Unusual

POTD: Metal Weed

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I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell this thing is supposed to be. It appears to be iron and looks like something that would exist in Alice in Wonderland. It also reminds me of the strange plants in the Stargate episode One False Step. I’m calling it a weed…Iron Weed. ~Vic

Iron Weed Art Image One
07-21-2020

Picture of the Day

Alien Plant Pinterest Image Two
These plants grew when they were sung to in the Stargate episode.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round One-Pick Six-Hereafter 2010

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Hereafter IMDb Amazon Image
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round One pick.

Category: Drama/Mystery
Film: Hereafter

Directed by Clint Eastwood, it was written by Peter Morgan and, produced by Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy and Robert Lorenz. It stars Matt Damon (George), Cécile de France (Marie), Jay Mohr (Billy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Melanie) and, Frankie & George McLaren (twins Jason & Marcus). The film was released September 12, 2010, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Marie is a French TV journalist that has a near death experience after nearly drowning during a tsunami. George is a psychic medium but, works in a factory and tries to avoid talking to dead people. Twins Jason & Marcus have a drug-addicted, alcoholic mom and, when Jason is killed, accidentally, Marcus is sent to a foster home. Melanie meets George in a cooking class and a psychic reading ends badly. When George is laid off, his brother Billy tries to get him to revive his psychic practice. After an impromptu trip to London, George crosses paths with Marie and Marcus. Death surrounds the three main characters and their reactions to it unfolds, slowly.

Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter considers the idea of an afterlife with tenderness, beauty and a gentle tact. I was surprised to find it enthralling. I don’t believe in woo-woo but, then, neither, I suspect, does Eastwood. This is a film about the afterlife that carefully avoids committing itself on such a possibility. The closest it comes is the idea of consciousness after apparent death. This is plausible. Many near-death survivors report the same memories, of the white light, the waiting figures and a feeling of peace.

Roger Ebert
October 19, 2010

I absolutely love this movie. It’s a thoughtful drama, without being over-the-top, with an inherent mystery built into the story line. I’m not a big Damon fan but, I am an Eastwood fan. ~Vic

Awards & Nominations

Story Sunday: Circus Train Cars For Auction In North Carolina

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Barnum & Bailey Circus Rail Car Image One
Image Credit: NC State Surplus Property

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is offering up a piece of Americana but, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed their doors, NCDOT saw an opportunity to add to its fleet. That plan was derailed before the cars could hit the rails and, now, they’re being put up for public auction.

NCDOT spent just over $380,000 on [the] Ringling Brothers rail cars.

“These cars have a great and amazing history,” said Jason Orthner, director of the NCDOT rail division.

However, plans to refurbish the cars were quickly put on hold when NCDOT calculated the costs. “This was more on the long-term play of really looking into our rail program and how we take it into the future,” said Orthner.

Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Poster Wiki Image Two
Image Credit: New York Public Library
Wikimedia & Wikipedia

Funding from two federal grants totaling $157 million rendered the rehab of the Ringling Bros. cars obsolete and will soon allow the NCDOT to replace their entire fleet.

“If we hadn’t been successful at winning those grants, we would’ve taken a really hard look at putting these in service,” said Orthner. “We really want to do the best thing for the citizens of North Carolina with the limited funding that we have available.”

That’s why they’re listing the rail-cars on the state surplus site for a minimum price that’s $32,000 more than the NCDOT paid for all of the cars but, without any bids, it’s unclear if anyone will actually buy them.

“Tourist railroad operations, car collectors and other enthusiasts would certainly be interested in these cars,” said Orthner. “There are operations around the country that run train service for excursion purpose, or other purposes, that would be interested in equipment like this.”

Currently half of the rail-cars are stored in the NCDOT rail-yard in Raleigh and the other half are stored on an abandoned line in Nash County.

Want To Own A Piece Of History?
Holden Kurwicki
WNCN/CBS17
12-21-2020

I had no idea my state’s DOT had purchased Ringling Bros. train cars. ~Vic

Weird S*** Wednesday: Cyborg Has Fins Implanted Into Skull

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Manel De Aguas Oddity Central Image
Photo Credit: Oddity Central

From Oddity Central:

Spanish artist Manel de Aguas doesn’t consider himself human but, something else. A founding member of the Trans-Species Society (a now defunct website), he uses technological implants to experience the world differently than the rest of humanity. Twenty-four-year-old Manel […] first made international news headlines in August of 2017 when he built the first prototype of a device that allowed him to feel atmospheric vibrations. At the time, it was nothing more than an exposed circuit board that hung on a headband at the back of his head. The following year, he started attaching a pair of fins to the sides of his head and announced his intention to have them implanted into his skull. Earlier this year, de Aguas did just that, turning those decorative fins into functional organs that perceive the temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure and, send sounds to Manel’s brain via bone conduction.

