What’s on Santa’s Christmas shopping list this year? (2016 gift giving ideas)

Santa has made his Christmas shopping list, checked it twice, and has loaded it up with goodies! Wanna check them out for yourself for your own gift giving ideas? Here are the Amazon links:
➜ Cars Against Humanity
➜ Amazon Echo / Alexa
➜ Fujifilm Instax instant film camera
➜ Sony Playstation 4 Slim
➜ The Secret Life of Pets BluRay
➜ Hasbro’s Pie Face Game
➜ Dead Sea Mud Mask
➜ FitBit Charge 2
➜ Innogear Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
➜ Amazon Fire Stick
➜ Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train

Those are affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I do receive a small commission for sales resulting from these links.

Dangerous Tech that Worked OK – Radium Clocks, X-Ray Shoe Fitters…

Old school ideas like lead paint, leaded gasoline, x-ray shoe fitters, and radioactive clocks might have been dangerous, but they did serve their purpose well.

8 Under Rated Bass Players

What about the bassists who are extremely successful, but not widely recognized by the general public – under-rated – for their bass playing abilities? Maybe they’re famous for other reasons or just known as part of a band vs. an individual.
Here are the links:
Gene Simmons – Kiss
Paul McCartney – The Beatles, Wings, solo
John Deacon – Queen
Christ Wolstenholme – Muse
Sting – The Police / Sting
Ross Valory – Journey
Simon Gallup – The Cure
Carol Kaye – session bassist:
bass playing 
giving a lesson to Gene Simmons 

39 1/2 Really Dumb Jokes – Silly Puns and Dad Jokes

For the list this week, we’re taking a break from too much thinking and factual consideration. It’s just a list of really stupid jokes. Besides, it’s always good to have a few good silly jokes on hand, right?

Indians Had a Noise Complaint – Thanksgiving Tag Video

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Well… that’s what Wikipedia says anyway. Funny, they don’t much mention the Indians (Native Americans / First Nation People) unless you really dig.
I was tagged by Vickie Eisenstein:

Mercury Was Used for WHAT?

Mercury (Hg) is the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure. It’s used in float valves, mercury switches, medical devices, and CFL lamps, and has been used in the past for a variety of uses that were just plain bad ideas; laxatives, baby teething powder, syphilis treatment, etc.

The Aroma of Tacoma

The Aroma of Tacoma is an odor associated with Tacoma, Washington. The smell is similar to the odor of rotten eggs. Many possible causes have been attributed to the Aroma of Tacoma, including sediment in Commencement Bay, sulfur released from the Simpson Tacoma Kraft pulp and paper mill, a rendering plant, the U.S. Oil refinery, or a combination of all of these. In 1996, the paper mill completed a $4million cleanup and the odor has been eliminated for the most part.

Mars – Incredible Facts About the Red Planet

Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is our second-nearest neighbor and the most Earth-like planet in our solar system. Nasa, Elon Musk, and others look forward to a day when we could colonize Mars. People could travel through space to Mars and start a new life. Would you go?

Ghost Bikes – Roadside Memorials for Fallen Cyclists

A ghost bike is a roadside memorial made out of a bicycle that’s painted white. They’re installed in places where a cyclist has been killed, usually by a motor vehicle. Apart from a memorial, it’s also a reminder to passing drivers to watch out of bikes.
RoadBikeCulture YouTube channel

8 Mind-Blowing Bridges

It’s possible a bridge might have been one of the first structures man has ever built. After all, it’s as easy as laying a log over the span of a ravine. This week’s list is about eight remarkable bridges.

Dog Suicide Bridge
Overtoun Bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland is a gothic stone structure arching 50 feet above a small river below and over the past 50 years 50 dogs have jumped to their deaths from it. Supposedly over 600 dogs have actually jumped, which I guess indicates pretty good odds for survival from that fall… if you’re a dog. Some dogs have even jumped twice.

Oldest Functioning Bridge in the World
The Caravan Bridge over the river Meles in Turkey is the oldest bridge in the world that’s still in regular use. It’s a single arch stone bridge that dates back to around 850 BC. That’s 2865 years-ish! According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the average designed lifespan of a bridge in the States is 50 years.

An Even OLDER Bridge
The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece is the world’s oldest bridge and dates back to the Bronze age. That’s around 1300BC when King Tut was still in charge.

Running in Circles
The Laguna Garzón Bridge in Uruguay was designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly. It’s weird circular design is intended to slow drivers down, allowing drivers and passengers to take in the scenery. It also reduces traffic noise and it’s a pretty good bet it’ll end up a popular tourist attraction

Bridge to Nowhere
Azusa California, however, can boast the actual Bridge to Nowhere. It was built in 1936 and was meant to be part of the East Fork Road project in the San Gabriel Mountains. The road was still under construction in 1938 when it was destroyed by a huge flood. After that, the project was scrapped, but the bridge is still there.

The Mount Huashan hike in China is known as the most dangerous hike in the world. It’s officially called Changkong Zhandao “Long Sky Dangerous Road”. It was first built in the 13th century for monks. Now, with the assistance of a safety harness installed in 2005, pretty much anyone is welcome to try

The Eshima Ohashi Bridge in Japan is known as “The Rollercoaster Bridge”. It spans Lake Nakaumi and was build with a high center to allow boat traffic to pass below it without the need for a drawbridge. Photos exaggerate the slope with telephoto lenses, but it’s still steep for a bridge.

China’s Bridge to Nowhere
The New Yalu River Bridge was constructed between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of about $330million. It was supposed to connect China’s Dandong with North Korea to further free trade relations between the two countries, and it was meant to handle 20,000 vehicles a day. The problem is North Korea dropped the ball on their share of the infrastructure and the four lane bridge ends very abruptly in a field in North Korea.

For the full story, check out the video!

Thumbnail photo: Creative Commons 2.0 Jimmy Baikovicius

The Alaskan Ice Monster – A Lesson in Critical Thinking

The Internet has gone crazy for a new monster, apparently we’ve grown bored of clowns and we’ve moved on to a mysterious sea creature in a river in Alaska.

It all started with a 21 second video clip of what appears to be a 15 foot ice-covered creature swimming upstream in an undulating fashion. Undulating, by the way, means to move in a wavelike fashion; that will be important later.

Inferred credibility grew out of the fact that the video was originally posted on the Facebook page of Alaska’s Bureau of Land Management, part of the United States Department of the Interior, a government agency. The caption of the video was, “Our Fairbanks employees captured this strange ‘thing’ swimming in the Chena River in Fairbanks.”

It’s exciting to think that a new creature has been discovered. It’s also exciting when things are mysterious, we’re compelled to want to know more, our brains are just wired that way. What’s in the water in the video looks somewhat like a creature moving against the current. Also, the Facebook post referred to it as a “thing” and said it was “swimming”, which further misdirects the brain into believing a new sea monster has been discovered.

There’s an idea called “Occam’s razor”, which was described by a guy named William who probably owned a razor because beards were out of fashion in his day. In philosophy, a “razor” is a principle that allows one to discard (“shave off”) assumptions and unlikely explanations for a phenomenon.

Let’s start shaving.

Firstly, the original video is only 21 seconds long and the “full length” video is just over a minute. Both versions of the video cut before the “creature” is out of sight. If you saw a strange sea monster floating in the river, wouldn’t you get as much footage as you could? We don’t see what happens after the video clip. Also, for most of the video the image is zoomed in so that you don’t see the “creature” in relation to objects around it. The water rushing over “it’s nose” gives the appearance of upstream movement, but if we can’t really track its position.

Next, the creature appears to be covered in ice, but still moving actively. Ice – which is frozen water – is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees celsius. Most animals that aren’t mammals or birds are unable to produce body heat, their temperature is regulated by the environment. They’re called ectotherms, or “cold-blooded” animals. Large reptiles and snakes cannot live in freezing water, as their metabolism would stop. Cold-blooded animals that do survive in extreme cold environments do so by placing themselves in a state of torpor, which means they slow their metabolism and stop moving. It’s almost like the “suspended animation” you see in sci-fi movies. Almost. Torpor greatly reduces their body’s energy needs. Fish in a freezing pond will swim down to the warmest spot they can find and just sit there until it gets warm again. Moving would waste energy. This includes giant sturgeons. The “creature” in the Alaska video is moving. Kind of a lot.

Warm-blooded animals in cold environments, especially cold enough to get themselves iced-over, go into a state of hypothermic shock. The heart stops at 68 degrees F (20 celsius). If the Alaska video were of an actual creature, it wouldn’t be warm-blooded, unless it were some kind of new warm-blooded animal who’s body fluids contain a high concentration of antifreeze (incidentally, some fish actually produce their own antifreeze).

The idea of a warm blooded animal that can produce enough of it’s own antifreeze to survive in freezing water long enough to get itself iced-over is an assumption. A big assumption. Another assumption is that this animal has gone undiscovered until just now. Remember our buddy Occam? I mean William?

This “creature” appears to be moving in a wavelike fashion; undulating. What else moves in a wavelike fashion? If you said “water”, give yourself a cookie! As a result of that movement, anything buoyant in that water is going to move with the motion of the waves. Anyone who’s gone for a swim in the ocean knows this.

The “ice monster”, when you shave away the assumptions and unlikely explanations, is most likely a rope that has one end stuck on something to keep it from drifting away. If the rope has been underwater for a while, it would be covered in moss and plant material. The leading edge of this rope creates and obstacle for the water current, and the appearance of motion is due to the water rushing around this obstacle.

If the original video had the caption “look how this rope moves like it’s some kind of creature” the video would probably never have gone viral.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Five years ago in Iceland, Hjörtur Kjerúlf filmed a similar “creature” on the river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal. It was dismissed as a piece of fishing net caught on something underwater. Some people still insist, however, that the Iceland “creature” was real, nd it’s a good bet people will also insist the Alaska “creature” is real. The “rope” explanation will probably be labeled a government cover up. Because it’s a lot more fun to believe a 15 foot creature that can survive icy conditions is only just now being discovered

Bill Murray and Tom Hanks – 7 Facts Each

bill-murrayThe website Reasons My Son is Crying posted a photo of a celebrity. Shortly after, the internet was in a frenzy with people arguing whether it was Tom Hanks or Bill Murray. It actually does resemble both actors, but the man in the photo is Tom Hanks.

This week’s List –
Seven Facts Each About Bill Murray and Tom Hanks

– Bill Murray got his start on Saturday Night Live and since leaving the show has guest hosted three times.

– Tom Hanks has hosted SNL 8 times

– Tom Hanks has an asteroid named after him

– Bill Murray has a Galago named after him at the Tigerhomes Animal Sanctuary

– Bill Murray’s Bacon number is one

– Tom Hanks’ Bacon number is also one

– Tom Hanks can be reached through publicly available contact info via his own production company, Playtone Productions, his agents, his publicist, his estate attorney, or his professional attorney

– Bill Murray only fields offers for scripts and roles using a personal telephone number with a voice mailbox that he checks infrequently.

Tom Hanks crashed an engagement photo shoot for a random young couple

– So did Bill Murray

Tom Hanks went to high school in Oakland California

– Bill Murray took over a guy’s taxicab in Oakland California so the guy could practice saxophone in the back seat

Tom Hanks turned down the leading role in Groundhog Day

– Bill Murray turned down Forrest Gump

A History of Hemp and Marijuana in the USA

Marijuana or cannabis is the most readily accessible illegal drug in the United States. Some surveys suggest one in three people have tried marijuana at some point in their lives. Lately there’s been a lot of talk about legalizing marijuana, it’s currently a schedule one drug. Did you know it was once required by law for farmers to grow cannabis?

Check out the video for the entire story:

Public Toilets – Best to Worst

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go… but where to go is the question. In this video; public toilet choices ranked from best to worst:

Toxic New Car Smell

Did you know it’s smelling your new car good cause disorientation, headaches, and even cancer? Most people love the smell of a new car and go as far as attempting to reproduce that smell automotive air fresheners or fragrances. New car smell is made up of gases that escaped from the materials that went into the construction of your car’s interior.

