"Hey Ya"? Today's Sidebar Video!

Thanks to Hotlinks for bringing this great cover to my attention!

Although only three years old, Outkast's "Hey Ya!" has already been listed as #180 of Rolling Stone's "Greatest 500 Songs of All Time." But it's not just a great song... The video's fantastic, too, and was listed as Stylus Magazine's 72nd top music video of all time!

Here, Mat Weddle from Phoenix-based band Obadiah Parker does his own improbably-entertaining acoustic "Hey Ya" version! Enjoy!!

More fun with "Pat & Stanley"!

Can't get enough of "Pat & Stanley" in the sidebar video??

Luckily, we can continue to follow their adventures through a whole series of animated shorts available on YouTube, like...

Mystery ship discovered in Italian waters!

"Ride, capitano, ride... upon your mystery ship!!"

After Maine's "Mystery Beast," we've got Italy's very own "mystery ship"...

Linkfilter cites Ghost ship discovered in the Italian waters from Pravda.Ru!

Now, the Pravda version includes a photo looking like it's straight outta "Pirates of the Caribbean." Seems a little large to have gone unnoticed before... So, I looked the story up in Italy's La Repubblica.

And now, behold... the "Italian Ghost Ship"!

In addition to the details given in English by Pravda, Italians first reported on August 22nd other essential information like the ship also contained "badly-made clothing." What's more, the next day the newspaper recounted that another police station had received an anonymous note saying, "In the Mediterranean, a sailboat will appear with a bomb on board." Even though continued searches of the vessel have so far uncovered no explosives, investgators have determined that any information regarding route and heading were wiped clean from the navigation equipment.

Ah, but little did Pravda realize that the very day they broke the news, the mystery surrounding the ghost ship would be apparently resolved! Turns out that the ship was owned by a Luxembourger, who had left it exactly where it was found because he had an urgent call to return to his home country. Still, questions remain... Why leave the boat so utterly abandoned? Why were all identifying marks erased? The owner claims that he knows only that he had originally left everything in legal order.

I'll post any further updates as I find 'em... but so far, this story has seemingly begun to dry up!

The end (?)

Oddities by Photographer Arthur Grace

This photo, "Boy with Gun, Venice, 1979" by photographer Arthur Grace appeared on today's Unusual Children Links at grow-a-brain.

The boy could have just as well have been my future husband, since it turns out that the photo is not actually from the historic center of Venice, but rather from the Lido, the barrier island just off of Venice that's the local beach hotspot!

My Venetian hubby was born on the Lido, and spent his childhood going to the beach at the Excelsior Hotel (the terribly posh resort that hosts the Venice Film Festival every year), which just so happens to be the one depicted in the photograph from 27 years ago (and which hasn't changed a bit since!!)

Che mondo piccolo!

Starring "Volare" & "Pat & Stanley" in Sidebar Video!

The sidebar video for the last couple of days has been the superhip "Nel blu dipinto di blu" with Domenico Modugno for Italy at the the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958. Also known as "Volare," the song has also been listed in September 2006's Conde Nast Traveller as one of the world's greatest "50 tunes that unforgettably evoke their culture." Personally, since the Italian national anthem has always technically been just "temporary," I always thought they should use "Volare" instead! :-)

Today, meet "Pat" & "Stanley"! Pat is a rather sophisticated hippopotamus, and Stanley his sillier dog friend, and together they advertise the Kinder "Happy Hippo" chocolate bar. The ad is French, but it also appeared on TV in Italy over the summer, and - I have to admit - they just cracked me up! Enjoy!!

Aroo! More Werewolves of Maine!!

The story of the dead "Mystery Beast of Maine" refuses to die! See the Portland Press Herald's 'Scary' creature is a monster story for Maine.

Can't get enough of those werewolf hybrids? How about an mp3 musical mashup of Boston vs. Lynyrd Skynyrd vs. Warren Zevon by AudioDile called "More Werewolves of Alabama"??

Like the mystery beast itself, it's cute, clever and - as a mix of "bootlegs" - maybe even looks just a little bit "evil"! :-)


Science isn't made in a day!

Do you have patience? How about continuing to wait after 166 years for your results?! See what I mean at Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society's "Longest Running Scientific Experiments".

What's more... you can enjoy some of the excitement of these experiments moving at break-neck glacial speed for yourself! When the webcam's on, check out a recreation of the "Pitchdrop Experiment".. . Enjoy!!

Quiz: What's your "brain sex"?

This Sex ID quiz apparently comes from a recent tv program on the BBC (which I got via Monkeyfilter).

Personally, I'm always very skeptical about anything which claims that certain behavoral traits are biologically hardwired to men and others to women, but see what you think! Enjoy!!

Church Sign!

Saw this motto on a church sign here in Maine the other day, and decided that it may well be the worst one - in a funny gone-kinda-wrong way - that I've ever seen.

(What can I say? It must be jam-making season!)

So I recreated the effect here using the handy-dandy "Church Sign Generator"... Enjoy!

UPDATED: Newsflash - "Maine Mystery Beast Possibly Killed by Car"

FOXNews.com - Maine Mystery Beast Possibly Killed by Car

UPDATE: The comments between me and Tom have been fun...

