the open cracks becomes saturated and frost begins to form wherever an imperfection can be found on the ice surface. From these nucleation points the flower-like frost structures grow vertically, quickly rising to centimeters in height. The hollow tendrils of these “frost flowers” begin to wick moisture from the ice surface, incorporating salt, marine bacteria, and other substances as they grow.
    More details (and additional photos) at Colossal, via allhomosapienswelcome. Unlike the land-based "frost flowers" I used to see when I lived in rural Kentucky, these Arctic ones are truly made from frost, not from extruded ice.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Christmas just wouldn't be the same without a few assault stories. My favorite was several years ago when a man who got into an argument with a woman who cut in front of him in line while shopping on Christmas Eve was assaulted by the woman's boyfriend and three of his friends in the parking lot. But these stores are almost as good.
    A dispute over a parking spot resulted in one man being stabbed with an ice pick in Springfield, Missouri.
    The incident occurred in the parking lot of Chili's Grill and Bar, of all places. A police spokesman said the alleged stabber, an 18-year-old woman, was angry because she believed another motorist took her parking space. She allegedly used an ice pick to stab him multiple times.
    The victim was taken to a hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

    The other incident occurred in Joliet, Illinois. A Joliet man was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by the husband of a woman with whom he was speaking with at a local bar, police said.
    The 44-year-old man, who was not identified, sustained non-life threatening injuries.
    The man was stabbed at about 2:05 a.m. early Sunday after he dropped the woman off at an intersection. The man told police that the woman's husband stabbed him after he dropped the woman off, police said.
    Hmmm...strange man drops a woman off at an intersection in the middle of the night? I think there's a name for that.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Sexy fired worker blasts court ruling
    FORT DODGE, Iowa - An Iowa woman fired for being "irresistible" to her boss says a court decision against her was unfair. Melissa Nelson told CNN, "The last couple of days have just been an emotional roller coaster. I'm trying to stay strong. It's tough. I don't think it's fair. I don't think it's right." An Iowa Supreme Court judge said the allegations do not amount to sex discrimination. Dentist James Knight, whose business is in Fort Dodge, fired dental assistant Nelson, an employee of 10 years, because she presented too much of a distraction and jeopardized his relationship with his wife, CNN reported Sunday. The Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling that the employment termination did not amount to sex discrimination under the state's civil rights act. Knight's wife discovered in 2009 that Knight and Nelson were sending text messages to each other and demanded her husband fire Nelson, which he did in 2010, CNN reported. Knight told Nelson near the end of her employment that her clothing was "distracting," but Nelson said she wore scrubs at work, CNN reported. The court's decision said Knight told Nelson "if she saw his pants bulging, she would know her clothing was too revealing," and that Knight said in reply to Nelson's alleged comment about her infrequent sex life, "That's like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it." In siding with Knight, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Edward M. Mansfield wrote on behalf of the court, "The issue before us is not whether a jury could find that Dr. Knight treated Nelson badly. We are asked to decide only if a genuine fact issue exists as to whether Dr. Knight engaged in unlawful gender discrimination when he fired Nelson at the request of his wife."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Nerdiest Practical Joke Ever
    chemistry prank
    The Nobel Prize winning chemist Melvin Calvin (1911-1997) was not known as a man of great humor. This only encouraged one of his assistants to play a great prank on him while Calvin was preparing a paper for a 1955 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Joshua Howgego, a graduate student in chemistry, describes it:
    I wasn’t lucky enough to ever meet Calvin (he died in 1997), but according to Kilcoyne he was a serious man with little patience for jokes or pleasantries. This contrasted starkly with his graduate student, A. T. Wilson, who was, it would seem, a bit of a practical joker. Wilson reputedly made a wager with his departmental secretary that he could sneak in a picture of a man fishing into one of the diagrams in a forthcoming paper without his supervisor noticing. He won his bet and the fishing man is still in the diagram today. Calvin never found out.
    Do you see the fisherman? Here he is:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    2012′s Biggest Movie Controversies
    In the movie business, "controversy" translates to "free publicity." This past year has had more that its share of offense and outrage, as well as opinions from all over about what to do to correct the situations. Remember Harvey Weinstein's feature-length documentary Bully?
    …which was slapped with an R rating solely for adult language (all from the mouths of teens, of course). Weinstein argued that by keeping teens from seeing the anti-bullying doc, the MPAA was keeping away exactly the audience that most needed to see it, and pleaded, threatened, and (if you want to look at it a certain way) publicly bullied them into downgrading the film to a PG-13. Some applauded Weinstein for again going to bat against the powerful and often unreasonable organization; others wondered if the whole thing was just eternal showman Harvey rustling up more publicity.
    And that's just one of ten movies that stirred up passions in 2012. Read about the rest at Flavorwire. Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The House with Underground Caverns
    v
    This is Domus Civita, a home in Italy built in the 14th century and purchased by new owners in 2011. Studio F remodeled the house, which consists of three floors above ground, but that's not all.
    However the most interesting feature of the house was its umbilical connection to its underground world all carved into the soft volcanic tufa stone. Through a series of tunnels and caves dating from the middle ages as well as Roman and Etruscan times the house ground floor had a stair dug into the stone and reaching a large underground Roman water cistern still perfectly preserved. Through the cistern you could reach an abandoned garden suspended between 2 stone cliffs at the edge of town. From the garden more caves of Etruscan and medieval times were dug into the rock opening up interesting possibilities for creative uses.
    The underground chamber was remodeled to include a meditation room, a wine cellar, and an art gallery. It opens to a garden (with a second kitchen) and pool. See lots more photos and floor plans of the finished masterpiece at Arch Daily. Link -via Twisted Sifter
    (Image credit: Bob Coscarelli)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Father of the Chicken Nugget
    McDonalds usually gets the credit -or the blame- for inventing chicken nuggets. The company introduced the McNugget in 1980. But Cornell University professor Robert C. Baker had made the same thing in 1963!
    It’s a mixed legacy for a man who wanted only to increase the market power of upstate New York’s poultry farmers—men whose families have since left the business, because the changes wrought by nuggets made it unprofitable. “I think you have to understand him as a person of his time,” Baker’s oldest son Dale, now 66, told me. “He grew up in the Depression, not having enough food to eat. When he’d buy a dinner, he would want to get the most calories for the price. He wanted to be sure the farmers would get the best prices for their birds.”
    Read the story of how Baker came up with the nugget, and never got the credit for the idea that transformed the poultry industry and the American diet. Link -via Digg
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Swedish town buys strip club
    BARNARP, Sweden - Residents of Barnarp, Sweden, had been trying for years to close a local strip club without success, so they bought it, village officials said. The Cafe Musfaalan -- Mousetrap Cafe -- had been a source of noise, littering and harassment complaints since it opened, The Local.se reported. The last straw was the decision last month by the strip club's owners to change the name to Heaven "where we knead the buns together." "It has been a great inconvenience for residents in Barnarp," Commissioner Mats Green said. The community Friday ponied up 3 million Swedish kronor ($470,000) to buy the property so it could evict the tenants. No word on what the property will be used for next.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Real Bruce Wayne
    He's hot, and he's a millionaire, but he comes with tons of emotional baggage. This composite image was created by redditor morphinapg from equal parts Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale -the actors who have portrayed the character. He used the free software Sqirlz Morph. And you thought Bruce Wayne was a comic book character! Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Face of Creation
    A new short video from the Symphony of Science series, featuring Brian Cox and explaining the importance of the work at the Large Hadron Collider that this year brought us proof of the Higgs boson. By harnessing energies never before created in the hands of man, we recreate the moment of “creation”, or rather the formation of this universe as we now see and exist in it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    QUOTE: "Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent."

