View Full Version : Odds and Ends ...

December 22nd, 2008, 05:50 AM
Odds and Ends …

Remember all those interesting items you see as you "surf around the 'net," and perhaps desire to bring back here for others to view ... in some form. But then you may also discover there is no place to put them. At this point, like it or not, you are suddenly faced with a dilemma: does the material merit a new thread; or is this a one-timer that you will likely discard. As one of your last resorts, consider this thread as an alternative, but only if any given item you wish to post, still satisfies a couple of parameters that will prevent this "corner of the world" from deteriorating into a theme-less repository.

Specifically, I insist that your "find" broadly fall into a category which can be considered a "curiosity" and/or something that contains a strong element of humour (ranging from silly to ironical).

I hope through examples to illustrate what is being sought. But don't be alarmed if my particular topical concerns don't match yours. Afterall, we come from different perspectives, and often react to curiosity or humour accordingly.

I close with the following, just to make certain matters more plain:

If nobody posts here, it will simply be my "Odds and Ends' (what a frightful prospect). I would prefer otherwise, since I think this thread is needed on some level for certain types of singular posts, but that is up to you.

Some will suddenly decide to take their post elsewhere, such as to start a new thread, even if they try it here first. I should hope that no one would take offence with that - I know I won't,

I encourage creative posts - if that is your bent. I will leave it to you as to how that actually translates. I only mention this because subject matter here is perfectly suited to go full tilt in that direction.

When posts that appear here are moved, a formatted Odds and Ends Marker is inserted with an explanation (provided we get said explanation).

-- Zephyr

December 22nd, 2008, 06:19 AM
A wonderful idea for a thread: but why the oversize type? Why the triple+ spacing?

It quickly uses up pages and makes viewing the thread a chore.

Can't we use the same normal font size that every other poster here uses?

December 23rd, 2008, 01:38 AM
"OfficeSpam" Web Source (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://officespam.chattablogs.com/archives/grand-canyon-almost-darwin-award-winner-1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://officespam.chattablogs.com/archives/2007/01/dumb-luck-almost-a-darwin-award-winner.html&usg=__eEbcDzQqdfZXoUOBlw7NUBE-A98=&h=384&w=511&sz=216&hl=en&start=11&tbnid=7Fd8r9azbWMqKM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=131&prev=/images%3Fq%3DDumb%2Bphotographs%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den %26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us%26sa%3DN&um=1)

…This is a case of photographer photographs photographer. The following photographs were taken by photographer Hans van de Vorst at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. The descriptions are his own. The identity of the photographer IN the photos is unknown.

great place for a photo

I was simply stunned seeing this guy standing on this solitary rock IN the Grand Canyon.

The canyon's depth is 900 meters here. The rock on the right is next to the canyon and safe.

Watching this guy on his thong sandals, with a camera and a tripod I asked myself 3 questions:

How did he climb that rock?
Why not taking that sunset picture on that rock to the right, which is perfectly safe?
How will he get back?

This is the point of no return


After the sun set behind the canyon's horizon he packed his things (having only one hand available)

and prepared himself for the jump. This took about 2 minutes.

At that point he had the full attention of the crowd.

After that, he jumped on his thong sandals... The canyon's depth is 900 meters here.

Now you can see that the adjacent rock is higher so he tried to land lower, which is quite steep and tried to use his one hand to grab the rock.


We've come to the end of this little story. Look carefully at the photographer.

He has a camera, a tripod and also a plastic bag, all on his shoulder or in his left hand.

Only his right hand is available to grab the rock and the weight of his stuff is a problem.

He lands low on this flip flops both his right hand and right foot slips away... At that moment I take this shot.

He pushes his body against the rock.

He waits for a few seconds, throws his stuff on the rock, climbs and walks away.

This nifty piece of OfficeSpam was submitted by Tim.

December 23rd, 2008, 01:39 AM
http://s3.amazonaws.com/static.onmylist.com/list_item_images/3945/slow_down_list_view.jpg http://images.loqu.com/contents/652/673/image/ff/I%20Need%20A%20Truck!.jpg
left - © 2007 OnMyList, LLC; right - © 2008 Loqu.com / Courtesy Zzappple's Space

Courtesy flickr / mxlanderos

Courtesy Linkinn

http://s3.amazonaws.com/static.onmylist.com/list_item_images/3933/help_me_down_list_view.jpg http://www.hemmy.net/images/automobiles/strangeaccidents01.jpg
left - © 2007 OnMyList, LLC; right - Courtesy hemmy.net

December 23rd, 2008, 01:40 AM
More of a curiosity than anything else. We start with the fact that spiral escalators (also known as helix escalators when extended) are engineering marvels in themselves. As far as I know, Mitsubishi is the only company making them at this moment.

But what if the spiral/helix is exceptionally long - which is still relatively short compared to linear escalators. The cost would seem prohibitive, and as to where it might be used, difficult to visualise. Maybe it would be used in an opera house or well-heeled shopping mall.

