Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Laibach

Laibach is a Slovenian avant-garde music group strongly associated with industrial, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia), Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name "Laibach" is the German name for Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana.

Laibach is known for their cover versions, which are often used to subvert the original message or intention of the song — a notable example being their version of the song "Live is Life" by Opus, an Austrian arena rock band. Whereas the original is a feel-good pop anthem, Laibach's subversive interpretation twists the melody into a triumphant, rolling military march. Other notable covers include the entirety of the Beatles album Let It Be (1988) — with the exclusion of the title track — and their maxi-single Sympathy for the Devil (1988) which deconstructs the Rolling Stones song of the same name with seven different interpretations of the song.

Some early Laibach albums were pure industrial, with hard industrial percussion, heavy rhythms, and roaring vocals. Later in the mid-80s, the Laibach sound became more richly layered with samples from classical music including from Gustav Holst’s The Planets. The band began their tradition of cover songs in 1987 with the album Opus Dei, where their sound was changed again.

Although primarily a musical group, Laibach has sometimes worked in other media. In their early years, especially before the founding of Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), Laibach produced several works of visual art. A notable example was MB 84 Memorandum (1984) an image of a black cross that served as a way to advertise Laibach's appearances during a period in the 1980s when the government of Yugoslavia banned the name "Laibach". Cross imagery, and variations on the cross are apparent in many Laibach recordings and publications.

Laibach has frequently been accused of both far left and far right political stances due to their use of uniforms and totalitarian-style aesthetics. They were also accused of being members of the neo-nationalism movement, which reincarnates modern ideas of nationalism. The members of Laibach are notorious for rarely stepping out of character. Some releases feature artwork by the Communist and early Dada artist/satirist, John Heartfield. Laibach concerts have sometimes aesthetically appeared as political rallies. When interviewed, they answer in wry manifestos, showing a paradoxical lust for, and condemnation of, authority.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mike The Headless Chicken

Mike the Headless Chicken (April 1945 – March 1947), also known as Miracle Mike, was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been mostly cut off. Thought by many to be a hoax, the bird was taken by his owner to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to establish its authenticity.

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, United States, had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen chose a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.


Despite Olsen's botched handiwork, Mike was still able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily; he even attempted to preen and crow, although he could do neither. After the bird did not die, a surprised Mr. Olsen decided to continue to care permanently for Mike, feeding him a mixture of milk and water via an eyedropper; he was also fed small grains of corn.

When used to his new and unusual center of mass, Mike could easily get himself to the highest perches without falling. His crowing, though, was less impressive and consisted of a gurgling sound made in his throat, leaving him unable to crow at dawn. Mike also spent his time preening and attempting to peck for food with his neck.

Once his fame had been established, Mike began a career of touring sideshows in the company of such other creatures as a two-headed calf. He was also photographed for dozens of magazines and papers, featuring in Time and Life magazines.


Mike was on display to the public for an admission cost of 25 cents. At the height of his popularity, the chicken earned US$4,500 per month ($48,000 in 2010 dollars) and was valued at $10,000. Olsen's success resulted in a wave of copycat chicken beheadings, but no other chicken lived for more than a day or two. 

 
In March 1947, at a motel in Phoenix on a stopover while traveling back home from tour, Mike started choking in the middle of the night. As the Olsens had inadvertently left their feeding and cleaning syringes at the sideshow the day before, they were unable to save Mike. Lloyd Olsen claimed that he had sold the bird off, resulting in stories of Mike still touring the country as late as 1949. Other sources say that the chicken's severed trachea could not take in enough air properly to be able to breathe; and therefore choked to death in the motel.





Monday, February 27, 2012

Beast of Dean

The Beast of Dean, also given the colloquial name Moose-Pig, is a cryptid that is reported to live, or to have once lived, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England. It is said to resemble a wild boar (Sus scrofa), but abnormally large in size. In 1802, tired by being harassed by the mysterious giant boar which, reputedly, was large enough to have felled trees and crushed hedges and fences, farmers from the village of Parkend undertook an expedition to capture and kill the creature, but found nothing. It should be remembered that at that time wild boar were extinct in Britain.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Maserati Tipo 61

The Maserati Tipo 61 (commonly referred to as the Maserati Birdcage) is sports racing cars of the early 1960s. The car was produced between 1959 and 1961 by Maserati for racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance classic. It used an intricate tubular space frame chassis, containing about 200 chro-moly steel tubes between 10 and 15 mm thick welded together, hence the nickname "Birdcage". This method of construction provided a more rigid and, at the same time, lighter (weighing just 36 kg.) chassis than other sports cars of the time. By recessing the windscreen base into the bodywork, Maserati was able to reduce the effect of new Le Mans rules demanding a tall windscreen. The Camoradi team became famous racing the Tipo 61's but, despite being faster around the track than other cars, the Birdcage was unreliable and often retired from races due to problems with the gearbox.