Check out the video for the whole story:


California used to be island on maps. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Spanish seems to think California was an island. In fact they thought it was an island paradise.

For the other California facts, check out the video:

All Clowns Scare Some People

Clowns, perhaps you love them, but you probably either hate them or couldn’t care less about them. Purposefully scary clowns in movies didn’t really become a thing until the late 1980s. Obviously if you’ve had some bad experience with a clown as a child you’re bound to be scared of them as an adult, but many kids who haven’t had this experience are equally terrified of clowns.
Check out the video for the whole story:

13 Bands With Only One Original Member

Is your band still your favorite band? There are bands that have been around for years with all of their original members, like ZZ Top and U2. Sometimes bands carry on with a missing member, like The Cars, who last toured without Benjamin Orr because… well… he’s not alive anymore. Some bands have so many personnel changes that only one original member remains.

Check out the video for the whole story:

Columbus Was a Jerk

Did you know Columbus was an ass****?

Columbus Day is a holiday celebrated… Celebrated? HOW, other than just enjoying a Monday off work? Columbus day is observed by the US and Italy… in Spain and several Latin American countries it’s celebrated without specifically mentioning Columbus. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who was also a jerk by the way, changed the holiday to Día de la Resistencia Indígena – the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

Check out the video for the whole story:

Recognizing Clickbait

You won’t believe what happens next! It will change your life! See it before you die!
You’re on the internet so you seen clickbait. Dubious and vague hyperbole and a photograph or graphic image to draw you in. This week’s list; 11 clickbait phrases.
Check out the video for the whole story:

Tesla vs Lambo

Did you know the latest Tesla can smoke a Lamborghini Huracan at the drag strip? The Tesla p100d sedan with its ludicrous battery covered a quarter mile faster than the latest Lamborghini just last week at Palm Beach International Raceway. The Lamborghini Huracan with a base price of $240,000 in the United States uses a 5.2 liter V10 to reach 0 to 60 in about two point five seconds with a maximum speed of 212.5 miles per hour. Yes, we realize most of you would still rather have the Lambo.
Check out the video for the whole story:

10 Best Movie Car Chases

The ten best car chases from movies over the years, in the humble opinion of this editor. Some you’ll expect, and some you won’t. The quick rundown is below… for a more detailed explanation and the reasons you won’t see a couple of your favorites on this list, see the video!

  • Gone in 60 Seconds (original 1974)
  • The Seven-Ups
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Ronin (first chase)
  • Jack Reacher
  • Beverly Hills Cop semi chase
  • Quantum of Solice
  • Bullitt
  • The Bourne Identity
  • Ronin (second car chase)

For a more in-depth take on this subject, click the video below!

Useful Urine

History is filled with people using urine for various uses from whitening teeth to making textiles to cleaning. Urine has been used for making toothpaste and cleaning cookware. The ancient Romans were quite fond of Portugese pee. They even taxed it.

Astronauts on the International Space Station recycle their pee into drinking water… don’t try that at home!

For a more in-depth take on this subject, click the video below!

7 Ways You Think You’ll Die (But Probably Won’t)

There are many ways people think they COULD die, but the most likely deaths are due to health concerns and car accidents, not attacks by animals or catastrophes:

  • Snake bite – Even in the country with the most poisonous snakes per capita, India, your odds of dying by snake bite are 0.00096%
  • Dog attack – More Americans are crushed under furniture or household appliances.
  • Bee attack – Even though the CDC says they’re the most deadly animal in the USA, they kill only about 40 people per year. Most of those deaths are due to allergic reaction
  • Buried alive – Being buried alive is extremely unlikely. There probably aren’t any reliable statistics about this, but the fact that most lists of such occurrences include cases in developing nations or decades ago indicates how much of a stretch one has to find examples.
  • Spider bite – Even the most venomous spider in the world, the Brazilian wandering spider, has only been confirmed to have ever caused ten deaths.
  • Plane crash – To even out the odds of dying in a plane crash, you’d have to double the world record for airline bonus miles.
  • Shark, bear, and alligator attack – Fatalities from these animals are so rare, we’ve grouped the three into one category.

For a more in-depth take on this subject, click the video below!

Flat Earth – No Trees

In our modern age, when 533 people have been into outer space and we can watch satellites trek across our skies, some people still believe we live on a flat Earth. Some of these people also believe a lot of other whacky stuff too! No really, whacky like 19,000 foot trees once existed but got cut down by 36 foot giant men. Get out your tin foil hats and join us for a look at a flat world with no trees.

Creative Commons Zero Photos

Legion of Weirdos offers the pictures in the “royalty free” gallery under similar terms as Creative Commons Zero with the limitations that you can’t use any of the images for pornographic, criminal, defamatory or degrading purposes; you can’t imply that Legion of Weirdos or any of the models, brands, or anything else in the pictures has endorsed you or your product; you can’t use or redistribute these images on free stock photo websites or apps; you can’t sell and/or redistribute these pictures implying you’re the photographer; and you can’t sell and/or redistribute these pictures as stock photography. You can create awesome work using these pictures without needing to spend a dime and are free to use these pictures for personal or commercial projects. No attribution is required, but it is always appreciated. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact

7 Hotties from Commercials

You’re watching TV, and all of the sudden it’s commercial time. You really should make a trip to the restroom but you’re compelled to keep watching. Maybe for AT&T, maybe Trivago, maybe Wendys… but it’s not for the product, it’s for the people. This week’s list: 7 sexy TV commercial spokespeople.

Colorful Fart Fires

Farts are basically made up of a mixture of six gasses, and three of them are flammable. So yes, you CAN light a fart on fire. You probably SHOULDN’T, but you can. This video explains how that’s possible. But remember, we’re not recommending you try it!

8 Useless Hillary Clinton Facts

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in for 2016. She was the 67th United States Secretary of State, a United States Senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, and First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. She was born in Chicago and raised in the suburb of Park Ridge, Illinois, and this video will continue the story with some less useful facts.

Head Transplants are Coming – Did You Know?

It’s actually possible that the world’s first head transplant could happen in the near future. Will it succeed? Dr Sergio Canavero wants to perform the world’s first human head transplant surgery. Valery Spiridonov wants to be the first patient.

8 Ways Tech Makes You Lazy

Reading a map, remembering phone numbers, and going to the library all used to be part of normal life. Not so much anymore. Maps are now part of an application you phone does; the same phone that stores everyone’s contact information for you. Your music is chosen for you by a robot on the other side of a wireless digital data stream and the people singing the songs can’t really sing. Nobody reads books or newspapers anymore, they read status updates, tweets, and text messages, which are replacements for face to face interaction and phone conversations. Watch the video below for eight ways tech is making us lazy!

thumbnail image andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

The Muppets and their Violent Past

One of the first muppets was a murderous psychopath. Cookie Monster used to eat snack crackers, back when he still had teeth. Kermit used to sing about the wonders of cooked bacon!

After first being introduced on a Washington DC television show called Sam and Friends, the Muppets started branching into commercial work. Starting in 1957 to advertise coffee, Muppets Wilkins and Wontkins acted out dozens of violent slapstick skits that would make Moe, Larry, and Curly wince.

Wilkins was a character similar to Kermit the Frog, but with round eyes. Wontkins was a bit more abstract-looking. In most of the commercials, Wontkins would be the victim of some horrible accident or abuse, triggered or inflicted by Wilkins. Guns, guillotines, and bombs often came into play.

7 Dumb Urban Legends

We all love a good urban legend. Some of us even really fall for them, believing Mr Rogers was a Navy Seal, that there’s a ghost hitchhiker on Highway 1, and that they can summon Bloody Mary just by saying her name. This video outlines seven of the dumbest urban legends ever.

  • Paul McCartney died in ’66 …or’67 –
  • Mikey from the Life Cereal commercial died from pop rocks and soda
  • Chevy Nova didn’t sell in South America – Spanish for “no go”
  • Einstein failed math
  • Walt Disney is cryogenically frozen
  • The New York City sewers are crawling with discarded pet alligators
  • Vegas kidney heists

Ozzy Osbourne is a Genetic Mutant

Ozzy Osbourne is a Genetic Mutant Who Should Have Died Already. At the age of 15, Ozzy committed burglary, dropping a television set on himself as he made his getaway. Ozzy claims to have started using cocaine in 1971. He was also a smoker and raging alcoholic, claiming at one point to drink four bottles of liquor a day. In 1982, while Osbourne was aboard his tour bus, it was hit by a Beechcraft Bonanza that had his guitarist Randy Rhoads onboard. Ozzy left the bus unscathed, though guitarist Randy Rhoads and two others, who were all on the plane, died in the crash. Also in 1982, at a show in Des Moines, Ozzy picked up a wounded bat from the stage floor and bit its head off and then had to undergo treatment for rabies. He’s snorted a line of ants as if they were cocaine. He fell off a stage, breaking his ankle. He crashed an ATV, breaking his collarbone, six ribs, and a vertebra in his neck. His broken collarbone was blocking a major artery at the time of the accident, which was corrected with emergency surgery. Throughout most of his career, Ozzy used insane amounts of cocaine, LSD, heroin, and prescription drugs, all washed down with lots of alcohol. Statistically, Ozzy should be dead.

In 2010, a company called Knome mapped Ozzy’s genome. They determined that Ozzy is six times more likely than the average person to have a dependency on alcohol but also a higher metabolic tolerance for the stuff; he could process it faster with less health effects. He also apparently had a lower predilection for heroine and nicotine, which is probably why he was able to kick both those drugs relatively (HUGE relatively) easily.

Four YouTube Creators That Need More Patreon Love

Regardless of what your parents or coworkers might think, making good YouTube videos is hard! Planning, lighting, shooting, editing, uploading… not to mention stuff like filling out the description box, linking to social media, and figuring out your SEO chops. But those of us who LOVE it do it anyway. That’s why is so cool. If you see someone playing an instrument on a street corner you kind of EXPECT them to have an open instrument case or a hat or something to pitch money into. A lot of you pitch in money… for some of you it’s regardless of what they’re playing. Patron is a YouTube creator’s open guitar case.

Here are four fantastic creators that deserve more Patreon love (links in the video description):

YouTube ➜
Patreon ➜

YouTube ➜
Patreon ➜

YouTube ➜
Patreon ➜

YouTube ➜
Patreon ➜

Laboratory-Grown Meat is Coming Your Way!

Meat grown in a laboratory is a reality that isn’t even a decade old, and yet now companies are pushing to get it on the market for us to buy!  Supermeat is working to bring us stem cell chicken while Memphis Meats is whipping up artificial meatballs!

Magnets Implanted in Human Bodies

Magnetic therapy devices are the stuff of snake oil salesmen, but there are examples of people using implanted magnets to help or modify the human body. This video explains a couple of ways medical science is using magnets for therapies as well as how some people are biohacking their own bodies with magnets.

A Black Cop Joined the KKK

Ron Stallworth was the first African American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. He also became the leader of the local chapter of Ku Klux Klan by tricking David Duke over the phone.

Amazon Air Prime is Real

Amazon first teased drone delivery on December 1, 2013 and almost everyone thought it was a joke. But Amazon Prime Air is a real effort they are still working on. The FAA is making progress difficult in the USA, but the program is being tested in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.

14 Basic Tools for Every Household

Stuff breaks, you hang pictures, and you sometimes have to assemble stuff, so you need a basic hand tool kid for around the house. Whether you’re a clumsy apartment dweller or an aspiring DIY home improvement expert, these are the 14 pieces of hardware you should start with.

Image: studiograndouest / 123RF Stock Photo

There’s a Troll Under the San Francisco Bay Bridge

A steel troll hides under the roadway on the San Francisco Bay Bridge on the eastern span near Oakland. He was put there as kind of a good luck charm, supposedly watching over the bridge and protecting those who cross.

