Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ninjas on roller skates - - the movie

The movie is called Ninja Thunderbolt and came out in 1986. Here's the synopsis at IMDB: "The Ninja Empire has been run by an evil master and one member decides to leave the empire. The ex-Ninja wants a Hong Kong detective to track down the new leader and end his reign of terror."

Here's the intro, which features some deadly serious ninja talk, but no roller skates:

Yes, it's on sale at at Amazon.

*Previously: Modern day ninjas arrested before carrying out their plan of harassing drug dealers.

Teenager sells website created with free tools for $60,000 (and other news)

1. Using free software, Hansup Yoon, age 15, created a forum called ZuneBoards, devoted to Microsoft's Zune. In two years it grew to 60,000 members and pulled in about $1,000 a month thanks to AdSense and Tribal Fusion. He just sold it for $62,000, which is presumably far more than Microsoft has made by selling the Zune. Details here.

2. Buffalo Bills rookie offensive tackle Demetrius Bell is the lowest rated player in Madden 2008. Link.

3. See the differences between an article that appeared in the New York Times, and the heavily altered version that appeared in a Beijing newspaper.

4. NASA space shuttle mission had a secret emblem which signified that the shuttle mission had the secret task of deploying a satellite inspection spacecraft.

*Previously: Awesome U.S. military patches part 6.

*Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World is 32% off at Amazon.

Indonesia claims sole ownership of the bird flu

The concept is "viral sovereignty" and the theory is that Indonesia (and other countries) want to claim ownership of viruses appearing within their country - - so if a valuable vaccine is created, their country will benefit monetarily. (If they're not all dead from an epidemic.) Over the last three years, Indonesia has shared with the World Health Organization "samples from only two of the more than 135 people known to have been infected with H5N1 (110 of whom have died)." You can read a bit more here and here.

*Previously: Rape is the best option for me.

*Buy Stephen King's The Stand at Amazon.

Black Belt Patriotism by Chuck Norris

Saw this prominently displayed in a nonironic way at the bookstore yesterday:

Book Description
Martial arts master, actor, and political activist--there is no job Chuck Norris can't do. Now the original tough guy is at it again, stepping back into the role of bestselling author with his new book, Black Belt Patriotism. In Black Belt Patriotism Norris gives a no-holds-barred assessment of American culture, tackling everything from family values to national security. More than a cultural critique of what's wrong with our nation, Black Belt Patriotism provides real solutions for solving our problems, moving our country forward, and changing our nation's course for the better. Chuck Norris--the hero, icon, and legend--is back, packing a political and cultural punch, as only he can deliver.

From the Inside Flap
Wake Up, America!

It seems like wherever you turn these days, the news is bad. Illegal immigrants are swarming over our borders. Our nation and American families are crippled by debt. We remain vulnerable to Islamist terrorist attacks. Judges ignore the Constitution and instead legislate from the bench. Faith and traditional values are under incessant assault from the media, leftist lawyers, and the liberal establishment. The core message of the Declaration of Independence--that everyone has a God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--is under threat from liberals who deny the right to life (or even the very idea of God-given rights), and who think the answer to every problem is a government program. They think that God, if He exists, might not know best, but liberal-run government certainly does. If you're worried about the direction our country is going, you're in good company. Chuck Norris remembers a better America--an America of faith, freedom, and respect for tradition, history, and human life--and in Black Belt Patriotism he shows what we need to do to reawaken the American dream, reignite the American spirit, and give our children and grandchildren the America they deserve: an America of freedom, opportunity, and faith. In ten practical, down-to-earth chapters, Norris gets back to basics, mining the insights of our founding fathers and applying their wisdom to the problems of today: immigration, the culture wars, the war against global terrorism, national (and personal) debt, even the epidemic of obesity that is killing more Americans than terrorists do. With the optimistic, get your-hands-dirty, can-do spirit that typifies what's best about America, Chuck Norris grapples with the toughest problems facing our country and proves that they're no match for Black Belt Patriotism.

Black Belt Patriotism by Chuck Norris is 34% at Amazon.

Here's Chuck Norris spreading some black belt patriotism overseas:

*Previously: Chuck Norris debate club.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Billboard promoting historic dockyard accidentally portrays historic sodomy

Here's a billboard promoting the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Great Britain. I don't think the advertisers intended to emphasize the role of sodomy in British naval dominance, but as Winston Churchill said, "Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash." Via.

Go here for The Register's idea for the next ad in the campaign.

*Previously: Group promoting women's issues has acronym TNA.

*Find great deals on Patrick O'Brien's tales of the British navy at Amazon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dramatic redesign of the Baltimore Ravens' helmet by Luke Hayman

GQ asked Luke Hayman to redesign the Baltimore Ravens' helmet. He came up with a design featuring glowing eyes and feathers:

*Previously: Was Batman originally the logo for a French chemical company?

