The entertainment value of slow motion

Posted in idle hands with tags , , , on September 23, 2008 by Eric S.

I was recounting the tale of this way-cool, super-slow motion video to someone earlier this week, in which (and, in paraphrasing myself, I choose to use quotation marks), “Some dude karate chops this cinder block, but in slow-mo, it totally looks like he’s flagellating it with a rubber glove full of Pez.” Sure, I probably didn’t say flagellating, but I’m pretty sure Pez was indeed part of the description. Anyway, I recommended that my enrapt audience see it for themselves firsthand on

Turns out I never posted that video here. Maybe it was that advice column for superheroes I did a few years back. Anyway. Without further ado, here’s a slow mo video of some karate dude chopping what turns out to be not a mere cinder block, but an impressively thick hunk of (allegedly) solid concrete:

See? See the rubber glove? See the Pez? That’s some impressive stuff, tell you I.

Anyway, this particular video has been rattling around my brain for long enough that, while impressive to see again for the first time in a while, it doesn’t leave me with that holy toledo sensation those of you seeing it for the first time may be experiencing right now. So, naturally, I was curious what YouTube had to offer in the way of related videos. Here are the highlights.

From the same producer, a guy getting slapped in the face:

A ladybug:

And, IMHO, the most striking of the variety of water balloon explosions:



South African Explorers Discover the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth

Posted in Destinations, Mysterious origins, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Eric S.

At least, that’s what the author of purport. At first glance, the findings of pilot Johan Heine and the MaKomati foundation give that electric crackle of discovery armchair archeologists get once or maybe twice in a lifetime (maybe three, if you’re really old) when some intrepid explorer stumbles across a cave full of scrolls or tomb full of mummies.

A series of heavily weathered ruins stretching from South Africa to Kenya largely regarded as the remains of watering holes along Wadi trade routes (i.e., those of a number of indigenous south African peoples) include what appears to be a functioning calendar that could be among the oldest man-made structures on the planet:

That was enough to get me to add their book to my Amazon list, read the whole site, and even toss the question of the theory’s validity to the braintrust over at the Straight Dope message boards. Sure there are a couple of facts that seem far fetched at first glance – the estimate of the ruins’ age from 75,000 (or twice as old as cave paintings at Chauvet) to 250,000 years old, that include a network of sites connected by roads comparable in size to the Egyptian empire – but one has resist the natural impulses of the chronological superiority complex.

Fact is, I’d love for this these guys to be on to something, and not just out to make R250 selling me their book. But their science seems to be only slightly better than those bigfoot guys.

Jupiter caught in blatant attempt to increase its own popularity

Posted in Objects in Space, Randomalia with tags , , on September 16, 2008 by Eric S.

First it was Saturn with it’s nifty rings. Then those other outer planets, some with names that were especially funny if you were a middle school student. And the whole is-it-a-planet-or-not kerfuffle with Pluto. Jupiter, arguably the most important non-solar/uninhabited object in the solar system appears to have finally had enough of not being the number one topic of conversation at local astronomy conventions and rural telescope parties. Thankfully, its chosen add to its headline value with something less drastic than fusing its core and transforming into a star, as seen in 2010. No, instead the planet has recently developed two more of the giant red spots that in large part define the Jupiter™ brand.

Which, honestly, might not give Jupiter the jolt it’s looking for. I mean, sure, more is better when you’re talking chocolate or kittens. But red spots? It’s kinda been done before. Next time the Jupiter Public Stunts Committee gets together, they should really consider finding a way to pull off that 2010 star thing.

Just because it’s pretty IV

Posted in Objects in Space with tags , , , on August 23, 2008 by Eric S.

(photo courtesy of the Hubble Telescope)

Honestly, I feel like I could pass some of the photographic wisdom I’ve earned with three Art School photography class C’s to whomever it is pulling the shutter up there on the Hubble. But when it comes down to subject matter, the Hubble has me not only outclassed, it has me outschooled. Outhoused, even, if you’re down with the potty humor.

Yes, yes, it’s true: I like to watch things smash into each other. The bigger the better. Which I know is wrong, insofar as wrong means think about all of the people that might’ve been hurt in that 17-car pileup you’re gawking at during this otherwise uneventful trip up the Garden State Parkway. Which is the beauty of videos like the one I posted back in March depicting the forthcoming merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. Sure, it may spell the end of life as we know it, but anyone at a safe watching distance (and, as the event will take the better part of a billion years to run its course, with a considerable attention span) will be in for quite a show.