There Was No Year Zero

There has never been a year zero on the calendar we’re all familiar with. Time went from 1BC to 1AD. Actually, that was determined quite a while later, but you’ll see in this video what I mean. The concept of zero wasn’t even invented until much after 1AD.

10 Elements of a Casey Neistat Video

If you’re going to be a Casey Clone, you need more than a Boosted Board and a pair of RayBans. In this video, I outline ten stylistic elements of a Casey Neistat video. Drone optional.

  • Dramatic time lapse sequences edited to music
  • Music that’s a mixture of hipster electronica and remixed oldies
  • Handwritten text for narrative
  • Explaining your schedule direct to camera
  • Always be really late to important meetings
  • Always film the goodbye handshake at the end of meetings
  • Film yourself cutting through traffic on your skateboard or bike
  • Open your packages like an enraged orangutan
  • Whenever dealing with service people like airport security or coffee shop employees leave the camera on
  • Make your title as clickbait as possible

You Can Die Laughing

Did you know you can literally die laughing? It’s true. It’s been a known thing since the fifth century when the Greek painter Zeuxis died laughing at his own painting. Since then, a bunch of other notable people have died of laughter. Laughing too much could cause syncope or cataplexy, which would make you pass out, which means you could die from some kind of trauma. More likely would be seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and aneurisms caused by excess laughing.

21 Unusual Ethnic Slurs

Ethnic slurs aren’t nice. They’re also generally a lazy way to insult someone, versus coming up with some original zinger tailored just for an individual. But, even though they’re lazy and not nice, some racial slurs are actually kind of humorous. In this video, I’ve curated a list of funny ones (with the really offensive ones weeded out). I be you haven’t heard all of them.

Thumbnail image by

Spiteful Construction Projects

Some unusual buildings exist just because someone wanted revenge on their neighbor, or just because they wanted to irritate them. They’re called spite houses (or buildings), and some of them are just plain crazy. They usually take advantage of loopholes in building codes.  Watch the video below for some of the craziest spite buildings.

5 Types of Widow Spiders in the USA

Black widow spiders – Do you know them as well as you think? Did you know they can be brown? Also, they’re poisonous, but did you know they’re more scared of you than you are of them?  In the USA, there are the black widow spider, the brown widow spider, the northern widow, the western black widow, and the red widow. Watch the video below for more info!

5 Widow Spiders in the USA

Black widow spiders – Do you know them as well as you think? Did you know they can be brown? Also, they’re poisonous, but did you know they’re more scared of you than you are of them?

There are five kinds of widow spider in the USA, out of thirty-one total species. Oh, and nobody in the USA has ever died as a result of being bitten by any of these spiders.

  • Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) – Known as simply “black widow” or sometimes “southern black widow. The female of this species is known for colorful decorations, including the hourglass on her underside. These reside in the southeastern United State.
  • Northern Black Widow (Latrodectus variolus) – Living in the middle Atlantic United States, the females of this species are beautifully decorated with colorful spots down the center of her back flanked by lateral stripes.
  • Western Black Widow (Latrodectus hesperus) – This one call the western United States home and is the textbook image of a black widow; a large black bug with a bright red hourglass decoration.
  • Red Widow Spider (Latrodectus bishopi) – You will probably never see this one, as it lives only in southern Florida and makes its home in sand dunes and pine trees. This one is entirely red except its abdomen, which is black with red spots lined by yellow rings.
  • Brown Widow (Latrodectus geometricus) – As the name would suggest, these are not black. They’re hard to identify because the decorations on their abdomen vary greatly from bug to bug, but they do have the hourglass on their underside. In this case, the hourglass is usually bright orange instead of red.

    Thumbnail image via Creative Commons 2.5 Chuck Evans

11 Really Dumb Life Hacks

We’ve all seen them, supposedly these ideas make life simpler for all of us, just with a minor adjustment or a new way of using a common item. For the most part, life hacks are kind of silly. Our lives aren’t that complicated that they need “hacked”. Some are just plain dumb. Here are eleven:

  • Using nail polish to differentiate your keys
  • Cutting a soda can to sleeve over a beer can at the beach to hide your drinking
  • Using toothpaste to polish your headlights
  • Using a pool noodle to keep your kids from falling out of bed
  • Using your gas cap to keep the gas handle open for hands-free pumping
  • Using your seat warmer to keep your pizza warm
  • Putting a coaster over your drink at a bar to show you’re coming back to it
  • Using an electrical plug as a screwdriver
  • Making a quick-fix speaker made from paper cups, toilet paper rolls, etc.
  • Using frozen grapes to chill your wine
  • Using a CD spindle as a bagel tote

How to really fix your hazy headlights ➜

Vickie Eisenstein – Thumbs Up!

Vickie Eisenstein is an improv comedienne based in Chicago. Aside from local comedy shows, she also makes content for the internet. Her YouTube content includes things like a satirical news series, which she calls “The Lunch Crunch”, an interview show called “The Eisenstein Effect”, and comedy sketches. This is your chance to catch a rising star on YouTube (that was a really bad reference joke).
Vickie Eisenstein’s links:

Colombia – Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know


What you know about Colombia probably comes from movies, TV, rumors, and crappy pieces. The real Colombia is a vibrant and beautiful place with much to offer. Can it be dangerous? Yes, just like Chicago, New York, Detroit, and Oakland.

  • Colombia is the northern-most South American country
  • It’s also the only South American country to have coasts on both the Pacific and Atlantic
  • Several small Caribbean islands are also part of Colombia, including the world’s most crowded island
  • There are probably more famous Colombians than you realize

Watch the video below for more facts

The Rest of Us – Thumbs Up!

The Rest of Us on YouTube animated infotainment channel that’s been around about a year but they just recently started regular uploads. Hopefully they continue, because it’s good stuff, addressing topics “like companies versus countries” and the age old “chicken or egg” question.

The Rest of Us links:
YouTube ➜
witter ➜

13 Ways to Be a Better Social Animal

  • Don’t ask “What do you do?” Instead, ask “What do you like to do?”
  • Don’t suggest to people that they need to change their appearance or weight
  • Don’t tell people what to do with their stuff
  • Avoid talking politics
  • Don’t assume people are religious
  • Put down you’re phone when you’re interacting with someone in person
  • Don’t text, call.
  • It’s not cool to stereotype depression, ADHD, OCD, etc.
  • Never assume guys are into sports
  • Don’t be sexist
  • Wrap gifts instead of using gift bags
  • Your having a dog or cat is not the same thing as being a parent
  • Don’t make pointlessly loose associations

16 Cover Songs That Were Better Than the Original

Sometimes the first isn’t always the best. Singers and bands who do a better job on covers than the original artists. You might not agree, but that’s the beauty of music, it’s all subjective.  The video below outlines sixteen examples from Whitney Houston covering Dolly Parton to Judas Priest covering Joan Baez.

Daniel Koren – Thumbs Up!

Daniel Koren is a musical YouTube comedian with a flair for editing sound and video in expert fashion. He’s also formally trained musically. He graduated Berklee College of Music and was nominate for an Emmy as composer for the PBS kids’ program “Fizzy’s Lunch Lab”. His creative range spans from animated funnies like “How to Not Murder” to spoofs of horror movies like “Noisy Furniture” to self-harmonized a cappella tunes.

Daniel Koren’s links:

5 Movies That Should Never Get Remade

These days it seems like Hollywood is all about remakes, superhero movies, and remakes of superhero movies. Sometimes the remake has very little in common with the original, in which case we call it a “reboot”. Sometimes the result is actually pretty amazing. Ocean’s Eleven was fantastic both times around (it’s just unfortunate someone decided to make an Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen). Jeff Bridges out-John-Wayned John Wayne in True Grit. But Russell Brand’s Arthur crawled under the high bar set by Dudley Moore and the trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot has sent the internet into a murderous rage.

Much like nobody will ever do “Stairway to Heaven” as well as Led Zeppelin, nobody could paint a ceiling like Michelangelo, and no-one will tell you about Huckleberry Finn’s adventures like Mark Twain, some movies should be universally recognized as masterpieces.


Labyrinth_ver2Labyrinth – A flop at the box office, bringing in only just over half its production budget, Labyrinth has garnered a cult following in home video formats. To the general population of movie theater patrons, an adventure movie starring puppets isn’t a likely draw, and David Bowie, who’s “Serious Moonlight” shine had worn down a bit, wasn’t what 1986 America considered leading man material.

Despite being a bit dark, this movie is great for kids. It has fantastical creatures, silly music, and the classic adventure quest plot architecture. Oh, and don’t worry, you’re kids won’t notice your troubled morals over Jennifer Connelly being a bit too young to be that attractive in at least twenty states. Oh, and they also don’t notice David Bowie’s bulge. That bulge… what the hell is the deal with that bulge?


forbiddenplanet-1Forbidden Planet – A “faster than light spaceship of the future” travels to a faraway world, commanded by a very young Leslie Nielsen, who was so unknown at the time that the movie’s big star was Walter Pidgeon. The special effects in this movie are excellent for 1956. These days, they hold up much as the effects in The Wizard Of Oz still hold up, in that they’re nowhere near realistic but you accept them all the same. The plot is still unique, even though Hollywood has had sixty years to copy it. Best yet, this movie introduced us to Robby the Robot, who you know even if you think you don’t. Robby lived on to star in scores of movies and TV shows and to be recreated in wind-up toy form for little kitsch boutique toy stores.


Fight Club – The first rule of Fight Club is… I’ve already said too much.

There’s no way to re-do a surprise plot twist and the movie is all about that plot twist. That aside, you’re just never going to put together a more perfect cast for this story than Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, and Meatloaf. Frikkin’ Meatloaf!
So much attention to detail was brought into making this movie. Not only is the script carefully acted out as to not spill the beans, but there are tons of little “Did you see that?” moments. Its detail, along with its societal critiques, have given birth to many interpretations and the movie is still discussed by its fans seventeen years later.

Oh, yeah, and that whole thing about the movie having you root for people who are essentially terrorists… that wouldn’t play out so well in today’s political climate.


The Princess Bride – There’s no way Hollywood could reproduce a cast that’s this big and this good. There’s no reason they should either. This story will hold up for another hundred years in its current form. There’s nothing to make it feel dated and there’s nothing that could be done better than it has already been done for this film. Besides, the giant was played by an actual giant! How cool is that?


Mrs. Doubtfire – This is another ageless classic, even though it will definitely age. It’s about the story, not the time and place. It’s also about the cast, especially Robin Williams, who ad-libbed so much that extra cameras were employed to ensure they didn’t miss anything. Mrs. Doubtfire was one of Williams’ best characters and she wouldn’t be the same with any other actor, even though the role was originally written for Tim Allen. Can you imagine Tim Allen as Mrs. Doubtfire? Us neither.

Note to Self Podcast – Thumbs Up!

The Note to Self podcast is billed as the tech show about being human. Hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, the topics are usually not just tech, but how tech affects our lives. For example, one recent episode discusses a company that uses planes to take photos over a city at very narrow time intervals. Those photos can then be used to track movements of various people and objects. The idea is that it’s a great crime-fighting tool, and it is, but as you can imagine, there are other concerns.

Other topics have included electronic wearable drugs, how Lego affects creative thinking, and how the Google photo app mistook and African-American woman for a gorilla.

New episodes are released every Wednesday.

Matt and Kim – We Were the Weirdos

Matt and Kim are a band/duo based in New York who make upbeat music with keyboards, drums, samples, and vocals. They kind of sound like “if the White Stripes grew up listening to Death Cab for Cutie and The Flaming Lips”. They’ve made five albums since 2005, the latest one, Get It, on Harvest Records, reached 33rd on the US charts. We Were the Weirdos is a four song EP that was recorded in a week between Coachella gigs.

