Monday, December 31, 2007

Sappy song from Allstate commercial made it to No. 40 on the Billboard charts

NY Times: It would be unremarkable that the song “From Where You Are” by Jason Wade, a singer in the band Lifehouse, had cracked the Billboard top 100 list — except that it was written for an Allstate commercial.

Unavailable on any album, the song has received little airplay on the radio but it had wide exposure in a 60-second Allstate spot promoting the insurance company’s safe driving program for teenagers. The commercial first ran after an episode of “Friday Night Lights” on NBC in late October that had a teenage driving theme.

On Nov. 6, “From Where You Are” was made available on iTunes, where it sold briskly enough to hit No. 40 on the Billboard charts for the week ended Nov. 24.

Wow, that song's terrible. Via.

2-D Furniture

Designer's site. More photos here.

Italian Boss, Housekeeper Bride

Italian Boss, Housekeeper Bride

Not a photoshopped cover. Via.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Darth Revan Custom Figure

You can see more customized Star Wars figures by "Shim" here (if you register). Via.

I also recommend these posts by "Getoninja."

Relatedly, here's a Darth Vader custom figure in "expeditionary armor" I came across awhile back. Link.

And here's more Star Wars links.

George Lucas Puppet


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wired's 10 Favorite 2007 Illustrations

Pictured is Guy Billout's illustration of The Great Firewall of China. Gallery.

Friday, December 28, 2007

$159,000 C-3PO leggings (on a runway model)

Just one of many sci-fi inspired designs by Nicolas Ghesquière for the Balenciaga collection. The collection also includes Stormtrooper leggings and designs based on Tron and The Terminator. There's more information, photos, and video here. (Post inspired by these sites.)

*See more Star Wars links here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Funny joke about Time's "Man of the Year"

Putin conjures up the ghost of Stalin and asks him how he can consolidate his power.

Stalin advises as follows:
Step 1 Kill all the democrats
Step 2 Paint the Kremlin blue

Putin replies: Why Blue?

Stalin replies: Aha! I knew you wouldn't ask about step 1.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, in Gingerbread

More photos here. Via.

How to: Turn a regular diecast car into a "Cars" car

Julius Marx explains how he transformed a regular old Scion into a Pixar Cars version of his own Scion. The blue car is the "before." Link.

You can find more projects here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

USC football coach Pete Carroll has given up fear

J.R. Moehringer has a very long profile of USC football coach Pete Carroll in the December 2007 issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Among the nuggets:

Carroll gave up fear long ago. He gave it up the way people give up carbs. Fear now has no part in his daily life. Fear is like an old, distant friend. They know each other well, talk once in a while, but they're not close like they used to be.

Or this quote from "longtime friend Michael Murphy":
For awhile we worked together with Russian coaches and athletes and talked about ending the Cold War... We've discussed Indian philosophy, religious mysticism, parapsychology as a scientific discipline, and various social causes. (Ellipsis original.)

This heading is a standout:
I'm Unable To Describe Carroll's Appearance Without Sounding Gay

But this paragraph is probably my favorite:
If I shut my eyes and try picture my time with Carroll, one scene comes quickly to mind. It's late. He's pacing outside his office, glancing at a game on TV, tossing a football to himself, talking to me and several assistant coaches at once. Suddenly and unaccountably he leans against a leather chair and starts doing push-ups. Slumped in a chair, eyelids heavy, I can't help wondering if he might secretly be using crystal meth.

Truly enjoyable article, and I've barely scratched the surface with these excerpts. If you have a chance, I recommend you pick up the issue. There's also an interesting article about LA's Comedy Store (picture young David Letterman picketing the club for the chance to earn $25 a set). I'd offer a weblink, but the magazine's site seems to be down.

*Update: Here's the full article.

You can find more sports links here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blog dedicated to band logos

For example, Whitesnake. Link. Via.

Spy plane to recharge itself by hanging on a power line?

The next time you see something flapping in the breeze on an overhead power line, squint a little harder. It may not be a plastic bag or the remnants of a party balloon, but a tiny spy plane stealing power from the line to recharge its batteries.

