Mental_Floss's new issue will be out soon, and Mangesh from Mental_Floss emailed everyone a snippet from the issue. I loved it so much, I wanted to share it.
The Prankster who Outfoxed Tricky Dick
When Nixon sought the presidency, his opponent, John F. Kennedy, hired a mole named Dick Tuck to play pranks on him. The day after the first debate (a contest many felt Nixon had won), Tuck spun the results by hiring an elderly woman wearing a Nixon button to hug Nixon in front of reporters and console him for losing the debate. Two years later, when Nixon ran for governor of California, Tuck had children in Los Angeles' Chinatown greet him with a sign reading "Welcome Nixon" in English and beneath the greeting, "What about the Hughes loan?" in Chinese--a reference to a controversial loan Nixon's brother had received. Nixon, who didn't understand Chinese, posed smiling next to the sign, then tore it up in front of reporters when Tuck told him the translation. During a whistle-stop train tour on the same campaign, Tuck disguised himself as a conductor and ordered Nixon's train to pull away from the station just as Nixon had begun a speech to the crowd. Worst of all, when Nixon ran for President in 1968, Tuck hired pregnant women to show up at his rallies wearing T-shirts that read "Nixon's the One." Nixon, who'd mastered the art of dirty tricks early in his career, came to both despise and begrudgingly admire Tuck. During his 1972 presidential re-election campaign, Nixon ordered aides to develop a "Dick Tuck capability." -- David Borgenicht and Turk Regan
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Mental_Floss's new issue will be out soon, and Mangesh from Mental_Floss emailed everyone a snippet from the issue. I loved it so much, I wanted to share it.
I just wanted to share some pics I took of Central Park a couple weeks ago. They're nothing special, but I thought they were pretty.
The sunlight through the trees next to Turtle Pond
A duck taking off at Turtle Pond
The sunset at Turtle Pond
A group of women doing yoga next to the castle at Turtle Pond
An archway in the rambles
A squirrell in the rambles
Flowers in Shakespear Garden
A bee on a flower in Shakespear Garden. If you look closely, you can see the bee's tongue.
Underneath the balcony at Bethesda.
Birds perching on Bathesda.
This is a turtle in the pond next to Bathesda. People kept trying to feed it, and it kept trying to bite off peoples' fingers.
In the rambles
A tree in the rambles that reminded me of sweet potatoes.
A grove of trees by The Mall
Benches near Bathesda
Birds eating near the benches by Bathesda
A butterfly on the balcony overlooking Bathesda. It was a mean butterfly, and kept bullying other butterflies and dragonflies.
The artwork on the stairs leading down to Bathesda.
So, that's it. I hope you enjoyed them.
At the Discovery News website is a science cartoon blog called Raw Materials. I like this cartoon.
This is druzy quartz (druzy meaning lots of tiny, sparkly crystals covering the whole of the piece) with growths of sphalerite and galena. Sphalerite is usually a pretty red or orange color, and galena looks a lot like graphite. Below is another example, with nice, big chunks of sphalerite.
Here, on the left, is a rock formed from the minerals surrounding a white smoke hydrothermal vent. You can't really tell here, but it's pink, smooth and translucent. On the right is a calcite stalactite.
On the left, this is a specimen of nepheline. You can't really tell by this picture, but each of these crystals is a hexagon, into which you can see. It's really nifty. On the right is vanadinite. It is sooo sparkly.
Below on the right is another example of vanadinite, and is some of the largest vanadinite crystals I've ever seen. On the left is what's called a phantom quartz, because it's clear, and inside it you can see other "ghost" stones.
This is my favorite piece. It's a fluorite stalactite. I love stalactites. I love that they take so long to form, and I love the smooth, waxy feel of them. This one in particular, when wet, has phantoms all along each protrusion.
Below are two more examples of fluorite. The one on the left is in a white chalcedony matrix, and the one on the right is purple fluorite on a quartz matrix.