I hadn't considered the following, but it is perfectly logical:

Spiral Escalator at Caesar's Palace Forum Shops in Las Vegas –
World’s Longest

to Access YouTube Video

http://www.mccullagh.org/db9/1ds-4/caesars-palace-casino.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9epUGcZtJDY)
Video – Courtesy YouTube / spoonpiano;
Image – Courtesy Caesar's Palace Casino

Runtime - 00:24

December 23rd, 2008, 01:41 AM
Autoblog cooks ham and potatoes in the engine bay of Saab

to Access YouTube Video

http://hight3ch.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/cook_engine.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0E-On30as4)
Video – Courtesy YouTube / Autoblogvideo;
Image – Courtesy High Tech

Runtime - 06:33

December 23rd, 2008, 03:38 AM
Above I kindly ask the following:

A wonderful idea for a thread: but why the oversize type? Why the triple+ spacing?

It quickly uses up pages and makes viewing the thread a chore.

Can't we use the same normal font size that every other poster here uses?

You responded... I responded to you and then you eliminated your posts (twice).... leaving me no choice but to eliminate mine. I don't know what your motive is, but eliminating posts that others have responded to can only cause confusion with those viewing the thread.

December 24th, 2008, 12:36 AM

Man tries to go home for holidays — by fire truck

Tue Dec 23 [2008], 2:55 pm ET

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – What kind of mileage does that thing get? Police in South Salt Lake, Utah, have arrested a man they say tried to steal a fire truck so he could drive home — to Washington — for Christmas.

Detective Gary Keller says firefighters on a medical call heard the $500,000 truck's air horn blaring Monday and ran outside. They found a man in the driver's seat trying to drive away.

After a lengthy struggle, firefighters were finally able to subdue the man until police arrived.

Police say the 25-year-old man told them he wanted to go to Washington to see his mother for Christmas.

Sponsoring Link – Copyright © 2008 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Story as Written – Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081223/ap_on_fe_st/odd_fire_truck_trip;_ylt=AtIOOv8LWDpO9xpnHktxxrNI2 ocAhttp://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081223/ap_on_fe_st/odd_fire_truck_trip;_ylt=AtIOOv8LWDpO9xpnHktxxrNI2 ocA)
Original Source – Deseret News (http://www.deseretnews.com/home/)

December 24th, 2008, 03:06 PM

Its pointless, Zephyr wont change his posting 'style' its been brought up alot. The content is generally interesting but I cant read it. The Richard Meier thread taught me that. When existing posts were updated and posted again causing them to show as 'unread' so in essence I read that thread about 3 times over. As for the font/colour/spacing, it hurts the eyes, its hard enough reading alot off a screen nevermind when its made a challenge.

Re: the cable article, i think there is an existing thread for that from when it happened last time.

December 24th, 2008, 08:38 PM
I will remove the cable post, even though I used it primarily as an example (see revised, opening post).

BTW, I do agree with "Zephyr [won't] change his posting 'style'," as you indicated to your fellow member and friend. But the rest of it is your take not mine. Personally, I will always believe that issues with posting are better handled by PMs, clicking on the proper icon, or as a last resort on a thread that you are familiar with - "Forum Issues." Disrupting a thread to do this, is not a very wise alternative, even if it is practised with impunity on WNY.

Off to delete yet another post ...

December 24th, 2008, 09:43 PM
A PM would be useless as I can tell from when this was brought up before that it would fall on deaf ears. I said so publicly because Fab said it publicly, him being a friend has nothing to do with it. I also said it publicly in the hope that some members who may read this thread could comment also if they had problems with your writing style and perhaps extra support would cause you to make it more readable. I know several other members who do but wish to remain anonymous. Im not asking for a massive change. If you left justify, use black characters and limit the amount of size/ font changes and it would be so much easier on our eyes.

However, I know you wont listen to me, you've shown yourself to be biased, unreasonably so, against me in the past and I doubt you would listen to me or anyone for that matter.

I know you want your posts to have extra effort, but if you want a really stunning post you should consider how it is read by the average member.

December 24th, 2008, 09:47 PM
I will remove the cable post, even though I used it primarily as an example (see revised, opening post).

BTW, I do agree with "Zephyr [won't] change his posting 'style'," as you indicated to your fellow member and friend. But the rest of it is your take not mine. Personally, I will always believe that issues with posting are better handled by PMs, clicking on the proper icon, or as a last resort on a thread that you are familiar with - "Forum Issues." Disrupting a thread to do this, is not a very wise alternative, even if it is practised with impunity on WNY.

Off to delete yet another post ...

You didnt have to delete the cable post, Im not sure if you found the thread I referred to or not. I didnt hold a gun to your head.

Im not disrupting this thread as it isnt a discussion thread. It is a thread of one post stories. The most continuous conversation is this one. You know well by now threads take on their own direction.

Youre a strange character. You obviously want your posts to look great yet you dont care how they are read by real people.

December 24th, 2008, 09:51 PM
From this point forward, this "strange character" will post only what this thread was meant to do. Apologies to the "real people" that may be offended by doing so.

December 24th, 2008, 10:05 PM


M. Liminal

The music of shape and the design of sound are created in the M. Liminal model, designed by NYT Line and Philippe Gendre.