The idea comes from the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio, US, which wants to operate extended surveillance missions using remote-controlled planes with a wingspan of about a metre, but has been struggling to find a way to refuel to extend the plane's limited flight duration.

So the AFRL is developing an electric motor-powered micro air vehicle (MAV) that can "harvest" energy when needed by attaching itself to a power line. It could even temporarily change its shape to look more like innocuous piece of trash hanging from the cable.

Link. Via.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sony's adorable little tv that rests in your hand

Read about it here. Via.

Scotland's New £125k Slogan = Welcome To Scotland

"The new message was devised with help from one of Scotland's top advertising agencies, The Leith Agency." Link. Via.

Amazon has posted a photo gallery and review of J.K. Rowling's new ultra-limited edition book

We're incredibly excited to announce that Amazon has purchased J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard at an auction held by Sotheby’s in London. The book of five wizarding fairy tales, referenced in the last book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is one of only seven handmade copies in existence. The purchase price was £1,950,000, and Ms. Rowling is donating the proceeds to The Children's Voice campaign, a charity she co-founded to help improve the lives of institutionalized children across Europe.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is extensively illustrated and handwritten by the bard herself--all 157 pages of it. It's bound in brown Moroccan leather and embellished with five hand-chased hallmarked sterling silver ornaments and mounted moonstones.

Enjoy these first images of the book. We'll be adding reviews of each of the fairy tales and more photos of this beautiful object as we can get them up in the coming hours (if you want to be sure of a link that will permanently work, use For the curious of mind, Amazon editors are now taking questions about the tales from all comers on our discussion boards (located further down this page).


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Amazon customer reviews of the Bic ballpoint pen are hilarious

When the initial excitement of taking delivery of my new pen started to wear off I realised that I shouldn't just write for the fun of it, this should be a serious enterprise, so by the second day of ownership I started to take a little more care of what I wrote. I used it to sign three letters, and in each case was perfectly happy with the neatness of handwriting that I was able to achieve.


On the third day of ownership I went on a trip to London and took my pen carefully packed away in my brief case, but I needn't have worried, this isn't some temperamental ink pen that leaks when you store it at the wrong angle. I sat at my meeting and confidently removed the cap from my pen and it wrote flawlessly, almost immediately.


Upon receiving my order, I carefully opened the box and dug through the packing peanuts in order to get to the pen contained therein. 'Beautiful!', I thought, and promptly opened up my moleskine notebook to jot down to myself some notes. My previous pen had ran out of ink four weeks prior and I didn't want to splurge on expensive shipping, which meant I had a lot of notes to catch up on writing.

But, when that quality carbide ball touched the surface of the paper, it was not ink that came out. From a distance I heard the screams of men and the cackling of innumerable ravens. I stopped, cold and sweating profusely. I looked down at the Bic Crystal black medium ballpoint pen which I held in my hand, only to see darkness. I dashed it against the wall, recoiling in horror. I saw in the corner of my eye my faithful notebook, which now lay on the ground. Once unmarred, I saw now the small mark which I had made with the devil's own pen. It spread across the page like a plague, and looking at it I gazed upon true horrors. For, what I thought had been ink was in fact a portal to a dark, unforgiving dimension. A portal whose maw was now widening to engulf all hope and joy in the world.

'God, what have I done?' I exclaimed as I weeped and fell to my knees, 'What have I done?'

Link. Via.

Vintage 1960s Juvenia Protractor Watch (a watch with a built in protactor)

Found here.

Homeland Security Threat Level Bedding

Link. Via.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Drumroll please: The color of the upcoming year is . . .

PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris. (I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling it.)

Emoticon stamp is genius

Scrunch it up for different expressions. Buy. Via.