    HINT: An immensely influential ancient Greek philosopher, a student of Socrates.
    ANSWER: Plato

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    RANDOM TIDBITS

    The first golf car was invented in the late 1940s strictly for people with disabilities.

    The first vending machines in the United States were installed on New York City train platforms in 1888 and dispensed Chewing gum.

    Buddy was the name of the FIRST SEEING EYE DOG in America, brought to the U.S. in 1928 from Switzerland by owner Morris Frank.

    Cartoon character "Pebbles" Flintstone was born on February 22, 1963. To help celebrate the event, the Mattel toy company manufactured over 250,000 "Pebbles" dolls, which were among the company's hottest-selling toys that year.

    To insure a worldwide audience, Alfred Hitchcock filmed his opening and closing remarks in English, French and German. He also drew the famous profile of himself that he steps into before each episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS.

    In 1964, HASBRO introduced an 11 1/2-inch doll called G.I. JOE, with 21 movable parts to "move G.I.JOE into action positions" First-year sales for the doll and his equipment reached $10 million.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    New Year's Eve Confetti Clock Cookies

    clock cookies
    These treats made by Sarah of Repeat Crafter Me are perfect for New Year's Eve! Each cookie has three layers. The center layer has a hole in the center, like a donut. That's where the star-shaped sprinkles go. Wait until the ball drops, the break them open.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I have been following Bryson Andres since he lived in Alaska and played on street corners there, and in Washington & here in Portland. This busker has come so far from the street grunge violinist ~ but, I confess, I miss his street punk look.


    The last performance for the Grand Fiesta! Created a master mix of my 3 Christmas songs and performed them the last week of the fiesta =] Enjoy!!
    Length: ‎3:33
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jewel in the Night
    An original recording from the International Space Station, sung and played by Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield. A wonderful message of peace and love dedicated to us below, on that “Jewel in the Night”, reminding us that space, and this planet, belongs to us all. Wonderful stuff.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Now, here's the final Top Ten of Funny Street Names.

