Shipwreck Fridays!

The week is finally over. Retire to your study, sip mulled wine, and contemplate these shipwreck paintings. We start with a few classics and end on a contemporary amateur piece that I find original in perspective, if not technically outstanding. All images link to wallpaper sized versions. -EG

The Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault
The Raft of the Medusa
Théodore Géricault



If you're like me, animated gif images piss you off. Except for sexy ones. Well, this morning I was doing some research on square dance callers when I came upon this little guy:
an animated walking wolf gif
My new friend, Howly Mandel

Needless to say, I pretty much feel like I have a pet wolf now and quite frankly, I'd be shocked if wolf ani-gifs don't become the height of internet fashion within the next five years. In fact, I'm willing to make a $5 long bet if anybody is interested.

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, Howly and I strolled over to one of the more obnoxious places on the internet, Heather's Animations. Heather has apparently spent her entire adult life organizing and hosting animated gifs and now offers thousands in categories ranging from "Africa People" to "Wolves." Prepare to get torn to shreds. 


novelty brain erasersWhen I was younger, I loved flipping through Oriental Trading Company catalogs. Of course I'd never actually purchase 500 multi-colored erasers shaped like human brains, but tremendously shitty products offered in huge quantities fascinate me.

Eventually I grew-up, left childish things behind, and moved on to Made-in-China.com, a website that makes the Oriental Trading Co.'s paper catalog look like a floppy wet pathetic waste of my time. OTC typically offers between 13 to 500 item lots. With Made-in-China.com, we're talking 50,000+ brain erasers. OTC has a bunch of cheap plastic novelty crap. MIC has that too, but they also offer everything else China manufactures. To top it all off, the product descriptions are frequently hilarious.

Ladies, gentlemen, I proudly introduce: Made-in-China.com Product Spotlight.


Buzz Off!

What hacks me off the most about Google Buzz is that I was not given an option to decline the service. If Google wants to try again to branch into online social networking, they can go right ahead, as long as they don't try to take me with them.

This New York Times piece does a good job of articulating some of the privacy concerns that accompany Google's default Buzz deployment. And Danny Sullivan, a specialist on Google interviewed for the article, sums up my feeling on the matter very well:

“I don’t think people expected that Google would show the world who you are connected with. And if there was a way to opt out, it was really easy to miss.”

If you feel the way I do and want to purge your Gmail of unsolicited social networking advances, you may want to check out this little Buzz-Off guide put together by the people at CNET. Apparently the little "turn off buzz" button at the bottom of your Gmail screen doesn't quite get the job done.

This showed up with a GIS for "buzz off." I think it keeps flies off the horse. I want one for my Gmail that protects against Facebook.


(Quark) Soup's on!

While the Large Hadron Collider at CERN continues to gear up (and show off), the US Department of Energy's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider keeps on trucking. RHIC researchers are setting the stage for a February 15th, 2010 press conference to reveal "compelling" findings on a delightful substance known as quark soup.

the rhic interior
Inside the RHIC, the world's first machine capable
 of colliding ions as heavy as gold. -RHIC

This bad mother collider, operated by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, became operational in 2000 and generally scared the pants off of those in the public with just enough awareness to be dangerous. Thankfully, collisions at the RHIC did not create a miniature black hole that destroyed the Earth. It did, however, create Hot Quark Soup, less casually known as quark-gluon plasma.
quark gluon nails by revlon
Where this technology is certainly heading.

Let it snow!

Apocalypse snow poster

Here at HardtoLive, existence has been slightly easier in the past week thanks to a welcome dusting of snow punnery from our friends in the news media. The northeastern seaboard location of WinterFunFest 2010 (X2) really couldn't be better, with both the New York Times and Washington Post dishing out snow zingers all week. Now, some of these word-play flurries, such as Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon, have probably been around for at least a few years.

Others, like New Snowcialism, seem to display an innovative timeliness I really appreciate. I think, though, that there's plenty of room for improvement. And with the Winter Olympics upon us, I'm looking to journalists the world over to step up their pun game.

Some ideas:

Arctic blast brings snowbility impairment to city's transportation system
Those who escaped the storm with impromptu vacations are being criticized by the less fortunate as the new snowbility.
Rogue bus driver maintains route despite official cancellations, says ain't nobody going to snow him down.
Weather man: When's it going to stop? I don't snow.
Weather man: When's it going to stop? There's snow telling.


Robonaut as cool as I'd hoped

In light of our recent Space Chat, this article from USA Today's "Drive On" automotive blog is worth noting. Far fetched? Check out this gripping lead.

With the Obama administration axing a proposed manned space flight back to the moon, this could be just the right time for a robot that's also an astronaut. Far fetched? Check out what NASA and General Motors just created. Chris Woodyard/USA Today
the nasa gm robotic astronaut
  The GM/NASA "Robonaut." Explores the universe, gently cups your balls.

Boom. Robonaut. Like we just thought it into existence.

Sadly, the author seems more concerned with joking about the Robonaut's physique than providing any actual details (or fact-checking, for that matter).

Full Article


Space Chat 1

EG: How much money have you sent to Haiti?
SH: none.
EG: You don't want to know how many times I've texted Haiti to 9099.
SH: what? explain, please.
EG: Michelle Obama keeps telling me to text Haiti to 9099 to automatically donate ten bucks to Haiti.
SH: Yeah, I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm not pleased with Obama.
EG: You haven't heard about the fucking "Text Haiti to 9099 on your phone to donate money to Haiti campaign?"
SH: no. i had heard about texting donations to haiti. but i don't recall anything about that number. nor has mrs. mendacity of hope asked me to donate.
EG: Wow. Mendacity of hope. That's a good one.
SH: not mine
EG: I'll have to start forwarding you the emails that I get from my office mates.
SH: my complaints are very specific. chiefly, he is trying to destroy my space program. that and his habeas corpus promises, but they come in a distant second.
EG: What habeas corpus promise?  What happened with the NASA budget proposal?
SH: he promised to restore habeas corpus for pows. long story. regarding nasa, if his budget proposal is apporved by congress, the u.s. government will no longer fly its own astronauts. ever. we have already spent about $9 billion on the replacement program for the shuttle. his budget cancels that program completely, instead gives some money to private companies that might be able to build astronaut-carrying rockets for nasa. we'd buy tickets, in other words.
SH: honestly, i might not have a huge problem with that strategy if not for the pathetic amount of money he's offering: just $50 million. that's $50 million for private companies to build us a human space travel system after we spent $9 billion over the past five years working on the program he's canceling. he promised me during the campaign he would remain fiscally committed to a human space flight program.



a pan of jalapeno bacon grease cornbread

Smarthand sent me a picture of some cornbread that he made over Thanksgiving. He called it serrano onion garlic bacon grease cheddar cheese corn bread. I was pretty jealous, though my grandmother did teach me to make scratch biscuits over the holidays. 

Notice the jalapeno "X."
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