Below, on te left is a piece of hemimorphite, which is really vibrant, and on the right is cinnabar growing on dolomite. I've been looking for a decent specimen of cinnabar for a long time, because it reminds me of strawberries and cream, and I found this one. You can't really tell by the picture, but it looks yummy. Too bad that the main component of cinnabar is mercury.
So, there you have it. I have more at home, which I've blogged about previously. I love my rocks. I started collecting them when I was a young child, when I started attending a new day care (nursery school? I can't remember). I remember how it started, though. I was really shy, and didn't socialize with all the other kids, so during recess, the teacher gave me a little tupperware container, took me to the playground, the base of which was smooth pebbles, and taught me how to find pretty rocks. I've been collecting them ever since.
This morning, I got out of my apartment a wee bit late. I got down to the subway, which was just arriving. I got on, but didn't get a seat, which is fine, so I stood at the pole and read. The train was moving really slow, so I was convinced I wasn't going to get to work on time. Between 125th street and 59th, I look up and see this spanish woman sitting there, staring at me with such loathing. After glaring at me, she looks away, shaking her head. Needless to say, I was a bit confused. I didn't know the woman, didn't recognize her whatsoever, but throughout the remainder of the ride, caught these glances a few more times. We both got off the train at 59th street, and went our separate ways. So I thought. I got to the bus stop at 57th street, and lo! thar she was. Sligthly unsettled from running into her again, I was placated by the fact that she was wearing a black pant suit, a white shirt, and really, really, aweful, ugly, brown loafers. Therefore I figured that she was just projecting her bitterness at her inability to follow basic dressing rules to those around her.
Once on the bus, I got a seat and resumed reading. It was an uneventful bus ride, until we reached E 57th and 2nd Ave. There was a traffic cop in the middle of the intersection, directing traffic against the light. Oh, how that woman danced, bopping up and down, swinging her hips back and forth. It made me smile. I looked around at my fellow passengers, and they were all, also smiling. It was nice to see New Yorkers not look bitter and resentful for once.
At the stop at E57th and 1st ave, a little girl of about maybe 6 gets on the bus with her nanny. She sits in the seat across from me, grips her Beanie Baby Bunny with both hands by the throat, and let loose with a high-pitched, maniacal laugh. Truly, it chilled me to the bones.
Then I got to work. On time, thank you very much. I went to the cafe to get my bagel and cream cheese, and got stuck in line behind an older woman who'd had a really bad face lift (especially around the mouth - it looked like an invisible person had stuck their fingers in the sides of her mouth and pulled back towards her ears). She first complained about the price of the coffee - $1.85. Then she tried to pay with a $50 bill. When the cashier refused to take it since she didn't have change, the woman told her that she should get change, and why couldn't she have someone bring it to her. Finally, the woman opened her wallet and sorted through what turned out to be a massive wad of $5 bills, took her $50, exchanged it for a $5, and then complained that now she wouldn't be able to get home.
Now I'm at my desk, answering the questions of all who call.
Such is life.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thank gawd for CGunit, because otherwise I wouldn't have come across many of these artists who have become so well liked for me.
Here is artwork from Joao Paolo Alvares Ruas, from Brazil. His work is amazing. Go to his website for more.
Have you ever heard of Alex Jones? He's a conspiracy theorist from Texas, and he makes my ass twitch. He has a radio show, which simulcasts via the internet, talking all about how the government is evil, and wants to take away our liberties, and how there's this grand conspiracy by the governing elite to turn the world population into slaves. Those lines in the air when planes fly overhead? That's the Man trying to poison you. Fluoride in the water? That's chemical plants dumping poison in the water, and the government not only sanctioning it, but convincing the population it's good for them. And 9/11? George W did it. Not only were those remote-controlled planes that smashed into the WTC, and not only was that a missile that hit the Pentagon, but all those people who were on those planes, they were flown out into an air field somewhere and shot by the military.
All these are the sentiments of Alex Jones.