    1. Poor Grab Rd.
    2. Divorce Court
    3. HAVEITEUR WAY
    4. Memory Lane
    5. Goesno Place
    6. Jackass Annie Road
    7. Booger Hollow Rd.
    8. Lick Skillet Rd.
    9. Walton Tea Room Rd.
    10. Bong Rd.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Motherboard Earth by Alain Bousquet
    Encoded in our DNA is the organic circuitry of life, programming everything from our physical structure to the hardwired commands needed to run, fight, or play. Alain’s series of interlaced circuits create a user interface for the abstract ideas we use to build our world. Artist: Behance / Website
    Love this interpretation of biological “circuitry”. Although, I’d say that DNA is more the biological program, and the temporal interactions of the proteins and higher-order structures it codes for are really the “circuit board” … but that’s just me :) (via cosmicrot)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Ze Frank tells us all about the angler fish. Yeah, we've told you this stuff before about the weird weird angler fish, but he describes it all so well! NSFW language. -via Pleated Jeans
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Celebrate Health from Health.com
    http://health.chtah.net/a/tBQ3GJ6BFYNexB8v0RvCFNC1E61/hol2


    GET SMART NEXT YEAR
    Happy New Year! Get ready, it's time to streamline your workout, daily routine, and more. Look and feel your best in 2013 with our 28 stress-reducing New Year's Resolutions.
    http://health.chtah.net/a/tBQ3GJ6BFYNexB8v0RvCFNC1E61/hol24

    NEW YEAR, NEW YOU
    Choose one of these top 10 healthiest resolutions
    http://health.chtah.net/a/tBQ3GJ6BFYNexB8v0RvCFNC1E61/hol25

    BETHENNY'S GREAT-NEW-YEAR GUIDE
    Shape up, save money, and find time for yourself
    http://health.chtah.net/a/tBQ3GJ6BFYNexB8v0RvCFNC1E61/hol26

    LOSE WEIGHT, FAST
    See results with this 1,300-calorie-per-day plan
    http://health.chtah.net/a/tBQ3GJ6BFYNexB8v0RvCFNC1E61/hol27
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Bad News or the Very Bad News

    This guy goes into a doctor's office. The doctor says, "Oh, Mr. Jones! We have the results of your test. Do you want the bad news first or the very bad news?"

    The guy shrugs and says, "Well I guess I'll have the bad news first." "Well, the bad news is, you have 24 hours to live," the doctor replies.

    The man is distraught, "24 hours to live? That's horrible! What could be worse than that? What's the VERY bad news?" The doctor folds his hands and sighs, "The very bad news is... I've been trying to contact you since yesterday."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




    Jay Wilson
    Jay Wilson, an art professor in Toronto, makes sculptures by carefully arranging toothpicks and matches. He often makes geometric forms, but my favorites are the inspirational messages expressed by his elk.
    Link -via Lustik | Artist's Website | Photo: Steve Payne
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Comic book artist Stan Lee is famous for making short appearances in films about the superheroes he made famous. Today, he turned ninety--though it's hard to tell at the pace he keeps. Let's mark the occasion by watching all of his film cameos. -via Tor

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What Time Do You Open?

    A bar owner locked up his place at 2 AM and went home to sleep. He had been in bed only a few minutes when the phone rang. "What time do you open up in the morning?" he heard an obviously inebriated man inquire.

    The owner was so furious, he slammed down the receiver and went back to bed. A few minutes later there was another call and he heard the same voice ask the same question. "Listen," the owner shouted, "there's no sense in asking me what time I open because I wouldn't let a person in your condition in-"

    "I don't want to get in," the caller interjected.

    "I want to get out."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Q and A Quickies

    Q: Who do you call when your calculator dies?
    A: The mathemortician.

    Q: what do rich cats have in their refrigerators?
    A: Automatic mice makers.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    New Trampled Snow Art from Simon Beck
    Simon Beck makes art by stepping in snow. Even with sturdy snowshoes, it's hard work, and takes a special talent to get it right. Beck (previously on Neatorama) has been busy the past few weeks tramping out new designs in the snow at Les Arcs ski resort in France. You can see some of the best at Colossal. Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    You may have seen an armillary sphere before. At its heart there is something recognizable - the Earth. Around it is a bewildering array of rings, centered on our planet. All have distinct scientific functions yet the armillary sphere is also a profoundly beautiful object: art and science married in harmony.

    Although the armillary sphere was superseded in the seventeenth century by the European telescope, surviving examples remain objects of fascination and wonder. The first question, of course, is what does it do? The second is invariably who invented it?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A list of the top 10 sales of cars at public auction from 2012.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Next time I eat ramen, which will probably not happen in the next decade, I’ll make sure to prepare it that way.
    Read more at http://www.geeksaresexy.net/#IL0pmTBzFhzXWI0P.99
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Chinese artist Wen Fuliang doesn't see eggshells as trash, he sees them as a sculptural medium. His incredible sculpting skills began when he was laid off from his job as a woodcarver, and now he sees eggs as more than just an ingredient in Fu Yung.
    Here's more on these delicate works of art:
    Using chicken, goose and duck eggs, he empties the content of the eggs with a syringe, before using a fine diamond bit on an electric rotary tool to delicately carve the designs on the intricate shells.

