Friday, December 31, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude -- the obligatory Auld Lang Syne, on this New Year's Eve:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Farewell to Kodachrome days

Tonight's end-of-an-era tribute -- Paul Simon's 1973 hit, Kodachrome. Via Denninger, we learn from CBS News that the last film lab in the world to process Kodachrome, Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas, is processing its last roll of Kodak's legendary color transparency film today. Kodak had announced last year, in June 2009, that it was discontinuing the film after 74 years. Dwayne's Photo is apparently the last lab -- anywhere -- to process it.

From the CBS Story:
"It's going to be really sad day, it was an important part of our business and Kodachrome was an important part of the history of all of photography," Grant Steinle said. "To know it was the first consumer color film that was available. Lots of really iconic images of the 20th century were captured on Kodachrome."

Steve McCurry captured one - the 12-year Afghan girl on the cover of National Geographic in 1984. Actually, he captured two, when he returned to Afghanistan and found her 17 years later.

"Kodachrome was my mainstay film, this was the main film I used for 30 year," McCurry said. "I have about 800,000 Kodachrome transparencies in my archive, maybe more, and this was probably the greatest film ever made."

When Kodak announced it was discontinuing Kodachrome last year, he had an idea.

"I called my contacts, my friends at Kodak and said you know I'd really like to get the last roll and do a project with it to kind of honor this passing of this iconic film," he said.

He picked a region in India where he'd come across the perfect subjects.

"I decided to pick a community which was disappearing," he said. "It was a nomadic community which I spent a week with and traveled with them and photographed their way of live because again, like Kodachrome their way of life is vanishing."

He used most of the last roll of Kodachrome ever made, but saved just a couple of frames, which he shot in parsons just before dropping the film off at Dwayne's.

The very last image ever made with Kodachrome is a civil war cemetery in Parsons, Kan.

"I was going to the lab in the next 15 or 20 minutes and I drove past the cemetery and I thought this would be a sort of perfect ending to the roll of Kodachrome - a cemetery," McCurry said. "It's a passing of an era." ...

The end of an era, indeed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Celtic Woman performs Amazing Grace:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Old rockstar songs

Tonight's musical humor - comedian Tim Hawkins sings the songs old rock stars will be singing in their old age:

New Jersey town spends over $17,000 to defend $5 fee it charged resident .. and loses

Today's no-wonder-your-state's-broke story comes from the Garden State, where the town of Bridgewater spent more than $14,000 in legal fees to defend a $5 fee it charged resident Tom Coulter for a CD of a town council meeting. The town lost its fight, and had to pony up another $3,500 for Mr. Coulter's legal fees, along with a $4.04 refund for the overcharge on the CD.

Read it here. So, $17,504.04 of the taxpayers money down the tubes. Hey, it's not like New Jersey is in financial straits, or anything, right? Obviously, $17K is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions in the hole New Jersey's government at all levels is in, but it speaks to the kind of contempt that their politicians have for their taxpayers money, that they would spend waste that kind of money over a $5 matter.

But for the most part that's representative of socialist governments, always happy to waste other people's hard-earned money. Then act surprised when the money runs out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ball in a box, spud edition

Tonight's culinary carving:

A Christmas story

Today's inspirational story, from the Boston Globe:
MELROSE — Everybody was waiting for Rudy.

On Tuesday night, Patty and Rick Parker were in their cramped kitchen with their 8-year-old son Ben. Dinner was over. Bedtime was near.

Ben’s twin brother, Sammy, lay on a cot in the narrow hallway just outside the kitchen. Unable to see or speak or control his limbs, he coughed or let out a little moan every now and then. Rick and Patty took turns feeding Sammy, who has cerebral palsy, through a stomach tube. He cooed when they kissed his face or stroked his cheek, and when they cooed back, he opened his mouth into a wide, joyful O.

A few feet away was the narrow, winding stairway that is the family’s biggest burden lately.

Which is where 17-year-old Rudy’s simple, life-changing act of kindness comes in.

Until recently, Rick carried Sammy up those 14 stairs to his bedroom each night. But a few months ago, Rick had major surgery for a life-threatening heart condition, and now he can’t lift much at all, let alone a 75-pound child.

“We thought Rick was going to die, and we were terrified,’’ Patty recalled. “We knew right away he had to stop carrying Sam.’’

Patty couldn’t carry him, either. Desperate, she called her pediatrician, who put her in touch with Elizabeth Paquette, the nurse at Malden Catholic High School. Paquette said she’d take care of it. The boys at Malden Catholic are taught to embrace service: She’d find plenty of students to help.

Rudy Favard was the first kid Paquette came across after that call. At Malden Catholic on a partial scholarship from the Catholic Schools Foundation, this son of Haitian immigrants was one of Paquette’s treasures. The linebacker, cocaptain of the football team and honor roll student was always willing to lend a hand.

The nurse had barely begun telling Rudy about the Parkers before he said he’d help. Another boy would fill in for Rudy on game nights. And a third boy was on standby in case neither of the others could make it.

When Paquette brought the boys to meet the family for the first time, the Parkers cried. ...
Read the rest here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Canon Rock:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a merry, and very blessed Christmas!

