Random Thursday: The Tuesday Browser Tab-Clearing Edition

Photo: Fiery sunrise over Horseshoe Bay, Texas

I’ve recently been taken to task, in a passive-aggressive fashion, for the unreliable way that I post Random Thursday articles. In my defense, I hadn’t realized that anyone was actually reading those posts, let alone counting on them. That kind of following is a foreign concept to me. So, I apologize for my haphazard scheduling, and simultaneously assure you that, well, nothing is going to change. I’m as wild as the West Texas winds and I can’t be tamed.

I don’t know about you, but I have a bad habit of opening browser tabs for subjects that attract my interest, fully intending to write about them but never getting around to it, and so they accumulate. What’s worse, I do that on all my devices: desktop, phone, tablet, coffee maker, etc. It adds up, and stays that way, usually until a system crashes and I lose everything. So, in a rare display of determination, I’m going to share the contents of those tabs before they completely disappear from my screens and my memory.

I suspect that you’ve seen examples of Liz Climo‘s comics via your favorite social media addiction application. I had never bothered to look up her Tumblr website, but I lost several hours of my life going through all 51 pages (as it currently exists). Liz is an artist and author, and her cartoons are sweet, comforting, and funny. She has the gift of minimalism; I strongly suggest letting her share that with you.

Cartoon by Liz Climo©
Calling all Beetlejuice fans

I’ve been following the World Cup action a bit, mostly online although I did catch the last 25 minutes of the live broadcast of Saturday’s quarterfinal match pitting England against France. I don’t understand a lot of what goes on in soccer/football/futbol, but after watching Ted Lasso and Welcome to Wrexham, I’ve been sucked into the passion of those who do follow the sport. And I confess that there’s some pretty cool things that happen along with the 99% of the time where nothing does (it’s sorta like baseball in that regard).

A few days ago, Morocco beat Spain — an upset apparently akin to a high school team beating the Dallas Cowboys, although maybe that isn’t such a stretch given the way the Pokes played last Sunday — on a penalty kick, but not just any penalty kick. The kick was unusual enough that it has its own name and Wikipedia page: the Panenka, named after the Czech player who first used it in 1976 in another upset against West Germany. The technique is akin to an extreme change-up pitch (another baseball analogy) in which the batter is expecting one kind of throw and the pitcher does the exact opposite, causing the batter extreme embarrassment and loss of respect. I’m not doing it justice, so just watch the replay.

Did you know that there’s a term for “fear of palindromes” and it’s “aibohphobia”?

[Please don’t make me explain it. I respect you too much to do that.]

The following animation set to four and a half minutes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is oddly and irresistibly exciting. The creator says that he spent more than three months setting syncing the animation to the music and that beautiful insanity should be celebrated. Pro tip: watch in full screen mode with the sound turned up.

Speaking of insanity, would you pay $450,000 for a turntable, and by “turntable” I mean a record player, the kind that you can use to play that scratchy old copy of the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty album (1970)? If your answer is yes, then, (a) please adopt me, and (2) go check out the Air Force Zero from a company called TechDAS.

Photo: Air Force Zero turntable
This isn’t your father’s turntable, unless your father is King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Did I mention that it weighs more than 700 pounds, and that the 5 layers of platters (the round things that the record rests on) weigh over 200 pounds themselves? Or that the available options — which includes a rack muscular enough to support the weight — push the price close to $600,000? Or that you’re out of luck if you want to play your granddad’s old, thick 78 rpm records as this beast only takes 45s and 33 1/3 LPs. But think how good your single of Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1968) will sound.

If you have a child preparing for college and wanting to major in something lame like accounting or engineering, consider steering him or her in the direction of dendrochronology. You know, the science or technique of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by using the characteristic patterns of annual growth rings in timber and tree trunks. Then, you can impress your friends at happy hour when they ask what your daughter or son is doing nowadays by nonchalantly throwing out, “oh, she (or he) is a dendrochronologist,” and then blithely ignoring their next question, “and what hospital is he (or she) practicing in?”

If a career studying tree rings isn’t their cup of tea, perhaps they’d be more interested in flotsametrics, the study of how stuff floating in the ocean moves around in order to determine…something. I don’t know. It sounds like a made up thing, but someone wrote a book about it, and it does sorta sound legit. Anyway, being a professional beachcomber might be a cool gig, right? Plus, you could score a free Yeti or two.

Does it sound more sophisticated to say “I’m going rock climbing” as opposed to “I’m going to climb rocks”? Asking for a friend.

Every now and then, I stumble across a fascinating Wikipedia entry that isn’t relevant to anything I’ve ever done or ever will do. That’s the case with the article for Foley (filmmaking) — as opposed to the uncomfortably personal Foley (catheter) entry. “Foley” in the wacky world of filmmaking refers to the sound effects added to the visual action shown on the screen. And in the section of the article entitled Common Tricks, we learn how some of the magic is done.

For example, canned dog food can be used for alien pod embryo expulsions and monster vocalizations. Or, frozen romaine lettuce makes bone or head injury noises. You’ll never look at can of Alpo or a Caesar salad the same way.

We were driving home from our weekly grocery shopping trip when a car sporting the following decal over a dented fender passed in front of us at a four-way stop.

Photo of a decal showing a shark breaking out of dent in the side of a car

This led me down a rabbit trail and you won’t be surprised to learn that if you google something like “decals to cover dents in cars,” you’ll see a plethora of similar images. It’s sort of a “the best defense is a good offense” approach; rather than hiding an auto owie, make it a work of art…or at least have a little fun with it.

But I also found similar decals that aren’t necessarily designed to enhance/conceal damage. Here’s a good example:

Photo of a decal showing a shark breaking out of the back window of a car
Tailgaters, beware.

Then there’s this one, where you can submit a photo of your pet and they’ll custom make a decal showing it, um, crashing through your window…? Seems a little unrealistic, but never underestimate a corgi.

Photo of a decal showing a shark breaking out of the back window of a car

Finally, have you ever heard someone say that a bite from a baby venomous snake is more dangerous than one from an adult, because the kiddos can’t yet regulate the amount of venom they inject? I’ve heard that a lot in my life, and it never sounded logical to me. If you have been convinced by others that this myth is true, I suggest that you spent a few minutes reading this article on the Wild Snakes Education and Discussion website.

The author’s credentials are impressive, and not only does he debunk the myth, but he also provides some very interesting insights regarding the composition of snake venom and the varying roles the components play in a snake’s hunting/defensive behaviors.

The bottom line: A bite from a juvenile venomous snake can still be deadly, but in almost every case envenomation from an adult of the same species is significantly more serious.

Life comes at you pretty fast…

Our Japanese maple: Day Zero
Our Japanese maple: Day Zero + 2

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