Friday, December 29

Tulum gallery

I'm still sorting through photos from our family cruise over Thanksgiving. I've just posted a gallery of images from our visit to the coastal Mayan ruins at Tulum in Mexico. Once we shook our tour guide we were able to walk around to explore the ruins and get some nice photos.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 26

Link roundup


Saturday, December 23

Season of feasting

One of my favorite things about Christmas is enjoying great meals with guests. Tonight it's steak and baked potatoes. Tomorrow it's bisque and Christmas day it's a standing rib roast. Yum!

Labels: ,

Monday, December 18

Digital road rage

File this under, "why didn't I think of that." lets angry commuters enters the tag number of bad drivers and leave them a message online. This is obviously a better way to vent than trying to run the car off the road. (via
While driving on 94 during rush hour this dummy was tailgating me and driving so fast if i tapped my brakes he would've been up my behind. Just a word of caution: IF YOU ARE GOING SOMEWHERE AND IT WON'T BE THERE IN 5 EXTRA MINUTES, YOU DON'T NEED TO GO!!!! Don't put the lives of people at risk for your impatient attitude. Some people have children..

Labels: ,

Christmas 1979

I had to dig deep in the Adventure Lounge archives for this historic image of loot from Christmas 1979. A quick inventory finds:

  • Steve Martin's 'Let's Get Small' album

  • Case bowie knife

  • Comb

  • Assorted candy and nuts (Even though I'm allergic!!)

  • Bike speedometer

  • Bright yellow backpack

  • Mad Magazine

  • Cracked Magazine featuring Mork and Mindy

  • Ferrari remote controlled car (It turned left and backed up.)

  • Some type of pendant

  • $5
My parents had my sister dub the Steve Martin album to cassette to edit out the bad language so I could listen to it. I still have the backpack in my garage. I would rather have the Steve Martin album.


Thursday, December 14

Visiting Haiti

Over Thanksgiving this year our family took a cruise that stopped in Labadee, Haiti. You can see the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas above next to the cruise line's private beach. We heard crew calling it their private island, but that's not true. It's actually on a peninsula as the satellite images show. If you click on the image and zoom in you can clearly see the pools, putt-putt course and inline skating track on the ship. On the beaches you can make out the cabanas spread along the shore.

Labadee was certainly an exotic stop. They had a couple of nice beaches for swimming, though the north shore was a little treacherous because of higher waves, a rocky bottom and sea urchins literally everywhere.

There were a few old plantation ruins on the peninsula and an old church bell still stood on a scenic hilltop location.

There were a number of vendors selling local artwork, jewelry and wood bowls. We bought a little of each, hoping to put some cash into the Haitian economy. Unfortunately the vendors were extremely aggressive in their tactics and I imagine they scared a lot of people away. The strong-armed hawking grew weary rather quickly.

With Haiti's history of civil unrest it seems an unlikely stop for a cruise ship. There did seem to be ample security and a wall seemed to surround the perimeter of the property. It was an altogether pleasant stop and I'm glad Royal Caribbean is making this effort to help the Haitian economy.

Labels: , , , , , ,

The new taste sensation

Inspired by a video at, today we pay homage to the corn dog. Corn dogs were popularized after being introduced at the Texas State Fair in 1942 by Neil Fletcher.

In the early '60s this "new taste sensation" was taking the country by storm, as shown by this still from an advertisement shown during drive-in movie intermissions. You can see the 8-minute video below.

Labels: , ,

Scary Poppins

I love the re-cut movie trailers people are doing. Here are two featuring Julie Andrews.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 13

Google launches patent search

Google has launched a patent search engine. While the U.S. Patent Office has a nice search engine, it doesn't allow you to search the full text of patents filed between 1790 and 1975. The fact that Google now indexes the text in those patents is a wonderful thing. Previously you'd have to familiarize yourself with the vast number of patent classifications to try and focus in on interesting items.

I'm personally fascinated with the illustrations in turn of the century patent fillings. I've wasted many an hour browsing old documents for unique design patents. The new search engine won't necessarily reduce the amount of time I spend looking, but it will improve the quality of the results.

The new search also allows you to narrow your query to specific time frames, which should help anyone looking for historic documents. You can also easily scroll through patents and zoom in on pages. This display is much easier to use than the U.S. Patent Service offering, which require a plug-in to view TIFF images.

Labels: , ,

Google Graphical User Interface patent

On Tuesday Google was awarded a design patent (No. 533,561) for the graphical look of its search results pages. The patent doesn't cover search functionality, but the visual look of its pages. Below is the full description from the patent.
The ornamental design for a graphical user interface, as shown and described.