So, yesterday, I happened to overhear about two minutes of his radio show. Luckily, before the sheer stupidy of his guest blew a blood vessel in my head, I was able to escape to my nice, sheltered life, completely in denial. His guest was saying how Uncle Sam, in the poster you see here, is actually the Goat of Baphomet, an image often seen in masonic writings, as well as the devil. His argument basically consisted of saying that since the poster of Uncle Sam is identical (so obviously, as you yourself can compare below) to the Goat of Baphomet, then "Uncle Sam is Satan". No, those quotation marks are not notations of my sarcasm. That is a direct quote from his guest. I wish I was able to listen long enough to get the guest's name, but I could feel myself losing IQ points by the nanosecond, and had to save myself.
Alex Jones was also able to infiltrate a secret meeting of the world's powerful, where they had mock human sacrifices on the alter of a 40 foot owl deity. Outside the ceremonial site, Jones stoppedd by a sign, where he pointed out the human skull roped to the sign. "...of course it's not a real skull, but..." says Jones.
And the fact that people LISTEN to this asshole, and actually believe his bullshit. It's almost enough to make me think that he's an evil subversive genius who, after his radio show, sips schnapps with his revolutionary cronies, laughing, saying, "Can you believe they're swallowing my bullshit?"
Wouldn't it be amusing if he's a government operative, sent to cause unrest in the populice?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Here's a story for you.
I like raisins. I think that they are a delicious and healthy treat, eaten either in a bowl of bran flakes, covered in dark chocolate, or simply directly out of the canister. Imagine, then, my dismay at the gift-with-purchase I came across one summer afternoon.
I was hungry, and decided to have some raisins. I took the canister out of the pantry, opened the vacu-seal top, scooped out a handful, and munched happily. Boy, I love raisins, I thought to myself, reaching in to take a second handful. I look in, so I can pick out the really juicy ones. Wait, I think. White raisins? Raisins aren't white. Nor do they move. Why are they moving? What is that? What is THAT? HOLY SHIT! Those can't be...maggots?!!? *gag...gag...gag...gag*
Needless to say that I couldn't eat raisins again for many years after that.
So, today, I was browsing through Consumerist, and boy-oh-boy, did I have a flashback to the raisin episode.
Says the article:
"My wife let out a full-throated scream that I've only really heard in my nightmares when she is being carried off by a giant squid or something and both of my legs have been cut off and I can't help her...she bent over, her trembling hands on her knees and spit out what was in her mouth onto the floor...my wife's box of Goobers was ALIVE and crawling with maggots...I peered inside the box and saw lumpen, misshapen Goobers with maggots or some kind of larvae crawling everywhere. "
I still have nightmares about raisins. Dancing, singing, california raisins, who open their mouths to sing "I heard it through the grape vine", only to havewaves upon waves of wriggling latrine fly larvae pour forth.
Thank gawd I don't eat goobers.
Discovery News just published a story, and I think every geek just simultaneously creamed their pants.
Here you see a graphical representation of a new type of engine to drive space ships: a real, live, warp drive. Like in Star Trek. Honestly.
Scientists at Baylor University say it's possible*. And they're totally not joking.
"A design first proposed in1994 by Michael Alcubierre is illustrated. The Alcubierre drive, as it's known, involves expanding the fabric of space behind a ship into a bubble and shrinking space-time in front of the ship. The ship would rest in between the expanding and shrinking space-time, essentially surfing down the side of the bubble."
The cool part: "The tricky part is that the ship wouldn't actually move; space itself would move underneath the stationary spacecraft. A beam of light next to the ship would still zoom away, same as it always does, but a beam of light far from the ship would be left behind."
How bad-ass is that?
When I was a kid, sitting in the back of my parents' stupid renault, counting the lines on the road as they flashed by, I used to wonder if we were moving over the world, or if we were standing still, and the world was moving beneath us. Similarly, someone once asked Einstein why the chicken crossed the road. He replied, "Did the chicken cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?" I envision this "warp-drive" the same way. The space ship stays still, while space moves around it.
*Yes, they also said it's impractical, and probably still a couple millenia from fruition, but dude, come on, we landed on the moon ahead of time. Let's be optimistic here, people. I've got my eye on a time share in the general vicinity of Betelgeuse.
