Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bunny Movies

We don't subscribe to the Starz network, but I love the 30 second bunny movie parodies that they have available online. The latest is for the first Rocky movie. They also have one for Brokeback Mountain which is pretty funny. There is an index for these and more here.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flying Through the Aisles

Looking through Flickr photos, I ran across this shot [NOTE: Photo removed 26 February 07] by carlosluis that I thought was hilarious. He has a series of shots showing his son Vincent in grocery shopping carts. I thought this one having the illusion of speed was the best. The eyes, the hat, and the arms just bring it all together. He has a lot of other great photos of his kids, hummingbirds, flowers, etc. A very nice collection.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Films From National Archive

Google Video has more than 100 films from the National Archive available for viewing or downloading. Here is a link to a few from the Department of the Interior. There are several WWII documentaries and a few films about space flight. There are a lot of interesting films -- some that remind me of films I saw in grade school. I watched a documentary about the making of Boulder Dam (warning -- a huge download for a 30 minute film). There are some interesting shots covering the whole process from diversion of the river through to the finished dam. Having visited Boulder Dam a couple years ago, I was astounded by the construction feat as well as the conditions the workers had to endure. It was really hot when we were visiting. I can't imagine establishing the infrastructure necessary to build a dam under those conditions.

I'm sure by now there is a lot of trash on Google Video. However, it's nice that films like these are available on the web for a wide audience.

Face Sites

I ran across a couple sites that deal with faces.

The first, Artnatomy, is a neat Flash site that illustrates the anatomical basis of facial expressions. There are quite a few muscles used to make expressions. Click on the level II portion and play with the sliders and the many muscles to click on.

The folks at TurnYourHead will recreate your profile in a turning made of wood.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Greatest Screenplays

Thanks to Michael at the Neverending Rainbow blog (see the link in my what I’m reading list in the right column), I found the Writers Guild of America website and their list of the 101 greatest screenplays as judged by WGA members. There are a lot of great movies on the list – some that we have on DVD and many we love to watch again and again. For me, a good story is an important foundation for a good movie (although Dianne might disagree with that given some of the “garbage” I like to watch).

I’m a big John Huston fan and was glad to see The African Queen, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The Maltese Falcon all made the list. Being a Bogart fan, it was good to see Casablanca on the list as well.

We just recently saw Lawrence of Arabia. Not only is the story good, the cinematography is beautiful. I learned that almost all the travel scenes in that film show things moving left to right to emphasize the journey aspect of his life. Another David Lean directed movie, the Bridge on the River Kwai, also made the list.

Some great Hitchcock movies made the list: Psycho, Rear Window, and North by Northwest. Those are probably my favorites.

Other notables I saw were The Best Years of Our Lives, Patton, Dr. Strangelove, Cool Hand Luke, The Grapes of Wrath, The Wild Bunch, and Groundhog Day.

There are even a few of Dianne’s favorites including The Sixth Sense and Silence of the Lambs. Check out the complete list.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring has Sprung

DeadLeafThe first picture on the right was taken outside our place on a clear day in mid-January. I caught one tenacious, dried up maple leaf hanging on the tree. It’s a small example of the brown winters here. We had very little snow this year due to the relatively warm temperatures, so most of the time we were looking at brown grass and dried leaves. This dormant period in Southern Ohio seems more dreary and lifeless to me than it did growing up in Minnesota. There the snow covered most of the barren landscape. Although the trees were bare, a cold, clear day there with light reflecting off clean snow just didn’t seem so depressing.

Flower1_beeWhat a difference 3 months makes. We are now several weeks into Spring and it seems like everything is blooming like crazy. In the second picture, I caught a bee looking for nectar in the blossoms of a tree outside out front door (click on the photo for a larger version). I posted several other flower photos on Flickr of trees and bushes around our complex. Scroll through the photo stream to see them all. I’m always amazed at the transformations associated with the changing seasons. The transition from the dormant Winter to the Spring renewal is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Pimp Your Ride

Need a little extra bling for your car? Are the spinner rims just too commonplace for you? Check out these LED car rims I saw on the Gizmodo site. There is a video here. The idea is similar to the Fantazein clocks that display time and scrolling messages that appear to be floating in air. By synchronizing the LED movement to the on/off state, an illusion of a static image is created. These rims have full color LEDs to give a full color image. The rims are also programmable via a wireless network so you can change the display as you’re driving along. Sounds neat except for the 12k + price tag.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Tulip Mania

zoo3This weekend, Dianne's sister Michelle was visiting. On Saturday, we went to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden to see their 'Zoo Blooms' event. It's an annual event where this year they planted 80,000 tulips around the zoo. It's a bonanza of spring color with all the tulips, daffodils, and all the flowering trees and shrubs. Even though it's not that far away, Dianne and I haven't been to the zoo in many years. I think the last time was for a Barenaked Ladies concert. We didn't really have a chance to look around. It's funny how we don't always take advantage of local special events or visit local sites unless we have visitors to spur us on.

We saw quite a bit of the zoo. The insect house was really interesting. The smelliest place was the Cat House. Being allergic to cats, I did a very quick run for the exit and waited for Dianne and Michelle. The bird exhibit wasn't much better. They need to work on the ventilation in those buildings. I posted several photos on Flickr including this one showing Dianne and Michelle looking at one of the tulip beds. Scroll through the recently posted photos here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Marx's Bagels

A couple weeks ago, Dianne and I went to Marx's Hot Bagel Factory in Blue Ash. There is a large sign on the door that says "This is an experience, not a restaurant. Owner not politically correct. Enter at your own risk." We've been going there off and on since we moved here so we knew what to expect.

It was a busy day. The counter was full and there was a large line of people waiting to place orders at the register. While waiting in line, Dianne spotted some people leaving their seats at the counter so we got out of line and sat down. John Marx the owner, affectionately dubbed "The Bagel Man", was working near that spot. He seemed pretty wound up with all the customers. Fortunately, one of the employees came over to wait on us before he got there. ALL the employees there hustle or The Bagel Man chews them out. We knew what we wanted, ordered, and paid promptly when we got our bagels.

The Blue Ash location of Marx's Hot Bagels is Kosher. We were chatting about the Marx experience and Dianne asked if I remembered when we saw The Bagel Man wait on someone many years ago who asked for ham or bacon on their bagel. Boy did he go off on one of his rants! No sooner did Dianne mention that when the Bagel Man gets on the restaurant speaker and yells to people in line to get over to the counter and order rather than standing in line at the register. Then he takes out his referee whistle and gives it a big blast so they know where to go.
The first people ordering from him give little bits of their request at a time. It's hard to know if he's paying attention since you say one thing and he walks away. However, he expects you to yell the rest of your order so he'll get everything at once. When The Bagel Man returns and hears more of the order he starts ranting to the customer about the right way to order. After a couple more rounds of this, the customer finally asks "why do you have to be so mean?" That softens him up a bit and when he comes back with the take out bagels he gives an extra couple bagels in a bag with some instructions how to keep them.

The next couple ordering comes over and the woman asks The Bagel Man for a Reuben bagel sandwich. He replies we don't have that and she comes back with I'll just have corned beef on a bagel. That sends him over the edge so he grabs the microphone and yells to one of the customers he recognizes in line and asks him to come over and explain to this lady why we don't have corned beef – this is a kosher place (although I understand it's possible to make kosher corned beef). It was a classic déjà vu moment for us.

You can read more about the Bagel Man story here and experiences at the restaurant here. Most important for me, I think he makes a great bagel product. Whether he's blowing a whistle, wearing a beanie, or looking at you through the bagel glasses, you are in for an experience if you go to Marx's Bagels while John is working.