Saturday, November 8, 2014

This French Bulldog Puppy Does NOT Want to Get Into Bed ... But Can't Keep His Eyes Open

Awwww, isn't this one of the cutest things you ever seen? French bulldog puppies are pretty darn cute to begin with - but that tries to "talk" his way out of going to bed? And then, when he finally gets into bed, just ... can't ... keep ... his ... eyes ... open?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

7 Kittens, Synchronized

Here's a video to make you smile: seven Maine coon kittens, sitting together, watching a shiny object that they simply can't turn away from, and moving in synchronized fashion:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This Dog Snores Like They Do in Cartoons and Old Comedies

The dog in this video is an English bulldog. Its owner posted the clip to YouTube with the comment, "My English Bulldog, Apollo, snoring after a long day at the beach. He often snores like this." What does the headline mean? Well, you'll know exactly what it means after you listen to Apollo the bulldog snoring:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Meet the Chimp Act the Rolling Stones Had to Follow at Some of their Earliest American Concerts

There's a terrific article in the San Antonio Express-News edition of Jan. 7, 2014, written by Hector Saldana, about one of the Rolling Stones' earliest concert appearances in America. Alas, the article is hidden behind a pay wall.

But the gist of it is this: At their San Antonio appearance on June 6, 1964, the Rolling Stones were heckled, booed, hissed, pelted with various objects - and those weren't even the biggest indignities.

What was? They had to follow a trained chimpanzee act onto the stage.

The Stones were in San Antonio in June 1964 to play a series of 20-minute sets at something called the Teen Fair of Texas. They were on a bill that included country music's George Jones and a chimp act that was actually very well-known at the time called the Marquis Chimps.

The Marquis Chimps appeared as guests on early television variety shows, performed in commercials and movies. And, obviously, they did live performances on stage.

They also co-starred (with, among others, Jack Weston) in a sitcom called The Hathaways that ran on ABC from late 1961 through Spring 1962.

And they were regulars on the Jack Benny Show; he continued performing with them for years, even doing a TV special in 1963 called Jack Benny and the Marquis Chimps. This is who the Rolling Stones followed on stage in one of their very first American gigs - go to the 38:22 mark in the video:

The clip above is from the Jack Benny Hour, an episode that included SeƱor Wences and Bob Hope. Make sure you catch Hope's quip at the end of the clip - he made fun of having to follow a bunch of chimps.

Saldana's article Stones bassist Bill Wyman's memoir about the Stones' 1964 San Antonio sets: "Everyone got a poor reception from a mixed crowd of cowboys and kids. We had to go on after some performing monkeys. What the hell were we doing there? People didn't know whether to take us serious or as a joke."

Saldana brings up something odd, though: In Keith Richards' book, he mis-remembers the act they followed as circus seals; then-Stones-manager Andrew Oldham also told Saldana that they followed trained seals. Great examples of how easily malleable memories are.

More of the Marquis Chimps: Here they are in a 1950s-era commercial for Red Rose Tea:

And the following short, titled Monkey Tale, was produced by the New Zealand National Film Unit for the country's Transport Department:

Their June 1964 appearances in San Antonio weren't the only trying gigs for the Stones on their short swing through the United States. They were openly mocked in at least one television appearance by the show's very famous host.

Here's a great look at the Rolling Stones as they appeared in 1964, from an episode of the Dean Martin Show, filmed at the Hollywood Palace. At the end of the song, a clearly unimpressed and disinterested Martin says, "Aren't they great?" and rolls his eyes, which draws a laugh from the crowd:

Suggested Videos:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dunkin Donuts Adds Grilled Chicken Flatbread

Grilled chicken has arrived at Dunkin Donuts. The chain has announced the introduction of the Grilled Chicken Flatbread sandwich, which is available now at participating locations.

"Shake up your taste buds," DD's website proclaims about the new offering. The grilled chicken is served inside a multigrain flatbread. It is topped with a slice of reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and an ancho chipotle sauce tops it off.

Nutritional info: One Dunkin Donuts Grilled Chicken Flatbread has 360 calories, 12 grams of fat (3.5 saturated), 1020mg of sodium, 3 grams of fiber and 28 grams of protein.

We really loved the Turkey Breakfast Sandwich that DD had on its menu a while back, so we're looking forward to trying the Grilled Chicken Flatbread. If you've already tried one, let us know what you think of it in comments.

Engineer's Dog Uses Catapult to Play Fetch By Himself

Here's a cute video of a dog playing fetch all by itself, without the need for any human to throw the ball it is fetching. How? His owner, an engineer, built a catapult for the dog to use. And the dog learned how to use it!

The video quality is terrible, but you'll enjoy it anyway:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Watch Disabled Baby Goat Adorably Using Custom-Made 'Wheelchair'

This cute little guy is named Frostie the Snow Goat. Yep, that's what they call him. Frostie arrived at a sanctuary farm in New Zealand in very bad shape: he had a joint disease that rendered his back legs useless.

So sanctuary personnel made a sort of wheelchair for Frostie, to carry his back legs. And he drags himself around on two legs and two wheels pretty good!

