Friday Sillies for Halloween


First you need a jack-o-lantern.  When I was in grad school one of my classmates was an expert carver of anime pumpkins.  I don’t know much about anime but I do admire the skill and artistry of her carving.  My favorite pumpkin though still has to be the Melvil Dewey pumpkin (second from the top) she made for our cataloging class.

Next you need a costume.  How about sexy mustard?

Note that there is naughty language in this clip:

Happy Halloween!!!

Friday Sillies: Cycle Facility of the Month


Warrington Cycle Campaign: Cycle Facility of the Month is a funny look at poor urban design for cyclists in one English town.  Click through the puzzling photos captioned with great wit and sarcasm and have a good laugh while learning about bicycle safety.

Friday Sillies: Simulacraceae


Simulacraceae

I heard about this project on the Scientific American podcast “Science Talk“.  It is no less than exhaustive, six-year project in the taxonomy of artificial plants.  Be warned, the Ethnobotany Journal article (pdf) contains requires knowledge of Pig Latin.  The publication date is interesting as well.

Friday Sillies: Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend


I’m a fan of newspaper comics, although these days I seem to enjoy them more for ironic reasons such as the snark at Comics Curmudgeon. My childhood seemed to be a last golden age for comics with the likes of The Far Side, Bloom County, and Calvin and Hobbes (I think even Garfield was funny back then). But starting during my teenage days I also gained appreciation for older comics from long before I was born. Back in the early 20th century newspapers ruled the media world, and comics were given full page treatment full of great artistry, quirkiness, and subversive humor. Granted many of them make little sense today without knowledge of then current events much less the dialects of the times. The major exception is George Herriman’s Krazy Kat whose humor is timeless.

Last year when I visited Milwaukee I was pleased to be there as the Masters of American Comics exhibition was on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum. There I discovered another classic comic, Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend by Winsor McCay. More famous for the children’s comic Little Nemo in Slumberland, McCay’s Rarebit Fiend was a comic for adults with surreal visions and intelligent humor. The punchline was always the same, with the protagonist of the strip waking up and blaming the bad dreams on eating Welsh Rarebit (one of my favorite pub foods). Along the way were visually stunning and hillarious depictions of these wild dreams. The strip is said to have Masonic references as well. The strips are collected in a new book, which would make a great gift (especially if you’re shopping for your favorite blogger).

McCay was also an innovator in animation with Gertie the Dinosaur being one of the earliest animated films.

He also made several films based on the Rarebit Fiend:

Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906)

The Pet (1921)

The Flying House (1921)

Bug Vaudeville (1921)

This Friday Silly is partially inspired by this post on MetaFilter: The Moving Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend.

I’m hungry for some cheese now (even though it’s almost bedtime).

Friday Sillies: Superman is a what?


I don’t read comic books.  Okay I guess I do read graphic novels, but comic books were never my style even when I was a boy.  Maybe I’ll get into them in old age.  Regardless, when I discovered Superdickery a couple of years ago, I laugh uproariously for page after page.  The basic jist of this website is that Superman is often depicted as being manipulative, selfish, and just plain mean.  Several galleries of comic book covers are put forth as evidence.  There are other galleries of comic book covers that have double entendres (intentional or not), propaganda, weird science, gorillas, and ones that are just plain bizarre.

While comics may be for kids, Superdickery most definitely is not, so be warned.

Friday Sillies: How Many Licks


Ever wonder how many licks it really take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie-Pop?

How Many Licks by Mark Robertshaw gets to the heart of the matter. Or the Tootsie-Pop. Via Improbably Research. I especially like the section headings.

Friday Sillies: Unshelved, the library comic strip


Generally I select things for Friday Sillies that are new funny things I’ve discovered on the internet.  My hope is that I’m actually promoting something new as opposed to something that every online hipster saw years ago and is now old and tired.  Today, I’m promoting Unshelved, the online comic strip that’s set in a library by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes.  This is not new, I’ve been reading it for years, and I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t have my daily fix of Unshelved. I’m prompted to mention Unshelved now because I just received their new book Read Responsibly in the mail.  Yes, the comic is online with archives going back to 2002, but I still bought the book.  It’s that good. While there’s a lot of relevant library humor in the strip, don’t be scared off if you’re not a librarian.  Just as you can read Dilbert without being an engineer or enjoy WKRP in Cincinnati without being a DJ, Unshelved is funny because of the characters that come together – often absurdly – in the public forum of the library.  You can set up an email subscription to have an Unshelved delivered to you daily or you can set up an rss feed, which is what I do.  Or every time you come here you can click on the link to Unshelved in the right-hand column, but I don’t recommend it because you might forget and miss out.  Or you may not be reading this to begin with because I average only 40 hits a day and most of those are Susan and Craig. :)

Independence Day


Happy Independence Day! Today commemorates the approval of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. They already voted in favor of independence two days earlier on July 2. One may wonder why we don’t celebrate on July 2 instead, but really I’m totally in favor a three-day holiday each year from July 2-4. At least then we’ll avoid the awkward Wednesday day off in the middle of the work week.

This day is significant for other reasons as well. In 1826, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died, both of them signers of the Declaration 50 years earlier. President James Monroe died on this date in 1831. Two key Civil War battles at Gettysburg and Vicksburg were won by the Union on July 4.

Susan and I celebrated by walking the length of Washington Street in Boston (more on that latter) and plan to head out for BBQ and beer (well, I’m having beer).

Here are some early Friday Sillies to celebrate the holiday with a few laughs.

1. The Gettysburg Powerpoint (read the original version too).

2. A classic Simpsons moment involving illegal fireworks.

Read also the City Record and Boston News-Letter post Stupidity Rears Its Head in the Cradle of Liberty for a thoughtful reflection on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Have an enjoyable holiday.

Friday Sillies: Apoohcalypse Now


Some disturbed creative genius has taken the audio track from Apocalypse Now and dubbed it over old Winnie the Pooh cartoons. It’s funny, unsettling, and trippy, and they did all of this without including the Heffalump that disturbed many a childhood.

If you’ve seen Apocalypse Now and don’t like the language, be warned it’s unedited here. You may also not want to watch this if you have cherished memories of Winnie the Pooh you don’t want tarnished.

My favorite part is Piglet voiced by Dennis Hopper: “I’m a little man, I’m a little man, he’s… he’s a great man.” Piglet, a little man or a Very Small Animal?

Friday Sillies: Things You Stumble Upon


Today I’m putting up the links to two funny websites made up entirely of things that people just stumble upon.

The first is Found Magazine, the web version of the print magazine that collects things that people find:  “love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles- anything that gives a glimpse into someone else’s life. Anything goes.”  The home page features the “Find of the Day” and you may set it up as an RSS feed to inject a little bit of humor into your daily routine or you may just click through the archives.  Sadly their audio finds section is gone so you won’t be able to listen to Avon Minisure or the Ypsilanti All-Stars.

Next, there’s Overheard in New York consisting entirely of weird and silly things people say in public places.   This is the flagship website which has spawned Overheard at the Office, Overheard at the Beach, and Overheard Everywhere (for people outside of New York).  Just as a warning to the sensitive the language on these site can be rather impolite, but then again nothing worse than what you hear walking down the street.

On the other hand, if you like salty language, you’ll appreciate How to Swear in Any Language.

Happy Friday!