Manel De Aguas Facebook Image
Photo Credit: Manel De Aguas
01-11-2020

In June of 2019, the […] artist sat down with VICE Magazine and explained his intention to have [the] artificial [organs] […] implanted:

“The atmosphere will sound inside my head, and depending on the atmospheric conditions in any given moment, I will have the experience of being submerged in one type of medium or another. As for the outer part, the organ will have an appearance inspired by the fins of flying fish and I will implant a fin on each side of my head, at the same level as the temple bone in my skull.”

“I have always felt a special connection to the rain, so when I found out that there was a way to feel this sense within me, I thought it would be good to create [an organ] that would connect me even more to rain, as well as other atmospheric phenomena. As for the shape of the organ, I have always been interested in marine species, both real and mythological, so the idea of creating a fin-shaped organ simply came from within.”

“I will be exploring the weather through this new sensory organ,” […] de Aguas posted on Instagram, where his new look has been getting a lot of attention.

Manel described himself as a propioespecie, or his own species, his response to the anthropocentrism of today’s society, which puts human beings on the highest echelon of a false hierarchy of species. In January of this year, [he] was finally able to make his dream a reality. He had the artificial fins implanted into his skull at a clinic in Japan, after being refused by several doctors in Spain. The fins weigh 500 grams, can be recharged with solar energy and can connect to various devices via WiFi.

I wonder if those wings let him Phone Home. ~Vic

Additional Reading:
Cyborg Foundation
Manel de Aguas (Facebook)
Manel de Aguas (Instagram)
Color Blind Artist Implants Antenna (Oddity Central 2014)
Moon Ribas Can Sense Every Earthquake (Oddity Central 2016)
Cyborg Artist Can Sense The Weather (Vice Magazine 2019)
Neil Harbisson (Wikipedia)
Moon Ribas (Wikipedia)

POTD: Tree Art

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This is a companion piece to my Virus Humor post back in April. It takes talent and patience to do this. And, a sharp knife. ~Vic

Tree Art Image
Just waiting for the phallic symbol and woody jokes.
04-15-2020

Picture of the Day

POTD: The Robot

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I can’t tell if it is facing me or facing the house. It looks like his feet are facing the house and it appears he has a ray gun facing the house but, he has eyes looking at me. Maybe it is a confused robot but, the metal work is cute. ~Vic

Robot Yard Art Image
04-18-2020
Click for a larger view.

Picture of the Day

Story Sunday: Ig Nobel Prize Goes For Alligator On Helium

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Alligator On Helium Image
Image Credit: Lund University
YouTube
MSN & CNN

“Alligator sucking on helium wins parody Ig Nobel Prize”

Scientists are answering a question no one is asking. What would it sound like if an alligator sucked up helium? When a team of international researchers wanted to find out whether a gator’s vocalizations relate to its body size, they devised an experiment that would earn them the 2020 Ig Nobel (a wordplay on “Nobel” and “ignoble”) Prize for acoustics. Researchers captured footage of the snorting alligator in a helium-filled tank. In perhaps one of the biggest letdowns in the history of scientific study, it sounded nothing like a cartoon chipmunk. Now in its 30th year, the annual Ig Nobel Prize awards ceremony, usually presented at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, was conducted remotely due to pandemic restrictions.

Among this year’s other elite competitors, a study which demonstrated that meticulously groomed eyebrows are a reliable indicator of grandiose narcissism took home the prize in psychology. The prize in economics went to an international team of creeps (presumably) who wanted to know whether the rate of French kissing correlated with national income inequality. Based on data from 13 countries across six continents, they found that where kissing was more frequent, income inequality was also more likely to occur. Go figure. American Richard Vetter took home the prize in entomology for his brave study on spiders (which aren’t technically insects) that revealed most of his peers are, allegedly, arachnophobic. And, the award for materials science went deservedly (because it’s gross) to a collaboration between the US and the UK to study whether frozen human feces could be made into usable knives. Spoiler alert: It certainly cannot.