The best news about Frostie is that, with antibiotic and other medical treatment, he's getting better. Maybe he won't need his wheelchair much longer.

Don't You Just Hate It When Your Cellphone Rings Right In the Middle of an Exorcism?

Join us now as we watch a minister in Nigeria begin casting demons out of one of his parishioners. The exorcism appears to be building steam - there's lots of writhing; writhing is always good in an exorcism - until, around the 1-minute mark, something happens.

The demon-plagued parishioner's cellphone rings. Is it the devil calling? "Hey, buddy, I heard you were trying to get rid of me." No, just a friend who doesn't understand what's going on.

Kinda makes you think it was all just play-acting all along, doesn't it? But on the whole, despite the interruption, this exorcism is every bit as valuable as any other exorcism.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kanzi the Bonobo Builds Fire, Toasts Marshmallows (and Other Amazing Feats!)

This short video clip is one of the most mind-blowing things I've seen in a long time. It's from a BBC program called Monkey Planet and it shows Kanzi (who is a bonobo, one of the two members of the chimp family) ... well, just watch:

This is how it starts, people. THIS IS HOW IT STARTS! Actually, the opposite is true: Now we know why Planet of the Apes is such an impossible story - they all get diabetes.

Kanzi is remarkable in many more ways that just for his ability to build a fire, strike a match and roast marshmallows. Kanzi is a 34-year-old male who spent much of his life at the Language Research Center at Georgia State University. Kanzi showed an aptitude for understanding language from a very early age, and also for using tools. He understands more than 200 words. He now lives at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, and has a son born in 2010.

Kanzi's son is named Teco, and appears with Kanzi in this clip:

Alas, Teco, according to Wikipedia, exhibits signs that in humans might be diagnosed as autism or a related disorder.

Here is reporter Lisa Ling "interviewing" Kanzi for a report that aired on Oprah:

Here's another clip of Kanzi building a fire and roasting marshmallows:

The following video shows some of the language research done with Kanzi (and also shows him cutting onions with a knife). "Kanzi's language comprehension has been demonstrated in research using novel sentences — phrases that preclude the learning of specific responses."

There are many more clips of Kanzi on YouTube.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How Many Carrots Can This Hamster Stuff in His Mouth?

There are seven baby carrots in the little try in front of this hamster. How many of them to you think it can stuff - whole - into its mouth? Let's find out:

The little fella got five in there before he ran out of room. He's like a baby-carrot-disappearing magician.

Husky Makes Friends with Rehabbing Meerkat

A husky dog and a meerkat are unlikely friends. How would they even meet? Huskies are cold-weather dogs, meerkats scamper across African savannah. But the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge in Namibia has a has a pet Siberian husky named Bond, and the lodge also rehabs injured local wildlife. The lodge explains on YouTube:

"One of the Meerkats from our rehabilitation project finds our Siberian Husky, Bond, to be a very interesting guy, but makes sure to show him who is boss. Bond has an amazing character and has never harmed any of his little 'friends'. These meerkats are formed into families with other meerkats previously kept as pets, and are then released into the wild when they are ready."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pro Golfer Jumps Into Lake to Escape Attacking Hornets

Pablo Larrazabal is a Spanish golfer who plays on the European Tour, where he's won three times and was Rookie of the Year in 2008. He's pretty good. Which means that he usually handles golf course hazards without much problem.

But Larrazabal never encountered a hazard like the one he ran into on Friday during the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur: a swarm of hornets. The hornets were moving across the golf course when they flew right into Larrazabal (or did Larrazabal walk right into the hornets? Larrazabal and the hornets disagree on that point).

As the announcer in the video below says, it looks funny at first as Larrazabal starts gyrating wildly to try to get the hornets off him. But in fact, he was stung 20 or more times and had to jump into a golf course lake to get away from them! The hornets didn't bother anyone else.

And in the end, apart from the discomfort of the stings and his wet clothes, Larrazabal doesn't seem to have been bothered either. He birdied the hole on which the incident happened and went on to shoot 4-under par 68.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cat So Happy Its Human Has Come Home

Cats have a well-earned reputation for aloofness. But the cat in this video had been home alone for three days while its human traveled. Don't worry - it wasn't hungry, its bowl was still half-full. Kitty is just ecstatic to see its owner again - it comes racing down the stairs, meowing the whole way, demanding attention:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unlikely Buddies Horse and Cat Nuzzle in the Barn

What happens when a cat heads into the barn and meets up with a horse in its stall? Well, if you're this cat and this horse, you nuzzle one another. The horse - a 3-year-old colt - in particular seems to appreciate the cat's presence, even using its upper lip near the end of the video to "pet" the cat:

Squirrel Buries Nuts in Man's Clothing

This video was filmed by a guy sitting on a park bench in New York's Battery Park, where he found a furry little friend: one of the local squirrels. He gives the squirrel a nut, and the squirrel takes the nut and tries to bury it in the guy's clothing. He puts one in the hood of the hoodie the guy is wearing, another in his pocket.