Just as consonance and dissonance are organised in music, M. Liminal's shapes and colours are combined in asymmetric but orderly designs.

Inspired by the sea, the shape of the side evokes the profile of a wave while the black-silver colour that of a dolphin.

The red of the soundboard and black of the cast iron frame filter through the transparency of the plexiglas music stand.


http://www.fazioli.com/images/liminal_mini.jpg http://www.fazioli.com/images/liminal_mini_1.jpg

Copyright © 2005 Fazioli Pianoforti All rights reserved.

December 24th, 2008, 10:22 PM

Ant study deep-sixes favorite theory!

Social insects are astonishingly successful – in some habitats the ants, wasps, bees and termites outweigh animals with backbones. This is an insult to the top vertebrates (aren't we totally important?), but biologists have another concern, summed up in a single word: Why?

The standard answer is division of labor through specialization. Ant colonies typically contain workers, who forage for food or care for the young, soldiers, who protect the colony or attack others, and of course, the queen, who sits around and lays eggs 24/7. According to conventional wisdom, specialists are better at their jobs, and that allows the whole colony to thrive.

And now comes a study showing almost no support whatsoever for this well-accepted rationale. Anna Dornhaus, an assistant professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, established some colonies of an ant species that's widespread in Europe.

Photo courtesy Megan Levardo, UA NASA Space Grant Intern

It looks like an art studio, but here's how you paint labels on your
ant colony – never know when this skill will come in handy!


She painted the ants to identify them, and timed them doing four tasks:

Carrying immature ants to move the colony to a new location,
Foraging for honey,
Foraging for protein (dead flies),...
Collecting sand grains to build the nest (the sand is about one-third as big as a worker).


When Dornhaus compared ants that specialized in one task to those that worked on several, her data refuted the bedrock assumption that specialization raises individual productivity. "There is no pattern at all," she says, "no significant correlation between how specialized I am and how good I am at a task. I was surprised. I absolutely expected to find that individuals were better at the tasks they were doing, either because they picked the work they were good at, or they learned to get better at certain tasks as they specialized."

Among ants, the queen is always larger than the workers. The study may not apply to the 15 percent of ants that have specialized bodies, Dornhaus cautions. Among some army ants, for example, the soldiers are much brawnier than the workers.

But among 85 percent of ant varieties, including the rock ants she studied, all non-queen females are alike in body size and shape.

If specialization does not increase efficiency, what is going on? "Maybe the system is more complicated than I thought, or maybe it is not as optimized," Dornhaus says. Biologists assume that the continual struggle to survive that drives evolution will refine and perfect behaviors, she says. "In many cases, that is true, but not always. Sometimes, animals will stick to a behavior that has become useless."

Something new!

Specialization has long intrigued social-insect researchers, but they have concentrated on a different question: Why Ant Annie would tend the young while Ant Annette became a soldier. (Among social insects, males are only involved in mating; females do all the heavy lifting -- and everything else). "Social insect people have almost entirely focused on the sensory stimuli that provoke an individual to engage in a task," says Lars Chittka, of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at the University of London. The question of whether the individuals that are stimulated to perform a specific task are also the ones that do it most efficiently "has not been addressed empirically so far," he says. "Dornhaus shows that there is no link between the animal's propensity to perform a task, and their efficiency at that task."

If the result are broadly applicable to social insects, ecologists owe us some explanations. Chittka, who has worked with bees for many years, wrote via email "that just like in human societies, efficiency at job specialty is only in small part a result of 'talent,' or innate tendency to engage in a job: it is much more a result of perfecting skills with experience."
The Dornhaus results may have been different, he suggests, if the individuals had time to hone their skills. "In almost all tasks that social insects engage in, there's improvement with experience," he says.

Switch hitters

Dornhaus, however, found that skill did not seem to increase over time. "Specialists had opportunities for learning, but that did not seem to make them more efficient; they had done tasks repeatedly in the past but were not doing them faster."

One possible explanation involves the effort needed to change from one task to another, she says. "It may be that switching tasks is very expensive ... in terms of time and cognitive effort." If so, it could still be more productive to specialize, even if the specialists do not do their jobs faster than non-specialists.

We mentioned to Dornhaus that specialization and division of labor on assembly lines have proven to be excellent (if boring) ways to improve factory productivity, and Dornhaus returned to the switching issue. "Most of these tasks do not require a lot of learning, but they are efficient because you save the switching costs, so everybody works faster. It's not that a person from another part of the assembly line could not work on your part."

If switching does not explain the superior performance of social insects, however, Dornhaus says a major explanation for their success "falls apart. Then we do not know why ants have a division of labor, why they specialize. We always thought specialization and division of labor is a great innovation of social insects. It's surprising to find it is not as beneficial as we thought.

– David Tenenbaum


Anna Dornhaus, 2008, Specialization does not predict individual efficiency in an ant. PLoS Biol 6(11): e285. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060285.

©2008, University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents. (http://whyfiles.org/shorties/273ant_specialist/)

December 25th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Sometimes, animals will stick to a behavior that has become useless.
Kind of says it all right there.

