Monday, June 29, 2009

Goodnight, sweet pitchman

Billy Mays: July 20, 1958 - June 28, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Belarussian hand painted movie posters

"50 First Dates" ; Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler

"Bridget Jones' Diary"; Renee Zellweger

"Scooby Doo"; Freddie Prinze Jr and Matthew Lillard

"Freaky Friday"; Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Speaking in Tongues: a Tutorial

"through the will God, speak in tongues today... and every day..."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where is she now?

Those perfect teeth, that flawless hair, those juicy chunks of lamb delicately placed atop pita with onions, tomatoes and creamy tzatziki sauce....

It's 2009. How old is the face of the Kronos Gyro? She is omnipresent in every street fair I have ever attended, but she must be at least 50 by now. She may be the longest running spokesmodel for a product ever (are gyros even a product? If you think about it, its like running an ad for a turkey sandwich...).  I wonder where she is living, if she is still modeling for food products in her advanced age, and what raw emotions swell to the surface when she comes face to face with her own smiling visage at a street fair. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

father figure

"Thank you, dear Stalin, for our happy childhoods"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

dead city

Take a look at these amazing photos of the detritus of Detroit, shot by Yves Marchland and Romain Meffre. Its incredible what happens when beautiful things are left to rot. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Czech children have better imaginations

a clip from a Czech children's show called Der Fliegende Ferdinand (The Flying Ferdinand)

Friday, February 20, 2009


Take a look at this terrifying article published in The New York Times today, titled "With Cash to Spend, China Starts Investing Globally":
Long spurned in the international market but now flush with cash, China is once again on the hunt for global energy and resources... bringing China's total oil investments this week to $41 billion
$41 billion in energy investments, in this economy, in one week. Seems like there's a larger scale power grab in the works here, beyond the massive energy investment. Next thing we know, they'll be preemptively invading energy rich foreign nations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mydoom in 3-D

This is a 3-D representation of Mydoom, a computer virus created in 2004 that became the fastest spreading email worm ever. The image was created by MIT researcher Alex Dragulescu, who put the virus' code through a "computational art" algorithm.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Royal Blood, Part 2: The Royal Disease

In the late 19th century, the congenital blood disorder hemophilia became known as "The Royal Disease" because of its pervasiveness in Europe's most powerful bloodlines. The royal strain originated in Great Britain, but within three generations it had infected the bloodlines of the ruling monarchies of Spain, Germany and Russia. A breakdown of hemophilia's virulent spread gives insight into the narrow network of suitable mates available to European royalty, and illuminates the numerous familial connections between independent monarchies across the European continent. 

Hemophilia is a rare inherited disorder that inhibits the body's ability to form blood clots, resulting from a mutation on the X-chromosome (therefore suffered almost exclusively by men - most often passed from mother to son). Prior to the mid 20th century, the disorder was untreatable. Thus, a hemophiliac who suffered a seemingly insignificant flesh-wound would almost invariably die from massive blood loss.  

Most sources trace the origin of the "Royal Disease" to the legendary monarch, Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Victoria gave birth to nine children with her husband and first cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Three of their children were afflicted with the disorder -- two of their daughters, Princesses Alice and Beatrice, were carriers for hemophilia, while their second son Prince Leopold, was a hemophiliac. From birth, Leopold suffered from frequent hemorrhages and seizures, and was placed under constant supervision by his cautious mother. But in spite of the world's best medical care, at age 30 Leopold slipped and injured his knee at a Yacht club in Cannes -- he died of a cerebral hemorrhage a few hours later. Prior to his untimely death, Leopold passed the mutation on to his daughter Princess Alice, who married an English Prince, Alexander of Teck. Alice spread the disorder to her son, Prince Rupert, who would die at age 21 of a brain hemorrhage resulting from a car crash. 

Though Leopold kept his strain of the disorder within the borders of the British Empire, his siblings would unwittingly spread it across Europe. Victoria's first carrier daughter Beatrice spread the Royal Disease to her son Leopold, who would die during a knee operation at age 32,  and to her daughter Princess Eugenie, who would marry the heir to the Spanish throne, Alphonso XIII --introducing the deadly disorder into the Spanish bloodline. Eugenie's hemophiliac sons princes Alfonso and Gonzolo would both die of internal bleeding at ages 31 and 19, resulting from separate minor car accidents. 

Victoria's second carrier daughter, Alice, passed the disorder onto her son Prince Friedrich and two of her daughters -- princesses Alix and Irene. Friedrich was diagnosed at age 2 after a cut to his ear bled continuously for three days. He died of a brain hemorrhage a few months later after a fall from a first floor window. Friedrich's sister Alix married Russian Tsar Nicholas II, and injected hemophilia into the Russian bloodline. Alix infected her youngest child Alexis with the deadly disorder, but his life was cut short at age 13, when he and the rest of his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918. Alix's sister Irene married the German prince Albert of Prussia (her first cousin), and thus infected the German bloodline. She passed the disorder on to her son Heinrich, who would die at age four from bleeding caused by a bump to the head. 

Hemophilia took its toll on the royal families of Europe, and sparked a frantic search for what Victoria herself called "strong blood", with which the monarch hoped to salvage the royal bloodline. Of all the hemophiliac males who descended from Queen Victoria, none would live past age 32. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Visual Vocab

Result #1 from Google Image Search for the word "rapture"

Friday, January 30, 2009

McDonald's US advertising slogans, 1960 - Present

"Lets eat out!" (1960 - 1965)
"Look for the Golden Arches!" (1965 -1967)
"The closest thing to home" (1967)
"McDonald's is your kind of place" (1967 -1971)
"You deserve a break today" (1980 - 1983)
"Nobody makes your day like McDonald's can" (1983 -1983)
"We cook it all for you at McDonald's" (1982)
"McDonald's and you" (1983 - 1984)
"It's a good time for the great taste of McDonald's" (1984 - 1988)
"It's Mac Tonight" (1985)
"McDonald's is your place to be" (1986)
"Good time, great taste" (1988 - 1990)
"There's nothing quite like a McDonald's" (1988 - 1990)
"You deserve a break today" (1989 - 1990)
"Food, folks and fun" (1990 - 1991)
"McDonald's today" (1991 - 1992)
"What you want is what you get" (1992 - 1995)
"Do you believe in magic?" (1993 - 1995)
"Have you had your break today?" (1995 - 1997)
"My McDonald's" (1997)
"Did somebody say McDonald's?" (1997 - 2000)
"We love to see you smile" (2000 - 2002)
"Smile" (2002 - 2003)
"I'm lovin' it " (2003 - Present)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bear Markets & Banker Suicide

By all accounts, in the immediate aftermath of the Black Thursday market crash of 1929, the sidewalks of Wall Street were littered with the bodies of Wall Street bankers. Ruined financiers were jumping to their deaths because of their massive losses in the market they had trusted -- their faith in both capitalism and existence simultaneously squandered. The  suicides were framed as a sort of financial morality tale, and the most horrific and enduring symbol of the age.  

So ever since the stock market took its recent epic plunge, I have wondered -- where are all the bodies? October's crash has been universally compared with the crash of 1929. The market dropped more than 20 percent in seven days. So what is the difference between the two crashes? The answer -- not much. It seems that the banker suicides from Black Friday are nothing more than urban legend. According to Slate, only 4 in every 100 suicides in 1929 were linked to the stock market crash, and only two of these took place on Wall Street. 

This begs the question -- why has the myth of banker suicides persisted? 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009