Friday, July 25, 2008
This is a specimen of black wulframite with a fluorite growth on it. I really like it. However, it costs about $31. I really really want it, but I can't decide if I should buy it or not. It's relatively small, at 1.75"X1.5"X1". The whole specimen.
What should I do? Is it worth it?
Update:You know what? I looked at the pic on my blog, and figured, screw it. I want it. I just got a raise. Here's my present to myself.
Happy raise day to me.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Word to my sistahs:
I know you both have been waiting for my emails. It's been a busy couple of weeks - I know how that sounds. Not to worry, my boss will be away next week AND the following week. Some serious slacking will ensue, and I'll be able to answer ya'll's emails.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Today, Dr. Cool is wearing his labcoat (popped collar, of course), jeans, an old, faded hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned halfway down his chest, with his copious chest hair poking out, a gold chain, and his shiny, black, pointy-toed shoes.
Oh, how he annoys me.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Mental_Floss linked to this video in this morning's Cup O' Links. I like it, because it reminds me that my problems and life are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and that I should stop worrying and appreciate what I have.
I've commented on the beautiful nature of fractals before; shapes that occur in nature and reiternate themselves. Evil Scientist took one of my favorite types of fractals, the Sierpinski Carpet, and made cookies out of it.
After work today, I'm gonna go to the store and buy some pillsbury sugar cookie dough and try to make them myself. I'll post pics if I can get it to work. Or maybe I'll post pics anyway, to document my failure. My tasty, delicious, failure.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Hey, y'all. After work today, rather than go to the gym and sweat in front of a whole bunch of really skinny bitches (who wrap their mid-sections in saran wrap, thank you very much), I decided to go take a walk - a long walk - through central park. I took pictures. It was fun.
I came across this gentleman in the middle of the park, and asked if I could take his picture. Surprisingly, it came out amazing. I'm adding it to my portfolio and plan on entering it into next year's Cornell Arts Show.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This morning, I stumbled across the website of a museum in Massachusetts called the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). And while I can't stand bad art, in going through a gallery of their portrait collection, I began to question my own ability to differentiate bad art from good art. I bank on my abilities as an artist, and if I can't tell the bad from the good, then maybe my own isn't as good as I thought. Thereby in the midst of a panic, I was calmed by the amusing critiques the museum gave of each painting. Here are two of my favorites.
Lucy In the Field With Flowers
Oil on canvas by Unknown24" x 30"
Acquired from trash in Boston
Dear Sirs,!Bravissimo! Thank you! "Lucy" is clearly the key work in the collection. As with all great art, extended viewing reveals endless layers of mysteries: What is Norman Mailer's head doing on an innocent grandma's body, and are those crows or F-16's skimming the hills?
Madonna and Child III
Oil on canvas by A. Fontaine, 195716" x 20"
Acquired from Hyde Park antique store
A work of undisputed tenderness which places the spiritual above the physical through careful disregard for details of the human form.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Recently, we've had this Fellow (a doctor still in training - somewhere between a resident and an attending) shadowing my boss during his clinic hours. The Fellow is from the IVF department, and he's just trying to learn what a male infertility practice does. For the sake of argument, and because I don't want to keep calling him the Fellow, I am henceforth going to be calling him Dr. Cool.
Dr. Cool first came to visit last week. He showed up on time, like a good little doctor in training. He's relatively short, about 5'6", with black hair he's gelled into a faux-hawk. His tie was loose and the top button of his oxford shirt undone. He was wearing patent leather black shoes with pointy toes. And he had popped the collar of his lab coat. Oh, how he had popped the collar of his lab coat. Tell me, how much confidence would that inspire in you, a patient, when you are examined by a doctor who POPS HIS COLLAR?
Anyhoo, Dr. Cool came back today to visit with us again, and not only is he dressed similarily, but I caught a view of his socks. Black socks with NEON POKADOTS. Blue, yellow, green. All about an inch in diameter. Professional, no?
