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January 27, 2011

"Bullitt" — The Car Chase

Considered one of the greatest car chases ever filmed, the green Mustang featured in the 10-minute sequence (above) in the 1968 movie, up and down the hills of San Francisco, was driven during its most dangerous segments by Loren Janes, now 79 and the last surviving member of the "Bullitt" car crew.

Marc Myers recently drove the chase route — at a crawl — with Janes riding shotgun in a 2011 Mustang V6; he recounted the experience in an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, excerpts from which follow.


Two weeks after the death of "Bullitt" director Peter Yates, Mr. Janes and I set out to honor him by driving the movie's chase route—cautiously. "Peter wanted everything about the chase to feel risky and rough," said Mr. Janes, whose stuntman credits include more than 500 movies and 2,100 TV episodes. "Peter never got cold feet about any of the stunts that coordinator Carey Loftin lined up. He knew that a memorable film needed to be on the edge."

On YouTube, the "Bullitt" chase remains chilling. The green Mustang and black Dodge Charger tear through urban residential neighborhoods, bouncing off hills like Hot Wheels cars and banging into each other along the way. Yates raised the stakes even further by placing cameras in the cars, creating a new genre in which the viewer becomes a queasy passenger.

McQueen did not do his own driving in the movie's most dangerous scenes. "Steve was a great driver, but he was only behind the wheel for about 10% of what you see on screen," said Mr. Janes, who was McQueen's stunt double from 1959 to 1980. "He drove in scenes that required closeups—but not in the ones that could kill him. Steve always asked me first whether a stunt was too dangerous for him to take on."

The chase's most breathtaking driving scenes are terrifying in real life, even for someone who grew up in 1970s muscle cars. As we began to descend Taylor Street's first sheer hill, Mr. Janes offered a warning: "Don't even try going down here the way I did. Our cars were heavily modified with racing shocks, special overinflated tires and skid bars on the underside. A factory car would come apart on impact if you sent it into the air here."

When the filming of "Bullitt" ended, McQueen offered Mr. Janes one of the three tricked-out Mustangs used in the film. Mr. Janes passed, fearful he would always want to drive it too fast. "Besides, I already had this," he said, removing a 1964 Rolex Submariner from his wrist. On the back was an inscription: "To the best damn stuntman in the world. Steve."

January 27, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What are they?


Answer here this time tomorrow.


January 27, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

20,000 beers tasted and rated


They're not in the Guinness Book of World Records (yet) but Bob and Ellie Tupper on January 17, 2010 sampled their 20,000th beer at a special tasting held in their honor.

How do they know it was the 20,000th?

Because since they started beer chronicling in 1979, they've made a written record of each and every beer they've tasted and their impressions of it.

FunFact: there are no repeats in their list.

The Tuppers — he is a high school history teacher and she is a senior production editor for the American Society for Microbiology — have been hosting tastings since 1985 at the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C.

The Tuppers' website — www.tuppersbeers.com — appears to be a work in progress, the last entry dated June 18, 2010.

A September 26, 2007 entry notes that they were at 18,750 that day.

Wrote Greg Kitsock in the Washington Post, "Now they jot down their impressions on pre-printed pads, noting the brewery, brew master, malts and hops used, aroma, taste, aftertaste, and circumstances under which the beer was quaffed. Bob carries a penlight that he shines into his glass so he can accurately record the beer's hue even in a dimly lit barroom."

More: "The Tuppers rate beers on a scale of 1 to 5. They've never given a perfect 5. But 4 is a pretty impressive score. ('A 4 is a beer we hop on a plane and fly to another country for.')"

And: "Their highest-scoring beer ever (a 4.75) was a six-year-old bottle of Thomas Hardy's Ale [top] that they sampled... in 1986)."

Before you grab your car keys and head out to try and find a bottle, consider this: "This beer is retired and no longer brewed. O'Hanlon's took over the brand and revived it in 2003, but discontinued it after the 2008 batch."

Seeing as the nonpareil 4.75 bottle was six years old at the time the Tuppers tasted it, it would appear this beer ages nicely in the bottle.

Your best bet would be online amongst the hoardings of a serious collector.