    The process, according to The Daily Mail, is “incredibly time-consuming”, and requires Fuliang to gently secure the eggshell in one hand, and skillfully use the rotary tool in the other.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What Do Astronauts Eat?
    Space menus have come a long way since the early days the US space program, when astronauts squirted tubes of gel in their mouths. Meals must be adequately nutritious, in the smallest volume as possible, preserved for long periods, and edible in zero gravity. And if you're at the ISS for six months at a time, it must be palatable. Technological advances over the past 50 years have greatly expanded the variety of foods that can be eaten in space. And astronauts have a say on what is taken with them.
    In fact, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield put out a call to his countrymen for suggestions of Canadian food to take on board his next mission – six months on board the International Space Station from December to June 2013.

    The astronauts are allowed to bring a selection of so-called "bonus foods" beyond the regular menu, provided it has a long shelf life and is appropriate for space travel.

    Out of hundreds of suggestions, Hadfield and his fellow crew members, who taste-tested many products, choosing about a dozen foods, including jerky with cranberries from northern Saskatchewan, dried apple chunks and orange zest cookies from Quebec, chocolate from B.C., a bar with East Coast blueberries produced in Toronto, and, naturally, maple syrup, said Hadfield.
    Read more about how modern astronauts eat at CBC News. Link -via the Presurfer
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    MinutePhysics brings us the top 10 reasons why we know the Earth is round.
    It’s something that’s completely obvious now that we’ve, you know, been out in space and seen it for ourselves and all. But there’s some interesting observations that tell us that we live on a sphere*.
    I think my favorite bit is the triangle with three 90˚ turns. Perhaps the most famous experiment to determine a round Earth was done in ancient Egypt by Eratosthenes, famously measuring the difference in high-noon shadows shadows of two distant towers. Let Carl Sagan tell you all about it.
    *Oh wait, we don’t actually live on a sphere. We live on an oblate spheroid. The Earth is not round**!!
    **By “not round” I mean “not completely round like a basketball”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "No, you are a hallucination brought on by alcohol... Russian vodka poisoned by Chernobyl!" - Bill Murray as Frank Cross in "Scrooged"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!"- Peter Billingsley as Ralphie in "A Christmas Story"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah." - Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in "Christmas Vacation"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    New Map of Earth's Animals
    Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, constructed a map of the world's animals. Now that map has been updated, with new information gleaned over the past century about where the Earth's animal species live. It includes data on 20,000 species of mammals, birds, and amphibians.
    The global map data can be used to make regional maps on a smaller scale, not just the planetary scale shown above.The data can even be fed into Google Earth or a Geographic Information System program, the authors noted in the study published in Science Express.

    The planetary map was divided into 11 realms, such as Neotropical and Sino-Japanese, and subdivided into 20 "zoogeograghic" regions. The unusual creatures of Madagascar got their own realm. Overall, the map data shows greater biological diversity in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern. Currently, only mammals, birds and amphibians are represented. Other classes of animals will be added as the data becomes available.

    The new map made use of resources barely imaginable in Wallace’s time. Genetic analysis helped to define species in the modern map along with the classical anatomical descriptions Wallace used. It took 15 researchers and 20 years of data compilation to update Wallace’s original magnum opus of biological geography.
    Read more at Discovery News, where the map is enlargeable. Link
    (Image credit: Science Journal AAS)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I'm sure all foodies are familiar with the food trends that made it on the hit list for 2013.
    Some seem to have come out of nowhere (maximum kale), some have been resurrected as a food trend over and over again (pickling everything, Jell-O shots), all need to die in the new year.
    There's bound to be more culinary trends comin' round the mountain, folks, let's put these old chestnuts in the fire where they belong! Link
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    Traps
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    http://youtu.be/MpYrJs0rX84
    If you had to walk a mile for a jug of water every day, as millions of people do, it’s unlikely you’d use that precious water to bathe. Young entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane tells the amazing, funny story of how he invented a cheap, clean and convenient solution: DryBath, the world’s first bath-substituting lotion.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Christmas Maze Game
    Can you help the Reindeer get to Santa in time for Christmas? Put your cursor over the deer and travel down to Santa. Don't hit anything, if you do, you will have to start over.
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Brain Pickings
    This week, we're doing something a bit different – a roundup of the most read and shared Brain Pickings articles of 2012. If you missed last week's edition – how to write letters, 100 diagrams that changed the world, the best music books of 2012, and more – you can catch up right here.
    ~~~~~~~
    Dr. Seuss's Little-Known "Adult" Book of Nudes
    What Peeping Toms have to do with failure and the expectations of genius.
    Theodor Seuss Geisel, better-known as Dr. Seuss – legendary children's book author, radical ideologist, lover of reading – would have turned 108 this year. Among his many creative feats is a fairly unknown, fairly scandalous one: In 1939, when Geisel left Vanguard for Random House, he had one condition for his new publisher, Bennett Cerf – that he would let Geisel do an "adult" book first. The result was The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History's Barest Family, which tells the story of nudist sisters who, after their father's death, pledge not to wed until each of them has "brought to the light of the world some new and worthy Horse Truth, of benefit to man."
    Deep Freeze
    Freeze your enemies with your water gun and stop the bad guys from ruining Christmas.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Twisted Sifter's Top 100 Pictures of 2012