The guy exclaims a couple times when the squirrel finds skin (and lets slip an expletive or two). He might want to inquire about a tetanus shot. But otherwise he's quite taken with his new squirrel friend.

See also:
Squirrel buries nuts in dog's hair

David Letterman Hosts 1977 Game Show Pilot, 'The Riddlers' - Show Awful, Dave Hilarious

A good game show can be a lot of fun. And good game show hosts tend to be earnest about the proceedings yet cheerful and able to come up with a quip when needed; they charm (or at least attempt to) the guests; they have a good repartee with any celebrity guests. That's the model. When it's poorly done, it can be difficult to watch.

But what if there was a game show host who was wickedly funny and clearly didn't respect the proceedings at hand? At game show host who wasn't afraid to mock the celebrity guests, and whose sense of humor ran toward the absurd and arch? A host who was self-mocking while also mocking the situation in which he found himself?

Well, then you'd have David Letterman hosting a show called The Riddlers. The Riddlers was a game show pilot taped in 1977. That was before Letterman's first Tonight Show appearance, before his membership in the cast of the ill-fated Mary variety hour (watch Dave sing and dance!), both of which happened in 1978. In 1977, Letterman was doing stand-up in Los Angeles, and looking for television gigs anywhere he could find them. In 1978 and 1979 - after his successful first Tonight Show - Letterman could be seen guesting on multiple game shows.

But in 1977, Letterman was pretty much a nobody. But his agents got him in the door as host of The Riddlers. For a guy who needed a job, Letterman appears, in the pilot, completely unafraid to make fun of what is going on. His wit is rapier sharp, and he unsheaths it early and often.

The setup of the show is that a panel of five celebrities played against a panel of five "regular" folks. The folks got to keep their winnings; any winnings by the celebrities were given to home viewers. Early on, Letterman reads off the list of lucky home viewers who'll get the celebrities' money. Naming a woman from his hometown of Indianapolis, Letterman quips, "I used to look in her windows."

The game started with the host, Letterman, reading a riddle to the first person on a panel. If that person solved the riddle, he or she then turned to panelist No. 2 and read another riddle. If the second riddle was solved, the second panelist read another riddle to the third panelist, and so on. Solve nine riddles in a row, and your side win the game.

The celebrity panel goes first in the pilot, and the five celebrities are Jo Anne Worley, Robert Urich, Joyce Builifant, Michael McKean and Debralee Scott. That's a pretty good game show guest list in 1977! But confusion quickly reigns, and which point Letterman says, "Boy, this really makes you want to run out and buy the home game, doesn't it?"

The celebs manage to answer the first four questions, then McKean reads a riddle to Scott, who has no idea. "This answers the question," Dave says, "of whether or not the celebrities are tested before coming on the show." Ouch!

At one point later in the episode, a light bulb blows out with a loud pop. "Sniper fire," Dave suggests.

Here is the full pilot episode of The Riddlers (in this video posted to YouTube, the pilot is introduced by Elvira, which fits right in with Letterman's arch and absurdist comic sensibilities):

In 1991, panelist Michael McKean appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and they briefly discussed The Riddlers. Letterman recalls that they were supposed to tape two episodes that day, but following the first taping a producer told the cast that they had all they needed. Never a good sign!

McKean praises Letterman's hosting effort by saying, "You were the first game show host I had ever seen who knew that it was crap!" Well, Letterman replies, "It was a gig." Here are McKean and Dave talking about The Riddlers:

Imagine if The Riddlers had been greenlit, hit the airwaves, became a smash hit. Game-show host Dave. Probably would have been awesome! But American comedy might never have benefited from his huge influence on late-night talk.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Brief Tour of the Accents of Britain and Ireland

There's a lot of information packed into this 90-second video. It's a tour of the accents of the British Isles by a dialect coach named Andrew Jack:

(Via Kottke.org)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

David Letterman (and Michael Keaton) Sings and Dances on Mary Tyler Moore Variety Show

Have you ever seen David Letterman sing and dance? Sing or dance? Of course not! Dave is not a song-and-dance man. You can probably imagine Letterman preferring tarring-and-feathering to singing-and-dancing.

But there was a time, long ago, on a very short-lived variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore, when Letterman did sing and dance. He - along with Michael Keaton and Swoosie Kurtz, among others - was a cast member on Mary, a 1978 variety show starring Mary Tyler Moore. Hell of a cast. Awful show. The show only lasted three episodes.

One of the writers on Mary - one who, like Letterman, had a sense of humor that had nothing in common with the show that employed her - was Merrill Markoe. Markoe and Letterman were dating at the time, and Markoe later served as head writer on Letterman's own short-lived show, the morning-aired David Letterman Show in 1980. Two years later, Markoe began as head writer on Light Night with David Letterman, and played a huge role the success of Late Night. She created Stupid Pet Tricks and discovered Calvert DeForest (a k a Larry "Bud" Melman), among many other contributions.