The Tipo 61 never won Le Mans due to reliability issues.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Culligan

Culligan is an international water purification company headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois. Culligan specializes in water softeners, water filtration systems and bottled water for residential and office applications.

Culligan was founded by Emmett Culligan in a blacksmith shop in Northbrook, Illinois. He perforated the bottom of a coffee can and used greensand to make his own water filter. Upon running water through his device, he discovered that the filter also behaved as a water softener. By 1938, the first Culligan franchised dealership opened in Wheaton, Illinois, followed by another in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Culligan is best known for a famous television and radio ad featuring an all-American housewife yelling out the slogan “Hey, Culligan man!” in a sultry tone. The campaign was originally created in 1959 for radio by Dallas Williams Productions of Los Angeles. Filmmaker Dan Bessie directed and animated the award-winning "Hey Culligan Man!" soft water commercials for 15 years. Variations of “Hey Culligan Man” ads would continue to air for over three decades.

In 2004, Entrepreneur Magazine named Culligan the number one franchise in its industry. The company currently has over 800 dealers in the United States and Canada and sells its products in more than 90 countries. Culligan is privately held by the investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

PayDay

PayDay is a candy bar consisting of peanuts around a center of caramel, currently produced by The Hershey Company.

PayDay was first introduced in 1932 by Frank Martoccio. Martoccio founded the F.A. Martoccio Macaroni Company, and also later served as head of the Hollywood Candy Company. Hollywood also produced the ZERO bar. Hollywood moved to Centralia, Illinois, in 1938. In 1967, the Martoccio family sold Hollywood Brands to Consolidated Foods, which later became Sara Lee. Fire destroyed the Centralia plant in 1980. Production of the PayDay bar continued with help from the L.S. Heath and Sons Company until a new facility could be constructed. In 1988, Hollywood Brands was acquired by the Leaf Candy Company, then later became part of The Hershey Company in 1996.

There have been several variations on the PayDay bar. They include the Honey-Roasted limited edition in 2003, the PAYDAY PRO, a high protein energy bar in 2005, and the PayDay Chocolatey Avalanche, a chocolate-covered version, in 2007.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pilsner

A Pilsner (also pilsener or simply pils) is a type of pale lager. It takes its name from the city of Pilsen, Bohemia, in the Czech Republic, where it was developed in the 19th century and where the original Pilsner Urquell beer is produced today.

Until the mid-1840s, most Bohemian beers were top-fermented, dark and cloudy. The taste and standards of quality often varied widely, and in 1838, consumers dumped whole barrels to show their dissatisfaction. The officials of Pilsen founded a city owned brewery in 1839, called Bürger Brauerei (Citizens' Brewery - now Plzeňský Prazdroj), brewing beer according to the Bavarian style of brewing. Bavarian brewers had begun experiments with the storage (German: 'Lager') of beer in cool caves using bottom-fermenting yeasts, which improved the beer's clarity, flavour, and shelf-life. Most of this research benefited from the knowledge already expounded on in a book (printed in German since 1794, in Czech since 1801), written by František Ondřej Poupě (1753–1805) from Brno.

The Bürger Brauerei recruited the Bavarian brewer Josef Groll (1813 – 1887) who, using new techniques and the newly available paler malts, presented his first batch of modern pilsener on 5 October 1842. The combination of pale colour from the new malts, Pilsen's remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops from nearby Žatec (Saaz in German) and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer which was regarded as a sensation.

Improving transport and communications also meant that this new beer was soon available throughout Central Europe, and the Pilsner Brauart style of brewing was soon widely imitated. In 1859, “Pilsner Bier” was registered as a brand name at the Chamber of Commerce and Trade in Pilsen. In 1898, the Pilsner Urquell trade mark was created to put emphasis on being the original brewery.