    This shot of an outdoor Jacuzzi near the Matterhorn at a resort in Zermatt, Switzerland is one of 100 photographs selected by Twisted Sifter as the best of their 2012 "Picture of the Day" features. From sleeping whales to knitted Mexican buses to meteor showers, this collection of spectacular photos challenges anyone who says life is mundane. See the top 100 at Twisted Sifter. Link
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    A diver is just trying to do some work in the Gulf of Thailand, when a curious turtle with no sense of personal space tries to get his attention. The turtle will not be denied! -via Arbroath
    Update: The diver is Darren Connearn, who wrote about the experience and about turtles at his site. Link -
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    Behind the Cover, five stories of iconic album cover art from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
    from the Annals of Improbable Research How To Write a Love Letter.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Minneapolis-based photographer Matt Sepeta captured this image of the frozen Minnehaha Falls. Located in a Minneapolis park, Minnehaha Falls are near the point where the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Creek converge.
    Therapy Llamas Bring Fuzzy Love To Nursing Home PatientsWe've all heard of therapy dogs and therapy cats, but a therapy llama is something we've never seen before. Who wouldn't want these long necked fuzzlers to give you wet kisses and a little spit in your eye when they're feeling ornery?
    They didn't just wander in from the wild:
    The nursing home patients at Washington’s Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation Center are visited every few months by two llamas, Marisco and N.H. Flight of the Eagle, who are registered therapists.
    Head to the link below if you want to watch a video showing these licensed llamas at work, it's all about the llama love! --via Laughing Squid
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    Hmm, I wonder what phase the Moon will be in on _________ the ______th, 2013?
    Hmm, I wonder what phase the Moon will be in on _________ the ______th, 2013? Oh, okay then. If you’d like to see this animated, and with the Moon’s characteristic “wobble wobble” added, check out this previous post. (via Night Sky)
    Oh, okay then. If you’d like to see this animated, and with the Moon’s characteristic “wobble wobble” added, check out this previous post.
    (via Night Sky)
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    Ode To A Flower
    The great Richard Feynman’s words, with animation by Fraser Davidson, to remind us that a deeper understanding of the world around us does not diminish beauty, but rather enhances it.
    “There’s not just beauty at this dimension!”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    mashed potato
    River of Make It Vegan sculpted adorable mashed potato snowmen on top of meatless meatloaf. The scarves are steamed green beans, the buttons and eyes are peppercorns, the arms are parsley and the noses are little carrots. You can see a time-lapse video of their assembly at the link.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A drunk driver in Red Hook, New York noticed that police had pulled over a friend of hers for drunk driving. She immediately swung into action, deciding that the best way to distract the police officer was to get him to chase her instead:
    [...] she drove past a Red Hook, N.Y., police officer on a winding country road at nearly 100 mph, lost control and smashed through the door of the house, narrowly missing homeowner June Lawson, Red Hook town police said.
    Sarnowski started driving at the high speed to distract the town officer who had pulled over a friend of hers for possible drunken driving, police said.
    She was unsuccessful. The police arrested both drunk drivers.
    Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: davidsonscott15
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    Twenty Ways to Confuse Santa Claus

    1. Instead of milk and cookies, leave him a salad, and a note explaining that you think he could stand to lose a few pounds.

    2. While he's in the house, go find his sleigh and write him a speeding ticket.

    3. Leave him a note, explaining that you've gone away for the holidays. Ask if he would mind watering your plants.

    4. While he's in the house, replace all his reindeer with exact replicas. Then wait and see what happens when he tries to get them to fly.

    5. Keep an angry bull in your living room. If you think a bull goes crazy when he sees a little red cape, wait until he sees that big, red Santa suit!

    6. Build an army of mean-looking snowmen on the roof, holding signs that say "We hate Christmas," and "Go away Santa."

    7. Leave a note by the telephone, telling Santa that Mrs. Claus called and wanted to remind him to pick up some milk and a loaf of bread on his way home.

    8. Throw a surprise party for Santa when he comes down the chimney. Refuse to let him leave until the strippers arrive.

    9. While he's in the house, find the sleigh and sit in it. As soon as he comes back and sees you, tell him that he shouldn't have missed that last payment, and take off.