And what's his excuse? Does he have an excuse for dressing like a hipster, but without any sense of irony whatsoever? Apparently, the fact that he's French, from Paris, is his excuse. Apparently the young generation of doctors over there are all irony-lacking hipsters.
I wonder if being the chief of the department comes with a formal trucker-cap. Or Buddy Holly-style glasses.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Here's my play-by-play as I watch the Ms. Universe pageant, on tv right now.
I'm currently watching the Ms. Universe contest, and we are in the midst of the swimsuit competition. The ladies all look lovely, and they're stomping the runway to Lady Gaga (Gaya?)'s "let's dance". The singer has bleach blonde hair, shiny vinyl leggings, and a jacket with shoulder pads so huge, she looks like she could get radio reception with them. Holy '80's throwback, Jerry! (btw, Jerry Springer and Mel B are hosting)
The chick from Belgium is super hot, but she didn't make it through to the top 15.
South Africa just did the catwalk, to which BF exclaimed "ew...her walk sucks!" Which he then reiterated for Australia's walk.
Really, people? '80's hair is back in style? Really? Must I aquanet my hair three feet off my head?
Lady Gaga just came back on, and is holding a light-up cane that's either topped with rock candy or crumpled bubble wrap. Either way, she's pimp, yo. Ooh, and she's wearing eyeliner on one eye like the ladies in the Misfits did on Jem. Truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.
You know, when I was a kid, and the only reference for make up I had was what the ladies on Jem and the Holograms did, I used to draw lightning bolts on my face. I learned as I got older that this is not the appropriate usage for my mother's revlon cosmetics. Obviously Lady Gaga never got the memo.
Ooh, Ms. Kosovo's interests are writing in her diary. Ms. Australia likes netball. Ms. Russia likes to go clubbing. Ms. Italy's interests are economics and baking chocolate cakes. Thank gawd, I was hoping Ms. Universe didn't have mundane interests like volunteering in homeless shelters or doing research to cure AIDS.
BF is rooting for Ms. Venezuela. Why? Because we could learn a lot from their country. Just what could we learn, I ask. A lot, he responds. Okey dokey.
Watching all these chicks is making me crave a cheeseburger.
Evening gown time. Lots of spandez and sequins. Ms. Mexico's is see-through. It looks like a bad figure-skating outfit.
Oh, shit. Ms. America fell down. Score one for the terrorists. There was probably a government conspiracy to put grease on the bottom of her stilettos to make her fall, so they can blame it on Iran and have an excuse to invade. GO AMERICA!
Ms. Dominican Republic's dress is entirely see through but for a few strategically placed mirrors. It looks like her mom went crazy with a body-stocking and a hot glue gun.
This shit's on for another half hour, and I'm bored, so I'm gonna sign out for now. If anything else exciting happens, I'll update.
Ta for now.
I've been watching my mother go through menopause for the past few years, and considering the gawd-awful symptoms she's been experiencing, I've decided to put together my menopause shopping list ahead of time.
Actually, this would be good for me to have now. Very soon, ConEd is going to be raising NYC's energy rates by 22%, and I already pay $80 a month to run the air conditioning for seven hours a night in the bedroom. If I could just air condition the bed, I won't have to run the window unit. See, I can be green.
Also good for hotflashes. My mom gets hot flashes. Nasty ones that make her sweat. It makes her cranky. Very, very cranky.
Her crankiness often comes out as screaming hormone fits. So, when I have my little temper tantrums, BF can just slap this vase onto my face so he doesn't have to worry about it. Or, when he does something remarkably boneheaded, I can scream my insults and frustrations into it, and he'll be none the wiser.
Actually, I should probably get one of these now, too.
Shouting Vase - "holds your anger"
Furthermore, with menopause, I predict that I'll be freaking out because this is definitive proof of my being old. Thusly in crisis, I will attempt to act as young as possible, playing with toys from my childhood.
This throwback to the 1980's is not only nostalgic, it comes in relaxing scents. So if playing with one of my childhood toys doesn't relax me, I can just hurl it at BF's head before picking up my shouting vase and unloading a buttload of vitriol into it.