The introduction to Germany of modern refrigeration by Carl von Linde in the late 19th century removed the need for caves in which to store the beer and thus allowed the brewing of bottom-fermenting beer in many places which had been unable to do so before.[3] However, even until recently the Pilsner Urquell brewery still fermented its beer using open barrels in the cellars underneath their brewery. This technology was changed in 1993 with the use of large cylindrical tanks; however, small samples are still brewed in a traditional way for taste comparisons. Pilsner also has the unique claim to being "the world's first golden beer".

A modern pilsener has a very light, clear colour from pale to golden yellow, and a distinct hop aroma and flavour. Czech pilseners tend toward a lighter flavour (good examples being Pilsner Urquell and Staropramen), while those in a German style can be more bitter (particularly in the north, e.g. Jever) or even "earthy" in flavour. Distinctive examples of German pilseners are Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren Jubiläums Pils, Augustiner Pils, Beck's, Bitburger, Flensburger Pilsener Fürstenberg, Henninger's Kaiser Pilsner, Holsten, König Pilsner, Königsbacher Pilsener, Krombacher, Külmbacher, Radeberger, Schwelm's Schwelmer Pils, Veltins, Warsteiner, Würzburger Hofbrau, and Wernesgrüner. On the other hand, Dutch (Amstel, Grolsch, Heineken) and Belgian pilseners (Jupiler, Stella Artois) have a slight sweet taste. Pilseners are identified by their participation in categories like "European-Style Pilsener" at the World Beer Cup or other similar competitions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BFG 9000


The BFG 9000 is a futuristic weapon found in the video game series Doom. The BFG 9000 is a huge, solid metal gun that fires balls of green plasma. The most powerful weapon in the games, it is capable of destroying nearly any player or enemy in the vicinity with a single hit. Quake II and Quake III Arena pay homage to the BFG 9000 with a pair of similar weapons both called the BFG10K, although the Quake III Arena version acts more like a rapid-fire plasma launcher than a single shot mass destruction device.
UGO.com ranked the BFG 9000 at number two on their Top 50 Video Game Weapons of All Time list. In the article they noted the strategic effect of the weapon, stating "It was marvelous and complex, and we should not hesitate to put this weapon down in history as one of the best." X-Play ranked it number one on their Top 10 Badass Weapons list, stating that while "not as fancy as the gravity gun", it was the first weapon that "really made us swoon". IGN editor Tom McNamara listed the BFG as one of the ten best weapons in video games, placing it at number ten.[3] Machinima.com named it number one on their list of Top Ten Video Game Weapons, stating "Do you really need a reason why this tops the list?"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Henry Calvin

Henry Calvin (May 25, 1918 – October 6, 1975) was an American comic actor best known for his role as Sergeant Garcia on Walt Disney's live-action television series Zorro (1957–1959).

Born Wimberly Calvin Goodman in Dallas, Texas, he sang in the choir of his local Baptist church as a child; he was often the featured soloist. After graduating from public school he attended Southern Methodist University before pursuing a career as an actor and singer.

Calvin hosted a 1950 NBC radio show and appeared on Broadway (most notably in Kismet as the Wazir of Police). In 1952, he portrayed Big Ben on the children's TV series Howdy Doody. and made his film debut in Crime Against Joe as Red Waller four years later.

His character in Zorro, Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia, was a comedic foil for Zorro and alter ego, Don Diego De La Vega (Guy Williams). Sometimes a friend (especially to Diego), sometimes a reluctant foe, Garcia is constantly outwitted by other characters, and is often his own worst enemy due to his weakness for food and drink.

Sergeant Garcia was usually accompanied onscreen by Hazel "Gil" George's humorous musical theme.

Calvin also sang the "Zorro" theme song that was heard over the opening credits. (Another version of the song, recorded by the female trio, The Chordettes, became a Top Ten hit.) Calvin's rich baritone voice also contributed to a number of musical interludes over the course of the series, singing everything from drinking songs to a serenade, and even a duet with Annette Funicello in one episode. After the series ended due to a contract dispute with ABC, he reprised the role of Garcia in all four Zorro stories that aired as part of Walt Disney Presents in 1960 and 1961.