    10. Leave a plate filled with cookies and a glass of milk out, with a note that says, "For The Tooth Fairy. :)" Leave a nother plate out with half a stale cookie and a few drops of skim milk in a dirty glass with a note that says, "For Santa. :("

    11. Take everything out of your house as if it's just been robbed. When Santa arrives, show up dressed like a policeman and say, "Well, well. They always return to the scene of the crime."

    12. Leave out a copy of your Christmas list with last-minute changes and corrections.

    13. While he's in the house, cover the top of the chimney with barbed wire.

    14. Leave lots of hunting trophies and guns out where Santa's sure to see them. Go outside, yell, "Ooh! Look! A deer! And he's got a red nose!" and fire a gun.

    15. Leave Santa a note, explaining that you've moved. Include a map with unclear and hard-to-read directions to your new house.

    16. Set a bear trap at the bottom of the chimney. Wait for Santa to get caught in it, and then explain that you're sorry, but from a distance, he looked like a bear.

    17. Leave out a Santa suit, with an attached dry-cleaning bill.

    18. Paint "hoof-prints" all over your face and clothes. While he's in the house, go out on the roof. When he comes back up, act like you've been "trampled." Threaten to sue for personal injury.

    19. Instead of ornaments, decorate your tree with Easter eggs.

    20. Dress up like the Easter Bunny. Wait for Santa to come and then say, "This neighborhood ain't big enough for the both of us.
    (Aha! Jokes)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    30 years ago, the 1982 Time Magazine Man of the Year was actually… the Computer. First time it was a non-human & was titled “Machine of the Year” (on issue dated Jan. 3, 1983). Imagine that, just 30 years ago!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    October 2012 Statistics On Airport Screening From The Department Of Homeland Security:
    Terrorists Discovered
    0
    Transvestites
    133
    Hernias
    1,485
    Hemorrhoid Cases
    3,172
    Enlarged Prostates
    8,249
    Breast Implants
    59,350
    Natural Blondes
    3
    It was also discovered that 535 members of Congress had no balls.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Why is there a “b” in doubt?
    The sound of a word is only part of its story. There’s usually secrets of the word’s history locked in its spelling. Even if it seems random. By educator Gina Cooke for TEDEducation.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    biocanvas:  A variety of mammalian cell types arranged in a wreath formation. Happy holidays from Biocanvas! Image by Dr. Donna Stolz, University of Pittsburgh.  We get TWELVE days of Christmas, so I think this is still ok to post.
    A variety of mammalian cell types arranged in a wreath formation. Happy holidays from Biocanvas!
    Image by Dr. Donna Stolz, University of Pittsburgh.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Things you should know about me: I can never get enough of ferrofluids. After you check out this art exhibit, here’s more examples of these amazing fluid-magnetic creations. (via freshphotons)holymoleculesbatman:
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    "The holidays are just wonderful. Here's what I thought was sad, though, the line for the mall Santa? Out the door and around the block. The mall rabbi? Nothing." -David Letterman
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Here's a fun fact: You know how much Christmas wrapping paper is on the average roll? Four inches less than you need." -Jay Leno
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "I was thinking about Santa Claus. When you really think about it, this has to be the biggest, most elaborate prank in the history of the world. It's like we're all in on a huge joke we're playing on kids. And eventually they figure it out and they start lying to their kids, too." -Jimmy Kimmel
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I wondered if I could get my husband to address Christmas cards, as I had so much to do. I arranged everything we needed, then hopefully pulled up a chair and said, "Come on, Dear, let's get these out of the way."

    He glanced at the array on the table, turned away and went into the den, only to return moments later with a high stack of cards, stamped, sealed, and addressed.

    "They're last year's," he said. "I forgot to mail them. Now let's go out to dinner and relax."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Movie Monster high school has one massive claim to fame- nobody has been bullied on campus in over fifty years!
    And even though Ghostface and Leatherface are mere humans, their ghastly disguises keep them under the monster radar, and their bloodlust is seen as admirable by the student body.
    DeviantARTist thegreck heads up the yearbook committee to capture monsters in their natural state, and he did a pretty good job despite the fact that King Kong was breathing down his neck the entire time. Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    GIFT-WRAPPING TIPS FOR MEN

    * Whenever possible, buy gifts that are already wrapped. If, when the recipient opens the gift, neither one of you recognizes it, you can claim that it's myrrh.

    * The editors of Woman's Day magazine recently ran an item on how to make your own wrapping paper by printing a design on it with an apple sliced in half horizontally and dipped in a mixture of food coloring and liquid starch. They must be smoking crack.

    * If you're giving a hard-to-wrap gift, skip the wrapping paper! Just put it inside a bag and stick one of those little adhesive bows on it. This creates a festive visual effect that is sure to delight the lucky recipient on Christmas morning

    Your wife: Why is there a Hefty trash bag under the tree?

    You: It's a gift! See? It has a bow!

    Your wife: (peering into the trash bag) It's a leaf blower.

    You: Gas-powered! Five horsepower!

    Your wife: I want a divorce.

    You: I also got you some myrrh.