Elmore Leonard's (Illustrated) 10 Rules of Writing

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. I've easily read half a dozen books by Elmore Leonard.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Outrageous gift idea: A custom made doll house based on your own home

Make Your House a Doll House
Starting at $10,000

In an exclusive service only available to FAO Schwarz customers, you can now own an exquisitely detailed scale model of your own home, beach house, or ski chalet. Sounds amazing? It's all that and more. Here's how we do it: the design team makes an appointment to come to your home. Then it's back to the studio, where highly skilled artisans recreate every inch of your home in 1-inch-to-1-foot scale. This includes the wallpaper, paint color, lighting - even the actual fabric of your furniture through real swatches or recreated fabric! Truly an astonishing prize for any homeowner, these masterpieces are sure to be passed down from generation to generation, preserving your home as a valuable piece of history and nostalgia.

Appointements begin in January. Allow 24 weeks for design, fabrication and delivery.

Link. If they really expect me to spend $10k, they should at least hire a better spell checker. Via.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Monday, December 3, 2007

Very cool and absurdly expensive coffee mug

Buy. Via.

Tiffany measuring tape?

Just a clever concept idea from SinclairScottSmith. Go here to see more ideas. Via.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Some outrageous Xmas gifts available from the Dallas Mavericks

You also could have been a player for a day, signing an official one-day contract. But that offer is off the table, having already been purchased for $20,000. And the not-so-poor guy doesn't even get paid.

The Mavericks haven't forgotten the ladies, either. A spot on the dance team is available for $20,000. You get to train with them for two weeks, then perform on the court at a game. It's called "Dancer for a Night," which sounds more palatable than "Prancing Around in Very Little Clothing in front of 20,000 People for a Night."

Read about some of the other options. Via.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

China's Weather Modification Program

Every year, China launches thousands of rockets and artillery shells into the sky. They're not part of a set of war games or preparation for a battle with Taiwan, but rather a battle with the weather. Through its Weather Modification Program, the Chinese government hopes to control the fickle forces behind rain. Run by the Weather Modification Department, a division of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science, the program employs and trains 32,000 to 35,000 people across China, some of them farmers, who are paid $100 a month to handle anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers.

More here.

Now Yu and the other rainmakers face their toughest challenge: making sure it stays dry for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The idea is for the peasant gunners to work with meteorologists watching radar in the capital. Together, they will hunt pregnant rain clouds and pound them with rockets containing silver iodide. The hope is that any moisture will fall before the clouds can threaten the parade of athletes and lighting of the Olympic flame at the new National Stadium.

Read more. Via.

American Society of Magazine Editors picks their magazine favorite covers of 2007

Many more here. Via.

Make a wall in your office resemble your computer desktop


Cool Lamp

"A brand new design by Tord Boontje. Second Shadow projects Boontje’s magical images through a stretched gauze shade from a painted Mylar (a polyester film known for its strength and stability) interior. This is another of our hero’s designs that will, at a stroke, transform a room." Buy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Logo contest: Fictional New York City football teams

To revel in the design of sport, we asked three graphic artists to create a logo and wordmark for a fictional New York City professional football team.

All entries were created using visual elements from Veer's extensive library and displayed at the New York Table Tennis Foundation the night of the event.

I posted my favorite above. See the other entries here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Edvard Munch was known as the “handsomest man in Norway,”

Yesterday , I linked to some articles about Picasso and Klimt. Whatshername reminded me of an article I'd read about Munch:

Munch’s behavior, meanwhile, was becoming increasingly erratic, particularly with respect to women and drink. His relationship to women — or rather Woman with a capital W, as he put it in his journal — was complicated, to say the least. Known as the “handsomest man in Norway,” and well-mannered to boot, he attracted women as catnip does cats, but preferred to keep them at arm’s length. A couple of early affairs had gone wrong, and the antics of his friends had given him a warped sense of women. And he never wanted children, as he feared they would become insane. The classic Madonna/whore view of women is apparent in his paintings of what he called “vampire women” with “nutcracker muscles in their thighs.”

In a quarrel with his Norwegian mistress, Tulla Larsen, who stalked him all over Europe, he ended up shooting himself in a finger, which for the rest of his life remained sheathed in black leather. This slight injury he blew up to mythical proportions, painting himself stark naked on an operating table lying in a huge pool of blood. The motif was given an extra twist when he rendered himself as a revolutionary Marat with Miss Larsen as Charlotte Corday. Elsewhere he depicted his British mistress, the violinist Eva Mudocci, as Salome, with his own bedraggled features supplying John the Baptist’s severed head. It goes without saying that he also portrayed himself as a crucified Christ.