He appeared in the 1960 film Toby Tyler as gruff wagon driver Ben Cotter, Toby's friend and protector. Toby's other mentor in the film, clown and animal trainer Sam Treat, was played by Gene Sheldon, who co-starred in Zorro as Bernardo. Toby Tyler was played by Kevin Corcoran, a prolific child actor at the studio in that era. All three actors also appeared in another Disney film, Babes in Toyland (1961).

After Zorro and his Disney contract ended, Calvin guest starred in numerous television series during the 1960s. In his appearance on an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, his character performed a comedy sketch as Oliver Hardy, opposite Dick Van Dyke's Rob Petrie character as Stan Laurel.

He also kept in touch with other members of the Zorro cast, even traveling with Guy Williams to Argentina in 1973 to attend a charity event. He died in Dallas from throat cancer in 1975; his burial was located at its cemetery Grove Hill Memorial Park.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Droodles

Droodles was a syndicated cartoon feature created by Roger Price and collected in his 1953 book Droodles. The trademarked name "Droodle" is a nonsense word suggesting "doodle", "drawing" and "riddle." Their general form is minimal: a square box containing a few abstract pictorial elements with a caption (or several) giving a humorous explanation of the picture's subject. For example, a Droodle depicting three concentric shapes — little circle, medium circle, big square — might have the caption "Aerial view of a cowboy in a Port-a-john."

Droodles are (or were) purely a form of entertainment like any other nonsense cartoon and appeared in pretty much the same places (newspapers, paperback collections, bathroom walls) during their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. The commercial success of Price's collections of Droodles led to the founding of the publishing house Price-Stern-Sloan, and also to the creation of a Droodles-themed game show. Series of newspaper advertisements for the News and Max brands of cigarettes featured cigarette-themed Droodles.

One of Price's original Droodles serves as the cover art for Frank Zappa's 1982 album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch. Price's other captions for that drawing include "Mother pyramid feeding her baby."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chiwara

A Chiwara is a ritual object representing an antelope, used by the Bambara ethnic group in Mali. The Chiwara initiation society uses Chiwara masks, as well as dances and rituals associated primarily with agriculture, to teach young Bamana men social values as well as agricultural techniques.

As farmers of the upper Niger river savanna, the blessing of agriculture is of central importance to Bambara society. These traditions survive in part because the Bambara were one of the last cultures in the area to embrace Islam, after the fall of the Bambara Empire in the late 19th century. Bambara culture has traditionally had a strict set of age and caste cofraternities, and the chiwara ton society is one of the more important. The chiwara ton is also the only major Bambara society which includes both sexes. Women's labor is needed for agriculture, just as both sexes are needed for human reproduction.

Chiwara masks are categorized in three ways: horizontal, vertical, or abstract. In addition, Chiwara can be either male or female. Female Chiwara masks are denoted by the presence of a baby antelope and straight horns. Male Chiwara masks have bent horns and a phallus. The sex of a Chiwara mask is much clearer on horizontal and vertical masks while abstract masks tend to be difficult to classify.

The Chiwara figures always appear as a male/female pair, combining the elements of fertility of humans with fertility of the earth. The female figure usually carries a young antelope on her back, and is said to represent human beings carried by the Chiwara hero, as well as a newborn human carried on a mother's back.

African sculptural forms became fashionable amongst European artists and collectors at the beginning of the Twentieth century, and the Chiwara, especially in its more abstract forms, became one of the icons of what Europeans called Primitive Art. The artist Guillaume Apollinaire and collector Paul Guillaume published images of the Chiwara in their Sculptures nègres in 1917, while Picasso, Braque, and Les Fauves became fascinated with African sculpture and masks in general, and the Chiwara figure in particular.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ooh La La

Ooh La La is the final studio album by the rock and roll band The Faces, released in April 1973.

With his career in the stratosphere due to successes from his solo albums, Rod Stewart became increasingly distanced from his band mates, who were by the time of the album's recording little more than his backing group in concerts. The album's recording would be plagued by Stewart's absence. Nonetheless, producer Glyn Johns held the group together, helping to placate tensions as he had with the Beatles during their Get Back sessions. Johns' contribution is acknowledged in the album's credits with the comment "Produced by Glyn Johns (see you in a year)," suggesting that the The Faces intended to work again with Johns on their next studio album - one that ultimately would never be made.