Markoe recently guested on the podcast How Was Your Week and spoke about Mary:

"The guys in the cast were Letterman and Michael Keaton ... dancing and singing "Macho Man." And they (the senior staff of Mary) didn't understand it was a gay anthem. I remember saying to them, you know that this is a gay anthem, right? "Macho Man"? And they're like, nah, it's not.

"... also they dressed them up so they were wearing the clothing of the movie Deliverance.

"... What they were was both (Letterman and Keaton) seriously uncomfortable. At the time I was dating him (Letterman) and all the other writers on the writing staff came running down to go, oh you have to come look at the monitor. And I couldn't look, I just ... it was too uncomfortable."

Unfortunately, the "Macho Man" clip is not online. But I can offer you a nice (is that the right word?) consolation prize. Here are David Letterman and Michael Keaton singing and dancing as Mary Tyler Moore performs the Wings hit, "With a Little Luck":

Keaton at least looks like he's trying. Dave? He looks humiliated, sick to his stomach, like he'd rather be anywhere than there, doing that. He looks exactly what you'd expect David Letterman to look like in that situation.

Here's a 6-minute clip that includes the Mary show opening (with plenty of views of Letterman), a few scenes of Mary introducing segments, plus the "audition tapes" of Keaton and Letterman (not their real auditions - it was a bit for the show). Keaton's bit is not funny at all. Dave's, however, actually resembles the Letterman we would come to know much better within a few years - his comic sensibility is there, his delivery, his expressions. Makes me wonder if Letterman (or Markoe) got to write his the lines for the segment. Letterman appears at the 5:20 mark:

Has there ever been a show with this much collective talent on screen - television legend Mary Tyler Moore, a guy who later became a legend in Letterman, very talented actor Keaton, very talented singer and actor Swoosie Kurtz, and we haven't even mentioned the solid Dick Shawn - that was so bad? Any nominations?

See also:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Classic Letterman: Infamous Crispin Glover Appearance Even Weirder than You Remember

The appearance of actor Crispin Glover on Late Night with David Letterman in 1987 is one of the most famous (or infamous) "interviews" in the history of TV talk shows. Glover, a strange guy to begin with, was clearly high (right?), and ultimately frightened Dave to the point that Letterman got up and walked away. When they came back from commercial, Glover was gone.

I remember watching this in real time. Mind-blown. But in those pre-Twitter, pre-blogging, pre-social media days, you had to wait until the next day to actually talk about it with other people.

Watching it again now, it's even weirder than I remember:

Classic Letterman: James Brown Blows the Roof Off the Sucka

Here's one of the best musical performances in the history of late night and - according to some - the last great television performance by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

Brown sings, grunts, sweats and dances through 13 minutes of music. The funk is still flowing even as the closing credits roll:

This is from a 1982 (first season) episode of Late Night with David Letterman.

In his book, We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives,Paul Shaffer rights about this appearance by Brown:

The best move I ever made was to perform with Mr. Brown on Letterman. His first appearance came in 1982 when we were on NBC.

"Mr Brown," I said, "this is the honor of a lifetime. Just tell me what you'd like to play."

His answer astonished me. "What do you guys want to play, Paul?"

At the time, my World's Most Dangerous Band featured the great Will Lee on bass plus Steve Jordan, drums, and Hiram Bullock, guitar - three brilliant cats. I let the band pick the songs. Steve said, "Sex Machine" for the drumming. Hiram said, "There Was a Time" for the rhythm guitar. Will was cool with all of it.

On "Sex Machine," James wanted a fast tempo. That's the tradition of live R&B. It's all about energy. Steve Jordan, though, was a young buck who wanted to re-create the groove he'd heard on wax. He didn't quite understand that when you deal with the Godfather of Soul, you put the groove where he wants it. James won out and the funk got thick. He played his short keyboard solo and at the end of the song slapped me ten. I told him I wouldn't wash my hands for a week. During the break, as the band played a small portion of "I Got the Feeling," James took note.

When we were back on the air, James said, "Hey Dave, you know what I'd like to do right now? Before you close, can we close with 'I Got the Feeling?' "

"Sure thing," said Dave. "Soon as we come back from one more break."

Once the commercial was over, we hit it: an unrehearsed full-blown version of "I Got the Feeling." The audience went crazy. Dave joined the James Brown Fan Club.

See also:

Huge Elk Herd Crosses Road ... but Will the One Straggler Catch Up?

Why did the elk cross the road? To make a good YouTube video. This one was posted by Austin Stonnel and shows a large herd of elk jumping a fence and crossing a road. But there's one straggler who just can't quite make the fence jump. Will he ever get across? Will he catch up to the herd?

Stonnel's comments: "Huge herd of elk crossing the road in Bozeman, MT near Yellowstone. I have never seen a herd this big. Poor little guy at the end...leave no elk behind."

Classic Letterman: 'They Took My Show Away' After-School Special

Here's a classic David Letterman clip from the original Late Night. It's an "after-school special" starring Letterman as a man who's afraid his son isn't watching enough television. The title of the bit is "They Took My Show Away." Touching, very touching. And pertinent to the recent news of Letterman's pending retirement.