Dornhaus shows that there is no link between the animal's propensity to perform a task, and their efficiency at that task.
This study makes me think of the Peter Principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle) which afflicts human social structures.

December 25th, 2008, 02:45 PM

The word “photography” has its roots in Greek, roughly trans-
lating to “writing of light.” Just as text is most interesting when
free of superfluous words, photography using little light is often
the most intriguing. Night photographers, consequently, are
some of the most captivating “writers” in the medium.





(images via: Arts Gallery and La Cancion De La Sirna)

One of the founding fathers of night photography was Brassai,
a Hungarian emigre to France who made his mark on the young
art form with his 1933 book, Paris de Nuit (Paris by Night).
Brassai’s images drew sharp contrasts between extreme light and
extreme darkness, between the pure white of the city’s artificial,
electric lighting, and the voids of darkness the lighting did not
reach. Brassai’s deft use of fog as a tool in night photography
established the technique in the genre, a technique that would
be employed by night photographers in every successive generation.

Bill Schwab



Bill Schwab is a clear follower in Brassai’s footsteps,
using a similar interplay of artificial light and fog in much of
his work. But Schwab’s work does not feature the light in the
foreground, as Brassai’s did, but piercing through the subject
of the photo from the background. This effect gives Schwab’s
subjects a sort of hollow, lifeless quality that he manipulates
to great effect, especially when focusing on symbols of his
native Michigan’s suffering economy.

Robert Brook


… [A] British photographer specializing in night photography is
Robert Brook, who …works … with urban subject matter. Brook
is one of the few photographers to do extensive night work in
both color and black and white photography. Brook’s color images
are often nearly as devoid of pigment as his black and white
prints, using harsh, artificial white lights that makes the darkness
look almost more inviting than the lighted areas.

© 2008 Webist Media (http://weburbanist.com/2008/07/30/10-unusually-talented-night-photographers-photography/)

December 25th, 2008, 04:30 PM
Close call for me: "News and Politics" or here? May yet make it over to the former, but more likely to stay here.


The top ten media blunders of 2008

12/22/08 6:29 PM EST

Photo: AP

Terrorist fist jab' or just a way of saying hello?

The media took its share of lumps this year, with persistent claims of bias and complaints about often wrong-headed speculation from a seemingly endless parade of talking heads. Of course, there was great reporting, with journalists breaking news and penning terrific profiles of the candidates and the campaigns. TV ratings and Web traffic were through the roof, evidence of huge voter interest. But there were plenty of missteps on the way, and Politico compiled a list of 2008’s greatest blunders (along with a look at how the media responded to each).

Were there worse media mishaps we've missed? Politico invites readers — never shy to tell us reporters when we're wrong — to comment below and let us know what should have made the cut.

1) New Hampshire primary: Pundits predicted a campaign-ending, double-digit loss long before the polls closed, and some networks, perhaps disbelieving the results, didn’t call the election until after Obama had already conceded. "I will never underestimate Hillary Clinton again,” Chris Matthews said on MSNBC.

Response: The New Hampshire debacle came up again and again, especially when cable talking heads began saying Obama had sewn up the nomination. But many pundits, perhaps wary of repeating their previous mistake, kept up with the claim the race was neck and neck well after the delegate math no longer gave Clinton any opening.

2) The New York Times' McCain-Iseman story: There was so much hype leading up to The Times' front-page investigation of John McCain’s relationship with lobbyists — dating back at least to a Drudge leak two months earlier — that without something concrete, the story was doomed to fail. Executive Editor Bill Keller said there’s more to the piece than the strongly suggested, never outright stated, romantic relationship between the senator with lobbyist Vikki Iseman, but that’s what the public seized upon. The Times put it out there but couldn’t prove it, leading both the right and the left to slam the piece.

Response: The campaign sparred publicly with the Gray Lady throughout the campaign, using the liberal media as a whipping boy when it needed to rally the base, and the paper often appeared to return the favor, most notably in an hostile October profile of wife Cindy McCain.

3) Matthews, Olbermann as co-anchors: Having MSNBC stars Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann co-anchor Election Night and convention coverage drew the public ire of conservatives (and many Clinton supporters), and internally network journalists grumbled that the pair tarnished NBC’s established journalism brand. By the time the Democrats reached Denver, Jon Stewart had dubbed the network “lord of the flies.”

Response: Even-keeled NBC utility player David Gregory took over as anchor, allowing Matthews and Olbermann to let their opinions run free.

4) “Terrorist fist bump” and “baby mama”: Fox News, in one week last summer, twice took racially tinged shots at Michelle Obama. Host E.D. Hill apologized for calling the playful fist pound between the Obamas at the convention a “terrorist fist jab,” and then days later, the network placed an offensive chyron up next to the future First Lady: “Obama’s baby mama.”

Response: Hill’s contract wasn’t renewed when it expired in November, and the producer responsible for the “baby mama” line went to CNBC.

5) “Pimped out”: MSNBC’s David Shuster said that Chelsea Clinton was being “pimped out” by the campaign for calling superdelegates on her mother’s behalf. The Clinton camp and NBC executives became embroiled in a tense back-and-forth, with the Democratic contender threatening to withdraw from a network-sponsored debate.