    In conclusion, remember that the important thing is not what you give, or how you wrap it. The important thing, during this very special time of year, is that you save the receipt.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.--Bertrand Russell
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    What if, in fact, the problem is bigness itself?--Paul Kingsworth, Journalist
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.--Bertrand Russell
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Elegant Leather Belt Shows Final Level of Super Mario Bros.
    Super Mario Bros. belt
    Julia of Saluki Feathers makes handcrafted leather dog collars for the ritziest canines of high society. She used those skills to make this belt showing the entire last level of Super Mario Bros. She's thinking about taking custom orders for other games with a similar horizontal format.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself-to his reason and his conscience-and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.--Erich Fromm
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.--Bertrand Russell
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.~ Seneca
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Well that is taking Christmas fairly literally. I ate lots of red meat and drank lots red wine, does that count? I think it should. -Via XKCD
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The day after Christmas is Boxing Day, a holiday observed by a large part of Europe and most of the former British Empire -except for America, who broke away fairly early. Mental-floss has a roundup of Boxing day facts for those who aren't familiar with the customs of this odd holiday.
    Boxing Day is observed every year on December 26. Before it took on its feistier name, the holiday was known as St. Stephen’s Day.
    *
    Many historians think the holiday’s name is derived from the church practice of opening alms boxes the day after Christmas and distributing money to the poor.
    *
    Historically, British employers followed the church’s lead by sliding workers and servants gifts or cash on December 26. Merchants tossed servants a few coins, too, for bringing in a household’s business.
    And there's more. Who knows? You may want to try out the traditions. Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "As we get closer to Christmas, these Christmas tree lots try to rip you off because they know you're desperate. They know you need a tree. I was at a lot last night. I went to buy a tree. Needles sold separately. I couldn't believe it." -Jay Leno
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    My girlfriend and I were making love last night when she looked up at me and said, "Make love to me like in the movies". So I turned her over on all fours, stuck it in her ass, pulled it out, flipped her back over and came all over her face and hair.
    She cried.
    I guess we don't watch the same kind of movies.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "A new survey just came out and it finds that sex is better when you're on vacation. Yeah, at least that's what my wife emailed me from the Bahamas." -Conan O'Brien
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    QUOTE: "When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness."

    HINT: (1903-2003), English-born American comedian and actor who appeared on Broadway, in vaudeville, movies, television, and on the radio.

    ANSWER: Bob Hope.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Smoking Gun collects tens of thousands of mug shots all year long, and in December ranks the 20 most entertaining of them. This year, a couple are included because they are celebrities; the rest are just funny-looking. The winners get no prize, but are welcome to download a blue ribbon featuring Nick Nolte's classic mug shot. Link -via Fark
    See also: a different year-end mugshot roundup posted earlier.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Cafe from Hell
    The Cafe from Hell
    The place above is Le Cafe de L'Enfer, or the Cafe from Hell. This is what Curious History has to say about it:
    This cavern of writhing demon statues is Le Cafe de L’Enfer (The Cafe from Hell) in Paris’ red light district (aka Pigalle, the neighborhood of the Moulin Rouge). It opened in the late 19th century and operated until the middle of the 20th century. It is the world’s first theme restaurant. The cafe featured waiters dressed as devils and a doorman who screamed damnation at customers as they came in to be seated.
    Too bad Le Cafe de L'Enfer is no longer open. I would have loved to go there, both to see what types of food they'd serve and who I would meet. To see more images of the cafe, check out the pictures over at Retronaut.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sometimes when humans migrate, to an island for instance, they bring animals with them that aren't native to the destination, and the balance of nature becomes severely out of whack.
    Visit the seven islands featured and you'll find a whole lot of one kind of animal, from the cats of Tashirojima, Japan to Kaua'i, the chicken island of Hawaii. It's an extremely photogenic crime against nature! Link
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    RANDOM TIDBITS

    Many European countries believed that spirits, both good and evil, were active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. These spirits eventually evolved into Santa's elves, especially under the influence of Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas (1779-1863) illustrated by Thomas Nast (1840-1902).

    Each year there are approximately 20,000 "rent-a-Santas" across the United States. "Rent-a-Santas" usually undergo seasonal training on how to maintain a jolly attitude under pressure from the public. They also receive practical advice, such as not accepting money from parents while children are looking and avoiding garlic, onions, or beans for lunch.

    Evergreens (from the Old English word aefie meaning "always" and gowan meaning "to grow") have been symbols of eternal life and rebirth since ancient times. The pagan use and worship of evergreen boughs and trees has evolved into the Christianized Christmas tree.

    Christmas stockings allegedly evolved from three sisters who were too poor to afford a marriage dowry and were, therefore, doomed to a life of prostitution. They were saved, however, when the wealthy Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna (the precursor to Santa Claus) crept down their chimney and generously filled their stockings with gold coins.

    The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples. At Christmastime, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (usually fir trees) during "Paradise Plays," which were plays depicting Adam and Eve's creation and fall.