Shortly after the album's release, Stewart reported to New Musical Express that he felt that Ooh La La was a "stinking rotten album", later making things worse by telling Rolling Stone that what he had actually said was that the group was capable of "doing a better album than we've done". The rest of the group was understandably hurt by the comments. Ronnie Lane, especially hurt and not looking forward to being even more increasingly relegated to the sidelines, quit in June and was replaced shortly thereafter by former Free bassist Tetsu Yamauchi. The group recorded three subsequent singles, but never again recorded an album, disbanding in late 1975.

The cover is a photo of "Gastone", a stage character of Ettore Petrolini, an Italian comedian of the 1920s. The original LP cover was designed in such a way that when the top edge was pressed down Gastone's eyes would discolor and move to the side, while his jaw dropped into a leering smile.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ginevra King

Ginevra King (1898-1980) was an American socialite, a Chicago, Illinois, debutante and the inspirational muse for several characters in the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, most notably, Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby

She was born in Chicago in 1898, the daughter of Ginevra and Charles Garfield King. (She, as with her mother and grandmother, was named after Leonardo da Vinci's painting Ginevra de' Benci.) Charles G. King was a wealthy Chicago businessman and financier. She was the eldest of three sisters and grew up amidst the Chicago social scene, even being a member of the elite "Big Four" Chicago debutantes during World War I. She attended the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut.

Ginevra first met Fitzgerald on January 4, 1915, while visiting her roommate from Westover, Marie Hershey, in St. Paul, Minnesota. They met at a sledding party and, according to letters and diary entries, they both became infatuated. They sent letters back and forth for months, and their passionate romance continued until January 1917. In August 1916, Fitzgerald first wrote down the words, thought to have been said to him by Charles King, that would later recur in the movie adaption of The Great Gatsby: "Poor boys shouldn't think of marrying rich girls."

On July 15, 1918, King wrote to Fitzgerald, telling of her engagement to William Mitchell, the son of her father's business associate. They married later that year and had three children. Then in 1937, she left Mitchell for businessman John T. Pirie, Jr. (of the Chicago department store Carson Pirie Scott & Company). That year she also met Fitzgerald for the last time in Hollywood; when she asked which character was based on her in The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald replied, "Which bitch do you think you are?"

King later founded the Ladies Guild of the American Cancer Society. She died in 1980 at the age of 82.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Coffee

Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds, called coffee beans, of the coffee plant. Coffee beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees in over 70 countries, cultivated primarily in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. 'Green Unroasted' coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Coffee can have a stimulating effect on humans due to its caffeine content. It is one of the most-consumed beverages in the world.

Coffee has played a crucial role in many societies. The energizing effect of the coffee bean plant is thought to have been discovered in the northeast region of Ethiopia, and the cultivation of coffee first expanded in the Arab world. The earliest credible evidence of coffee drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen in southern Arabia.[3] From the Muslim world, coffee spread to Italy, then to the rest of Europe, to Indonesia, and to the Americas. In East Africa and Yemen, it was used in religious ceremonies. As a result, the Ethiopian Church banned its secular consumption, a ban in effect until the reign of Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia. It was banned in Ottoman Turkey during the 17th century for political reasons, and was associated with rebellious political activities in Europe.

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seed, or "bean", are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the 'robusta' form of the hardier Coffea canephora. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried. The seeds are then roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. They are then ground and brewed to create coffee. Coffee can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways.

An important export commodity, coffee was the top agricultural export for twelve countries in 2004, and it was the world's seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

E.161

E.161 is an ITU-T recommendation that defines the assignment of the basic 26 Latin letters (A to Z) to the 12-key telephone keypad. Uses for this mapping include:

ETSI ETS 300 640 and ISO 9995-8 also address this. Language-specific letters (e.g. ü, é, å, ä, ö) as well as other characters (e.g. ‘€’ or ‘@’) are not addressed and has led to a variety of inconsistent solutions for European languages.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lupercalia

Lupercalia was an ancient pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia subsumed Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the month of February its name.

In Roman mythology, Lupercus is a god sometimes identified with the Roman god Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Pan. Lupercus is the god of shepherds. His festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia.