"planet-tom said...
Weird, at first glance it looked like some kind of wolf. But now it looks like that guy from those old DR. PEPPER commercials! Arooo, werewolves of Maine...
Thu Aug 17, 02:49:50 AM EDT

Michelle said...
I liked the post and comments on Metafilter: "Yuh! The Friggin' Chupacabra: A coyote raised on Moxie and Allen's... and whoopie pies and a pack of Camels. Probably had an '82 Firebird up on blocks in his yard and hung out at Marden's, too... Finally done in [probably] by a bondo covered El Camino SS."
Thu Aug 17, 08:23:36 AM EDT

planet-tom said...
Arooo, werewolves of Wisconsin.
Thu Aug 17, 09:39:45 AM EDT

Michelle said...
Aroo, werewolves of northern Manitoba!
Thu Aug 17, 11:57:03 AM EDT"

Podcasts "all' italiana"!

Lately, I've started discovering free mp3 podcasts... and while a lot of 'em seem highly self-indulgent, the best use I've seen of them so far is as audio travelguides and for teaching languages!

Whet your podcast appetite with introductory audio travelguides to Venice! They're great on site, or else are the next best thing to being there!!

Want more? DOZENS of travelguides are available for sites throughout Italy (but - unfortunately - only in Italian at this point) at freeaudioguide.com.

No problem if you don't understand Italian... Podcasts can teach you! The one getting probably the most press at the moment is learnitalianpod.com (although you can also find others listed - for starters - on the index at Podcast Pickle, like Let's Speak Italian and Inside Italian)!

Enjoy, and "buon podcast"!

No liquids on a plane!

We just got back from Europe yesterday. Yes, yesterday! When I recover a bit more from jet-lag, maybe I'll blog about it, but - needless to say - we were extremely tired but extremely fortunate in many ways. (This morning my husband said that something like another 600 flights wound up being cancelled on Thursday!)

In the meantime, Bloggers' Blog is cataloging a lot of interesting content about the foiled plot and coping with complicated new travel regulations.

And, lastly, even after a long day of travel (or maybe precisely because of it, since I've clearly gotten punchy) I found this Boing Boing mashup of the soon-to-be released, much-internet-hyped (and, not to mention, rated "R" for - at least in part- language) Samuel L. Jackson movie "Snakes on a Plane" pretty funny.

What can I say? When life gives you lemons, you've got to make lemonade.

(Just don't take it on the plane with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Newsflash: "Tourists Pay More in Roman Restaurants"

Wow, this is apparently "hot" off the presses...

Mirabilis.ca : Turisti pay more in Roman restaurants

Remind me to tell you my many Venice stories of the same thing, old and new!! :-)

UPDATED: Hate Tourists? Remove 'Em!

It's a worn old saw that tourists are ruining Venice. (I don't quite agree, but I'll save that for another post!)

Venetians typically can't stand tourists, although I've never seen them so overt about it as in the above advert for a new bookshop in town!! (More below...)

Look, don't like tourists? Now, there's no reason to just bellyache about it... YOU CAN REMOVE THEM, using Snapmania's amazing new "Tourist Remover"!

By utilizing this FREE handy-dandy, easy-to-use online service, the "Tourist Remover" figures out what you'd really wanted to take a picture of, and what's extraneous, like tourists, and tries to get rid of them!

The results? See for yourself the "before" and "after" of the Porta della Carta entrance to the Ducal Palace in Saint Mark's Square...

As you can see, since I didn't use a tripod, the results are not so good.

However, the new photo is far more surreal than the original and strangely satisfying!

Maybe you'll have better luck removing your tourists... Enjoy!!

UPDATED 8/7: The abovementioned bookstore even has a website, ilovetourism.org. So, what's worse... making money hand-over-fist from rampant, consumeristic tourism, or making money from tourists by being ostensibly against rampant, consumeristic tourism??? Hmmm...

Newsflash: Kitten Saved in Venice!

Now, this was a spectacle!

The other day, as I was out and about, I stopped off at the relatively new "Acqua Alta" bookstore just off of the Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, which bills itself as "the most beautiful bookshop in the world."

I don't know about that, but it is unique. It rests under a pretty little fig tree in a small courtyard. Then, by Venetian standards particularly, it's huge! It takes up what at one time would have been the entire water entrance to a palace. (In fact, if you prefer, you can still arrive by boat!)

There, the owner or libraio is not only a bibliophile, but he's a felinophile too! And he has a number of adorable little kittens roaming around the premises. Of course, as kittens will do, they can also get themselves into trouble...

One of them had managed to scramble up the front of an adjoining building to a high window sill, but then got too scared to come down. The whole neighborhood mobilized to help him, as you can see here!

First, they had to get a super-tall ladder... but even that wouldn't reach all the way, so the would-be rescuer also had to climb up the cast iron grating of one of the second-story windows. (Note the large net at the ready!)

But then the kitten didn't want to be rescued! The rescuer managed to pull the little cat halfway out of the window grating, but the kitten continued to hold on hard with his back toes!! (I can't tell you how much I wish I'd gotten that photo... It was one of the most peculiar things I've ever seen a cat do!)

Then, finally, after several tugs, the kitten came free and - to the collective gasp of the gathered crowd - fell about a story into the waiting net!

After all the racket that little creature had made mere seconds earlier, I expected him to be thoroughly tramatized.

Instead, they pet him, set him down, and he promptly just trotted back into the bookshop with his libraio, apparently none the worse for his little misadventure! All's well that end's well!!