There were other regrettable incidents scattered throughout his life: He threatened a Dutchman with a pistol in a spa hotel in Kosen; through the window of his studio in Norway, he fired a shotgun after a fellow artist whose portrait he was painting. And, as Prideaux notes, his train journeys are the stuff of legend. On one occasion, he couldn’t find his compartment and believed the painting he had brought with him had been stolen. He presented himself to the conductor as a member of the British aristocracy and astonished the man by ordering him to find the painting immediately or “it might bring about war.” Fortunately, the conductor managed to locate Munch’s compartment, with the painting in it, for him. On another trip he fancied he was being watched by detectives who had been hired to spy on him and beset by people speaking Esperanto to trick him. His journal records the following meeting on a train: “A strange man with a birds head, spindly birds legs and a cloak flew into the carriage. ‘What is your metier?’ ‘A psychiatrist from Vienna.’”

Read more, it's fascinating.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Star Wars comic book featuring killer rabbits

It's miraculous that the Star Wars franchise survived such trash. More Star Wars comic book covers here and here.

Understatement: Klimt and Picasso didn't treat women very nicely

Klimt was a painter of shimmering landscapes and three of them are among the eight paintings in the Neue Galerie show. But sex is at the core of his work: women were his preoccupation.

The antechamber to the artist's studio is recreated in the exhibition. Along its far wall, next to the studio doors, is “Hope II”, pregnant with breasts exposed. Klimt never had his own home: he lived with his mother and two sisters. Nevertheless, he was a womaniser with uncalculated conquests and seven known children. No wonder Vienna buzzed with gossip about what, besides painting, went on in the studio beyond. Yet among all the photographs of the rather pudding-faced artist in the exhibition, not one captures what made him such a lady-killer.

More about Klimt.

Rome was also where Picasso met and pursued Olga Khokhlova, one of Diaghilev's Russian dancers, whom he would marry in 1918. Their respectable, middle-class marriage and its gradual disintegration, against a background of Olga's declining health and increasing anxiety at her husband's infidelity, dominate Mr Richardson's story. The relationship inspired some of Picasso's most disturbing portraits, such as “Large Nude in a Red Armchair” (1929) and “Seated Bather” (1930), in which his wife's by now scrawny body undergoes either distortion or radical dismemberment and reconstruction. If there is one criticism to be made of Mr Richardson's analysis of these paintings, it is that he plays down the influence of surrealism on Picasso.

No trace of anger or misogyny can be found in Picasso's portraits of his curvaceous, nubile lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who entered his life aged 17 in 1927 and “saved him from the psychic stress of his marriage and the bourgeois restraints it imposed.”

More about Picasso.


Russia gives top honor to spy who stole secret to the atom bomb

On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir V. Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb.

The announcement hailed Dr. Koval as “the only Soviet intelligence officer” to infiltrate the project’s secret plants, saying his work “helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own.”

Since then, historians, scientists, federal officials and old friends have raced to tell Dr. Koval’s story — the athlete, the guy everyone liked, the genius at technical studies. American intelligence agencies have known of his betrayal at least since the early 1950s, when investigators interviewed his fellow scientists and swore them to secrecy.

The spy’s success hinged on an unusual family history of migration from Russia to Iowa and back. That gave him a strong commitment to Communism, a relaxed familiarity with American mores and no foreign accent.

Link. Via.

Get Smart Teaser Poster


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Assemble a diorama of Hokusai's "The Great Wave"

Technically, it's called Tatebanko paper sculpture. Here's the original:

And here's the finished sculpture and an in progress shot:

Buy. Via.

Fantastic Four Maquettes

Actually, the Fantastic Three, plus Spider-Man, sculpted by Paolo Rivera for reference. Desktop wallpaper sized images of the sculptures here.