Response: Shuster was suspended for a couple weeks, but the incident wasn’t a career setback. Just last week, MSNBC named Shuster host of “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

6) ABC Democratic Debate in Philadelphia: Co-moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos faced plenty of blowback following the Obama-Clinton debate for spending the first half focused on what many complained were trivial issues — his relationships with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, and his stance on flag pins.

Response: Gibson and Stephanopoulos weathered the criticism, but also didn’t get another debate. Little was heard about Wright after that, or about Ayers until the McCain campaign went hard at the link in the final weeks of the race.

7) National Enquirer’s Edwards story: During the primaries, mainstream media outlets, this one included, declined to report on the National Enquirer’s shoe-leather reporting on John Edwards’ affair, even after their reporters caught him visiting the woman at the Beverly Hilton. Bloggers kept the story simmering while most news organizations ignored the mounting evidence — that is, until Edward finally came clean on ABC after he'd already dropped out of the race.

Response: Still more ammo to those predisposed to thinking the establishment media’s days as gatekeeper are numbered.

8) New Yorker’s “Politics of Fear” cover: The Zabar’s set were in on the joke. But some didn’t see the humor in the illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama sharing a terrorist fist-jab and dressed, respectively, as a Muslim and Angela Davis-style black radical, with an Osama bin Laden painting on the mantle and an AK-47 leaning against the fireplace, in which burned the American flag.

Response: Both campaigns slammed the cover, and rumors flew that New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza was kept off the campaign’s overseas trip as a result. But now, both Lizza and editor David Remnick — the former whose excellent piece on Obama in the same issue was largely overlooked in the ensuing dustup — are working on books dealing with Obama.

9) Veepstakes mistakes: OK, there probably could be a long list, so we'll settle for a pair of political commentators who were both right and wrong. On “Fox News Sunday,” Bill Kristol repeatedly said that Obama would choose Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, even offering the time and place of the announcement. And Time’s Mark Halperin boasted of having two Republican sources telling him that McCain had “apparently settled on Romney.”

Response: They kept on giving predictions. To Kristol’s credit, he was talking up Palin as McCain’s VP long before most of the lower 48 knew who she was. Halperin was on the right track with Obama’s pick, evident in his cryptic “Beau knows… the pick” line on “The Page.”

10) CNN’s Drew Griffin misquoting the National Review: CNN finally got an interview with Sarah Palin, but ran into trouble when Griffin read part of a National Review story to the Alaska governor: “I can't tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above." Turns out the author, Byron York, wasn't taking a shot at Palin, but at the media for portraying her as those things.

Response: The incident fed straight into the narrative that mainstream outlets weren’t giving Palin a fair shake. Griffin apologized on-air for taking the quote out of context and personally to both York and editor Rich Lowry.

© 2008 Capitol News Company LLC (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1208/16789.html)

December 25th, 2008, 04:36 PM
Joe the effin' Pumber doesn't make the top 10?!

December 26th, 2008, 12:49 AM

Curiosities: What food was served at the
Original Thanksgiving celebration?

Nov. 26, 2008

Plucked from his own time in the autumn of 1621 and deposited at a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner today, a Plymouth, Mass. Pilgrim would have gawked at the foodstuffs, says UW-Madison historian Stanley Schultz.

“He would not have recognized mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, bread stuffing of any composition, green beans (alone or in some noxious casserole), corn on the cob, candied yams or sweet potatoes, pumpkin or apple pie for dessert,” Schultz says. “If the meal’s centerpiece was a crown roast of pork or a spiral cut ham, our traveler would stand bewildered because his fellow Pilgrims did not keep pigs.”

What, then, did the approximately 50 English settlers, who for three days entertained and feasted with about 90 regional Wampanoag Indians, eat during the celebration? We only know for certain that the celebrants dined on venison provided by the Indians and wild fowl (probably either duck or turkey). Other available foodstuffs included some form of dried maize—“Indian corn” to the Pilgrims—lobsters, oysters, eels, squash, beans (similar to lima beans), strawberries, raspberries, and gooseberries (probably dried) as sweets. “We only can speculate whether the feast included these items,” he says.

What is not speculative, Schultz says, is that today we celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November because of Abraham Lincoln. In October, 1863, the President proclaimed a national holiday on which all Americans, bitterly divided by the Civil War, could give thanks with one heart and voice for all that was strong and productive about their nation.

“Sound advice then, and today as well,” adds Schultz.

© 2008 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System (http://www.news.wisc.edu/16007)

January 1st, 2009, 10:41 AM
Odds and Ends Marker ... Posts Moved

What Moved: Curiosity - "Canada's Smallest House (and Lawn)," along with several other related posts that came later.

Reason: We were alerted by Jasonik about the "Tiny Houses" thread and it was determined that although this could be seen as different - being smallest not just tiny - it was best to place all under the larger category of "Tiny Houses".