    The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl ("flower which wilts"). For the Aztecs, the plant's brilliant red color symbolized purity, and they often used it medicinally to reduce fever. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous, but holly berries are.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1. Shavehead Lake Street
    2. Buttriggin Rd.
    3. Skunk Misery
    4. Lois Lane
    5. Jacobs Ladder
    6. GOA WAY
    7. Sesame Street
    8. Moo Cow Road
    9. Possum College Rd.
    10. Powder Keg Drive

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    q
    Cosmic Sans is a series of space-themed typography art, with each letter a contribution from a different artist. Designer Brad McNally came up with the idea based on the title pun, and he and his wife, printer Sarah McNally, recruited the artists within 48 hours. The framed art prints were all sold though an exhibit and raised over $1,000 for 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center. Shown here is Q by Jess McCarty. See the rest of the works at the online gallery. Link -via Design Taxi
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Q and A Quickies

    Q: What nationality is Santa Claus?
    A: North Polish.

    Q: What do you call a snowman in the summer?
    A: A puddle!

    Q: What do elves learn in school?
    A: The elf-abet.

    Q: What is the cleanest reindeer called?
    A: Comet.

    Q: What do reindeer say before telling you a joke?
    A: "This one will sleigh you!"

    Q: Why does Santa go down the chimney?
    A: Because it soots him!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'" --Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "I'm going to tell you some jokes now, and I'll be honest with you, a lot of these jokes have been re-gifted." -David Letterman
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "Last week a group of chefs baked the world's largest pizza, which is gluten-free and contains 9,000 pounds of cheese. Or as Americans put it, 'You had me at 'world's largest pizza' you LOST me at 'gluten-free' then you won me back with '9,000 pounds of cheese.'" -Jimmy Fallon
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Last year I entered the New York City Marathon. The race started and immediately I was the last of the runners. It was embarrassing.
    The guy who was in front of me, second to last, was making fun of me. He said, "Hey buddy, how does it feel to be last?"
    I replied: "You really want to know?"
    Then I dropped out of the race.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Every December it was the same excruciating tradition. Our family would get up at the crack of dawn, go to a Christmas tree farm and tromp across acres of snow in search of the perfect tree. Hours later our feet would be freezing, but Mom would press on, convinced the tree of her dreams was "just up ahead."

    One year I snapped. "Mom, face it. The perfect tree doesn't exist. It's like looking for a man. Just be satisfied if you can find one that isn't dead, doesn't have too many bald spots and is straight."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~








    "Same-sex marriage would have men married to men and women married to women. Well, who complains about the credit card bill and who says, "Well, you want me to look nice, don't you?" And who writes the thank-you notes and who just signs their name?" -Dave Letterman
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A friend and her husband were participating in a blood drive, and as part of the prescreening process, an elderly volunteer was asking some questions. "Have you ever paid for sex?" the woman asked my friend's husband sweetly.
    Glancing wearily over at his wife, trying to calm a new baby and tend to the other children milling around her, he sighed, "Every time."
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    "For the first time ever, scientists have created artificial life. The hope is that it can revolutionize healthcare, generate clean energy, become super-intelligent, take over the world, make us all its slaves, etc." -Jimmy Kimmel
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.--Bertrand Russell
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet "for sale", who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence - briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing - cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society.--Erich Fromm
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.--Seneca
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Instead of growth serving life, life must now serve growth, perverting the very purpose of existence.--Leopold Kohr, Breakdown of Nations
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.--Moshe Dayan, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.~ Seneca
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, but the animals must be female.
    Having sexual relations with a male animal is punishable by death.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Click for enormous!
    Thanks to Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture
    Thanks, Ed
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    World’s longest high-speed railway debuts in China
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

    -- George Bernard Shaw

    (speaking of his family's habit of laughing over his father's drunken escapades)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Homemade Vick’s Vapor Shower Discs

    Ingredients1 cup baking soda
    1/2 cup cornstarch**
    1/3-1/2 cup water (You may need to add more or less.)
    15 drops of eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender essential oil or 2-3 tsp. Vick's Vapor Rub*
    Instructions

    Mix using enough water to make a thick paste like a putty.
    You can pour into muffin tins lined with papers, make small balls and set on a plate or put into a silicone ice cube tray or muffin tray.
    Let them set for at least 12 hours or overnight to dry. You can bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to dry them more quickly.
    Remove from papers or silicone trays and store in an airtight container.
    When ready to use place a disc on the floor of your shower and let the water run on it while showering.
    Notes

    *Essential oils can be expensive. If you don't want to buy a lot of oils for this recipe, you can buy 1 bottle of the generic vapor rub and just use a couple of teaspoons in this mixture instead.

    **You can leave the cornstarch out of the Homemade Vick's Vapor Shower Discs. I put it in because it helps hold them together better.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    World’s longest high-speed railway debuts in China
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    What is the most insensitive part of a penis?

    - The man
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~














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