“Fall to Pieces” starts with a clean rhythm guitar, synth, and Matt’s vocals, which have that “no too serious” style similar to The Violent Femmes or Vampire Weekend. “Let’s Run Away” almost sounds like it’s going to be a hiphop song at the start, but breaks into a dance beat with old-school synth and analog percussion. “Please No More” has an insanely fast tempo and a punk feel. “Haunting Me” is the most “Death Cab” sounding tune on the EP.

Compared to the bands past efforts, this EP has a simplicity that allows the energy of the songs to come through. Maybe that has to do with the limited time they had to record, but it works.

Matt and Kim links:


Bad Foley Effects

A Foley artist is a person who recreates sounds for movies when capturing the sounds during filming is impossible or impractical. Like any artists, skills vary from virtuoso all the way down to plain-ol’ hack. Here are seven examples of bad foley effects that happen far too often:
  • Screeching car tires on a dirt road – This is a matter of the Foley team just phoning it in. It’s like somewhere in their library of sounds is one marked “car sound” and they just go with it.
  • Noisy readouts on computer screens – Even in the days of monochromatic screens, a computer didn’t make a clicking or beeping sound with each character that appears on a screen. In WarGames, not only did the computer do both, but the keyboard sounds like a raccoon digging in a trash can.
  • Unrealistic gun sounds – In the movies, guns sound like they were loosely pieced together with the wrong-sized bolts. However, when it gets fired it sounds much softer than a real gun, which can shatter your eardrums. The latter is understandable, the former is not. Oh, and guns with silencers are still really frikkin’ loud!
  • Same sound twice – Sometimes to fill space, the foley artist will loop in the same cat hiss or crash sound, apparently hoping you don’t notice it’s the exact same sample. It’s especially obnoxious when they happen within a few seconds of each other. 
  • Same thunder sound for dozens of movies – A true fact. The clip is called “Castle Thunder” and was originally used in the 1931 “Frankenstein” movie.
  • Punches are super loud – Punching someone in the face isn’t something you can hear from thirty yards out. It especially doesn’t sound like the movies. I think they get the sound from dropping a side of beef on a concrete floor. 
  • Really long, two part explosions – Explosions don’t go “Bweeeeeeeeee-Bwoooooohhh!”, there’s just one loud crack or thud followed by some low-frequency rumbling.

Josh Woodward – Addressed to the Stars

My first thought about Addressed to the Stars was that it seemed darker than Josh Woodward’s 2014 album The Beautiful Machine; darker, yet more matured. Not that there aren’t some uplifting moments. “Too Many Valleys” offers a message of staying optimistic in the face of negativity. “Aimless” had kind of a happy “ignorance is bliss” message, with its characters enjoying pursuits without being concerned with outcomes. “Princess” is the story of a little girl with a big imagination and how she immerses herself in playtime after school. The album closes with the upbeat “Just Show Me”, which is the closest thing to a pop song on the album, with just a hint of Fountains of Wayne.

The other songs offer a well-thought-out examination of interpersonal matters. The music, though, is bright enough to keep it from feeling like you should shut off all the lights and drink while listening… it’s not as hopeless-sounding as Roger Waters but it’s not so upbeat as to wash out the intent of the lyrics a la Barenaked Ladies.

The one song that could go either way is “Knock”, which is about the self-torture of debating whether or not to express how you feel about someone. Pretty much every guy who’s not a total douchebag has had this feeling. Of course the real world answer is to just speak up and deal with the outcome. The “either way” is that the answer could be happy or it could be “I don’t like you that way.” The hopeful part of the song is that he (spoiler alert) decides to take the shot.

For most, the likely standout will be “My Favorite Regret”. It’s a song about a love that could have been, which isn’t unusual, but the “why” is different. It’s a duet, with the female point of view voiced by Katie Pederson, a singer songwriter from Woodward’s town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Josh Woodward links:

Geekify Guys – Thumbs Up!

The last video game system I owned was a Super NES. I’ve logged several hours on Legend of Zelda and Chuck Rock, but since getting my first Soundblaster-enabled computer in 1993, my interest in console games evaporated. PC games like Warcraft, Myst, The 7th Guest, and Leisure Suit Larry made me forget what even happened to the old Nintendo. While I’ve been tempted to get an Atari Flashback, I’ve yet to pull the trigger. So it’s probably safe to say I’m not much into video games.

What I DO like, however, is acting like a twelve year old boy and doing horribly irresponsible and possibly dangerous stuff… the kind of stuff that would get an actual 12 year old boy grounded for a year. The Geekify Guys do this kind of stuff on video every Tuesday. So far they’ve done things like minibike jousting, shooting drones with shotguns as if they’re skeet pigeons, hoverboard hockey, blowing up toys with Tannerite, and rocket powered pinewood derby races. I look forward to every Tuesday for more “don’t try this at home” antics.

Thursdays they feature video game play with guests, so gamers will enjoy those videos, especially those into old-school games (I forgot all about Joust until Geekify Guys came along). The juvenile delinquent in me just likes watching them destroying stuff and hurting each other.

Click here for the Geekify Guys YouTube channel

My video review:

5 Funny YouTube Music Channels

Jon Lajoie

Jon Lajoie (lah-jwah) is probably the most well known on this list, but even so, with all the other stuff out there on the internet, he’s still underrated. In his early days he made songs like “Show Me Your Genitals” and “Everyday Normal Guy” on a shoestring budget. Since having made a living with a regular TV role as Taco MacArthur on FX’s “The League, he’s stepped up his game to making videos with production quality that rivals anything VEVO puts out. Quick warning, he doesn’t hold back with the expletives, so unless you work in a home office or tattoo parlor, his music is “not safe for work.”

Black Turtle Show

Black Turtle Show makes educational (?) videos with topics ranging from the anatomy of a shoe to pi to the iron cross blister beetle. Not all of his songs are informational, though, there’s a song about a kidnapped teddy bear and one about a bologna sandwich among others. If there’s a recipe for Black Turtle Show, it surely includes a bit of Zappa, some B52s, Primus, a dash of Deep Purple, and a hint of Oscar the Grouch.



Crudbump, who for some reason goes under the YouTube handle “DrewToothpaste”, is another one of those “not safe for work” channels. The first song of his I heard was called “F*** You if You Don’t Like Christmas“. Cleverly, for this song, he created a custom coloring book for the video. While that song has a clear message, “I Don’t Do S***” is even clearer. He makes a political statement in “NSA“, with lyrics like “I put a hundred thousand pictures of my ass on the internet, so the NSA could spy on it and try to keep an eye on it”.


Parry Gripp

Parry Gripp seems to have an affinity for animals. With songs like Guinea Pig Bridge and Weasel Riding on a Bird, he gives personality to the animal kingdom in a very original way. It’s not entirely about the animals for Parry Gripp, though, as there are also songs like “Space Nachos” and “I Love Bread“.

The Doubleclicks

The Doubleclicks, as the tag line for their Twitter page, have written “We like cats & dinosaurs & feelings & we write songs about them.” That’s a better description than I could have come up with. Don’t think they just sit around making YouTube videos either, they tour the USA with this act!  Unlike most of the previous acts on this list, Doubleclicks shows are mostly kid-friendly. They write originals like “Why Can’t Every City be Portland?” and do covers, like the Star Wars theme on cat piano.

Here’s the video version of this list:

New Old Stock – Thumbs Up!

New Old Stock is a website dedicated to archiving license free, creative commons, and public domain images, curated by designer Cole Townsend. There are loads of pictures to choose from with subjects ranging from Ronald Reagan to rocket launches to skeletons playing piano to the peaks of Matterhorn.

dollheadsEach photo includes a link to the original source, usually on Flickr, and those links are often handy with more information about the photo. All the photos are free, but for an additional fee (between $5 and $12), you can download “photo packs” which contain multiple web-optimized images which are all at least 1000 pixels wide.

As for the pictures on the free version of the page, they’re listed in no particular order, but on one handy page that seems to load forever with more and more images.


Check New Old Stock out at:

White Denim – Stiff

Twenty seconds into the album, I was sold. Girls singing two lines in a slightly pitchy, playground style for eight seconds yields immediately to a Zeppelin-style jam that lets you know White Denim knows their way around classic rock chops like their own back yard. “Had 2 Know (Personal)” sounds like what would have happened if Zeppelin had been fronted by Paul Rodgers instead of Plant. “Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)” feels like a hybrid of Cream and Sly and the Family Stone. “Holda You (I’m Psycho) goes back to the Bad Company sound, but at double speed, and with a great change-up at 1:36. The vocals on “There’s a Brain in My Head” sound more Mickey Dolenz than Paul Rodgers, but there’ll be no mistaking the band for the Monkees. “Take it Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)” is slower and harkens to Al Green.

“(I’m the One) Big Big Fun”, frankly, doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album. There’s nothing wrong with the performance, but the genre of the song and recording style stand out in a less than spectacular way. “Real Deal Momma” and “Mirrored in Reverse” pick things back up in the style of the first few songs. “Thank You” closes out the album with sounding like a jazz fusion band covering a Flaming Lips tune. It’s a good song, but feels slightly different from the rest of the album, although not as much as “(I’m the One) Big Big Fun”.

White Denim are from Austin Texas and have released seven albums since 2006.

White Denim links:
Spotify – Thumbs Up!

I signed up. I noted my referral code. I went to the member dashboard. I searched “fart”. What I saw next was a page of twenty fart sound files. Each one samples simply by hovering your mouse cursor over the icon.

After ten minutes of acting like a twelve year old boy, I started really poking around. I searched “chair”. I searched “slurping”. I searched “mouse”. Each time my request was answered with more than enough samples to choose from. In the case of the mouse, I got results for both the animal and the computer peripheral.

Oh, and music, wow! There’s just about any type of music you could want! Does it “sound like royalty free music?” Well… yeah, sure, but to a higher degree of quality. But the great thing is you won’t be using the same songs everyone else is using and you won’t get hit with takedown notices for using mainstream songs. Besides standard background music, there are also several audio loops to choose from.

The loops are searchable by time length and tempo as well as instrumentation. Music is searchable by mood, genre, instrumentation, tempo, and duration. Sound effects are sorted by category. You can, however, just opt to skip all the search customization and simply head right for the search bar to type in your keyword.

The best part of AudioBlocks is that once you’ve downloaded a song, you can use it forever. There are no term limits or usage restrictions.

11 Things Kids Can’t Do Anymore

Oh, the good ol’ days; candy cigarettes, cap guns, and free range parenting. Just like probably all previous generations, those of us who were raised by baby boomers are now getting nostalgic for the days of old. Never mind that I almost burned the house down, nearly cut my toe off, and nearly drowned in the Mississippi river. Never mind that my beloved wife had something like twelve bone breaks, nearly died drinking bleach, and wandered a Vegas casino on her own at the age of four. Most of us made it to adulthood. A little danger is good for evolution, right?

Parents these days, my wife and myself included, are much more cautious about their children. If you’re a parent now, even if you’re not a “helicopter parent”, there are surely things you did as a child that you’d never dream of having your kid do today.

  • Waiting in the car – This was something kids did on the regular in the ’70s. Sometimes we had a sibling or cousin in the car to converse with, other times we had conversations with other kids waiting in other cars. If we were really lucky, our parents left the car running so we could have a radio playing and maybe a heater on cold days.
  • Riding in the front seat of the car, and even on the armrest – The front armrest was considered the prime seating position in any family sedan or wagon. You’re in front, you can see everything, and you’ve in the middle of the car, so you’re totally safe, right? We didn’t need stinkin’ seat belts, because in those days the distance to the dashboard was much greater.
  • Wandering the neighborhood on our own – We a relatively acute awareness of traffic, we memorized back alleys and shortcuts, and we knew where the creepy people lived. As long as we made it home by the time the street lights came on, we were good.
  • Standing by the roadside to get a spray from the street sweeper truck – Maybe it’s because in my hometown nobody had a wrench big enough to open a fire hydrant, but a passing street sweeper truck was a neighborhood event on a hot day. Plus, it was a lot more exciting that running through a lawn sprinkler.
  • Riding a bike without a helmet – When I was a kid, wearing a helmet to ride your bike would get you beat up for sure. It was better to take your chances with the pavement. Even BMX riders went without a lid.
  • seesawRiding a seesaw – We rode real seesaws, not the modern bastardization that only goes two feet in the air and has shock absorption bumpers on the bottoms of the seats. We didn’t have springs and padding, we had a twenty foot board mounted at its midpoint to a metal bar by way of a big hinge thingy. If we were lucky, the big hinge thingy had some kind of bearing to make working the device a bit easier. The seesaw of old was the ultimate instrument in trust-building, because if the other kid got off the thing at the bottom of his swing, you’d eat dirt.