*Buy books about logos at Amazon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Papercraft: A "Visitor" from V

"Visitor" from V papercraft. Spotted at Flickr. Download the template here.

*Find more papercraft projects here.

*Buy the original V miniseries for only $10 at Amazon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Japanese Fanta Commercials

My favorite is the one with "Mr. Shogun." Via.

*Previously: "Murasaki" robot performs the Tale of Genji.

*Buy anime toys at eBay.

Abortion is more common than live births in Russia

I read that information today, did a little research and found out that Russian women had 4.6 million abortions in 1988. (Per Wikipedia, there were 854,122 abortions in the USA in 2003.)

*Previously: Stalin grew up in Georgia, when it was known for streetfighting.

Buy Soviet propaganda collections at Amazon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath was banned and burned in California

Rick Wartzman's new book Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of John Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath sounds intriguing:

During May of 1939, as the Nazis were burning books throughout Germany, the people of Bakersfield Calif., did exactly the same thing with John Steinbeck's new bestseller, The Grapes of Wrath. As Wartzman (The King of California) shows in this intriguing account, the banning of Steinbeck's masterpiece throughout California's Kern County was orchestrated by rich local growers: men who were busy exploiting scores of Joad families, the very men Steinbeck exposed in his novel. As a pretext, the growers cited, among other things, Steinbeck's use of foul language (bastard, bitch) and vivid scenes such as Rose of Sharon, having lost her baby, offering her milk-filled breast to a starving man. One lone librarian, Gretchen Knief, led the charge against the censors, but the book—by then a Pulitzer Prize winner—remained banned a year later. While all this was happening, Steinbeck was suffering the strains of his collapsing first marriage. In telling this unique tale, Wartzman artfully weaves the personal and the political in a book that readers will find engaging on more than one level.
34% off at Amazon.

(I liked The Grapes of Wrath, but my favorite Steinbeck novel is The Moon Is Down.)

*Previously: Banned Red Bull television commercial.

Boy Scouts rescued from Grand Canyon by Native Americans

A boy scout troop's hike through the Grand Canyon nearly turned into a fatal disaster when a flash flood forced them to climb trees. The scouts "were guided to safety by American Indians who live in the area, and plucked out of the wilderness by a Black Hawk helicopter." Link.

*Previously: Passed out hiker protected by machete-wielding witch doctor.

*Buy The Dangerous Book For Boys for 34% off.

12 unsung heroes of Star Wars

Pictured: Number 11 on the list, Drunken Jawas From A New Hope. The whole list is here.

*Previously: R2-D2 with a mustache.

*Buy Japanese Star Wars toys at eBay.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bono's real name is Paul Hewson and other stuff I learned today

1. Bono's real name is Paul Hewson, and the full nickname is actually Bono Vox (latin for good voice). Check it out - - the NY Times refers to him as "Mr. Vox."

2. Over 94 episodes, the Sex and the City women slept with 94 different men. Go here for more detailed calculations.

3. Four-eared cats can be cute, in a demonic sort of way. Go here for photos.

4. The top result for "google rss feed" in German is "RSS-Reader der Datenkrake Google," which roughly translates to "RSS reader of data-harvesting octopus Google."

*Previously: Google Spider Bot desktop wallpaper.

*Buy U2 concert posters at eBay.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fakery at China's Olympics

The children representing the 56 different ethnic groups in the opening ceremonies were actually all from the Han Chinese majority. Link.

And why are the stadiums only half-filled? Because the Chinese government won't let people buy tickets out of fear of demonstrations by large groups. Link.

*Previous posts on China and the Olympics here.

*Buy merchandise for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Billy Dee Williams was paid to not be Two-Face in 1995's Batman Forever

I'd completely forgotten, but Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton version of Batman, with the plan being that he'd eventually play the villainous Two-Face. But once Joel Shumacher took over, the decision was made to cast Tommy Lee Jones instead. So Billy Dee was paid a sum of money to go away. Link.

(Photo credits.)

*Buy Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Chip Kidd.

Lizette Greco makes plush monsters based on her kids' drawings

Here's Lizette Greco's official site. Here's her Flickr gallery, full of plush creations. Via.

*Previously: Plush Charlie Chaplin.

*Learn how to make your own plush creatures with these books at Amazon.

Wind farms cause night terrors

New research suggests that living close to wind turbines can cause sleep disorders, difficulty with equilibrium, headaches, childhood "night terrors" and other health problems. Link.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Neat video of Chris Chambers catching three footballs

And from the same campaign for and Reebok, here's a video of Chris Cooley literally punching through a wall to catch a football:

There's more ads in the series, but these two are the standouts.

*Previously: Indianapolis Colts quarterback is called the hefty lefty.

*Find great deals on NFL merchandise at eBay.

