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June 17, 2021

'I Was Spat Out By A Whale'

A cameraman was ingested by a Bryde's whale while he was filming a bait ball off the coast of South Africa a couple years ago.

His wife took photos of him while he was half in the whale.

Fortunately, the whale spat him out a few seconds later.

As soon as he got out of the whale, he swam up to his wife to ask, "Did you get it?"

YouTube caption:

A dramatic set of pictures show a man nearly being swallowed by a Bryde's Whale off Port Elizabeth Harbour.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, has worked as a dive tour operator in South Africa for over 15 years.

But in February, he experienced something very rare — the inside of a whale's mouth.

In perfect sea conditions, Rainer and his team set off to document a sardine run — a natural event where gannets, penguins, seals, dolphins, whales and sharks work together to gather the fish into bait balls.

Rainer and his colleagues filmed the expedition for educational and environmental purposes.

He led his team into the ocean, about 25 nautical miles from shore.

But it was when the sea suddenly churned up that the team knew something strange was happening.

June 17, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Netflix.shop

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From the New York Times:

Netflix: The Store!

You streamed it. Now you can buy it at Netflix.shop, a new site that will offer everything from a "Lupin" side table to a "Yasuke" clock.

There will be "Lupin" pillows and Netflix-branded boxer shorts.

There will be caps, necklaces, charms, and hoodies, all of it for sale at Netflix.shop, a site that went live last week, when the world's biggest streaming company planted a flag in the territory of e-commerce.

The shopping site gives Netflix a new way to bring in cash after a quarter in which its explosive growth showed signs of slowing down in the increasingly crowded field of streamed entertainment, one that now includes a formidable rival in Disney+.

Unlike some of its competitors, including Hulu and HBO Max, Netflix, the home of "Bridgerton," "The Witcher," and "The Crown," does not have commercials, relying on the monthly fees paid by its more than 200 million subscribers around the world. That's where Netflix.shop comes in.

The site is the next logical step for a company that has gotten serious about the retail business in the last year, an effort led by the executive Josh Simon, who runs Netflix's consumer products division.

Mr. Simon joined the company in March 2020 after working in a similar role at Nike. On his watch, the consumer products team has grown to 60 people, from 20, and Netflix has made deals with Walmart, Sephora, Amazon, and Target to sell clothes, toys, beauty kits, and housewares, among other items, related to its series and films.

Netflix created the online store with the tech company Shopify. Mr. Simon described it as a "boutique," adding that products tied to only a few Netflix shows will be included in its first few weeks.

"Lupin," the buzzy French crime show about an expert thief, will be front and center at Netflix.shop later this month. In addition to baseball caps, T-shirts, hoodies and sweaters, the "Lupin"-related merchandise will include throw pillows ($60 apiece) and a side table ($150), all of it designed and produced in collaboration with the Louvre museum.

Two Netflix anime series, "Eden" and "Yasuke," were featured in the store on its first day. A clock based on the "Yasuke" character Haruto, created in collaboration with the artist and designer Nathalie Nguyen, is priced at $135.

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There is also a "Yasuke" clothing line, which came about through a collaboration with the streetwear label Hypland and its founder, Jordan Bentley. "He's part of that drop culture, where kids are lining up on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles to buy his products," Mr. Simon said.

In the coming months, products tied to other Netflix shows, including "Stranger Things" and "Money Heist," will appear on the online shelves.

The demand seems to be there: Thousands of fan-made products related to the Netflix documentary series "Tiger King," including candles, face masks, and greeting cards, are on sale at Etsy and similar sites, without the company's blessing.

Netflix has capitalized on hits like "Bridgerton," a period romance from the producer Shonda Rhimes, which debuted in December. Working with the clothing company Phenomenal, Netflix started selling $59 sweatshirts inspired by the show. The line includes a lavender hoodie with the words "I Wish to Be Entertained" across the front, as well as a crew neck with the message, "I Burn for You."

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["Eden" is one of the two Netflix anime series featured in the launch.]

"To All the Boys I've Loved Before," a Netflix romantic-comedy film franchise, has spawned a clothing and accessories line at H&M, as well as beauty kits at Sephora. There are also Mattel dolls and a Walmart plush toy tied to the Netflix animated hit "Over the Moon."

Netflix.shop will allow the company to move faster to meet demand for items related to Netflix shows that trend on social media. "We did that pretty quickly," Mr. Simon said of the "Bridgerton" sweatshirts, "but I think we're talking about a matter of days when we have our next unexpected hit."

A desire for quick turnaround times played into the company's decision to run its store through Shopify, whose technology supports an array of vendors including Allbirds, Kith, The New York Times, and Kim Kardashian's Skims.

Harley Finkelstein, the company's president, said Shopify was experienced in handling "major drops," everything from Taylor Swift albums to sneaker releases, and it can manage tens of thousands of checkouts per minute. "We've been battle-hardened around some of the largest flash sales on the planet," he said.

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[Netflix.shop will allow the company to more quickly meet demand for mechandise related to popular shows.]

Products based on entertainment hits go back to the early days of Hollywood. Disney sold plates, jigsaw puzzles, tin pails, and other goods featuring Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Snow White, and other characters as far back as the 1920s. Decades later, George Lucas made a fortune thanks to a fortuitous deal he cut with Fox that let him hang on to the rights to "Star Wars" products in exchange for a discount on his director's fee, an arrangement he made before the first film in the series came out.

Tech companies are now getting into the act as they look for fresh revenue streams. Google recently announced plans to open a New York store, and Instagram has ramped up its in-app shopping features.

Sales of licensed products tied to shows, films, and characters were about $49 billion in the United States in 2019, and $128 billion globally, according to the most recent study of the industry by Licensing International, a trade group. The biggest player, by orders of magnitude, is Disney.

Mr. Simon, the Netflix executive, said the money generated by the shopping site is not expected to match the amount Netflix makes through its deals with store chains and fashion brands. "Practically speaking, the revenue will come more from those partners around the world in terms of sheer footprint and number of locations and magnitude," he said.

Unlike Disney, which is estimated to generate tens of billions of dollars in sales each year in merchandise, Netflix has no plans for brick-and-mortar stores in malls or Times Square.

June 17, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Royal Flycatcher

More on this striking bird here.

June 17, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

bookofjoeTV is alive and well

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Above, an update just in from YouTube on my channel's May numbers.

A shout-out here to subscriber #669, who brought me that much closer to the magic 1,000 required for me to be able to livestream from my phone as opposed to a static computer.

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At this rate, I should hit 1,000 in 2048 (331 subscribers needed x  12 new subscribers/year = 27+ years).

What a great 100th birthday present!

I sometimes wonder if I'll be like the dog who finally catches the car he's been chasing since forever, confounded as to what he's supposed to do next.

If you'd rather not wait till 2048, you can accelerate things by subscribing and encouraging everyone you know to do the same.

Free, the way we like it.

June 17, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maori Crayon Set

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From the website:

Made in New Zealand, this crayon set features color labelling in both Maori and English.

There are 10 crayons inside a very attractive box.

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£10.

June 17, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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