"I don't think I'll ever watch TV again!" the red-haired boy, Jimmy, says, after his favorite show is canceled. Letterman replies: "Jimmy, don't ever say that. Not even as a joke."

This aired in 1983:

Johnny Carson's Final Appearance on Television

David Letterman's retirement is in the news. And while I haven't watched much of Letterman (or other late night TV) in about 20 years, Letterman's retirement leaves me sad because his show was such a huge part of my teen years. Like many others who've spoken out in the wake of the news - Judd Apatow, Jimmy Kimmel, Jim Gaffigan, Seth Meyers, many others - my sense of humor was profoundly influenced by Dave. Those guys all became rich and famous as a result of Dave's inspiration. I just became a smartass.

So I'll be posting some of my favorite Letterman clips on Nifty Niblets in the days and weeks and months to come. But let's start by sharing a clip of the man who was one of Letterman's heroes: Johnny Carson. Carson did a surprise walk-on to The Late Show with David Letterman when Dave was doing a week of shows in California.

It happened on May 13, 1994, and it was the last time Carson ever appeared on television:

A nice companion piece to the above is the heartfelt tribute by Letterman to Carson on the first Late Show that aired following Carson's death in 2005. It begins with Letterman telling jokes written for him by Carson in the opening monologue:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cute Cat Stands Up, Waves Paws to Ask for Food

Most of this video shows a cat lazily laying about. But around the 1-minute mark, something adorable happens: kitty stands up, waves its paws, rubs them together, and asks for food. Then he does it again a few seconds later. It's worth the wait!

Turn Vegetables Into Spaghetti? It's the Veggetti

Ever heard of the Veggetti? It's an as-seen-on-TV product made for slicing vegetables. (Fun fact: 73-percent of ASOT products are vegetables slicers. ... OK, I just made that up.)

The twist with the Veggetti is that its purpose is to produce long, thin strands of the vegetable being sliced - veggie strands that look like spaghetti. Veggetti - get it?

The official website is at buyveggetti.com, and at the time of this writing offers the product for $14.99 (plus shipping, postage and "handling," of course). The site includes this image of some of the dishes you can make using the Veggetti:

And here is the Veggetti's infomercial, which demonstrates how to use it and shows many meal suggestions:

"Turn veggies into healthy spaghetti!" is bannered across the top of the site. As of this writing, the Veggetti is not sold in stores, so ordering online is the only way to get one.

But should you get one? Does the Veggetti actually work? Connie Thompson of KOMOnews.com recently tested the item and gave it 3 out of 4 stars. Among her comments was this:

From a user-friendly standpoint this one's pretty difficult to mess up. You can only use veggies that fit the slicer, and all you do is twist the veggies through the slicing funnel. Vegetables must be long enough to keep your hands away from the blades inside the funnel opening. I'm not sure what I expected, but with each twist I got long, continuous strands of fresh zucchini that actually did resemble strands of spaghetti.

Read her review, linked above, for some of her caveats (which included believing the price was too high).

The website Waffles At Noon also reviewed the Veggetti, and their review was also favorable:

Although Veggetti is made of plastic, even the metallic-looking part of the handle, it performed surprisingly well, and the “pasta” it created was simple to make. The blades were sharp, requiring little force to operate. We found the thinner strands to be less intact and formed than the thicker pieces.

What do you think - does the Veggetti "pasta" maker sound like something you'd like to try? And if you have already tried one, what did you think?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

50th Anniversary: Beatles Take Top 5 Spots on Billboard's Hot 100

It was 50 years ago today ... OK, actually, it was 50 years ago Friday - April 4, 1964 - when the Beatles became the first (and only) act to hold the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

What were the songs in that Top 5?

1. Can't Buy Me Love
2. Twist and Shout
3. She Loves You
4. I Want to Hold Your Hand
5. Please Please Me

Those five songs alone would be a great career for most bands. The Beatles were just getting started. But they also weren't nearly finished in the April 4, 1964 Hot 100 - the group had 12 songs total in the rankings that week. Take a look at how the Hot 100 looked in print that week (click the image to enlarge):

(Via @TheBeatles/twitter.com)

Here are the other seven Beatles songs from that Billboard Hot 100:

31. I Saw Her Standing There
41. From Me to You
45. Do You Want to Know a Secret
57. All My Loving
64. You Can't Do That
68. Roll Over Beethoven
78. Thank You Girl

The first 11 of these songs should be recognizable to even casual Beatles fans (many of them recognizable to even casual rock and pop fans). Maybe You Can't Do That doesn't immediately ring a bell, but listen to it and you'll know it.

But that 12th one - Thank You Girl? You have to be more than a casual fan to know that one. But I've always thought the genius of the Beatles is best understood by listening to the songs they didn't release as singles and buried on early albums. And Thank You Girl is a great little rocker.

It's a true Lennon-McCartney composition (meaning they really did write it together), but one they both treated dismissively in later years. Lennon called it "an effort at writing a single that didn't work" and "just a silly song we knocked off." McCartney called it "a bit of a hack song." That's what high standards do to one's appreciation of one's own work.