Links of Interest:

Click Here (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=267511&postcount=11) for Original Post now modified with introductory comment
Click Here (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?p=182249#post182249) for "Tiny Houses" thread

January 2nd, 2009, 03:21 AM

People We'd Like to Throw a Shoe At

by The Daily Beast

And what we're packin'. Plus: The Daily Beast celebrates the best (and worst) of the rest of the year.

President Bush may have ducked an incoming foot-to-air missile earlier this month but he’s not the only one who should have tasted leather in 2008. Here are some other worthy targets. (There would have been more, but Sarah Palin ate up our clothing allowance.)

Mike Groll/AP

ELIOT SPITZER ... An old sneaker.

Chris Hondros/Getty

JOHN EDWARDS ... A baby sneaker.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

THE BIG 3 CEOs ... Lots of expensive pumps.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov

BERNIE MADOFF ... One with no sole.

Jim Cole/AP

CHIP SALTSMAN ... One with no tongue.

Entertainment Press/Splash News

SPENCER PRATT ... A loafer.

Jeff Haynes/Reuters


J.D. Pooley/Getty


Jose Luis Magana/AP

TED STEVENS ... A mule

Mike Stobe/Getty

ALEX RODRIGUEZ ... Your basic heel.

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

RICK WARREN ... Another man's shoes.

Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty

ELISABETH HASSELBECK ... Only the right one.

Eric Miller/AP


Jae C. Hong/AP

O.J. SIMPSON ... A stiletto.

COPYRIGHT © 2009 RTST, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-12-30/people-wed-like-to-throw-a-shoe-at/#%23)

January 3rd, 2009, 03:31 AM

Cramped City Living: 10 of the Narrowest Houses in the World

Written by Urbanist on October 5th, 2007


Would it surprise you to learn that a number of houses around the world, from New York to Amsterdam and Brazil to Britain have various claims to being the skinniest house in the world? Some are the skinniest by frontage measurements, others by widest or narrowest space, though they would all (it would seem) require extremely creative urban furniture (http://weburbanist.com/2007/08/23/transformable-convertible-collapsible-furniture-for-cramped-urban-living/).


Helenita, the woman pictured in the images above, designed this incredibly narrow house in Madre de Deus, Brazil. Though only
9 feet wide, this house is a remarkable … tall. The structural physics
of this building were surely a challenge, though the designer and
resident is clearly proud of her creation.


This London, England house (left above) is just 5 feet at its narrowest, and 10 feet at its widest, and was sold for nearly a
million dollars. Likewise extreme expensive, 72 1/2 Bedford Street
in Greenwich Village, New York City, USA (right above), which has been everything from a cobbler’s shop to a candy factory, dates
back to 1873. However, the actual narrowest house in the United States is located in Long Beach, California.




Amsterdam, The Netherlands To anyone who has visited Amster-
dam it should come as no shock that all four of the above candi-
dates are located along the city’s canals. Notorious already for it’s
tightly-packed and skinny structures, these buildings push even
the limits of Amsterdam. The bottom image is of a house located
along the Singel canal that just barely manages to fit a front on
the street, though the house expands as it recedes from the street.


Great Cumbrae, Scotland is home to the Guinnes Book of Records title holder for the skinniest house frontage in the world, at just 47 inches at its narrowest. The so-called Wedge house, once it was discovered to hold the record, sold to a family from Essex as a vacation home for an undisclosed sum of money.


Location, Unknown: this house remains a mystery, though the original blogger appears to be located in Osaka, Japan. However,
the street signage and other visual clues suggest it could also be located somewhere in Europe. … Update: the house is indeed
located in Osaka, Japan!

Still, as thin as these buildings are, they are still probably a great
deal more comfortable than at least some alternatives, such as
urban camping or car living. If you think staying in a 6-foot-wide house or apartment sounds horrific, also consider this: at least you aren’t living in the infamous tunnel house! Feel free to add links to relevant narrow-house images or videos below.

© 2008 Webist Media (http://weburbanist.com/2007/10/05/cramped-urban-living-9-of-the-narrowest-city-houses-in-the-world/)

January 3rd, 2009, 04:51 AM
16.52.170 The Skinny House.

Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 2.63 and with the recommendation of the planning commission, the city council designates the following building as an historic landmark in the city: The Skinny House.

… Location, Description and Reasons for Designation. Located at 708 Gladys Avenue in the city of Long Beach, this three story, eight hundred sixty square feet, half-timber expression of Old English Tudor architecture exterior is compressed onto a ten foot by fifty foot residential lot which was created by an oversight in a real estate transaction at the corner of Gladys Avenue and Seventh Street. It was acquired by Newton Rummond in payment for a one hundred dollar debt in 1931 - in the depth of the depression. Friends said it was too small to be useful; Rummond declared he could build a home on it; a friend dared him to do so - and he did. It was built by a group of unemployed craftsmen who gained employment from the publicity this created when it was completed in 1932. Thousands toured the home where the craftsmen's names were displayed by their handiwork. The house's fame spread and it was featured in Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not as the nation's narrowest home. Visitors included such notables as Walt Disney and have continued by the thousands at open houses held by a succession of owners over the half century. Occupants have routinely lauded the layout and design as being comfortable and convenient far beyond what would be expected in eight hundred sixty square feet on a thirty-eight foot by ten foot footprint. In 1959 when it was discovered that the house had leaned four inches north, it was straightened to vertical again.