Los Angeles to require Home Depot to build shelters for day laborers

The new ordinance will require home improvement stores like Home Depot to provide day-labor centers with shelter, drinking water, bathrooms and trash cans.  Link to article.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cactus theft is a major problem in California

Well at least in Palm City. Golden Barrel cactii can sell for as much as $800 apiece, and $20,000 worth has been stolen in the last six months. To deter theft, officials plan to install security cameras and insert tracking microchips into the cactii. Link.

More fakery in opening ceremonies for Beijing Olympics

The cute little girl who sang as the Chinese flag entered the stadium was actually lip-synching for a girl deemed to ugly to be shown on tv. Link.

*Previously: Olympic opening ceremony fireworks faked for tv.

*Buy merchandise for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NY Giants fan journeys to to find a Patriots 19-0 shirt

As soon as a championship is won, the players put on commemorative hats and the team starts selling championship merchandise. In order to have that merchandise on hand, both teams must make it in advance, which means a whole bunch of merchandise for the losing team very quickly becomes worthless. The clothing is shipped off to the impoverished of the Third World.

Of course, something like a "Patriots 19-0" t-shirt isn't worthless at all to a NY Giants fan. Aaron Kaplowitz journeyed to a remote village in Nicaragua, and managed to buy some merchandise from incredulous inhabitants. Here's the story, which I expect to be turned into a movie ASAP. Via. (Image via.)

There's actually some Patriots 19-0 merchandise on sale at eBay.

Mary Lou Sapone worked as an undercover spy for the NRA

For more than a decade, she volunteered for various gun violence prevention organizations, serving on the boards of anti-gun outfits, helping state groups coordinate their activities, lobbying in Washington for gun control legislation, and regularly attending strategy and organizing meetings.

But all along, she was really working as a spy for the NRA, penetrating gun control organizations at the highest levels. Here's the story. Via.

*Previously: Were the CIA and FBI infiltrated by a Hezbollah spy?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nike tae kwon do boots are designed to be as loud as possible

One way to show the judges you've scored good contact in tae kwon do is to make a lot of noise. So Nike used the loudest leather it could find for the new TKV boot. You can read more about designing equipment for the 2008 Olympic games at Fast Company. For example, the challenge in designing javelins is not making something light and aerodynamic; it's designing something light and aerodynamic that won't destroy the athlete throwing it.

Here's Nike's Olympics 2008 site.

*There's already over 4,000 collectibles for the 2008 Olympics at eBay.

Newspaperman reminisces about the Scientology spy working at the paper

Part of a much larger article about the St. Petersburg Times’ Clearwater Sun newspaper, Mike Pride reminisces:

Besides their secretive ways, two things made covering the Scientologists hard. First, they were confrontational and unpleasant (Hubbard’s doctrine described journalists as "Merchants of Chaos"). Second, our city desk clerk was a Scientology spy. We wrote nearly 200 stories during the year after we disclosed the Scientologists’ presence, and they always seemed to know what we were up to.
We knew the newsroom had been infiltrated, but we never guessed the spy was the friendly, efficient, sympathetic "June Phillips." We learned this only years later from FBI files.

Read the whole thing. Via.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield to be published as an authorized book

From the Garfield Minus Garfield website:

NEW YORK, NY – July 30, 2008 – Paws, Inc. and Ballantine Books, a division of the Random House Publishing Group, announced last week at Comic-Con International that Ballantine will publish a book inspired by the popular webcomic Garfield Minus Garfield.

Garfield Minus Garfield ( made its online debut in February 2008 and quickly became an online sensation based on a simple premise: What would Jim Davis’ Garfield comic strip be like without its lasagna-loving fat cat? Without the presence of Garfield and other characters such as Odie the dog and Nermal the kitten, the strips “create a new, even lonelier atmosphere for Jon Arbuckle…Jon’s observations seem to teeter between existential crisis and deep despair.” (New York Times)

The full-color book format will give readers the experience of having both the original and doctored Garfield strips together on the same page for comparison. Dublin, Ireland-based Garfield Minus Garfield creator Dan Walsh will provide the foreword to the book.

Garfield creator Jim Davis was intrigued by—and pleased with—the concept. “I think it’s an inspired thing to do,” Davis said. “I want to thank Dan for enabling me to see another side of Garfield. Some of the strips he chose were slappers: ‘Oh, I could have left that out.’ It would have been funnier.”

Garfield Minus Garfield site creator Dan Walsh says, “When I looked at Jon and laughed at his crazy antics I thought ‘He’s just like me.’ As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one saw myself in him: millions of visitors from all over the world visit Garfield Minus Garfield and tell me they think the same thing. Now, thanks to the awesome generosity and humor of Jim Davis, Garfield Minus Garfield is going to become a book and I’m absolutely honored to be part of it.”

You can preorder it at Amazon.

Stunning that Garfield would outlast Calvin & Hobbes as relevant. I guess that's what happens when an artist doesn't jealously guard his creation. Via.