Tonight's Christmas musical interlude - Sir Colin Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, with Susan Gritton, Sara Mingardo, Mark Padmore, Alastair Miles and the Tenebrae choir performing For Unto Us a Child is Born from Handel's Messiah:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Faith Hill's rendition of Joy to the World:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Conan the horseman

Tonight's horse story - Conan O'Brien visits Martha Stewart's ranch in New York:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Tonight's human castles, from Tarragona, Spain:

From the video's description:
In the city of Tarragona, Spain, castellers gather every two years to see who can build the highest, most intricate human castles. This uniquely Catalan tradition requires astonishing strength, finesse, and balance. Not to mention courage.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's festive Christmas lights and musical interlude, from a house in Frisco, TX (from a Christmas 2005 display). The song is Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Wizards in Winter:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simulated driving

Tonight's advanced automobile simulator:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Carol of the Bells, by male a cappella group Straight, No Chaser:

And Andrea Bocelli sings Angels We Have Heard On High:

[Both via Aggie Catholics]

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin do a little Foggy Mountain breakdown:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sleepless (and Icy) in Seattle

Tonight's icy road video -- from a snow/ice storm last month, on Seattle's John Street in Capitol Hill according to the video's description:

A mugger's Christmas story

Today's video Christmas card, from Tiger Valley, a firearms training facility in Texas [hat tip: Tom O.]:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What's that you say?

Tonight's speech perception video - the McGurk effect:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A few Christmas lights

Tonight's Christmas lights compilation:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When lawyers take Viagra

Tonight's lawyer humor:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus performs 'Behold the Lamb of God' from Handel's Messiah:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The turbo entabulator

Tonight's gobbledygook explanation - the Turbo Entabulator:

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Tonight's K-9 fishing video:

Friday, December 10, 2010

San Francisco

Tonight's tilt-shift video - scenes from San Francisco:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude - Silent Night, by Celtic Woman live at the Helix Center in Dublin, Ireland:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Floating green

Tonight's unusual golf green - the floating green at Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho:

That's Mistress Sarah to you, Left Wingers

Zombie over at Pajamas Media gives his take on the Left's obsession with Sarah Palin:
Why are liberals obsessed with Sarah Palin?

Because she is their dominatrix.

I posit that American liberal men are, as a group, masochists in search of a sadist. Sarah Palin at first walked into the dominant role completely unwittingly, but once she grasped the erotic control she wielded over her opponents, she became not quite as unwitting about it as some may think.

Sexual kinks are a peculiar thing: they often make no logical sense to an outsider who does not share the fetish. How can liberals denounce Sarah Palin as a Nazi and a bitch and an idiot yet simultaneously harbor a masturbatory fascination with her?
Read it here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Tonight's text input interface:

Monday, December 6, 2010

I guess you could call it a kalamari impersonator

Tonight's unusual sea creature - the Mimic Octopus:

Weimar, an anecdote

Today's hyperinflationary anecdote, from Alex Nevalainen at, who quotes the following story from Max Shapiro's The Penniless Billionaires (now out-of-print) on the hyperinflation that hit the Weimar Republic in 1922-23:
The German Hyperinflation, 1922-1923

In the autumn of 1923, Lott Hendlich, a German widow in her fifties, returned to her native Frankfurt after an absence of more than four years in Switzerland. In 1919 she had gone to spend a few pleasant weeks in a Swiss village where her relatives lived. But almost immediately, Frau Hendlich broke her hip in a fall. During her long convalescence her chronic cough became worse, and the doctor attending her advised her that she was suffering from advanced tuberculosis. The months and years of her illness dragged on interminably even though her relatives were genuinely solicitous (they insisted on defraying all her expenses, including the fees of her doctor). At last, in September 1923, she was "cured" and considered well enough to return home. Her much longed-for homecoming soon became a nightmare.

In the stack of accumulated mail she found three letters from her bank; they delineated her ruin. The first–written in mid-1920 by a minor bank officer who had befriended her–advised her "to invest most of the funds in your rather substantial bank account" (amounting to over 600,000 marks, or the equivalent of more than $70,000 at the exchange rate prevailing in 1919). "It is my judgment," the writer continued, "that the purchasing power of the mark will decline, and I suggest you try to guard against this through some suitable investment which we can discuss when you come into the bank."

The next letter, dated in September 1922, and signed by another officer said, "It is no longer profitable for us to service such a small account as yours. Will you kindly withdraw your funds at the earliest opportunity?"

The third letter, dated several weeks before her return from Switzerland, announced, "Not having heard from you since our last communication, we have closed out your account. Since we no longer have on hand any small-denomination bank notes, we herein enclose a note for one million marks."

With gathering panic Frau Hendlich looked at the envelope that had contained the letter and the million-mark note. She noticed that affixed to it there was a canceled postage stamp of one million marks. Her bank account–which four years before seemed large enough to provide her with a serene existence to the end of her days–had been utterly consumed by inflation and could no longer pay for an ordinary postage stamp.
Got precious metals?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Floating cube

Tonight's optical illusion:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sportscaster in training

Tonight's sports news recap:

Friday, December 3, 2010


Tonight's compilation of awesomeness:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Human dummy

Tonight's ventriloquism routine - ventriloquist Paul Zerdin does his routine at Comedy Rocks:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amateurs in space

Actually, amateur radio operators in space. For those who may not know, the International Space Station (ISS) has an amateur ("ham") radio station, callsign NA1SS. The video below is by Col. Doug Wheelock, ISS Expedition 25 commander, talking to US amateur radio operators down on terra firma: