January 21, 2020

Which birth dates are most common* in the U.S.?

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*For babies born 1973-1999

Created by Matt Stiles.

January 21, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Burning Love Music Box

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From the website:

Charming music box plays Elvis Presley's "Burning Love."

Place on hard surface like wood or glass.

Hand crank to play song.

3" x 1.5" x 1".

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$9.

January 21, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 20, 2020

Wild Mandarin Duck

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As seen on Bing worldwide.

Photo caption: "Wild Mandarin Duck on dark green lake, UK."

By David Slater/DanitaDelimont.com.

[via Joe Peach who wrote, "This picture is part of Windows (Bing) wallpaper/screen saver. I was entranced by its plumage, it 'zenned' me when I first viewed it on my 28" monitor! ... I wish you could see it without icons on a big screen!"]

January 20, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"Who Will Save Your Soul? — Jewel and Jessica Simpson

Who knew Jessica Simpson could sing so well?

January 20, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pinball Map

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"Welcome to Pinball Map!"

It's a user-updated map of public pinball machines.

But wait, there's more!

Internet Pinball Machine Database is "a comprehensive, searchable encyclopedia of virtually every pinball machine ever commercially made."

"The database currently includes 71,534 images of 6,264 games."

January 20, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Mars on Earth: Dust Storms in Australia

From the Guardian

Damaging winds produced by thunderstorms across central New South Wales (NSW) have whipped up dust storms that turned daytime into night in some towns.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a series of severe thunderstorm warnings on Sunday evening for inland NSW with the associated winds generating massive dust clouds.

Videos posted to social media showed dust storms descending on Dubbo and nearby towns that were so thick they blocked out the sun.

January 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Limited-Edition Hello Kitty Dry Suit

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From the website:

The Hello Kitty Dry Suit is for seriously kawaii water sports.

Look out for the Sanrio cat's iconic red and white ribbons decorating the arms and shoulders, as well as a few on the chest.

And can you spot Hello Kitty's eyes and whiskers too?

Just in case you can't tell what character this is meant to be, "Hello Kitty" is stamped on the back of the left leg.

You can also get a Hello Kitty diving hood for the final touch, complete with a red Kitty-chan ribbon.

There is an ankle weight too.

This is a strictly limited edition item, with only 50 available.

Features and Details:

• Genuine dry suit with valve and sealing

• Optional hood (white or black) with red ribbon (small or large)

• Optional ankle weight (1.1 lbs)

$6,023.

January 20, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 19, 2020

Not Waving but Drowning — Stevie Smith

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The title of her 1972 poem long ago became part of the everyday lexicon but I doubt many who use it in conversation or writing know who invented it.

January 19, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Most frequently checked-out books in the history of the New York Public Library

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From the Washington Post:

The books we return to year after year tell a curious story about who we are.

The New York Public Library has just released the titles of the 10 most checked-out books in its 125-year history.

Bestsellers may offer a snapshot of passing fads, but this remarkable list compiled from more than a century of circulation data is like a literary cardiogram of the nation's beating heart.

The list of books most frequently checked out of the New York Public Library is dominated by titles for children, particularly picture books.

There's a practical reason for that: Shorter books get returned more quickly, which makes greater turnover possible. But that numerical justification can't obscure the real explanation, which is that for generations parents have been turning to libraries to satisfy their children's thirst for stories.

The soporific observations of Dick and Jane appeared in the early 1930s, but the naughty adventure of "The Cat in the Hat" is No. 2 on the NYPL list.

As the world knows, Dr. Seuss presents the tale of two siblings left alone by their trusting mother to "sit! sit! sit! sit!" in the house on a "cold, cold wet day."

Soon, a zany cat crashes in, announcing, "We can have lots of good fun that is funny!"

How delightfully chaotic this book is, how packed with irresistible mischief.

But its most subversive moment comes at the very end, after the house has been spotlessly restored and Mother returns to ask, "What did you do?"

Suddenly, the boy narrator turns outward and confronts us with the first great ethical crisis of our reading experience: "Should we tell her about it?" he asks. "Well... what would YOU do if your mother asked YOU?"

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That same untamed spirit animates several other books on the NYPL list, especially "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak.

Who isn't cheered by the example of Max, who dons his wolf suit and "made mischief of one kind and another?"

