Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
Artist Marc Tasman spent 10 years and 1 day taking a daily Polaroid, typically of himself, and has compiled the resulting pictures into a video (below). Watch his beard grow and shrink, his hair get longer and shorter, his glasses change styles, and so on, over the course of 4,600+ Polaroid photos. (Although the project only lasted 3,654 consecutive days, he ended up with over 4,600 images, so I assume he sometimes did multiple shots per day.)
See also: He Took a Polaroid Every... READ ON
Everybody loves a goof-up on TV or in a movie. Here are a collection of the blooperiest bloopers I could bloop up on on the interbloop!
Star Wars Bloopers
Jawas helping R2D2 move, stuntmen handing new guns to Han Solo mid-fight, Darth Vader mis-catching guns summoned by mind control, the Emperor's hood falls off at an inopportune time, the director yelling at Jabba to "own it," and "Search your feelings, father, I know you...I...forgot my lines...."
"Men in Black" Blooper... READ ON
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has an eye-opening video demonstrating the health hazards of eating at major Italian-style restaurant chains (they focused on the Olive Garden and Romano's Macaroni Grill, the two largest such chains in the US). Remember when the CSPI called fettucini Alfredo a "heart attack on a plate" in 1994? Well, there are more heart attacks where that came from. How about the Olive Garden's innocuous-sounding Spaghetti with Meatballs...well, it's got roughly... READ ON
So I'm an MC Frontalot fan from way back. In fact, my second-ever blog post for mental_floss mentioned the man, the legend, the nerd -- and the awesome documentary about him, Nerdcore Rising (now available on DVD, and highly recommended). Well, my man Front has done something amazing and powerfully nerdy -- he has embarked on a journey to quit smoking using the power of Dungeons & Dragons. How, you ask? Let me excerpt a bit from his "Dorknotes" blog:
2. Keep a d20 in your pack of cigarettes. If it... READ ON
In 1979, Philip Glass composed some music for Sesame Street; the music was used to back geometric animations showing how a simple circle could be subdivided and repeated to make more complex shapes and patterns (in much the same way that Glass's music uses patterns, repetition, and subtle alteration to create melody and complexity). It's hard to find the resulting work (entitled "Geometry of Circles") that was shown on Sesame Street three decades ago, though it has been re-aired a few times over the years... READ ON
Here's a treat -- in 1980, Prime Computer (aka PR1ME Computer if you were totally awesome) hired actors Tom Baker and Lalla Ward (then playing Dr. Who and Romana on the BBC's Dr. Who series) to promote Prime Computers in TV ads. Below is a video compiling all the ads. Dr. Who was a particularly apt early-80's computer salesman, given the series' kitchsy mix of high- and low-tech.
Note the tagline: "Step Into the 80's!"
(Via... READ ON
So yesterday I posted The Late Movies: Rock On, Wesley Willis, featuring some of Wesley Willis's bizarre-but-awesome music. But the real treat comes today, when you can watch an entire documentary about Wesley Willis online -- this week only. (Later, you'll have to buy the DVD.) The new documentary is called Wesley Willis's Joy Rides, and I think you should watch it.
Surprise: Wesley Willis was a skilled visual artist. His drawings, featured in this film, have a powerful architectural style,... READ ON
"I make music, I sing my ass off." With these words, Wesley Willis opens a short documentary shown below. Willis was a bizarre musician -- a chronic schizophrenic, his music was crude and thus considered "punk," but in a way no one had heard before. Willis's songs generally consisted of spoken-word poetry over a keyboard's built-in "demo" track, with (generally off-key) choruses sung every now and then.
Because Willis was mentally ill, it was hard to be sure how to take him or his music -- was it... READ ON
Remember Pee-Wee Herman's 1988 Christmas Special? It featured an insanely long list of guest-stars, including: Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, Dinah Shore, Little Richard, Cher, Magic Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Del Rubio Triplets, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, and Charo. It was a hell of a production, and as far as Christmas specials go, it's a classic.
In the special, Pee-Wee makes an absurdly long list of presents he wants from Santa (using his Conky 2000... READ ON
So my friend T'chaka was visiting his sister and his four-year-old niece, Aurora, last December. Aurora began a stream-of-consciousness rant about the need for more peace in the world. Well, rant is maybe too strong a word -- it's more a complex set of observations about world history, politics, peace, money, and bedtime, as seen by a four-year-old. T'chaka captured Aurora's message on his phone, turning it into a song by singing along and playing improvised guitar. In the year since, T'chaka created... READ ON
Atticus Finch's final speech in To Kill a Mockingbird was shot in one take.