FIG. 1 is a front view of a graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal;

FIG. 2 is a front view of a second embodiment thereof; and,

FIG. 3 is a front view of a third embodiment thereof.

The broken line drawings of text and the display screen in all views if for illustrative purposes only and formes no part of the claimed design.

Tuesday, December 12

Breath in the Afternoon

Browsing through my bookshelf I ran across "So Red the Nose (or, Breath in the Afternoon)," a 1935 collection of 30 cocktail recipes from early 20th Century authors. The book if filled with whimsical illustrations and self-parody. I'm reprinting here, with its accompanying illustration, Christopher Morley's "Swiss Family Manhattan Cocktail," named after his novel of the same title.
Swiss Family Manhattan Cocktail

2/3 Rye Whisky
1/3 Italian Vermouth
1 Dash Absinthe
Stir and Serve Excessively Cold

"An alternative name for this drink," writes the ebullient Chris, is
"Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder."

Thirteen hundred of these cocktails were said to have disappeared at the coming-out party for Swiss Family Manhattan on the eighty-fifth floor of the Empire State Building some years ago. Al Smith drank the first one, presumably from his brown derby. Toward the end of the party a number of citizens noticed that the Chrysler building was leaning over to upport the Empire State, and the Goddess of Liberty was undulating like a torch singer. The Old Mandarin says, "This one really lays them end to end on the Bowling Green."

Christmas in New York

It's Christmas in New York between 1885 an 1895. This Christmas tree market stood outside the Barclay Street Station of the New York Central & Hudson Railroad. Signs on the station read "Freight Station," "Barclay Street Station," and "Pier 17". A lone shopper was brave enough to venture out into the cold following the rain. (Source: Library of Congress online catalog)

This details shows a blanketed horse pulling a wagon for The Mammoth Furniture House of Hoboken.
Behind The Mammoth Furniture wagon sits another for Herman Kornakreks Wooden Ware on Murray and West Streets, Manhattan.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 10

Holiday party excuse generator

There's no reason to waste your precious time dreaming up ways to get out of dreary Christmas parties when you can use the Holiday Party Excuse Generator. Simply plug in a few specifics about the type of party and the tone of the excuse you'd like and out pops a tailor-made missive.
We are happy to say we will be unable to attend your chi-chi holiday wingding. We will be duck pin bowling, and thus spared having to ingest your revolting Mincemeat pie (and what the hell is Mincemeat anyway?). Once the holidays are past, we hope to cross paths with you every now and again ...

Saturday, December 9

Saturn's eye

I missed the announcement in early November of a hurricane-like storm swirling on Saturn's south pole. The storm is centered directly over the poll and a large cloud wall can be seen. The images were taken by the Cassini spacecraft and this is the first time a storm like this has been seen on a planet other than Earth.

NASA has posted a montage of images of the eye. Below you can watch a short animation of this remarkable storm.

Wednesday, December 6

Don't be late for Christmas

DealHack has posted a list of deadlines for getting purchases in time for Christmas from a large variety of online retailers.

Link roundup

  • Spam 2.0, spam is back
  • Flatulence forces emergency landing
  • The morality of free trade
  • Super-easy blendy backgrounds
  • Ancient illustrations
  • Search, Map and Review over 400 airport parking lots
  • All You Can Upload: Free photo upload service
  • BiteMyPhoto: Another free photo upload service

  • Monday, December 4

    Richard Simmons' exploding steamer

    Be sure to watch this all the way to the end. And then go cancel your Christmas orders for the Richard Simmons Steam Heat.

    Sunday, December 3

    Christmas camera shopping

    While on vacation over Thanksgiving week, my Sony DSC-F707 digital camera self destructed. I was heartbroken because the camera took wonderful photos. But rather than pay the $211 Sony charges to repair the camera, I decided to go ahead and get a replacement with more advance features. I'm calling it my early Christmas present.

    I made heavy use of the reviews on, and Amazon. I highly recommend using all three sites for their reviews and reader comments.

    I also found it useful to compare actual images from the cameras. Each of the sites mentioned above offered samples. I also found the Flickr camera page to be useful. In addition to telling you which cameras are most popular on the service, it allows you to search by brand and model to see photos uploaded by members.

    The finalists in my camera search were the Sony DSC-H5, Canon Powershot S3 IS, Sony DSLR-A100 and the Nikon D50. I was torn between getting a digital SLR and an ultra-zoom portable.

    Of course the SLRs offered better image quality, especially in low light. But I finally settled on the Canon S3 due to its portability and video quality. The Canon also sports a 12x zoom and unlimited burst mode, which will be useful when shooting children's sporting events. I may get a DSLR in the next couple of years, but ultimately I decided I need something that travels well and all of the family can easily use.