The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome,[5] explaining the name of the festival, Lupercalia, or "Wolf Festival." The festival was celebrated near the cave of Lupercal on the Palatine Hill (the central hill where Rome was traditionally founded[6]), to expiate and purify new life in the Spring. The Lupercal cave, which had fallen into a state of decay, was rebuilt by Augustus; the celebration of the festival had been maintained, as we know from the famous occurrence of it in 44 BC. A highly decorated cavern 50 feet (15 m) below Augustus' palace in the correct approximate location was discovered by archeologists in October 2007, which may prove to be the Lupercal cave when analyzed.

The religious ceremonies were directed by the Luperci, the "brothers of the wolf (lupus)", a corporation of priests of Faunus, dressed only in a goatskin, whose institution is attributed either to the Arcadian Evander, or to Romulus and Remus. The Luperci were divided into two collegia, called Quinctiliani (or Quinctiales) and Fabiani, from the gens Quinctilia (or Quinctia) and gens Fabia; at the head of each of these colleges was a magister. In 44 BC, a third college, the Julii, was instituted in honor of Julius Caesar, the first magister of which was Mark Antony. In imperial times the members were usually of equestrian standing.

The festival began with the sacrifice by the Luperci (or the flamen dialis) of two male goats and a dog. Next two young patrician Luperci were led to the altar, to be anointed on their foreheads with the sacrificial blood, which was wiped off the bloody knife with wool soaked in milk, after which they were expected to smile and laugh.

The sacrificial feast followed, after which the Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the victims, which were called februa, dressed themselves in the skins of the sacrificed goats, in imitation of Lupercus, and ran round the walls of the old Palatine city, the line of which was marked with stones, with the thongs in their hands in two bands, striking the people who crowded near. Girls and young women would line up on their route to receive lashes from these whips. This was supposed to ensure fertility, prevent sterility in women and ease the pains of childbirth. This tradition itself may survive (Christianised, and shifted to Spring) in certain ritual Easter Monday whippings.

By the 5th century, when the public performance of pagan rites had been outlawed, a nominally Christian Roman populace still clung to the Lupercalia in the time of Pope Gelasius I (494–96). Gelasius finally abolished the Lupercalia after a long dispute.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dethklok

Dethklok is both a virtual band featured in the Adult Swim animated program Metalocalypse, as well as a real band created to perform the band's melodic death metal music in live shows. The band was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha. Dethklok is sometimes cited as an example of "comedy rock" on par with bands such as GWAR and Spinal Tap. The music heard on Metalocalypse is performed by Brendon Small, with others as needed. The first official Dethklok album was released on September 25, 2007, entitled The Dethalbum. The album debuted at number 21 on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 list. The band released Dethalbum II on September 29, 2009, and toured with Mastodon, High on Fire and Converge. Small and drummer Gene Hoglan performed on both albums.

In the Metalocalypse series, Dethklok is depicted as an extremely popular and successful death metal band. The band's fan base includes billions of metal fanatics, who frequently endanger themselves to watch the band perform live. With their widespread commercial success and lucrative sponsorship contracts, Dethklok is ranked as the world's seventh largest economy by the end of the second season.

The members of Dethklok are often portrayed as incompetent at almost everything not related to their profession. The band struggles to perform everyday tasks, including shopping for groceries, preparing food, and maintaining proper social relationships. They are often assisted by their manager and lawyer, Charles Foster Ofdensen, who frequently attempts to prevent the band from making poor decisions.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mount Parnassus

Mount Parnassus is a mountain of limestone in central Greece that towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, and offers scenic views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs, and the home of the Muses.

Mount Parnassus is named after Parnassos, the son of the nymph Kleodora and the man Kleopompus. A city, of which Parnassos was leader, was flooded by torrential rains. The citizens ran from the flood, following wolves' howling, up the mountain slope. There the survivors built another city, and called it Lykoreia, which in Greek means "the howling of the wolves."

While Orpheus was living with his mother and his eight beautiful aunts on Parnassus, he met Apollo who was courting the laughing muse Thalia. Apollo became fond of Orpheus and gave him a little golden lyre, and taught him to play it. Orpheus's mother taught him to make verses for singing.

As the Oracle of Delphi was sacred to the god Apollo, so did the mountain itself become associated with Apollo. According to some traditions, Parnassus was the site of the fountain Castalia and the home of the Muses; according to other traditions, that honor fell to Mount Helicon, another mountain in the same range. As the home of the Muses, Parnassus became known as the home of poetry, music, and learning.

