The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scary photo of an Edwardian ventriloquist and his dummy

I've always been freaked out by ventriloquist's dummies. They are bizarre and downright scary. If it were up to me, I would round them all up, along with the clowns, as ship them to Somalia, where they have even scarier things to worry about. The history of this image is unknown, so I'll let it speak for itself.

First ever Gaza Marathon - watch for Hamas snipers

The Gaza strip happens to be almost exactly the length of a marathon – 42 kilometers from north to south. In what has to be one of the craziest ideas I've ever heard, they are actually holding a marathon there on May 5.

The idea is that it’s a fundraising for the Gaza summer games. We supply these games each summer for up to 250,000 children – we have sporting activities, cultural activities and remedial activities for children there because the situation is so terrible for them in Gaza,“ United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees spokesman Chris Gunness told the Jerusalem Post.

The marathon will pass areas such as “Wadi Gaza,” where large amounts of raw sewage sits in the open air – posing what Gunness calls “a serious health risk“ that “really does stink.” He goes on to say that there are "no other war-related risks".

The Cry Baby is not a marathoner, but I have to think this would be the very, very last marathon on my list if I was. No word on how the Hamas feels about this sport, but they could always lob and missile or two into the mix to pick up the speed.

Video: How Steven Sasson invented the digital camera in 1975

Steven Sasson invented the digital camera in 1975. His invention began as very broad assignment from the Eastman Kodak Company : "Could a camera be built using solid state electronics, solid state imagers, and an electronic sensor that gathers optical information?" The 8-pound, toaster-size prototype captured an image of a lab technician, at a resolution of .01 megapixels, took 23 seconds to record onto digital cassette tape and another 23 seconds to read off a playback unit onto a television.  We can thank these modest beginnings for the modern digital cameras we have today. 

Photographer David Friedman created this mini-documentary about Sasson and his invention.

Inventor Portrait: Steven Sasson from David Friedman on Vimeo.

Video: Justin Bieber hits paparazzi with scooter on Israel trip - barely

NYC signing September 1,2009 Nintendo Store - NYCImage via Wikipedia
Justin Bieber just can't buy a break on his trip to the Holy Land. The president of Israel is refusing to meet the Biebs after Bieber refused to meet up with some kids who escaped a bus bomb blast. My guess is that the Bieber's handlers were just trying to keep him away from any situation that might be political.

He's been hounded  non-stop by paparazzi, and now he gets a little vengeance (perhaps) when he slightly hits one of the lensmen with his scooter. Fame has its price I suppose. Oh Ward, don't be to hard on the Bieber.

Video: President of Czech Republic Václav Klaus "steals" pen

President of Czech Republic Václav Klaus has been accused of stealing a pen during his official visit in Chile. The President's spokesman Radim Ochvata said it was a gift. "We at the Prague Castle always give such a pen to delegations, along with a notepad," presidential spokesman Radim Ochvat told Reuters. Maybe, but that doesn't quite explain the sneaky hand action involved in pocketing the pen. CNN is reporting that a Facebook page has been created in the Czech Republic dedicated to raising money to by Václav Klaus pens, who evidently finds them in short supply. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Japanese mafia supply earthquake aid in time-honoured tradition

Inagawa-kaiImage via Wikipedia
Inagawa-kai crest
Hours after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, twenty-five trucks filled with diapers, instant noodles, flashlights, drinks, and other goods arrived in the Tohoku region and were distributed to people in need. The people behind this charity were the Inagawa-kai, one of the largest organized crime groups in the country.

The Japanese mafia, known in the country as the "yakuza", have a long history of supplying aid in times of need. After the Kobe earthquake in 1995, the Yamaguchi-gumi crime organization was one of the first groups supplying aid to local people affected by the quake. They seek no credit for their humanitarian actions, and there is an unspoken agreement with police that they will be unmolested during these activities.

There are about 80,000 members in the various yakuza organizations in Japan. They derive their income chiefly protection payoffs, security services, financial fraud, stock manipulations, gambling, blackmail, prostitution, and loan sharking.

Read more on this fascinating crime culture on the Daily Beast, in this great article by Jake Adelstein.