Friday, April 11, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 04/11/08

1. Bob Dylan's Pulitzer prize.

In other important news this week, I saw the need for some debunking...

2. This week my 'forward' cousin included me on a list of folks to receive an e-mail that's made the rounds online in recent years - - "What does a 320 pound woman look like?".

Maybe you've seen this, or received the same forwarded message - - ?

In looking at the photos of the 7'4" woman, purportedly living in Holland and dubbed "...The tallest and best proportioned woman in the world..." I began to have doubts.

I kept finding the same photos as I googled about, with the same vague info and no name given for the statuesque woman.

And so, inevitably, the search led to Snopes, the Urban Legends Reference Pages.

Snopes reports that these are undoctored photos that have (through the miracles of the internet) become paired with an inaccurate description.

Apologies for squelching any fantasies, but Snopes goes on to identify the 6'5½"-tall, 210-pound lady in question as Heather Greene of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Not the world's tallest woman, but still quite impressive in tall-heeled shoes standing next to people of slightly less-than-average height.

Snopes also reports that Heather's website is currently inactive.

3. The Bulbdial Clock

At his blog 'Ironic Sans', designer / photographer David Friedman floats the concept for this beautiful 'electric sundial', which he says would be " suited for dim spaces such as restaurants and nightclubs"...

"The Bulbdial Clock has no hands — just one pole in the center of the clock, and three light sources of varying heights which revolve around the pole casting shadows.

"In the model illustrated above, the light sources are each attached to a ring which rotates around the pole. The innermost ring rotates once per minute, casting a 'second hand' shadow. The middle ring rotates once per hour, and casts the 'minute hand' shadow. And the outer ring rotates once every 12 hours, casting the 'little hand' shadow.

"The Bulbdial Clock can be used flat like a traditional sundial, or mounted vertically on a wall. A variation on the design intended for large-scale installation (such as in a museum) involves a pole sticking up in the middle of a room, while the light sources are mounted on the ceiling, shining down on the pole as they rotate around it."

I like it. I really like David's
Pre-pixelated clothes for Reality TV shows, also... ▶

(Via Dark Roasted Blend... um, I think. Or was it Neatorama?)

4. Stanley Stories!

A website devoted to classic comics creator John Stanley.

This work-in-progress and labor-of-love includes a spotter's guide to
'Stanley-isms', and several different Stanley-rendered stories available for your reading pleasure. Yow!


5. Oh, the Places You'll Go - - with Wikipedia and an inquisitive friend.

Some discussions and e-mailing conducted this past week with My Friend Topic led (as is often the case) to some interesting web research and small voyages of discovery (or
connect-the-dots) for both of us.

Chatting about some raccoon-like critters seen in her community, Topic began some research, but was quickly side-tracked by stumbling upon the enchanting Asian Raccoon Dog, known in Japan as Tanuki.

Neither raccoon nor truly dog, it stands to reason that the Tanuki is a part of Japanese folklore.

Just a bit of further exploration led Topic to learning about 19th-century Japanese woodblock artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

His 1881 print of Tanuki 'with typically enlarged scrotum' engaged her love for
Ukiyo-e prints but also connected with her enjoyment of Studio Ghibli anime.

She explained to me about having seen the 1994 film 'Pom Poko' which had featured Tanuki and retained some of the 'testacular' feats from folklore.
(The DVD is now in my queue)

But wait, there's more.

Topic fired off another e-mail to me as her surfing along the Studio Ghibli route led her eventually to the character
Tony Tony Chopper, a member of
'The Straw Hat Pirates' from a manga and anime series 'One Piece'.

In reading the Wikipedia description of this 'reindeer doctor' character, his history, his special abilities and physical transformations available to him from eating 'human human fruit' and 'rumble balls', Topic and I concurred in our vague assessment; 'How perfectly Japanese'.

I also declared that it's people like Tony Tony Chopper that continue to make me feel all a-scared of any halfway serious attempts to satisfy my curiousity about the just-so-VAST arena of anime and manga.

Sometimes I'll reason that maybe I've got enough nerdly interests on my plate already, thanks all the same...

However, while learning about T.T. Chopper and his 'Monster Point' transformation ('the misunderstood monster'), we also learned about literary tropes and their definition...

"(literature) Something recurring across a genre or type of literature, such as the 'mad scientist' of horror or 'once upon a time' introduction to fairytales. Similar to a Cliché, but is not necessarily pejorative."

Hurray Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, I was up to some websearch shenanigans of my own, and once again My Friend Topic was in on it.

So there I was, innocently looking up 'Bandanna' on Wikipedia.

Summer approaches, it's looking like I'll be doing a lot of driving, and I'm getting tired of my hair always getting in my face.

One passage managed to give me pause;
"Bandannas in particular colors are also worn as a means of communication or identification, as with the prominent California criminal gangs, the Bloods, the Crips, the Norteños, and the Sureños or in sexual subcultures in the United States."

Great. So what colors are there for a bandanna that send NO message, no invitation - - ??

I fired off an e-mail to Topic upon discovering via Wikipedia's fascinating page on 'Handkerchief code' that essentially there is no such color. Naive me, I must not get out enough...

Still - - education is a good thing, and My Friend Topic and I were excited to learn of the term 'tea room' in reference to 'cottaging' (another new word for us, meaning to cruise public lavatories for gay sex).

Even better was the information about Polari and other cant or slang / subculture languages.

Wow! Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Never to be outdone, My Friend Topic then countered by heading back to the list of colors in the 'handkerchief code' roster.
By following the seemingly innocent link to the color beige, she discovered Zinnwaldite, a color classification previously unknown to either of us.

In addition to a listing for the mineral zinnwaldite (that shows no resemblance to the color) was a somewhat perplexing reference;

"It is common for those in the baby boom generation to think of beige as being the color zinnwaldite because in the 1960s, AT&T marketed a colored telephone for offices and homes in a color they called 'beige' which was actually the color zinnwaldite."

This factoid may or (through the miracles of the internet) may not be true, but the proof of neither of Wikipedia's examples of beige or zinnwaldite quite matching the color of that telephone doesn't help matters.

Welcome to the internet. Oh, the Places You'll Go...
(Where to next, Topic?)

6. Residing at the always enthralling Ethan Persoff, comes:

'A gallery of 21
Paper-based Condom Envelopes from the 1930s and 1940s'

The Bunny House)

- Finally, one blog update of note this week:

A visitor sent in an LP cover photo that's been added to my previous post on the artwork of Richard Erdoes. ▶

Many thanks!

- - D'oh!! And this JUST in
(via My Friend Topic, no less):

A reminder that Free Comic Book Day is coming 'round again, on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 to a comic-book shop somewhere (hopefully) near you.

Always a fun event, and a GREAT way to give someone an introduction to the world of comic books ('first one's free kid, heh-heh-heh') - - especially youngsters still learning to read, or learning about the power of reading in general!

There's often some cool special-to-the-event books made available too.
Follow this link to see some of what you might find...

1 comment:

thombeau said...

Wow, you have just been around the world in 80 days!

Freshly-stirred links