Over the years "and in and out of weeks and through a day," millions of young readers have fantasized about defying their mothers and leading monsters on a wild rumpus.

Here, in lush pictures and a gripping tale is the reassurance we all need — as children and parents — that even if we're wild, we can come home again and find dinner waiting for us.

Slightly older readers are ready for a more complex lesson in the complications of life, and they get it from "Charlotte's Web."

With his story about the barnyard friendship of a pig and a wise spider, E.B. White made us and our parents cry, which was upsetting but also comforting in ways we couldn't understand until we had our own children.

Writing in a clear, gently witty tone that New Yorker readers enjoyed for half a century, White created a profoundly intimate space, a little sanctuary in which we could learn about death, yes, but also the persistence of love.

Surely, the least surprising title on this list is "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Given how recently it was published — relative to the library's 125-year history — it's magical that "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" appears at number 9.

The youngest — and the longest — book on the list, "Harry Potter" is a phenomenon whose influence will be felt for generations.

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With their adventures about a humble kid who fights the powers of darkness, J.K. Rowling's novels have encouraged untold millions of children to read; reinvigorated the fantasy genre; revived the fortunes of publishing; and generated billions for Hollywood.

January 19, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"I can't do it"

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Above, what the multifaceted James Altucher tells people when he receives invitations to do things he'd rather not.

Decades ago I read his advice to use these.four.words whenever opting out, and they have eased my refusals wonderfully.

Try it, you'll like it.

If the person asking doesn't cease and desist right then and there and asks again, simply repeat these.four.words. ad infinitum until they shut up and go away.

If you aren't satisfied with the results, let me know and I'll refund twice* what you paid for this advice.

*clifyt, you get 3x$ back

January 19, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

When are vegetables in season?

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January 19, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

3.25" serrated edge paring knife

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Fair warning: this puppy is super razor sharp.

From Victorinox, the people who bring you the original Swiss Army Knife.

Red or black plastic handle; also available with straight blade.

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$8.99.

Colorful set of four:

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$24.95.

January 19, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 18, 2020

"The Final Cut"

I happened on this days of future past sci-fi film, released in 2004, by chance.

I couldn't figure out how come I never heard of it other than that perhaps it was one of many movies that, for whatever reason, go straight to Netflix or Amazon Prime video and their ilk without ever appearing in theaters.

But Robin Williams is always good and sci-fi — especially about memories and their manipulation — is something I have a weakness for, so what the heck, I figured, go for it.

The movie revolves around something called a Zoe implant, which costs a small fortune and is a kind of biologically-based memory chip which, when placed and activated in utero, from that second on records everything that happens to a person as seen through their eyes, with every frame time-stamped.

After a Zoe-implanted individual dies, the family hires a specialist called a "cutter" to download the footage and create a kind of video memorial of that person, a two-hour long "Rememory."

Headstones in cemeteries in this future world feature continually running Rememory loops for anyone who cares to watch.

The plot of the film involves a particularly controversial individual and the proposed creation of his Rememory by Williams, considered the go-to cutter for people whose lives might be unbearable to watch by most cutters.

Imagine for a second, if you will, what it would be like to have someone watch everything you've ever done through your eyes — even the things you pretend never happened.

Not a pleasant thought, is it?

I venture that no one's life could withstand this kind of scrutiny without the outside observer turning away in dismay and disgust every now and then.

Or maybe you're a better person than me and most people I know, and so the secret parts of your life wouldn't trouble anyone.

I'm not betting on it.

But I digress.

I liked the movie and but I don't think most people would.

Pink Floyd offers a different take on "The Final Cut."

January 18, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nutrition Database

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Res ipsa loquitur.

January 18, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"The Perfectionists" — Simon Winchester

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This is the best nonfiction book I've read in a long, long time.

From one review: 

Winchester... regularly chooses for his books subjects that aren't exactly general knowledge and then makes bestsellers out of those books by making everything he writes fascinating.

[His] book is about the raw engineering and precision manufacturing that makes the dreams of scientists possible. 

Winchester is a champion humanizer; it's the foremost of his many writing skills.

He sifts through the historical record, builds impressive bibliographies, and then crafts it all into three-dimensional characters.

Rave reviews here, here, and here.

January 18, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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