  • Lawn darts – My grandpa had a set of these. We thought they were awesome. There’s a version sold now with round weighted heads on the missiles, but we had the original kind with the big metal spike. The originals are outright banned in the US and Canada now.
  • Riding in the bed or a pickup truck – This was another summertime treat when we were kids. Now, several states have laws banning or restricting the activity. In California, even dogs aren’t allowed free run of the pickup bed.
  • Buying cigarettes and beer for dad – My dad sent me to the store with a note on the regular, a note instructing the cashier to sell me tobacco and alcohol. I usually got to use the change to buy snacks and candy. Also, my mom would send me to the store to cash checks (in the days before ATM machines).
  • Sledding on runner sleds – Finding a sled for sale that’s not on the internet is a challenge these days, and many cities in the Midwest and New Jersey have banned sledding. You can usually buy a plastic toboggan, sometimes with a crappy attempt at a steering mechanism that doesn’t work. Another casualty of injury litigation is the “saucer of death”, those aluminum woks we used to dare each other to ride down the hill, spinning hopelessly out of control.
  • Mowing lawns for a living – Gone are the days of the neighborhood kid who mows everyone’s lawn for pocket money. Many people are wary these days of letting someone else’s kid onto their property, let alone with yard implements, for fear of getting sued if something bad happens. Moreover some states prohibit anyone under 15 or 16 from operating any tool with a motor, including lawn mowers, weed whackers, and leaf blowers. There doesn’t seem to be a similar ban on garden rake operation, even though they are likely dangerous than a leaf blower.

3 Great YouTube Grouches

Usually, for Legion of Weirdos, we like to focus on the positive, but sometimes the grumbly stuff is fun too. That’s especially true when the grumbly stuff is made of well thought out and valid points. Some people just have a talent for curmudgeonly presentation, and YouTube is about the best place on the internet for their medium. Here are our three favorites from YouTube:

I Hate Everything:

This animated with voiceover channel covers just about everything, best of all it’s inclusive of the stuff that really shouldn’t be as widely accepted, or even held in as high regard, as we allow them to be. These would include emojis, unboxing videos, and Frozen… especially Frozen.

Click here for I Hate Everything’s YouTube channel

Grade A Under A

Yet another animated (well, kind of animated) channel with a funny voiceover, this one being a crazy-exaggerated UK goof. Topics covered include public toilets, phobias, and passwords, but he also enjoys going after the likes of YouTube BSers and people who think plagiarism is the new creativity.

Click here for Grade A Under A’s YouTube channel

Spectre Sound Studios

Glenn from Spectre Sound Studios may look like Penn Gillette’s angry younger brother, but he knows his recording stuff. He helps others understand what makes a good recording, and doesn’t mind letting you know when you’re doing it wrong. He also calls out knuckleheads who don’t appreciate the work someone puts in to make their recording happen. Broke musicians, dumb kids, etc.

Click here for Spectre Sound Studio’s YouTube channel


And of course there’s a video companion to this article 🙂

What’s Been Cool in Your Life?

People like to much to focus on the negative; what chances they didn’t take, jobs they didn’t get, friends they’ve lost, mistakes they’ve made. How about we all try and experiment by seeing how we feel after remember all the cool stuff instead? Here are some examples from my life (and I forgot to mention a lot in the video, I’m sure… like riding a zip line, for example):

  • I’ve traveled to Mexico, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Bahamas, Colombia, England, and Canada (if Canada counts)
  • I’ve Driven Route 66, all of it, several times
  • I built a hotrod Mustang
  • I have owned two convertibles
  • I recorded three CDs (the first one sucks and the third isn’t in print anymore)
  • I got a college degree from University of Iowa
  • I’ve built several computers, and have REbuilt several MacBooks
  • I’ve camped in Death Valley heat and below freezing winters
  • I once dated a girl who was a former prom and homecoming queen… what a bitch
  • I’ve seen several brain surgeries
  • I’ve watched four babies’ births, including my two daughters
  • I’ve driven a NASCAR style race car (at a driving school)
  • I rode in a sailplane
  • I actually flew a Cessna
  • I’ve run a marathon
  • I’ve done several 100 mile bike rides
  • I’ve ridden a bike to the top of three different mountains
  • I can sail
  • I taught myself HTML, PHP, Javascript, and other web code stuff
  • I toured California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois as a singer songwriter
  • Aprendí español
  • I’ve ridden a bike through 20 miles of Bogotá
  • I’ve met Sammy Hagar, Maya Angelou, Julia Child, Dikembe Mutombo, The Tubes, and I saw John Cleese at a restaurant in Santa Barbara but didn’t want to be a pest, so I let the guy eat his lunch without my babbling about how great “A Fish Called Wanda” was

John Evans – Lollygaggin’

500x500OK, so this isn’t a new record, but it’s one of my daughter’s favorites and I love it too so I thought it would be worth mentioning. If you’re looking for a new one from John Evans, you’ll have to wait ’til May.

John Evans’ original life goal was to play in the NFL. Thankfully for us music fans, that didn’t work out. This record is full of raw Texas country rock that, to use Evans’ own words is like crossing “a ’57 Chevy with a hillbilly band”. It lands somewhere between rockabilly and mild psychobilly with crooner-style vocals. If you like The Stray Cats, you’d like this record.

John Evans links:
iTunes (Lollygaggin’ album not on iTunes)

Have an album or EP suggestion for our “Applause!” department?
Please feel free to drop us a line at!
All suggested albums or EPs must be available to the general public (by sale or free). We will review material available only by physical media (LP, CD, etc.) but can only accept digital files for purposes of review. (ie- Got a CD out? Great! Send us a version in MP3 form though.)

Video Creators – Thumbs Up!

I’ve always know Tim Schmoyer exists. I remember first finding him on the ReelSEO YouTube channel, and then subscribed when he created his own YouTube advice channel. I was subscribed, but didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to it because my own YouTube channels were languishing in the basement of YouTube.

This year, though, I dug my channels out of the gritty crawlspace and started scrubbing them down so they could be put to good use again. In the couple or four years that had gone by since I last made videos on the regular, most of my audience moved on to other things. Oh, and frankly, I don’t know why a lot of them watched in the first place, because my sporadic uploads were completely random. Sometimes I’d play and sing a song. Sometimes I’d rant. Sometimes I’d make a really awful joke or tell a dark story. It was all a jumble.

Since starting back on the video making track, I’ve paid a lot more attention to the Video Creators channel and have taken most of the advice to heart. Also, there’s a series called “Entrepreneurs”, a video chat between Schmoyer and five other full time YouTube video makers, which is also a treasure trove of information.

My numbers are slowly crawling up from “basically nothing” to “there are a few people watching.” I’m not pretending I have any overnight success, but I can see improvements when I look at my analytics, and that’s only since January. I’m confident my numbers will keep climbing.

Schmoyer has an email list and at least one book, maybe more, but I haven’t gotten to that stuff yet as I’m still absorbing the content from his YouTube video feed and his podcast. Oh, and what a collection of content!:

  • How to write optimized YouTube tags
  • How the weather affects your views
  • How to handle brand deals
  • How to find the best day to post your video
  • How to write better video titles

Video Creators on YouTube

Tim Schmoyer on Twitter
Video Creators on Facebook

7 Cars That Look Like Animals

VWBUGBEETLEBug – Beetle (duh) – This is kind of the “go to” reference for an automobile looking like a living creature, and for good reason. The Volkwagen Beetle, or Bug, or Type 1 as it is officially named, really does look like a beetle.


BASSLexus RX – Fish – The first time I saw one of these, I started hearing the “World of Virgil Ward” theme song in my head. This thing looks like a largemouth bass getting ready to chow down.

I3 PANDABMW i3 – Panda – Just the black and white color combination of this one, but it does bear (pun intended) a striking resemblance.

GOOGLECARKOALAGoogle Car – Koala – Koalas aren’t bears, and neither is the Google car, but they both have that goofy oval nose. The rest of the facial features are similar too.

ISETTAFROGBMW Isetta – African Bullfrog – They have the same basic silhouette. If I didn’t have my glasses, I might mistake one for the other.

PORSCHEPILLBUGPorsche 356- Pill Bug – Probably because it’s closest cousin in the Volkswagen family resembles a bug as well, this car inherited characteristics of the Arthropoda Phylum.

2CVSNAILCitroen 2CV – Snail – Not only does the 2CV look like a snail, it’s actually almost as fast as one.

DSLR Guide – Thumbs Up!

Simon Cade at DSLRGuide gives advice on how to get the best video from your DSLR, based on his first hand experience having basically grown up making video. He covers everything from color grading to scoring to how to organize a large film project.

The first video of his I saw was titled “Why I Won’t Buy a New Camera”, where he expressed his view that storytelling and proper compensation are more important than what gear you buy. He’s using a Canon T3i. Personally I just ditched my T3i in favor of a T6s, but my main reason was to get that touchscreen autofocus for video, but I agree completely with his opinion about the story and cinematography being more important than gear.

His videos are very clear and to the point, and the examples given are great. Moreover, he gives realistic advice while keeping things as uncomplicated as possible.

DSLRGuide on YouTube

8 Lost Mascots

frito_banditoFrito Bandito – He was the mascot for Frito’s Corn Chips from 1967 to 1971, voiced by Mel Blanc and sounding very much like Speedy Gonzales, another moderately racist and overly stereotyped character based on 1960s white America’s idea of a Mexican. He spoke very little English and was on the run from the Frito Bureau of Investigation. He originally had a gold tooth, which was nixed after complaints from the National Mexican-American Anti-Defamation Committee.


“Where’s the Beef” Lady – She was the most popular grouchy granny of 1984, but her stint as pitch lady for Wendy’s restaurants ended in 1985 when she apparently found the beef in Prego pasta sauce. That’s when Wendy’s fired then 83-year-old Clara Peller for conflict of interest, and the restaurant’s sales went into a two year slump. Peller passed away in 1987 at the age of 85.


Taco Bell Dog – Yet another Mexican stereotype, the oh-so-cute chihuahua with the Latin accent was Taco Bell’s best weapon in the burger wars of the day. Originally cast in the role of “girlfriend”, Gidget was the face of Taco Bell for three years after a last-minute casting change. That’s right, Gidget. The Taco Bell Dog was a girl. Taco Bell stopped the campaign in 1999 among legal troubles with the ad campaign’s original creators.


Erin Esurance – The pink-haired spy girl that got Esurance noticed appeared in over thirty commercials. She was meant to appeal to males ages 18 to 25, and that she did. As luck would have it, guys in that age bracket also have dirty minds, and with the advent of better consumer-level editing software, many began to make pornographic versions of Erin. When search results without content filters started returning more pornographic images than genuine images, the company stopped the campaign.


The Noid – The Noid would try his best to keep you from getting your crappy pizza in thirty minutes or less (by the way, a later ad campaign by Domino’s would focus on the fact that their pizza had been crappy for years). On January 30, 1989, a man named Kenneth Noid concluded that the ads were in fact a personal attack on him, so he walked into one of the chain’s restaurants in Atlanta with a .357 Magnum and held the employees hostage for over five hours. His demands were $100,000, getaway transportation, and a copy of “The Widow’s Son” by Robert Anton Wilson. Everyone was OK in the end, and the police chief made a statement that the suspect was “para-Noid” (See what he did there?).