Planning Commission, City Council
Historical Landmarks (http://www.beachcalifornia.com/lbhis1.html)
City of Long Beach in California

At 9 ft. wide on 10 ft. lot
Skinniest House in America
Rose Park neighbourhood of
Long Beach, California

Courtesy DRosenbach

Courtesy flickr / htomren © All rights reserved.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2109/2222326370_e7fa64aa67.jpg http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2128/2221535779_650ef079f7.jpg
Courtesy flickr / htomren © All rights reserved.

Your Online Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions

Long Beach, California - World's Skinniest House

Visitor Tips and News About World's Skinniest House

Following are World's Skinniest House reports and tips that were sent in by RoadsideAmerica.com visitors. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip or update.

Long Beach, California - World's Skinniest House

World's skinniest house (according to Guiness) was built in the 1930's by Nelson Rummond, who bet a friend that he could build a habitable home on the 10-foot wide lot. Currently inhabited, so it's not likely that you can look inside, but the outside is worth gawking at. [Marie Kelleher, 08/01/2004]

World's Skinniest House:
Address: Long Beach, CA
Directions: On the east side of Gladys ave., just north of 7th street.

© Copyright 1996-2009 Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, Mike Wilkins. All rights reserved. (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/9253)

January 6th, 2009, 08:22 PM


Courtesy abcnews / La Petite Maison

Ever wish you lived in a doghouse? You might after you see these extravagant
abodes. Animal lovers with cash to spare, including model Rachel Hunter, are
spoiling their furry friends with their very own mini-mansions.

La Petite Maison often models its handcrafted luxury doghouses after buyers'
own homes. Most homes sell for between $6,000 and $25,000 and often come
equipped with air-conditioning, among other features.

Courtesy abcnews / La Petite Maison

This brick doghouse was built to match a house located on a Virginia winery.
At the buyer's request, each brick was hand-painted. The house sold for more
than $25,000.

Courtesy abcnews / La Petite Maison

Some La Petite Maison doghouses look like
they're two stories tall, but inside, the homes
usually contain just one large room. "Most
people don't want their dogs to go up and
down stairs," Pollak said.

Courtesy abcnews / Doggy Dream Homes

Doggy Dream Homes bills its dog houses as "The Ultimate in Luxury Dog House
Design." Its classic country house features vaulted ceilings, white trim, vinyl
flooring and recessed lighting. The home sells for $7,500.

Courtesy abcnews / Doggy Dream Homes

Painted cedar shutters decorate the exterior of this "traditional" home by Doggy
Dream Houses, which comes equipped with hardwood floors, a circle-top window
and air-conditioning. It sells for $8,500.

Courtesy abcnews / Precious Palaces

Not all fancy doghouses are meant
for the outdoors. The Precious Pagoda
pictured here features a golden and
raspberry brocade fabric, green medallions
and gold-painted wooden bells. The indoor
Pagoda pet house, by New York-based
Precious Palaces, sells for $1,650 to
$3,103, depending on the fabric used.

Courtesy abcnews / La Petite Maison

La Petite Maison started as a children's playhouse maker, then added doghouses
to its repertoire at the insistence of designer Michelle Pollak. "I couldn't bear
looking at an ugly little plastic doghouse next to all these gorgeous play houses
and main houses," she said. Pictured is the company's French Cottage doghouse
model, which has a minimum price of $6,000.

Courtesy abcnews / La Petite Maison

One of La Petite Maison's customers is model Rachel Hunter. The home for her
two dogs is a stucco structure with terra cotta floors and wrought iron balconies.

January 6th, 2009, 08:26 PM

January 6th, 2009, 08:32 PM

Luxury Dog Houses
La Petite Maison builds mansions fir for a furry king — or queen

by Angie McKaig

Once upon a time, dog houses were used as a way to get the dog out of the house, a way to keep that functional family pet where he or she belonged. No more! As pampering families seek new ways of spoiling their pets, custom-building a luxury dog home with all the trimmings is simply our way of showing our adoration.

La Petite Maison is a specialist in custom-built dog homes, and their work is breathtaking. They'll custom-build a dog home to your specifications - something to match your home, or something completely new.


We recently spoke to Michelle Pollak, who works on the interior designs for these houses.

pp: How was La Petite Maison created?

mp: La Petite Maison was started by Alan Mowrer (the builder). He started out building these playhouses as a hobby. Then I came along and we built the business into a full-fledged company. Alan loves to build in smaller scale, so it was a natural move to start a business doing nothing but that.

pp: How do you come up with the designs?

mp: Al and I both come up with designs through a combination of research, travelling and creating an extensive library of architectural styles, as well as simply trying to get creative! Sometimes, we'll match a client's house, so the design is already a given, and only the scale and details need to thought out.

pp: How long does it usually take to create a custom dog house, and what are the steps involved?

mp: The doghouses can anywhere from several weeks to several months to create, depending on the client, the style requested, etc.