No, it's not their best work. But it boasts a howling John lead vocal (double-tracked), a gorgeous Paul harmony vocal (but then, all of Paul's harmony vocals are gorgeous), and a muscular beat by Ringo. And a catchy tune. When work like this is your throwaway, you know you have a great thing going.

Thank You Girl was originally released in England as the B-side to From Me to You. It came out a couple weeks later in the USA as the B-side to Do You Want to Know a Secret, and reached No. 35 on the singles chart.

Big Boxer Named Baxter Battles Sprinkler

This boxer is named Baxter, and Baxter ain't afraid of no sprinkler head!

Golden Retriever Adopts Baby Chickens

Do dogs and chickens get along? Well, the chickens are baby chicks, and the dog is an 11-year-old golden retriever named Champ, the answer is yes!

The video was posted to YouTube by the dog's human, Candice Sedighan, who explains:

My 11 year old Golden Retriever Champ lets these baby chicks cuddle up to him and burrow into his fur for extra warmth.

But this isn't the first dog-chick adoption we've seen. A year ago, there was a video posted to YouTube showing a retriever mix and his adopted brood of 10 chicks:

Meteorite Falls Past Skydiver, Who Catches it on Camera

For the first time ever, a meteorite that is no longer glowing has been captured on camera during its fall. And it was captured on camera by a skydiver in a wingsuit, as the meteorize dropped past him in the sky.

Here is an 8-minute news story about the incident, in Norwegian but with English subtitles (the meteorites first appears around the 1:50 mark):

In an English-language story on the Norwegian news site NRK.com, the experts weigh in:

Although Helstrup is still not completely convinced that it was indeed a meteorite that flew past him, the experts are in no doubt.

"It can't be anything else. The shape is typical of meteorites – a fresh fracture surface on one side, while the other side is rounded," said geologist Hans Amundsen.

He explained that the meteorite had been part of a larger stone that had exploded perhaps 20 kilometres above Helstrup.

Amundsen thinks he can make out coloured patches in the stone, and believes that in that case it may be a breccia – a common type of meteorite rock.

(HT: kottke.org)

UPDATE: Turns out this wasn't a meteorite, but just a plain ol' rock. It was apparently caught up in the skydiver's parachute, and fell out when the chute opened.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Magician Performs Magic Tricks for Dogs, Dogs Adorably Flummoxed

Do dogs appreciate a good magic trick? Well, whether they "appreciate" magic is unknowable - but they certainly react to magic tricks. How do we know? Because magician Jose Ahonen did a magic show for dogs. He palmed doggie treats, then made them disappear. The dogs don't know what to think! Actually, they're probably thinking, "hey, gimme my darn treat!"

Here's Part 1 of magic tricks for dogs:

I'm just a bit surprised at the dogs' reactions. The magician still has the treats, they didn't literally vanish. Given time, the dogs would probably sniff them out.

As it is, these magic tricks look a lot like simply teasing the dogs. But don't worry! Magician Ahonen stresses that each dog in the videos received a treat before the magic trick, and another one afterward.

Here is Part 2 of magic for dogs:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Turning Cassette Tape Into Art

At one time, not too long ago, there were millions and millions of miles of magnetic tape sold each year in the form of casette tapes or reel-to-reel tapes. But then the music industry - whose product was responsible for most of those casette tapes - moved on to more advanced modes of delivering its product.

Magnetic tape is largely a forgotten medium for most consumers. But not Japanese artist Ei Wada. He uses magnetic tape to create kinetic sculptures and moveable feasts of art. Such as the scenery in this video:

Staff ORE, on YouTube, explains:

"Electronicos" is what the "electronics" that human civilization once created morphed into, casting away the manual, and draping itself in a smell of new culture instead.

In the evening hours, the magnetic material starts falling down as it rotates and plays music, drawing shapes and patterns with time.

"Look, the 20th century is tumbling down! Down like a waterfall..."

Hey, you don't have to understand modern art (I certainly don't claim to) to appreciate finding beauty in unlikely places.

(H/T: Gizmodo)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two-Legged Dog Named 'Duncan Lou Who' Frolics on the Beach

The boxer dog in this video is named Duncan Lou Who, and he has only his two front legs. But that doesn't stop him! Watch him amazingly balance on his front legs and run like the wind as he frolics on the beach:

This isn't the first video for Duncan Lou Who the boxer. His story is that he was born with severely deformed back legs, but he was saved from the scrap heap by the Panda Paws Rescue organization. They worked with him, including fitting him with a doggie wheelchair to carry the weight of his hindquarters and provide mobility.

But Duncan Lou Who had different ideas. He didn't like that wheelchair, and eventually he learned to get around - and get around very well - without it.

Here is Duncan Lou Who and his doggie pal Socks having a tug of war:

Here is Duncan Lou Who fighting his way up stairs:

And here's the video where we were first introduced to the two-legged boxer named Duncan Lou Who:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tiny Dog Shows Big Dog Who's Boss

The big dog in this video is named Foxey. The tiny dog in this video is named Sadie. Which one do you think is the boss?