But, who could forget the most Ig Nobel moment in recent history? The medical education prize went to a roundup of sometimes ill-advised world leaders for showing that “politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can” during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Hannah Sparks
New York Post
September 18, 2020

Word Wednesday: Quondam

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Screen Captures

This is, clearly, an obscure word. It sounds like a portmanteau of quantum and condom. Hmmm…Quantum Condoms, for an “out of this world” experience! Whadda ya’ think? Can you make a sentence with this word? ~Vic

TV Tuesday: Trapped 1950

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John Carradine Image One
John Carradine
Photo Credit: A Drifting Cowboy Blog

Seventy years ago, today, the television anthology series Trapped debuted on WOR-TV in New York. Also known as Trapped: Tales of the Supernatural, the host was John Carradine and some guest actors were Charles Korvin, Elizabeth Morgan, Helen Baron, Rita Gam, Fran Malis, George L. Smith, Stanley Tackney and Harry Townes. There were 57 episodes that were 30 minutes long.

There are no pictures or video of this program and very little has been written about it. I did manage to find an article on Light’s Out host Frank Gallop that referenced Trapped:

In accordance with Gallop, other hosts who aimed to set a mood of terror at the time included Andy Christopher […] (Mr. Black), James Monks (Tales of the Black Cat […]) and Lee Bowman (Eye Witness […]). Similarly, Jack La Rue (Lights Out), Boris Karloff (The Boris Karloff Mystery Playhouse) and John Carradine (Trapped: Tales of the Supernatural […]) offered external examples of film stars hired for TV hosting roles in which an emphasis was placed on their associations with the horror genre [with] typecasting as villainous and/or monstrous characters as part of their respective series façade. Due to a lack of surviving/missing material associated with some live series pre-1955, in the cases of some hosts, it is not always possible to definitively discern to what extent horror elements were adopted as part of a series persona.

Frank Gallop: The Ghoulish Host of Lights Out
Thomas Wilson
Taylor & Francis Online
Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
March 20, 2020

Additional Reading:
Trapped (1950-1952) (Classic TV Archive)

Scoop Saturday: Lincoln’s Hair & Bloody Telegram Up For Auction

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Lincoln's Hair & Telegram Image One
Image Credit: United Press International via
RR Auction

Update:
The artifacts sold for an astounding $81,250 on September 12, 2020.

“[The] lock of hair and telegram, which provides details of Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, are expected to fetch up to $75,000.”

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair wrapped in a telegram stained with the 16th president’s blood is up for auction online. [From RR Auction, based in Boston], [the two} inches of Lincoln’s hair was removed during his postmortem examination after the president was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth.

The hair ended up in the custody of Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a cousin of Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln. The doctor was present at the postmortem examination and is believed to have wrapped the lock of hair in the telegram which had been sent to him the previous day by his assistant, George Kinnear. The telegram is stained with what is believed to be the slain president’s blood.

Bidding for the two items closes Sept. 12.

Ben Hooper
UPI
August 28, 2020

The hair is mounted to an official War Department manuscript telegram sent to Dr. Todd by George H. Kinnear, his assistant in the Post Office at Lexington, Kentucky, received in Washington at 11:00pm on April 14, 1865 […]. [A] typed caption prepared by Dr. Todd’s son reads, in part: “The above telegram […] arrived in Washington a few minutes after Abraham Lincoln was shot.

Todd Death Notice Image Two
Image Credit: Kentucky Kindred Genealogy

Next day, at the postmortem, when a lock of hair, clipped from near the President’s left temple, was given to Dr. Todd. [Finding] no other paper in his pocket […] he wrapped the lock, stained with blood or brain fluid, in this telegram and hastily wrote on it in pencil […] ‘Hair of A. Lincoln.’

Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd‘s own account of the autopsy, now preserved in an 1895 manuscript held in the Ida Tarbell collection of Lincoln papers at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, differs slightly from his son’s, noting that he clipped the lock himself: “When all was over, General Hardin entered and handed me a pair of scissors, requesting me to cut a few locks of hair for Mrs. Lincoln. I carefully cut and delivered them to General Hardin and, then, secured one for myself which I have preserved as a sacred relic.”

Description From The Original Listing