California Raisins – How this ad campaign escaped being labeled racist is anyone’s guess. These commercials featured anywhere from four to ten anthropomorphized and very African-American looking raisins signing blues standards and Motown songs. They released four albums and even charted with one. Originally created for the California Raisin Advisory Board (What kind of raisin advice can there be to give?), these little guys ended up pitching for Post Raisin Bran and Hardees.

joe_068Joe Camel – With his own line of clothes, backpacks, glassware, and toys, Joe made Camel a household name from 1987 to 1997. Smiling in his blacked-out Wayfarers and with his vagina-like mouth, he became just as well-known by six year olds as Mickey Mouse. Not that Joe was worried about the competition, because the Disney rodent stopped selling cigarettes years before. Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company put an end to the campaign however, when the tobacco company agreed to settle out of court and stop shilling nicotine to children.


King Ding Dong – Can we all just agree from the start than no mascot intended for children should be named “King Ding Dong?” It’s already bad enough they chose such a sophomorically suggestive name for their snack cakes, “Some Ho-Ho ate my Ding Dong, Honey Bun.” The King left the building sometime in the 1980s, although if Starkist can bring back a Beatnik fish that only dreams of being slaughtered and canned, it’s not impossible to imagine the King regaining his throne.

Frank Turner – Mittens EP

frankturnermittensIt’s rare that I hear an indie release and immediately get excited. Generally they have to grow on me. I found “Mittens” while scanning the “indie” section after having clicked to sort everything by release date. This EP showed up in the top row, right next to the Pete Yorn album that came out two days ago. Oh, and by the way, when did Pete Yorn come to fit the definition of “indie”? He’s had four top-forty hits and made an album with Scarlett Johansson.

Enough digression. I’d never heard of Frank Turner before today. I soon learned in my reading that this EP is a companion to an album called Positive Songs for Negative People, his sixth studio album. I also bought that, but haven’t given it a listen yet. Before his six solo efforts, Turner was part of the post-hardcore punk band Million Dead.

Mittens features some of the most fantastic lyrics I’ve heard in a long while. The title track is about “taking a risk for someone and letting your guard down” and is apparently based on a true story. The song tells of his not receiving no reply from a love letter and becoming fascinated by used postcards, using the strangers’ messages as a surrogate. And regarding the line “we used to fit like mittens, but never like gloves”, who of us hasn’t been there?

“Least of All Young Caroline” is about encouraging someone that the future will be brighter when their current situation is a mess and that person is already on the brink of personal disaster. “Little Aphrodite” is very clever love song with a chorus written around characters of Greek mythology. It features only piano and vocal for most of the song, performed with excellent timing by a voice that sounds like wise reflection. “Cleopatra in Brooklyn” was written for the album Positive Songs for Negative People, but didn’t make the cut (also true for “Little Aphrodite”).  This is the most “folk” sounding song on the album, but the pacing of the lyrics feels like a slowed-down hip-hop song, a nice twist.

The true winner on this EP, though, is “The Armadillo”, a cover song originally by Flanders & Swann. This song was originally bubbly and cute and something you’d expect to hear from one of those old wind-up phonographs with the big horn. Turner discards the goofy comedic chops and performs it more like a James Taylor song, but with just enough Warren Zevon intelligence to keep the song from getting syrupy. Turner’s version is less about the confused animal and more about that problem of knowing your friend’s new love interest is bad for them, and the quandry of whether or not to intervene.

The true measure of how much I like someone’s music is whether or not I’ll buy the record on vinyl. If the preceding album is as good as Mittens, I’ll be getting that one and I’ll also pick this one up of vinyl if it’s released.

Frank Turner links:

Have an album or EP suggestion for our “Applause!” department?
Please feel free to drop us a line at!
All suggested albums or EPs must be available to the general public (by sale or free). We will review material available only by physical media (LP, CD, etc.) but can only accept digital files for purposes of review. (ie- Got a CD out? Great! Send us a version in MP3 form though.)

ChrisFix – Thumbs Up!

Have you ever been frustrated by tree sap on your car’s paint? Thinking of doing your next brake job yourself? Do you wonder if that purple stuff actually does anything for your engine? You should head over to YouTube and find the ChrisFix channel.

ChrisFix covers just about anything car-related that you could do in your garage (with the tools and ambition) as well as some of the more daunting stuff. Better still, he does it in plain language and from a first-person perspective. He takes the time to make sure the lighting is right, there’s no annoying camera shake, and the videos are in high definition. If you’ve searched for car repair videos in the past, you know how common the crappy ones are. His videos are also very well edited, so you’re not waiting for a bunch of rambling talk before you get to the meat of the subject. He doesn’t just give the “whats” and “hows”, but also the “whys”. Even if you’re not planning to do your own repairs, it’s good to know what’s involved before throwing yourself to the mercy of a mechanic.

My personal favorite is the video on removing clear coat scratches. It took a lot of the fear out of the idea of doing it myself and kept me from wasting money on stuff that probably won’t work. He even makes a new scratch with a key on video to use as the example.

ChrisFix on YouTube
ChrisFix on Facebook
ChrisFix on Twitter

8 Most Pointless Song Lyrics Ever

00d“Go for a Soda” by Kim Mitchell – I guess this is a statement about sobriety. The song can’t decide whether it’s pop or southern rock. The guitar riff is actually pretty solid, and is a strange juxtaposition to the godawful lyrics. Mitchell must have had a dirty secret, though ’cause by track seven of the same album, he was into “Lager and Ale”. Click here to hear it and see the godawful video.

“Stranded in Iowa” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – The same band that had you singing “wrapped up like a douche and of a runner in the night” four years later gave us a tale of being stranded in Iowa. Nothing special, as many in the midwest have had that happen, myself included, especially when it snows really bad on Interstate 80. It’s a weird thing to write a song about, though, and it’s made even weirder by the opening of the song, which is a weather report from Britain’s BBC4. Click here to hear it.

“We Built This City” by Starship – They built this city on rock and roll… and then sang about it in the least rock and roll pop song the band ever released. What does the song even mean? “Marconi plays the mamba?” Marconi was Italian and anyway it was Tesla who actually invented the radio. I dare you to click here and listen.

“Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart – He wears his sunglasses at night so he can… so he can watch you weave then breathe your story lines. What?He wears his sunglasses at night so he can… so he can keep track of the visions in his eyes. Again, what? Really, this song just solidifies my notions of staying away from people wearing shades after dark. Click here to experience it in all its ’80s synth glory.

00a“Friday” by Rebecca Black – Yeah-ah-ah, Yeah-ah-ah, Yeah-ah-ah, Yeah-ah-ah. Rebecca croons about all the morning’s complexities; got to go downstairs, got to have cereal, and which seat can I take?  She needed the assistance of AutoTune to stay on that one difficult note for the whole first four lines of the song. The best part of the song is how she sings “fun, fun, fun, fun” while sounding like a completely emotionless android. Whatever you do, don’t click here.

“25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago – There are rumors that this song had something to do with drugs. The band dismisses that notion, stating it’s simply about the time of day and is a counterpart song to the song “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” Yeah… the band was so caught up in whether or not it was twenty-five minutes ’til four o’clock or twenty-six minutes ’til that they wrote two songs about it. Suuuuuure there were no drugs. Give it a listen, the music’s great, just ignore the lyrics.

“Let ’em In” by Wings – Someone’s knockin’ at the door, somebody’s ringing the bell, do me a favor and let ’em in. Yep. That’s basically the whole song, apart from a few shout-outs McCartney makes to various friends and family. The most notable part of this song is how, at the very end of the fade-out, the last two notes are loud and scare the crap out of you. Listen to it here.

“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga – “Where are my keys? I lost my phone.” “I can’t see straight anymore.” “What’s the name of this club?” “How’d I turn my shirt inside-out?” “Just dance, gonna be OK.” …Ummm, no, sweetie, you’re not gonna be OK. You’re shitfaced. Tell the bartender you don’t know where you are and don’t have your phone and he’ll get you a cab just to avoid the legal hassle. Better yet, borrow someone else’s phone and call someone sober to come get you and babysit your drunk ass until you’re well into your hangover. Get away from that Gaga bitch, she’s a bad influence. In case you were living under a rock in 2008, here it is.

DIY Perks – Thumbs Up!

Matt of DIY Perks is all about helping you build high-quality stuff, usually on the cheap. He’s made videos about computers, woodworking, electronics, audio, and photography and video. Want to make a super-quiet portable stereo microphone? There’s a video for that. Want to build a fume extractor? There’s one for that as well. Personally, I find the flexible LED panel lights intriguing and plan to build my own.

Along with the videos, there are included instructions, plan sheets, and parts lists. If you’re doing the aforementioned portable microphone be aware that doing that project requires gutting a couple of Rode NT1-a mics and hand-fashioning a couple of circuitboards, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

DIY Perks on YouTube
DIY Perks on Vessel
DIY Perks on Twitter
DIY Perks on Facebook

The Perks – At the Docks

a3016499308_16The Perks, from near Las Vegas, are a five piece alternative rock band with a sound somewhere between The Strokes and The Killers (also from Vegas). With a mostly upbeat, guitar-driven sound, The Perks would fit well on most rock or pop radio stations.

At the Docks is not a new EP, but was suggested by a friend. According to their website, and album is in the works for this year, plus there is a new single, called “Enough of This Place” available now.

“Not My Home” is a solid indie pop song with smooth guitars weaving through reverb like dolphins playing in waves. What really grabbed my attention, though, was the second song, “Sirens”. It starts with a thirty-two second, slowly-building intro and then jumps into a fantastic guitar riff that’s part Muse and part Celtic jig. The song then takes several pleasantly unexpected turns. It’s a great example of tension and release.

“At the Docks” brings us back to a more mainstream, “radio friendly” sound.  I can hear in my head a crowd singing along to the second half. “Razorblades” features some very Keith-Richards-like guitar work on the clean lead that accompanies the vocals.

At the Docks is available on iTunes and Amazon, as is the new single “Enough of This Place”.

The Perks:

Ruthe Cartoons – Thumbs Up!

Ruthe Cartoons is an animated YouTube channel created by Ralph Ruthe and voiced by Arne “Sugartalker” Christiansen. The cartoons features characters like goldish “Bubbles” and “Sting” and they’ve been on YouTube for about three years.  The characters are created cartoonist Ralph Ruthe in German and they’re translated and voiced in English by Christiansen.

● Ruthe Cartoons on YouTube ➜
● Arne “Sugartalker” Christiansen ➜

7 Changes Airlines Should Make

man-person-people-trainFlying sucks. Pretty much everyone agrees, and that’s why even though every stand up comic under the sun has a routine about air travel, we still relate and laugh at the jokes. With some airlines, it’s almost as if they operate in “Opposite World” when it comes to customer service and efficiency. Here are seven ways we think the airline industry could improve our experiences:

No more drink and food carts. It takes forever to wait on every customer even with the most experienced team with the most organized carts. They can only carry so much of each item, so if you’re not first in line, you might not get your gluten-free salad or your favorite diet soda. Plus, they serve your drink in a cup the size of a salad dressing ramekin and use ice cubes the size of billiard balls. On top of all that, if you’re in an aisle seat and not tracking their every move, the flight attendants are likely to smash your toes or crack your elbow with the cart, or worse yet, give unwanted butt contact (It’s never the hot ones that sideswipe you with their backside).

Instead, we should be able to purchase items for onboard consumption in the waiting area of the gate. Oh, and these items should be offered at a reasonable price, not four bucks for a bottle of water. As for the freebies, they could just give us each a package of those awesome Biscoff Cookies and everyone should be placated. We love cookies.

Ditch the personal screens. If you can get them to work in the first place, the sound through even your personal headphones is sub-par. Plus, after we’ve suckered ourselves into paying for a movie, the guy in front of us lays his chair back and points the screen at our knees. Why is it always only the guy in front of us that can lay his seat back enough for dental work?