Sadie sure thinks she's the boss, and she's doing a good job of proving it at dinnertime. They have one big bowl of food, and tiny little Sadie stands astride that bowl like a colossus. Every time Foxey gets close, Sadie barks (well, more like yaps) and growls.

Back off Foxey! Sadie gets first crack at that big bowl of food!

Nothing Makes This Dog Madder than ... a Leaf

This looks like a big ol' tough dog, the kind of dog you wouldn't want to mess with. But you know who's not afraid of that dog? The little leaf that lands in front of a window in the family's sun room.

The dog's owner, Senyin, writes on YouTube: "My boxer, Leonardo, was barking. Went to go look and found out he was scared by a leaf."

Leaves. You can't trust 'em!

Watch Woman's Reaction When She Hears for the First Time After 40 Years of Deafness

The woman in this video is named Joanne Milne and she's 40 years old. She's also been deaf since birth due to a condition called Ushers Syndrome.

But Milne was recently fitted with cochlear implants. Afterward, the implants were turned on for the first time. And for the first time in her life, Milne could hear.

We dare you not to get emotional as you watch Milne's emotional reaction:

Watch David Byrne's Very Awkward 'American Bandstand' Interview with Dick Clark

Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth - the rhythm section and co-founding members of Talking Heads - recently did a Q&A with Vulture.com. The whole thing is interesting - they talk about the early days of the band, playing at CBGB, and their difficult relationship with Talking Heads frontman and auteur David Byrne.

Here's what caught my eye, from Tina:

I couldn't explain to the record-label people why David's behavior could be so incredibly odd. He had a freak-out on our first television appearance, on Dick Clark, on American Bandstand. David sort of froze, and Dick Clark sort of whirled around, and hands the microphone to me.

Yes, that's right, David Byrne's oddities have defied explanation for a long time. But doesn't that make you want to see the American Bandstand segment? (Isn't the idea of the Talking Heads lip-synching away on American Bandstand just strange all on its own?)

The band appeared on American Bandstand on March 17, 1979. Here is the Q&A interlude in which Dick Clark tries to get something, anything, out of David Byrne:

Yep, that David was (is) one odd duck ...

Monday, March 24, 2014

It Takes Great Mittens to Play Badminton

Badminton - at least played at the top levels - is primarily an Asian sport. It's too bad the rest of the world doesn't get to see more of it at its top levels. On the other hand, the top levels of professional badminton are corrupt ... but I digress.

What does it take to play badminton at the top level? Speed, agility, quick thinking. And great hands, and even better hand-eye coordination.

Just check out this crazy rally, in which the red side's repeated smashes are somehow returned by the yellow side:

It's kind of like ping pong played by giants.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cute Kitten is Sooooooo Sleepy

The kitten in this video is soooooo sleepy. It doesn't want to go to sleep, mind you, but it just can't help itself. It keeps nodding off. Then it jerks awake. Then it nods off.

And at one point in the video, you can clearly hear kitty purring. Yep, kitty is in a happy place. She just can't keep her eyes open to enjoy it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why Does 'Looney Tunes' Love Manu Ginobili?

Imagine you're a mutimillionaire lounging around your house with your kids one morning, watching cartoons, when you think you hear one of the cartoon characters mention the name of a friend of yours. Wait, did that cartoon just say what you think it said? It was over so quick, you're not quite sure.

But San Antonio Spurs basketball player Tim Duncan called his teammate, Manu Ginobili, and told him that a character on The Looney Tunes Show had mentioned Manu.

Then it happened again. "It was funny the first time," Ginobili told the San Antonio Express-News. "The second time, I was like, OK, something is going on."

What was going on? Here, watch one of the references (it happens near the end):

Of course, in the clip above, it's Speedy Gonzales who Yosemite Sam tags as "Manu Ginobili." Manu is from Argentina, a native Spanish-speaker.

Spurs fans might compare Manu more to the Tasmanian Devil, however. Ginobili's anything-goes game of ridiculous passes through opponents' legs, crazy steps to the basket, how-did-he-see-that bullet passes, behind-the-back drives to the hoop and amazing last-second shots make him one of the best-loved athletes - heck, people - in San Antonio history. And makes him a player opposing fans view as a pest.

Here's an example of some of Ginobili's magic:

There's a whole YouTube clip dedicated to Ginobili's passes between opponents' legs. And there are many YouTube clips whose titles start with the words, "Manu Ginobili crazy ..." (pass, dribble, shot, whatever).

But back to Looney Tunes. Here's Bugs Bunny's wife Lola, making sure Bugs knows how much she loves Manu by carrying his basketball card in her purse:

And here's how the new Looney Tunes closed its show one day:

So what's the deal? It turns out that the head writer of The Looney Tunes Show is Hugh Davidson. And Davidson is from ... San Antonio. His favorite player is Manu, so he throws in a Manu reference here and there.