Parnassus was also the site of several unrelated minor events in Greek mythology.

  • In some versions of the Greek flood myth, the ark of Deucalion comes to rest on the slopes of Parnassus. This is the version of the myth recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses.
  • Orestes spent his time in hiding on Mount Parnassus.
  • Parnassus was sacred to the god Dionysus.
  • The Corycian Cave, located on the slopes of Parnassus, was sacred to Pan and to the Muses.

Parnassus was also the home of Pegasus, the winged horse of Bellerophon.

Today, the slopes of Mount Parnassus are the location of two ski centres. The Parnassos Ski Centre is composed of two sections, Kellaria and Fterolakka, which together make up the largest ski center in Greece. A smaller ski centre (only two drag lifts) called Gerontovrahos is across a ridge from Kellaria. Parnassus is mined for its abundant supply of bauxite which is converted to aluminium oxide and then to aluminium.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cordite

Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom from 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Like gunpowder, cordite is classified as a low explosive because of its slow burning rates and consequently low brisance. These produce a subsonic deflagration wave rather than the supersonic detonation wave produced by brisants, or high explosives. The hot gases produced by burning gunpowder or cordite generate sufficient pressure to propel a bullet or shell to its target, but not enough to destroy the barrel of the firearm, or gun.

Cordite was used initially in the .303 British, Mark I and II, standard rifle cartridge between 1891 and 1915; however, shortages of cordite in World War I led to United States-developed smokeless powders being imported into the UK for use in rifle cartridges. Cordite was also used for large weapons, such as tank guns, artillery and naval guns. It has been used mainly for this purpose since the beginning of World War I by the UK and British Commonwealth countries. Its use was further developed in the early years of World War II, and as 2-and-3-inch-diameter (51 and 76 mm) Unrotated Projectiles for launching anti-aircraft weapons. Small cordite rocket charges were also developed for ejector seats made by the Martin-Baker Company. Cordite was also used in the detonation system of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima in August 1945.

Cordite is now obsolete, and it is no longer produced. Production ceased in the United Kingdom, around the end of the 20th century, with the closure of the last of the World War II cordite factories, ROF Bishopton. However, cordite propellant may still be encountered in the form of legacy ammunition dating from World War II onwards.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Niké

In Greek mythology, Niké (Greek: Νίκη, "Victory") was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas (Titan) and Styx (Water), and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus, the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame.

Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

R. Lee Ermey

Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is a retired U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor and actor.

Ermey has often played the roles of authority figures, such as his breakout performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning, Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and plastic army men leader Sarge in the Toy Story films.

He has hosted two programs on the History Channel: Mail Call, in which he answered viewers' questions about various militaria both modern and historic; and Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey, which focused on the development of different types of weapons.

He is currently a candidate for the National Rifle Association board of directors.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kilroy Was Here

Kilroy was here is an American popular culture expression, often seen in graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle—a bald-headed man (possibly with a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with the fingers of each hand clutching the wall—is widely known among U.S. residents who lived during World War II.

The Oxford English Dictionary says simply that Kilroy was “The name of a mythical person.”

One theory identifies James J. Kilroy (1902–1962),an American shipyard inspector, as the man behind the signature. During World War II he worked at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he claimed to have used the phrase to mark rivets he had checked. The builders, whose rivets J.J. Kilroy was counting, were paid depending on the number of rivets they put in. A riveter would make a chalk mark at the end of his or her shift to show where they had left off and the next riveter had started. Unscrupulous riveters discovered that, if they started work before the inspector arrived, they could receive extra pay by erasing the previous worker's chalk mark and chalking a mark farther back on the same seam, giving themselves credit for some of the previous riveter's work. J.J. Kilroy stopped this practice by writing "Kilroy was here" at the site of each chalk mark. At the time, ships were being sent out before they had been painted, so when sealed areas were opened for maintenance, soldiers found an unexplained name scrawled. Thousands of servicemen may have potentially seen his slogan on the outgoing ships and Kilroy's apparent omnipresence and inscrutability sparked a legend.

In the postwar United States the mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke. The outrageousness of the graffiti was not so much what it said, but where it turned up. The major Kilroy graffiti fad ended in the 1950s, but today people all over the world still scribble the character and "Kilroy was here" in schools, trains, and other similar public areas.

Monday, February 6, 2012

House of Cosbys

House of Cosbys was an animated cartoon about a Bill Cosby fan who creates a cloning machine to clone a series of Cosbys, each with a different personality.

There were four episodes made by Justin Roiland, each about five minutes. An unofficial fifth episode was also made.

It was first aired on the internet television channel Channel 101, and was the first of Channel 101's programs to spend three consecutive months at number 1.

The cartoon, which is based loosely on a true story, features main character Mitchell Reynolds (voiced by Jeff Davis) who invents a cloning machine in order to create his own personal Bill Cosby to entertain him. He then begins cloning several more Cosbys to help him around the house, much like in the plot of the 1996 film Multiplicity. However, the quality of the clones seems to deteriorate as the process is repeated, and he decides to stop using the machine, but when one of the clones subversively activates it, he discovers that every tenth Cosby he clones has super powers. At the suggestion of Data Analysis Cosby (the first super-powered Cosby) they decide to continue cloning Cosbys so that their super powers can be used to help the world.

House of Cosbys was cancelled when series creator Justin Roiland and Channel 101's site administrator Dan Harmon received a cease and desist letter from Bill Cosby's attorney in June 2005. One of the issues under contention is whether House of Cosbys is covered under the fair use, as parody. Supporters point out that many TV shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons have used Cosby's likeness, and have not been sued. However, there also is the factor that House of Cosbys used risque subject matter not in accordance with Cosby's character and comedy.

As a result of the cease and desist letter, the fifth episode was created by a different contributor and functioned primarily as an attack on Bill Cosby and his attorney.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Steam Car

A steam car is an automobile powered by a steam engine.

Steam locomotives, steam engines capable of propelling themselves along either road or rails, developed around one hundred years earlier than internal combustion engine cars although their weight restricted them to agricultural and heavy haulage work on roads. The light car developed contemporaneously with both steam and internal combustion engines, as both engineering and road building matured. As the steam car could use the vast experience of steam engines already developed with the steam railway locomotive, it initially had the advantage. In 1900 the steam car was broadly superior and even managed to hold absolute land speed records. By 1920 the internal combustion engine had progressed to such a point that the steam car was an anachronism.

Few steam cars have been built since the 1920s, although the technology is not implausible and projects intermittently occur to recreate a "modern" steam car with modern levels of convenience, performance and efficiency.

The greatest technical challenges to the steam car have focused on its boiler. This represents much of the total mass of the drivetrain, making the car heavier (an internal-combustion-engined car requires no boiler), and requires careful attention from the driver - although even the cars of 1900 had considerable automation to manage this. The single largest restriction is the need to supply feedwater to the boiler. This must either be carried and frequently replenished, or the car must also be fitted with a condenser, a further weight and inconvenience.

The steam car does have advantages, although most of these are now less important than in its heyday. The engine (excluding the boiler) is smaller and lighter than an internal combustion engine. It is also better suited to the speed and torque characteristics of the axle, thus avoiding the need for the heavy and complex transmission required for an internal combustion engine. The car is also quieter, even without a silencer.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mr. Peanut

Mr. Peanut is the advertising logo and mascot of Planters, an American snack-food company and division of Kraft Foods. He consists of a drawing of an anthropomorphic peanut in its shell dressed in the formal clothing of an old-fashioned gentleman: a top hat, monocle, white gloves, spats, and a cane.

Planters Peanuts was founded in 1906, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania by Amedeo Obici. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo. A fourteen year-old schoolboy named Antonio Gentile won the contest with his drawing of a Peanut Man and an artist later added spats, a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born.

By the mid-1930s, the raffish figure had come to symbolize the entire peanut industry. Mr. Peanut has appeared on almost every Planters package and advertisement. He is now one of the best-known icons in advertising history.

Mr. Peanut has appeared in many TV commercials as an animated cartoon character. More recent commercials have shown him computer animated in a real-world setting.

In 2006, Planters conducted an online poll to determine whether to add a bow tie, cufflinks, or a pocketwatch to Mr. Peanut. The public voted for no change.

While the character's television commercials were often accompanied by an elegant accented narrator, Mr. Peanut never had dialogue. On November 8, 2010, Planters announced that Mr. Peanut would officially be given a voice, supplied by American actor Robert Downey Jr.