Category Archives: Art - Page 2

Cotton Candy Making As Performance Art

This guy just raised the bar for every carnie out there. Next time, make sure you demand a show with your cotton candy.

From YouTube, via Neatorama

Motion Picture Made From Stock Photos

The stock photo warehouse Getty Images made this excellent video ad depicting life from adulthood to old age. It’s called From Love to Bingo and was done entirely by stringing together stock photos. Quite possibly the most interesting minute of your day.

From YouTube, via Neatorama


Sarasota Is The Best Artsy Small City For 2012

American Style magazine puts out a list each year of the best destinations for art. The list is split by city size  — large, medium and small — and Sarasota went from #5 on the small city list in 2011 to #1 this year. Which of course means that it now holds two titles, along with the #1 beach in the country. The magazine also points out how eight cities in all three categories were located in Florida — five of them in its southwest. The other Floridian small cities were Bradenton in second place, Key West in fourth and Naples in ninth. For mid-sized cities, St. Petersburg came in first as it did last year, Tampa came in third, and Miami seventh. For big cities, Jacksonville was 15th.

LEGO Terra Cotta army at the 2011 Sarasota Chalk Festival


It must be mentioned again, as it was last year, that the classification system they use for cities is ludicrous: it would be laughable if anyone in the real world labeled Miami a mid-sized city with a straight face, while calling Albuquerque, Nashville and Portland big cities. The magazine is probably using city limits to define boundaries, which leads to exactly this kind of problem. In practice, city limits mean very little, which is why the US government uses Metropolitan Statistical Areas instead. It wouldn’t hurt at all if American Style followed suit. Another problem with the lists is that they’re based on reader polls, so it’s at least somewhat of a popularity contest, especially among the smaller cities.

With those caveats, the top five cities in each category:

Big Cities:

  1. New York
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. Chicago
  4. San Francisco
  5. Boston

Mid-sized Cities:

  1. St. Petersburg, FL
  2. Dayton, OH
  3. Tampa
  4. Alexandria, VA
  5. New Orleans

Small Cities:

  1. Sarasota, FL
  2. Bradenton, FL
  3. Asheville, NC
  4. Key West
  5. Santa Fe, NM

Speaking of titles, it should be mentioned that in 2006, Sarasota was also named the meanest city in America toward the homeless, due to its no-camping law.

See also:

From American Style

Pleonasms: Redundant Idioms

Quite often people speak in phrases, not words, because a couple of words strung together usually carry a more precise or nuanced meaning. These phrases or idioms are extremely common because they’re the shortest way to communicate certain details, which means they’re very efficient — and living things, like people, love efficiency because it affords us to be lazier and waste less energy. Some examples: saber rattling, name dropping, facing the music, backing down.


But, as with everything, there’s a dark side: idioms that are the epitome of inefficiency because they come with extraneous words which waste a couple of seconds every time we use them — words that are completely unnecessary to getting the point across. These redundant idioms — known as pleonasms — made their way into the common tongue, and now they’re used by everyone, without thinking about what their constituent words actually mean. Everyone, that is, except the Grammar Nazis at Mental Floss, who came up with a list of some common ones that other Grammar Nazis can now use to feel superior. But you can also use it for good, to speak with brevity and enlightenment, and feel superior for that reason alone:

  • Nape of the neck: there’s no nape of anything else, so just say “nape”
  • False pretense: is there a true pretense? Maybe technically, but no one’s going to say that “John is doing that under a true pretense.” Pretenses are false all the time, because pretentious people suck.
  • Frozen tundra: all tundra is frozen — that’s the definition of it.
  • Gnashing of teeth: you can’t gnash anything else, because then it wouldn’t be gnashing. Teeth are an integral part of gnashing, so this phrase is like “blinking of eyelids.”
  • Head honcho: the term honcho comes from Japanese, where it means “group leader”. But even in English, there’s no head honcho and assistant honcho — there’s only one honcho.
  • Bleary-eyed: face it, no one has any idea what “bleary” means: that you’re tired and foggy. But you can’t be bleary-nosed, or bleary-eared so you can safely say you woke up “bleary”.
  • Veer off-course: ever heard of veering on-course?
  • Safe haven: what kind of haven would it be, if it weren’t safe? “Dangerous haven” is an oxymoron. There’s a woody forest and wet stream near that safe haven.
  • Ford a river: this phrase realistically has no use outside of The Oregon Trail, but you can’t ford a lake, or a forest or a mountain or anything but a river.