The steps involved are: first, getting the essential information from the client (i.e. type of dog, size of dog, type of landscape, architectural preferences, any allergies the dog might have (to avoid building with those materials), and general “character traits” of the dog(s). (Trust me, all pet owners have special personality traits about their pets they like to tell us about!) Second, Alan draws designs for the client's approval. Then he gets busy with the actual build/design process. Depending on the size of the house, it's either shipped or built on the client's site.

One of the doghouses Alan did was bigger than a playhouse, at the owner's request, so that they could visit the dogs in their doghouse. That one obviously had to be built on site!

pp: What was the most elaborate dog house you've ever done?

mp: Definitely the one I just mentioned. It was built for a client with three dogs (mutt dogs, belive it or not) and as I mentioned, was huge. The owners requested floor length windows so that one of the dogs with bad arthritis could always look out without having to get up. Another elaborate house was the white colonial pictured on our site. The architectural details were very intricate, down to the custom made faux light fixtures. This one also included the hand-painted doggie wallpaper, as well as wainscotting, chair rail, and crown moldings.


pp: Why do you think pet owners are so interested in luxury, custom dog houses?

mp: We notice pet owners fall into several categories. Some clients commission these doghouses for decorative and “show” purposes. For example, a client may want an intricately detailed house that looks great on the property. They consider more like artwork, as opposed to an actual home for their pets. Then there is the opposite type of client, one who will spare nothing to ensure their pet is comfortable and well-cared for. They'll focus on amenities that keep their pet happy, such as air conditioning, heat, and certain building materials they believe their pet “prefers”.

We have a client who commissioned a cat house for her alley cat. She didn't care at all about the looks of the house, but requested a separate “dining” room, litter box room and “bedroom” to keep her fastidious cat happy.

pp: Any funny stories you'd like to share?

mp: Many of our clients like to match the dog with the house — i.e. a French chateau for a French poodle, a Mexican mission for a Chihuahua. One of our clients had a Bernese Mountain Dog (from Switzerland), so she commissioned a Swiss chalet, with all the details right down to the Swiss flag! She let her dog “choose” the colors for the interior (by showing him paint chips — yes, paint chips). He apparently preferred blue, as that's the color she requested. This lucky dog also had air conditioning and marble floors, as well a house-warming party thrown in his honor. The party included neighbors, the client's friends, and the dog's pet buddies. Next life, I want to come back as this client's pooch... [laughs]

pp: Do you have any pets yourselves?

mp: Both Alan and I travel a lot, so unfortunately, we don't have pets. We just try to keep our clients' pets happy and live vicariously through them!

©2002-2008 Pampered Media Corporation. All Rights Reserved. (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.pamperedpuppy.com/images/features/200210_lamaison_01.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.pamperedpuppy.com/features/200210_lamaison.php&usg=__e58v-2mtPmxb6Z1v7xa6CULWgzw=&h=256&w=185&sz=27&hl=en&start=3&tbnid=pTZxx7mfGN50sM:&tbnh=111&tbnw=80&prev=/images%3Fq%3DELABORATE%2BDOG%2BHOUSES%26um%3D1%26h l%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us%26sa%3DN&um=1)

January 7th, 2009, 05:05 AM
I was looking for a bargain in these Luxury Houses for Dogs when I discovered this:

Tuscany Dog House
Our Price: $201.91


Give your pet extreme protection from the elements for your dog with the Tuscany Dog House.

If you live in a climate that gets more than its fair share of rain, wind, or snow, you’ll want the added protection found on this luxury dog house. It’s made of durable solid fir, but we’ve added weatherproof shingles and plastic feet to give you top to bottom protection from moisture and rot.

This attractive log-cabin style dog house looks great in any outdoor setting and will provide your four-legged friend with year-round protection from rain, snow, wind, and the blazing sun. Weatherproof green asphalt shingles on the roof blend well with the environment while giving extra protection against wind, hail, rain or snow. Waterproof plastic feet provide a moisture barrier between the dog house and the ground, reducing the chance of rotting or warping. The raised floor keeps your dog dry and the off-center opening lets him easily turn around with more room for lying down, and better shelter from the elements. The Tuscany Dog House is finished in a natural cedar stain to protect it for years to come.

Web Source (http://www.pet-super-store.com/html/tuscany-dog-house.html)

January 7th, 2009, 06:34 AM
That's more like it.

January 7th, 2009, 01:52 PM
If you have enough money to spend $25,000 on a house for your pet, you could just as well spend that money for a family that needs it.

I am not talking shanty or completely 3rd world nation either.

Just something that will help them live their lives. Something they can help build so they have proper respect for their property.

This kind of gross expendature on such an insignificant critter in terms of the world... I am not saying that dogs should be treated poorly, but it is always a bad sign when your dog has better clothes than the the "average" man......

March 19th, 2009, 08:03 PM

March 19th, 2009, 08:35 PM

March 20th, 2009, 09:26 AM
I don't get it...

*adjusts halo*

March 20th, 2009, 12:26 PM
Is Conde talking about herself or Bush?