Anyway, returning to topic. Me. Big things. Smash. Whoa. Imagine my euphoria at finding the Hubble photobug had similar leanings, as catalogued in the 2008 multimedia collection Cosmic Collisions Galore! It’s like a drive thorugh New Jersey on a whole new level. Enjoy.

‘Werewolf boy’ taunted by bullies, yet left alone by bigfoot hunters

Posted in Nature gone amok, Randomalia with tags , , on August 19, 2008 by Eric S.

Okay, that headline is a little mean, and I apologize to young Mr. Patil for it. It was intended as a jab at the bigfoot hunters anyway.

As reported by a fair number of sources including (from whom I borrowed these fine photos), 11-year-old Pruthviraj Patil has a condition known to the medical community as hypertrichosis and known to tabloid reporters as Werewolf Syndrome. Sources all seem to agree that 50 people worldwide have the condition; whether this is an estimate or an actual figure as catalogued by some unnamed census bureau isn’t mentioned.

Owing to the narrative similarity of different periodicals’ coverage of the story, I assume it was pulled off some wire service or another. What’s interesting is that, while they all make mention of the fact that people stare at him wherever he goes and he was bullied as a (younger) child, The Telegraph is the only source I found that includes this little snippet:

But despite his abnormal hair growth Pruthviraj, who is from the district of Sangli, near Bombay, is healthy, sporty and popular at school.

On the one hand, deals with bullies. On the other, sporty and popular. So, basically, a normal kid.

Two-headed turtle turns up in Brooklyn

Posted in Evidence!, Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature, True Story with tags , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Eric S.

Dear esteemed owners of Bigfoot Global LLC,

After the ribbing you’ve taken in the national and global media for your recent announcement that you are in posession of the corpse of what you believe to be a Bigfoot, I thought you could use some pointers on how to go about presenting a strange or unusual biological specimen to the public by way of the media. Just, you know, in case you ever find yourselves in this situation again. I cite as a case study this story about a two-headed turtle that has turned up at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, as reported today in the New York Daily News.

  1. Good photo = good story. See that one up there by News photographer(Mr.? Ms.?) Cairo)? It’s well cropped. Well lit. Hell, it’s even got a tricky little shallow plane of focus that not only directs your attention at the important bits (i.e., the two heads), it goes a long way toward ruling out forgery. Now, you don’t need to go all Annie Liebovitz like the Daily News, but at least look like you gave a damn.
  2. Good video = even better story. Anyone dubious of the unmessed around with origins of the above photo can, after sitting through a commercial for an Atlantic City casino, see a well shot (like the still photo, it’s well lit, in focus and by all indications undoctored), well edited video shot on location, featuring credible-albeit-uncredentialled witnesses. UFO documentarians following along, please note the use of a steadily held camera.
  3. A little self promotion is fine. Sean Casey, is clearly exploiting this situation for his own personal interests (in this case, drawing support for his nonprofit animal rescue in the Kensington neighborhood in Brooklyn, which invite you to learn more about and consider making a donation to, if that’s your charitable bent). Note the fact that he hasn’t had a special hat made for the interview.
  4. Draw people in to the story. Sure, you found Bigfoot, which is arguably big news already. But why should people care, beyond their own morbid curiosity about who would go to such pains to hide such an amazing discovery? There’s really nothing in it for them. But that Sean Casey (again, of Sean Casey’s Animal Rescue, a nonprofit rescuer of exotic pets in Brooklyn), really knows how to build buzz: with a contest. I’ll bet you guys didn’t even think of having a ‘Name the Bigfoot’ contest, did you? Watch and learn as Intie the Intoallthat Turtle launch themselves (and possibly an undisclosed blogger) into international stardom.

Gentlemen, I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. And best of luck with your future endeavors.


Eric S.

30 minutes from the Bigfoot press conference

Posted in Plots, Roadside attractions, Secret origins, Sighting!, Uncategorized with tags on August 17, 2008 by Eric S.

Here’s a half hour of the press conference which, on account of not coming from a WordPress-approved video source, will require you to leave the safety of my site.

Link to

And here’s the photo Tom Biscradi describes as “the actual creature, standing up, walking away,” courtesy of

Looking at it, I’m having a little trouble seeing the ears, nose and eyes Tom points out, but I’m also not wearing my glasses.