Keep in mind that if your purpose is efficiency, which is why idioms exist, then using even these redundant ones is in your best interest: if you start talking about a girl’s nape or that your friend was gnashing, you’re going to get into a longer discussion about why you’re speaking like a weirdo. But if your purpose is to prove how smart you are, then that discussion will do wonders.

Of course, there’s also the nerd’s purpose: to make things more efficient in the long run. Sure, it’ll take longer to have that discussion a few times, but in a few short years, speaking will be so much more efficient that all the  time invested in lengthy discussions about idioms will be paid back in spades. AND you get to look like a Renaissance man while changing the world for the better. Win/win/win!

See also:


From Mental Floss, via Neatorama

Neat Bookends

Assuming your book collection doesn’t go fully digital for a few years, Knob Creek Metal Arts sells these very cool bookends, and a lot of others.




From Knob Creek Metal Arts, via Laughing Squid

Why The Serial/Oxford/Harvard Comma Is Important

The serial comma is the comma that comes before the “and” in a list. Its use can drastically change a sentence’s meaning and among writers, the issue is like flag burning in politics. So here’s something to fan the flames:


NPR had a good article on the serial comma in June of 2011, when people mistakenly thought that Oxford was changing its guidelines to drop its namesake comma.

From imgur and NPR

‘Boardwalk Empire’ Is Pretty Much A Cartoon

Brainstorm Digital, the company the does the computer graphics for Boardwalk Empire, released a video showing before and after shots of of scenes doctored by them. The take-aways are that the people at Brainstorm are fantastic at their jobs, and that besides the actors, basically the whole thing is computer generated.


The same came to light in a similar video done for Game of Thrones, by Bluebolt, several months ago.

From Vimeo, via Neatorama

CCTV Baby Toy by Banksy

Banksy apparently has a pretty funny website now (especially his FAQ page), and one of the things on it is a build-your-own Banksy product section. This month’s is a CCTV mobile — not a portable surveillance system, but the kind that’s pronounced moe-bee-uhl (like Mobile, Alabama), and means kinetic sculpture.

Build your own Banksy product, this month:

CCTV mobile. Not available in the shops. You will need; wood, string, plastic tube, nails, lead paint.

Total assembly required. Keep out of reach of children.

From Banksy, via Laughing Squid

Virtual Sistine Chapel

The Vatican has put up, on its website, a virtual version of the Sistine Chapel. From a vantage point in the middle of the chapel’s floor, you can pan and tilt to look at any part of the chapel, and zoom in to see close-ups of the venerated artwork.


The chapel is called “Sistine” because it was built by Pope Sixtus IV. The name Sixtus comes from the Greek “Xystus”, and means “polished”.

From The Vatican, via Neatorama

Best Photos of 2011

Reuters has a list of the 100 best photos of the year. Here are the 15 best ones:

Chile: Lightning flashes around the ash plume above the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano chain near Entrelagos


USA: A plane flies through the "Tribute in Lights" in lower Manhattan in New York


China: Woman in wedding gown is grabbed by local community officer, as she attempts to kill herself by jumping out of seven-storey residential building in Changchun


Switzerland: Switzerland's photographer Denis Balibouse files his pictures under a full moon sky from Mont-Cenis Pass Road in Lanslebourg during the Grande Odyssee sled dogs race


Thailand: A Buddhist monk walks in a flooded street in central Bangkok


Nigeria: A man walks as crude oil spills from a pipeline in Dadabili, Niger state


Greece: A man sets himself on fire outside a bank branch in Thessaloniki in northern Greece


UK: Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, look at one another after their wedding ceremony in Westminster Abbey


Sudan: Women and children run away with their belongings from a fire in Kuma Garadayat, a village located in North Darfur


USA: U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House


Libya: A woman rebel fighter supporter shoots an AK-47 rifle as she reacts to the news of the withdrawal of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces from Benghazi


Afghanistan: U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire a howitzer artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district


Somalia: A Somali government soldier shoots at close range to execute two former soldiers Abdi Sankus Abdi and Abdullahi Jinow Guure in Somalia


Switzerland: A miner climbs on excavated rocks after a giant drill machine broke through at the final section of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel


Tajikistan: Zukhro, an employee of the city zoo, walks with Vadik, a 18-month-old male lion, on the territory of the zoo in the capital Dushanbe

From Reuters, via Neatorama