"It's madness watching him play," Davidson told the Express-News. "I think he's the most entertaining player to ever put on a uniform. His brain is not like anyone else's."

No, Manu's brain is not like anyone else's. Maybe that's why another "loony tunes" - Charles Barkley - loves Manu, too. Barkley's in the happen of simply screaming out "Ginobili!" whenever the mood strikes him:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Colombian Official Turns Down Ambassadorship to Brazil; Why? It's Too Hot There for His Dog

Angelino Garzon is the vice president of Colombia. But he's decided not to run for re-election on the ticket with President Juan Manuel Santos in elections on May 25. So what will the Veep do next? Well, one thing he won't be doing is moving to Brasilia, Brazil and serving as Colombia's ambassador to its major trading partner.

It's too hot there for his dog.

Pointing to a photo of his long-haired German shepherd, Garzon explained to the magazine Semana, "I have turned down the ambassador job because the dog you see on that picture is very hairy and the hot climate of Brasilia could harm its health."

According to the BBC, "Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin has issued an apology to Brazil, a major trading partner. She described the incident as 'very embarrassing'."

Hey, the man loves his dog more than he loves the idea of being ambassdor to Brazil.

Many people are only familiar with the short-haired German shepherd, but long-haired German shepherds are, indeed, very hairy, thick-coated dogs. Here's a video of a long-haired German shepherd hanging out with his cat buddy (and these two are getting long much better than the Colombian and Brazilian diplomatic staffs probably are today):

(Originally seen on The Dodo, via BBC)

What Happens to Your Body If You Stop Drinking Water

Dying of thirst is a horrible way to go. But let's not think about that. Let's pretend you could stop drinking water by choice, and watch from a safe distance as your body reacts to a lack of water. What would happen?

Here's a hint: It ain't pretty.

The AsapScience folks explain in this video, "What would happen if you stopped drinking water?"

Need to Wake Up? Get a Cat, They Make Great Alarm Clocks

Cat owners know: If kitty wants you out of bed in the morning, then, by gosh, you are getting out of bed. Kitty will see to that.

The following video was originally created by and posted on The Huffington Post, which took a bunch of "cat alarm clock" videos from YouTube and spliced them together into a compilation. A compilation of cat alarm clocks.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who Farted? The Weatherman, and Local News Crew Laughs Hysterically

This local news broadcast from Bakersfield, Calif., returns from a commercial break to the weatherman, who can't get into his weather report because he's laughing too much. In the background, we can hear the news anchors laughing, too.

What's so funny? Well, let's just say what the weatherman said: Right before returning to the air, the winds picked up. (Get it? He farted. And no matter how old you get, that's funny.)

Cool Map Shows the Many Ways America Has Been Destroyed in Hollywood Movies

The website The Concourse has one of the most fun maps I've seen in a while: it shows the entire United States and which parts of America have been destroyed in Hollywood movies - and how those places were destroyed. The small excerpt from the map at the left gives you a taste of it. Check out the full version.

The map even allows you to sort by type of disaster: Want to know which cities were obliterated by comets or asteroids? You can do that! You can also sort by sharknado (!), monster attacks, creature attacks, climate events, geologic events, infections, alien attacks, superhero battles, or good old-fashioned countries attacking countries.

So, for example, I learned that in a 1957 movie called The Giant Claw, a monster destroyed New York. And that a 1950 movie called Panic in the Streets results in the destruction of New Orleans via infection.

The mapping of destruction has never before been fun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Shake at Red Robin Includes Wine, Vodka

As a non-drinker, I can't really tell how this will sound to its intended audience: a soft-serve ice cream shake that includes wine and vodka. Are you interested?

It's now available at burger restaurant Red Robin. They call it the Mango Moscato Wine Shake, and it's a menu item at least through Sept. 1, 2014. "Dessert menu, meet the wine list," the Red Robin website declares.

The Mango Moscato Wine Shake will be served only to Red Robin customers ages 21 and over. The wine shake is a combination of combination of Alice White Moscato and SKYY Infusions Moscato vodka with mango puree and creamy vanilla soft serve.

The shake's creator, Red Robin's master mixologist Donna Ruch, calls the wine shake "another playful twist on an American classic that raises the bar on our beverage innovation and captures our guests' imaginations."

What do you think: can't wait to try it, or sounds like something you'd rather not try?

Bouncy Dog Displays Mad Hops as It Flies Around Room

You could definitely say that the dog in this clip has a spring in his step. He must have springs in his legs, too, because he gets some serious air time as he hops around the living room without touching the floor - from couch to coffee table to loveseat and back again, over and over:

Orphaned Baby Rhino Goes for Run with Vets Who Saved It

The babe white rhino in the video below was found orphaned after poachers killed its mother. They also shot the baby rhino in the head.

She was taken to a rehabilition center where a veterinarian treated her and nursed her back to health, while others literally nursed her. And four weeks later, not only was she doing well, but she had formed a powerful pond with her vet and other rescuers.

The video, posted by the Smithsonian Channel, explains her circumstances and her recovery. And it also shows her having some fun, going for a run with her favorite vet: