Friday, December 19, 2014

Victorian Christmas Cards

With the printing of England’s first commercial Christmas card in 1843 a new seasonal tradition was launched. That card and others are in the Laura Seddon Collection at Manchester Metropolitan University. Here are a few creepy cards from from its archive.

More: The Guardian

Rebecca Rütten's Junk Food Art

Contemporary Pieces is a series of 5 Portraits and 5 Still Life photographs by German-born artist Rebecca Rütten that brings to mind classic paintings of the Late Renaissance period.

Thanks Bruce!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

LOTR Inspired Litter Box & Cat Scratching Post

Every other week, some of Hollywood's top prop makers build one-of-a-kind items for super-fans of comic books, video games, movies, and pop culture.. This week, in celebration of the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies they're building a Hobbit-hole Bag End kitty litter box and an Eye of Sauron scratching post! The LOTR super-fan and his cats were suitably impressed.

Derby the dog runs with the help of 3D printing

Derby the dog was born with underdeveloped front limbs, and wound up at the Peace and Paws Dog Rescue shelter in Hillsborough, N.H. when his owners decided they no longer wanted him. Tara Anderson, director at 3D Systems, a company that specializes in 3-D printing, took Derby in as a foster and decided to find a solution to his mobility limitations.

Monopoly Had Anti-Monopolist Origins.

Thomas E. Forsyth

The game of Monopoly has been around for a long time. The accepted story is that an out of work man named Charles Darrow invented the game during the Great Depression. He sold it to to Parker Brothers Games and became wealthy.
But the truth is that Monopoly began years earlier as The Landlord's Game and was meant to teach people about social injustice. In 1904 Lizzie Magie, a stenographer and typist at the Dead Letter Office, received a patent for the game, a square board with nine rectangular spaces on each side, set between corners labeled “Go to Jail” and “Public Park.”
"Players circled the board buying up railroads, collecting money and paying rent. She made up two sets of rules, “monopolist” and “anti-monopolist,” but her stated goal was to demonstrate the evils of accruing vast sums of wealth at the expense of others. A firebrand against the railroad, steel and oil monopolists of her time, she told a reporter in 1906, “In a short time, I hope a very short time, men and women will discover that they are poor because Carnegie and Rockefeller, maybe, have more than they know what to do with.” "
Magie found a publisher to sell the game but handmade bootleg copies of the game were made and it was a Quaker iteration that Darrow copied and sold to Parker Brothers in 1935. Darrow and Parker Brothers made a fortune off the ripped off game.
In the 1940 census, taken eight years before she died, Magie listed her occupation as a “maker of games.” In the column for her income she wrote, “0.”

More: Smithsonian 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Young Fidel Castro Wrote FDR to Ask for 10 Bucks

In November 1940, Fidel Castro sent a handwritten letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Writing in English, Castro congratulated the president on his reelection and requested "a ten dollars bill green american…because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them." Thinking strategically, the future Cuban dictator also offered access to his country's iron to build American ships.

Mr Franklin Roosvelt, President of the United States. 
My good friend Roosvelt I don't know very English, but I know as much as write to you.
I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo).
I am twelve years old.
I am a boy but I think very much but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States.
If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.[…]

I don't know very English but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don't know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.
(Thank you very much) Good by. Your friend,
Fidel Castro
If you want iron to make your ships I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron of the land. They are in Mayari Oriente Cuba.
The letter resides in the National Archives. An no, FDR did not send him the 10 bucks.

More: Mother Jones

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Amazing Car For Wheelchair Users

Texas attorney Stacy Zoern designed and is now manufacturing an innovative electric car that provides easy access and drivability for wheelchair users. At the push of a remote button the back of the Kenguru car lifts up, and its automatic ramp lowers for immediate entry. The one person car has a top speed of 35 mph and will sell for around $25,000.

More: The Good News Network

The Blind Mice Diary

The Blind Mice Diary is a wonderful story by my friend, the dashing, handsome and talented Steve Vermillion. It appears in theNewerYork. Support their Kickstarter project and help publish an inspiring collection of experimental literature and art. No short stories, no poetry, just weird things with words.

Montreal Metro Restaurant Map

Montreal is my home town but it has changed a lot since I lived there and when I visit I do so as a tourist.Thrillist has mapped out one restaurant for every subway stop that's both awesome and less than a 10-minute walk away.

Check out a blown-up version of the map here, plus details on every spot here.

I'll find this useful when I check out the The Greeks – Agamemnon to Alexander the Great at the musee d'archéologie.

Canada’s new prostitution law explained with toys

John and Sally get busted for prostitution by a police officer who tries to explain the new law.

Via  National Post