[via Noreen Burns and the Ballston-Virginia Square Patch]

January 27, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hieroglyphic Eye Chart


See like an Egyptian.


January 27, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



Exoplanet: a planet around a star other than the sun. The 21st century will feature them.

"Exoplanet is a daily updated database of all discovered extrasolar planets."

Consider that Earth is an exoplanet to intelligences outside the solar system.


I wonder if we've shown up on any of their apps yet?

I mean, they'd have an App store and stuff, wouldn't they?

Free, the way we like it.

Did I mention how much I adore the "Hide Technobabble" button in the upper right corner of the screen shot above?


Should be required for anything computer- or web-related.

[via Richard Kashdan]

January 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Library of Congress hawk headed for rehab


Regular readers will recall that last week Wednesday (January 19, 2011), a Cooper's hawk was spotted in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress (above).

In today's Washington Post story by Elizabeth Flock [sic], we learn that "A female Cooper's hawk that spent a week trapped in the Library of Congress was safely captured Wednesday and taken to a rehabilitation center in Virginia.

"The hawk caught the public's imagination as it eluded would-be rescuers and swooped over researchers' heads in the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building's Main Reading Room. It even snatched frozen quail from a trap without being caught.

"At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, a three-member team led by representatives of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia captured the bird using a caged pair of starlings, named Frick and Frack, as bait. It took 25 minutes.

[Below, the raptor and its captors.]


[From left: Kennon Smith, a federally licensed raptor bander; Linda Moore, vice president of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia; and Craig Kopple, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.]

"While the hawk was in the library, it cultivated an audience that tracked its antics closely. Library staff members frequently visited the reading room to check up on the bird; one regularly brought binoculars to view it up close.

"Bird experts from across the nation offered their help. Some worried that the hawk would die. The hawk was captured weighing 424 grams and was called 'emaciated' by conservancy Vice President Linda Moore. The bird was taken to the conservancy in Falls Church.

"After it is restored to health, the hawk will be released into the wild, far from the Library of Congress, Moore said."

January 27, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Water can "explode" in your microwave

Who knew?

Here is the back story, related in an enlightening "On The House" column by James and Morris Carey.


Danger lurks in the microwave

A man placed a cup of cold water into his microwave to bring it to a boil. He had done this on numerous occasions. We do not know what length of time was set on the microwave. When it stopped, the man removed the cup, looked into it and noticed the water was not boiling.

Suddenly the water in the cup "exploded." While the cup remained intact, the hot water splashed onto his face, giving him first- and second-degree burns to his entire face and neck.

While at the hospital, the attending physician told the man that the circumstances surrounding his injuries were fairly common. How would you like to be told that such a common event could produce such serious injuries — on a regular basis?

What we found is that water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven. When water is heated in a microwave, something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy — such as a wooden stir stick or even a tea bag. Obviously, nothing metal should be used.

Here is how a major appliance manufacturer responded to the above event:

"Thanks for contacting us. The information that you received is correct. Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach their boiling point. They can actually become superheated and not bubble at all. The superheated liquid will bubble up out of the cup when it is moved or when something like a spoon or tea bag is placed therein."

Here is what one expert had to say: "I have seen this happen before. It is caused by a phenomenon known as "super heating." It can occur anytime water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new, or when heating a small amount (less than half a cup).

"What happens is that the water heats faster than vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new, it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil and it continues to heat up well past its boiling point.

"Bumping or jarring the container can cause bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken."

To prevent water from exploding in a microwave:

• Do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup.

• After heating, let the cup stand in the microwave for 30 seconds before attempting to remove it or add anything to it.

• Use a container whose interior surface is at least a little scratched.

• Tap the outside of the container a few times with a solid object while it is still in the oven. Use a long object so that your hand remains outside the oven.

• Keep your face well away from the open oven door and from the container.

All of these precautions should reduce the chance or extent of superheating and resultant injury. Nevertheless, very hot water is always dangerous and one should always treat it with caution.


[via Caroline]

January 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Two-quart saucepan with lid


No need to use it: just put it out where you can see it.

18/10 stainless steel; 3.5"H x 7.5" Ø.

Designed by Björn Dahlström.


[via Svpply]

January 27, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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