Instead, make the seat backs thinner and they should give us a place to plug in our own entertainment device. Pretty much everyone has a phone or a tablet or a laptop with them anyway, let us entertain ourselves with our own stuff instead of episodes of Zoolander 2 or reruns of Blunt Talk.

planeEveryone gets free wifi. Charging for wifi is very 2004. Charging for the crappy wifi you get on an airplane ought to be against the Geneva Convention. We’re used to free wifi; we get it at Starbucks, McDonalds, Target, Jiffy Lube, and even friggin’ Amtrak. The airlines should join us in the present day and give us the wifi.

Power outlets at all seats. If they want to keep us distracted with our electronics, they’re going to need to keep our gear running.

Offer a “no kids zone” for an extra fee. This just makes sense. They already charge us for the coveted exit lane seats, which we only want because they’re the only seats with enough room for us to get our backpack out from under the seat. How about a “no screaming toddler section”? I bet there’d be a waiting list for upgrades.

Pay what you weigh. OK, before you go all “body positive” on me, I’m talking about your luggage. Added weight burns added jet fuel, which is very expensive. While we’re at it, maybe they could enforce the rules about carry-on bag size and assign each passenger a space for their bag instead of making it a free-for-all.

Stop the zone boarding nonsense. Everyone knows it’s the slowest way to fill the plane. All it takes is one jackass in the back to try going against the stream like a goddamned salmon to screw the whole thing up. That’s not to mention the knuckleheads who stand in the aisle to take off their coats.

Plus, when we’re at the gate and “zone one” is called, everyone with boarding passes for zone two through five line up anyway and the whole mess looks like a cattle funnel. Small children get trampled, old ladies get knocked over, and fist fights start. They should either seat randomly or do open seating like Southwest.  Either of those options are better than zone seating.


Airline pictures via

Turin Brakes – Lost Property

TurinBrakesEnglish band Turin Brakes was founded by childhood friends Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, with drummer Rob Allum and Basis Eddie Myer rounding out the foursome. Lost Property is their ninth album, aside from the nine EPs they’ve also put out. Their sound, for this album at least, could be called “Steve Earle meets Yo La Tengo”.

The first track, “96”, with great vocal harmonies and clean acoustic rhythm guitar matched with a clean lead, also reminds us of how a good bass can make a song. The relaxed vocals on “Keep Me Around” seem to float about the complex arpeggio and bouncy percussion. “The Quiet Ones” introduces itself with a single acoustic guitar and a Damien-Rice-like vocal and builds into a full band sound. The lead vocal is sometimes harmonized by other voices, and sometimes just shadowed by the lead guitar.

Lost Property is a well-execute album, with songs varying enough in feeling to keep it from getting boring, as many acoustic records can, but nothing seems out of place. The closest to the band comes to “rocking out” is the chorus of “Jump Start” and the closest to “coffee house mellow” is “Martini”, with light vocals reaching into occasional falsetto and an arpeggiated acoustic guitar matched with a slide guitar. Lost Property pairs equally well with housework or an easy chair and a glass of scotch.
Turin Brakes are available on iTunes and Amazon:

Have an album or EP suggestion for our “Applause!” department?
Please feel free to drop us a line at!
All suggested albums or EPs must be available to the general public (by sale or free). We will review material available only by physical media (LP, CD, etc.) but can only accept digital files for purposes of review. (ie- Got a CD out? Great! Send us a version in MP3 form though.)

Akiyoshi Kitaoka’s Color Illusion Website – Thumbs Up!

click image for full resolution

The color used to make the hearts in this image is the same for all of them. The three colors you’re seeing are a dark magenta, a dusty blue, and a bright green. Your brain gets thrown off by the proximity of the magenta to the green and goes with the “assumption” of orange. The same works for the blue and green stripes, the bright green stripes look aqua next to the blue, right? The color you’re seeing in the “orange” hearts is closer to the true green.

You’ve certainly seen some examples pictures that show how your brain misinterprets color, especially since you apparently know how to use the internet. Why you might not have seen, however, is an entire collection of these illusions accompanied by “disassembled” version of the pictures to show what’s really there.

Aside from being another fun distraction from whatever you should be doing, these illusions can be useful to anyone doing design or photo work in demonstrating how the illusion works. That way, in those times when you’re trying to tone down the crazy orange thing in your image and it’s just not working at all, you’ll know the fault belongs to the relationship between green and red. Oh, and yes, I said green and red make orange. That’s how a computer monitor works. It’s basically “two reds plus one green”. Yellow is also a mixture of green and red, with the ratio being equal (or close to equal).

As you’ll see on the website, it works with greyscale too.


Roberto Blake – Thumbs Up!

Over two years, Roberto Blake has uploaded a boatload of content regarding design, the design industry, Adobe software, various hardware, and more. From typography to self-promotion to Mac reviews to freelancing advice and more, just about anything someone starting in design would want to know more about has been addressed.

Aside from the great YouTube content, Blake also offers a free online guide called “7 Points of Personal Branding”. Unlike some other “free guides” you might find online, this one is actually free and concise enough to read in one go. There’s no fluff or filler material, it just gets to the point (or the seven points, actually). All that’s required to access the guide is to sign up for his email newsletter. Blake is also active on his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, and

Beyond his online material Blake offers on-site, remote, and corporate training for subjects such as marketing, video production, and WordPress customization. A quick search will also find some of his informative work on sites like,, and

Roberto Blake on:
Thumbnail image via

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

A friend of mine clued me in to this band via Facebook. My first exposure was a video of their performance on The Tonight Show. What I saw was a guy who must have been channeling Joe Cocker, backed by an absolutely huge band. OK, the band wasn’t that huge, but they sounded that huge! Along with the Cocker vibe, there were hints of Johnny Cash and the music from O Brother, Where Are Thou?  The song, “S.O.B”, a gospel-styled blues number, is an unabashed account of what it’s like to deal with alcoholism.

The whole self-titled album feels like it was recorded in the early ’70s. People into Creedence, Bob Seger, or John Belushi’s version of The Blues Brothers will love this. Maybe I should translate that for the younger people: If you’re into Alabama Shakes, Ben Howard, or Mumford and Sons… but not too much emphasis on Mumford and Sons, OK? It’s even mastered to sound like it was made in the early ’70s.

Starting with “I Need Never Get Old”, I automatically feel like I’m a little kid riding in my uncle’s car, listening to WLS radio. I’m sitting in front without a seat belt because kids always rode shotgun in those days. “Howling at Nothing”, “Trying So Hard Not to Know”, and “I’ve Been Failing” keep the feeling going. Evel Knievel is one of my heroes, Bea Arthur is “Maude”, Sonny and Cher are still a thing, and I love drawing cars with ridiculously-sized motors jumping over volcanoes.

“Wasting Time” is the shift in pace. This one feels like kicking back in lounge chairs at a barbecue after a few too many beers. Half the people have left and the people still here are the comfortable type. The song is less gospel blues and more folk meets Fogarty. Apart from “I’d Be Waiting”, another slower song, the rest of the album keeps up the WLS Radio feeling.

There’s not a weak track on the album. I’ll be looking for this one on vinyl very soon. Wait. Strike that… I just ordered it on Amazon.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats:

11 Ways to Tackle Your ADHD

squirrelYou’ve probably heard a joke or two about attention deficit disorder. Maybe you’ve joked about it yourself. For someone with an ADHD diagnosis, though, it isn’t all jokes and laughs. It can even lead to more problems like anxiety or depression. Of course the first thing anyone should do if they suspect they might have ADHD is get a doctor’s opinion. If you are diagnosed with ADHD, the next step is to accept the diagnosis at face value, don’t let stigma or preconception get in your way. There are support groups, medications, self-help books, podcasts, and many other resources available to help.

If you’re dealing with an attention deficit disorder, no doubt you’ve found yourself struggling with some basic things that other people seem to handle effortlessly. An easy way to combat this problem is to simply work with the disorder. Much like a wrestler or a martial arts fighter will use his opponent’s kinetic energy to his own advantage, rather than fighting to stay focused all of your working hours, change your actions to deal with an unfocused brain. Make use of the notion that you will get distracted and develop ways to work with the distraction.

  1. Create a “landing spot” for wallet, keys, spare change, and other stuff from your pockets and make a habit of always putting all that stuff there. Make it a container, like a dish or a box, that gets left out in plain sight and near whatever door you use to come into your home. It might take a few days before it becomes routine, but if you get to where you subconsciously unload your pockets into the same container every time you come in the house, you’ll never be looking for that stuff. Better yet, you won’t end up putting your wallet through the washer.
  2. Make yourself a “preflight checklist” for activities such as grocery shopping, running errands, or even heading to work. Going on a “Target run”? Make sure you have your little red savings card, your list of stuff to buy, and your reusable bags with you (as well as your wallet and phone) before you go. This is especially helpful for people with toddlers or babies to take along; diapers, extra outfit, snacks, bottle, wipes… Making a checklist for that stuff will also keep you from filling a diaper bag with all kinds of other crap you don’t really need.
  3. Simplify your environment. Clutter is distracting. Make a place for everything and put everything in its place, preferably a place out of sight. Get some containers for stuff you need to store, and don’t store stuff you don’t need. There are tons of resources on de-cluttering your space, find pretty much any one of them and follow it. They all pretty much say the same things; if you haven’t worn something in six months, donate it, etc.
  4. Immediately sort your mail, and immediately throw out all the crap. Probably less than 5% of what you get in the mailbox is useful, and having the other stuff around is just more fodder for distraction. It helps if your recycle bin is near your mailbox. As for bills, go paperless as much as possible. If you have direct deposit and automatic bill paying, your finances can become much easier. I can’t remember the last time I “balanced my checkbook”, because it balances itself. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I wrote a check.
  5. Get a physical calendar and put it in plain sight. Electronic reminders from your phone are nice, but the phone is also a huge source of distraction. Also, to see your scheduled appointments, get-togethers, and whatever else is on your calendar will require your using that phone, logging in to an electronic environment. If all your stuff is written on a paper calendar in plain sight, you’re far more likely to pay attention to it.
  6. Make a daily list and throw it out at the end of the day. Write down, in order of priority, all the stuff you have to do, things you need to buy, etc, on a paper or notecard to carry with you throughout the day. Cross off everything as it gets done. If something doesn’t get done at the end of the day, you can put it on the next day’s list, but the notion that you’re physically discarding your list at the end of the day can set a kind subconscious deadline for you.
  7. Structure time to be distracted. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Plus, Jack can’t stay focused all day without being fatigued. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself some unstructured time to browse the internet, doodle, play sudoku, or whatever you like. However, set a limit for yourself so you don’t end up wasting your day reading random Wikipedia articles of binge-watching every episode of The Wire.
  8. Get regular and sufficient sleep. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Shut off all your screens, turn out the lights, and snooze for at least seven or eight hours if you can. Lack of sleep or irregular sleep can really hinder your ability to concentrate. Unfortunately, for those of you with babies, I can’t offer much help with this apart from suggesting the idea of taking in a nanny or your mother in law to take night-time baby duties.
  9. Let others help you. You have ADHD. Own it. Let others know and they’ll most likely be helpful by telling you when you’re getting off track. If you have a spouse or partner who’s better with schedules and bills, let them do that stuff and take on more of the tasks that are less mentally tedious. Obviously you’ll want to be mindful of the people with whom you’re sharing your diagnosis. Don’t blurt it out in a job interview or anything.
  10. Prioritize your goals and write them down. This is different than your daily “to do list” in that it’s for more abstract, “long term” stuff. Do you need to clean the garage sometime soon? Write that down. Do you need to cull your tee shirt collection? Write it down. Is your driver’s license expiring in a few weeks and you’ll need to renew it? Write that down too. Then, prioritize this list. I’ve done so by writing each thing down on a separate Post-It note, each on a color representing its importance. The driver’s license goes on a red Post-It because it’s most important. Without a driver’s license, I can’t drive legally, so I have to remember that. The garage? Most likely not a have to for most people, unless it’s unsafe or you can’t get your car in. That one goes on a yellow Post-It. The tee shirts? If I haven’t done this a year from now it won’t likely affect my life significantly, so that goes on a green Post-It. All the notes go in a conspicuous place, they get thrown out after the task is complete, and the ultimate goal is to clear them all.
  11. Don’t try to memorize anything if you don’t need to. A waiter that writes down everyone’s order is far more impressive than one who tries to memorize it all and brings the wrong food. Even people without ADHD should heed this advice. Human memory is incredibly faulty. Usually you remember a few key details, sometimes incorrectly, and your brain fills in the rest by its own invention. Numbers? The average person can hold about seven of them in their working memory at any time. That means somewhere close to half can’t remember even seven.

