A Buddhist walks up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything.”
Steven Wright used to say, “I’ve been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas. I just think about it.”
With Mr. Picassohead you can make a Cubist portrait in about 60 seconds. I spent a little longer on this one, pretending to get the composition right, but it’s hard to go wrong with drag-and-drop noses.
Even simpler is the Mondrian Machine — even a dead guy could produce a neoplasticist masterwork if you clicked the mouse for him.
I suppose the masters wouldn’t approve of these pushbutton knockoffs; Picasso seemed to take a dim view of technology in general. “Computers are useless,” he once said. “They can only give you answers.”
If you work in a spirit-crushing cubicle farm and can’t remember the innocent joys of childhood, here’s a compromise: Get a cube farm playset, including office furniture, a meaningless job title generator (“Domestic Engineering Associate”), and downloadable decorations.
If that’s not highbrow enough for you, theory.org has Lego versions of social theorists Judith Butler, Anthony Giddens, Angela McRobbie, and Michel Foucault. Post-structuralism sold separately.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” — Decca Recording Company executive, turning down the Beatles, 1962
“The bow is a simple weapon, firearms are very complicated things which get out of order in many ways … a very heavy weapon and tires out soldiers on the march. Whereas also a bowman can let off six aimed shots a minute, a musketeer can discharge but one in two minutes.”
That’s Colonel Sir John Smyth in 1591, advising the British Privy Council to skip muskets and stick with bows.
InfoToday collected a lot of similarly farsighted advice into an online feature, appropriately called OOPS!
The Museum of Unworkable Devices debunks a whole fleet of perpetual-motion machines.
On this date in A.D. 600, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that saying “God bless you” is the correct response to a sneeze.
How does that work, exactly? When you become pope, do they give you a special hotline phone? If so, I think there are more important questions he could have asked.
You can spare others the whole “gesundheit” question by tickling the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue — it stops the sneeze impulse.
Ambigrams are word renderings that can be read both right-side up and upside down (or, sometimes, in a mirror). They’re hard to do convincingly, though some designers are pretty good at it. The one above was actually generated by a computer: Word.Net’s Ambigram.Matic. It’s not as elegant as the others, but I’m surprised that a machine can do this at all.
“When you are 8 years old, nothing is any of your business.” — Lenny Bruce
- “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee.” = “Preferiria besar a un Wookiee.”
- “Artoo! You’re playing the wrong message!” = “¡Artu! ¡Pusiste el mensaje equivocado!”
- “I see you have constructed a new lightsaber.” = “Veo que has construido una nueva espada laser.”
Luke Skywalker is Lucas Trotacielos, and the Force is la Fuerza. Yeesh. I suppose some Spanish films must sound embarrassingly dorky in English, too.