Your Cell Phone Spies on You

Your phone knows you better than your friends, your lovers, or your mom and dad know you. It keeps your dirty little secrets. It knows your embarrassing quirks. You trust it implicitly. You tell it virtually everything, whether you mean to or not. Where were you last night? Your phone knows.

Frankie Cosmos – Fit Me In

a0634688409_16I found Fit Me In while sifting through the “recent releases” section of iTunes under the heading “indie”. I had been underwhelmed by a half hour or so of listening to bands who sounded like The Monkees after The Monkees decided they were going to write their own music and play instruments. You know, after the show ended? So when I clicked on “Korean Food” I was hit with a pleasant surprise. Synth and synthesized percussion that was part The Cars and part Postal Service, but with a creamy female vocal.

Many bands have songs that are longer than this whole EP. If there were any complaints, it would be that it leaves you for want of more songs, but the work sells at an appropriate price for its length. More than a single, not quite a full EP.

Here’s an interesting tidbit I learned from her Wikipedia page. Frankie, aka Greta Kline, is the daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. Yep, that Kevin Kline and the Phoebe Cates from my “Hot Women in their 50s” article and video. Maybe that’s where the connection to The Cars makes sense. Famous parents aside, I found this work by its own merits.

The second song, “Young”, continues the synth feeling of the first track, but a little more upbeat. The longs song on the track, “O Contest Winner”, has a bit more realistic sounding drum track, heavily reverbed harmonies, and an effect that seems like a flanger (but maybe not) that gives the song a very melancholy feel. It feels like something that would play during a memory sequence in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You know, right when Joel was in danger of forgetting Clementine altogher?

“Sand” features a real bass track in a major key, which actually picks things up, but the song is only 49 seconds long, so it punctuates the album as fast as it works things up. It’s an interesting effect, but it left me wishing the song were longer. Apparently, there is an album coming out April 1st.

Frankie Cosmos:

Our “Shave Club” aka Dorco Razors – Thumbs Up!

The Legion of Weirdos Shave Club: It’s free and easy to join!

The first step is say “bye-bye” to those fancy-schmancy online shaving hawkers that wooed you with a catchy name, cute commercials, and cleverly-engineered packaging designed to make you feel like a connoisseur of toiletries. Step two is to head to and pick out a truly discounted set of gear for yourself. You might even recognize some of their stuff, as some of the hoity-toity shave clubs are really just flipping Dorco stuff as their own wares (And if that’s the case for you, you can just re-use your existing shaver handle! Woo-hoo!).

Shave clubs have become so popular that even the companies that sell you overpriced blades at WalMart and Target have started their own clubs, although still at a higher price than the ritzy-titzy clubs. By the way, if you’re still buying razors at discount stores, what the hell is wrong with you? Don’t have the internet?

Now you can be part of the best shave club, the smartest shave club, the only shave club that you control fully, can quit and re-start at any time, and don’t have to sign a contract for. Join the Legion of Weirdos Shave Club and buy your blades the smart and cheap way.

Before discovering Dorco razors, I was paying $9 plus tax each month for four top-of-the-line six-bladed cartridges. At I found I could pay just $4 plus tax for basically the same thing (they’re a different color). That brings the price down from $2.25 per cartridge to a buck each! The only weird thing I’ve found with Dorco is that it seems the more razors you order in one go, the pricier they get. I’m a super-prepper freak when it comes to toiletries (you should see my butt-wipe closet!), so I order a box of 24 at a time for $34.80 plus tax. That puts mine at $1.45 each, still quite a bit cheaper than the uppity-schmuppity shave club, and I’m not committed to buy new blades in the future.

By the way, Dorco isn’t just for guys, they make razors in pink and lime green and with the fancy shaped handles and cartridges or whatever a girl may be looking for… or if you guys want to shave with a fancy pink razor. Whatever, no judgement here.

Oh, and don’t go thinkin’ I get anything out of this deal besides the satisfaction of sharing some good ol’ knowhow. I don’t get a cut of this or ad money or anything, although is someone at Dorco reads this and wants to reward me for preaching their good word, I’m open to it!

13 Steps for Handling a Car Accident

Crashing your car sucks. It especially sucks when you’re already having a bad day. It sucks even more when you’re at fault. But, however your day has gone and regardless of who’s at fault, if you’re uninjured, a traffic accident doesn’t have to wreck your life.

These thirteen steps can save your butt at the scene of a fender bender. If you can’t remember them, write them down on paper and keep it with the disposable camera in your glove compartment. Watch the video below to get the steps:

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5 Animals You Didn’t Know Could Kick Your Ass

You’re supposed to be scared of Grizzly Bears. We all know this. Sharks are so scary there was a whole series of movies made in the ’70s and ’80s about them. Scorpions are kind of scary too, I mean, have you seen Rudolf Schenker lately?

But what you might not know is that five common animals could take your ass out.

  1. Deer – Seriously. If you don’t believe me just do a quick Google search for video of examples of rednecks getting their asses kicked by a deer. Never mind they bite, kick, and they have antlers.
  2.  Geese – Don’t believe it? Corner one, or better yet, get between a goose and its babies!  You’re going to get to know the business end of a beak. Worse yet, their beaks have serrated edges that can break your skin or at least cause a nasty bruise.
  3. Ants – Yes, ants. Fire ants are vicious and can swarm in with enough bite power to kill you from anaphylactic shock. In the Southeastern United States, these little bastards are such a headache that special flies have been imported to combat them. How? The fly larva eat the ant’s heads. There’s payback for ya!
  4. Cows – First of all, they’re huge!  One cow can trample you to death. Scare enough of them and you’re really in for some bruises!
  5. Seals – Yes, cute, adorable seals can kill you. British marine biologist Kirsty Brown found this out the hard way. It’s the combination of their great bite strength and amazing ability to swim under water for long periods of time that really poses a problem for a human.

Goose picture by
Ants picture public domain

How to Fight

Any sane adult will do anything within reason to avoid getting in a fight. First of all, fight is just, well… not very adult. Plus, you could get in legal trouble, you could mess up your stuff, you could get fired, or even worse.

Sometimes, though, the only resort is to come to blows. If that becomes the deal for you, you might just find the video below useful. I’m certainly no MMA champion, but I can throw a punch.

*Of course I mean all of this for entertainment purposes only and don’t condone actual fighting*

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5 Excuses for Making a Vertical Video (or Four?)

verticalinfinityVertical videos still get made every day. Despite thousands of PSAs from thousands of well-meaning but irritated souls having been spread about the internet, some people just can’t learn to turn a phone 90 degrees to either direction. Really, the phone companies are largely to blame, because the technology exists to make it more difficult to screw this up. Why not add a warning that says, “You are about to make a video without having turned your phone, which may potentially enrage several internet users. Are you sure you want to do this?”

Here are the five excuses for making a vertical video:

  1. You’re a very small child or a senior citizen. Actually, being a senior citizen doesn’t automatically give you a pass anymore. If grandma can figure out Facebook, she can figure out how to hold a phone. As for the first part of the excuse, why are your parents giving you their smartphone if you’re a very small child?
  2. You want to send videos to Everyone on the internet knows that “vertical” is the default format for this “entertainment and news” website. It’s like someone took the Jerry Springer Show and blacked out two thirds of the image. The real fun begins when the action bleeds off to either side.
  3. You just like to intentionally piss people off. Making all vertical videos all the time would be a totally Andy Kaufman thing to do. Thing is, most people didn’t understand Kaufman’s humor, and a lot of the people who got the joke didn’t think he was funny, so be ready for that.
  4. You’re a halibut. And seriously, if you’re a fish and you’re making video – without any hands – then good for you! Make all the vertical video you want!
  5. I don’t really have a good fifth reason. You see, I made a video a couple years ago on this subject and somehow just screwed the pooch on the punchline, which really should have been the “halibut” thing. I don’t know what I was thinking, but to see me really screw up a really good build with a lame-o ending, watch the old-ass, bad-white-balance video below.

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8 Most Iconic Mustaches

A mustache, or moustache, however you spell it, is a look only certain people can pull off. The common accord of the female gender regarding a mustachioed man seems to be “no.”  They might be up for a goatee or a well-maintained scruff, but not a lip broom. If looking like a ’70s porn star isn’t enough of a turn-off, food stuck on those whiskers will turn stomachs. However, there are a few people men who’ve been able to wear a mustache successfully and have even made it as a crucial part of their identity.

elliottSam Elliott – This one’s just too obvious, right? Whether he’s Dal Traven, Gar, or The Stranger, the first thing we see is the mustache. The rest of his handsome face is just along for the ride. You’re craving sarsaparilla now, aren’t you?

Tom Selleck – He’s gone without the mustache and just didn’t look right. In fact, without it, he doesn’t look like Tom Selleck. His mustache is a cultural phenomenon of its own. It even has its own Twitter page. Selleck owes his career to that thing. The short shorts we can do without.

Charlie Chaplin (and that other guy) – The Tramp was the most lovable vagrant ever to grace the silver screen. That other guy was 100% a-hole. A-hole guy trimmed his down because his WWI gas mask wouldn’t seal with a full mustache. As for Charlie, he said it gave a comical appearance without obscuring his facial expressions (true for a-hole guy too). The Tramp debuted in February of 1914. WWI started that July, so Chaplin had it first.

TwainMark Twain – With a mustache that’s threatening to become a necktie, those bushy brows, that hair… it’s as if he just gave up on barber shops altogether. He did file for bankruptcy, so maybe he just didn’t have the cash. It could also have been a trademark. Quick, mentally picture L. Frank Baum. …Yeah, didn’t think so.

reynoldsBurt Reynolds – Yes, that is the most disgusting picture of Burt Reynolds I could find. Thank you for noticing. Reynold’s fame predated his mustache, but all you remember from Deliverance is Ned Beatty’s scene. Oh… sorry… to clear your head of that thought just look over at the picture of Burt again. For the record, Burt doesn’t like that photo either.

mercuryFreddie Mercury – Isn’t it funny how Freddie Mercury and Tom Selleck have essentially the same mustache but one plays as “1970s masculine” and the other plays as “ultimate gay icon?” Not that I’m saying there’s anything at all wrong with that. …Relax, of course I’m kidding. I realize Tom Selleck is also a gay icon.

zappaFrank Zappa – Not only did Zappa manage to pull off a soul patch without looking like a douche, his mustache style was so awesome scientists named a spider after it!  Seriously! Google “Pachygnatha zappa” if spiders don’t freak you out.

fridaFrida Kahlo – I’m all for equal opportunity. Jokes aside, I included Frida because her “pubescent boy” mustache, along with the unibrow, was her statement to the world about the standards of beauty. Instead of plucking, she was known to darken her duster with an eyeliner pencil. And you only thought she did it to sell t-shirts!

Photo Credits:
Sam Elliott – screen grab from The Big Lebowski, Universal Pictures
Tom Selleck – 1980 publicity photo
Charlie Chaplin – public domain
Mark Twain – public domain
Burt Reynolds – 1972 Francesco Scavullo, Cosmopolitan
Freddie Mercury – promotional, Mercury Songs Ltd.
Frank Zappa – Creative Commons Jean-Luc Ourlin
Frida Kahlo – self portrait 1940
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