Odetta Holmes

Odetta Holmes, (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008) was an important musical figure during the Civil Rights Movement. Her powerful delivery of folk music, jazz, blues, and spirituals greatly influenced other musicians including, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janice Joplin during the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s.


Billy Mays Dies

Billy Mays could sell anything from Mighty Putty to OxiClean. He had people across the country whipping out their credit cards to buy an assortment of products on his infomercials. Mays died at the age of 50. 

The Strange Deaths of 10 Musical Composers

Listverse has composed a list of 10 great classical composers who died in rather dissonant ways.


The King of Pop

Michael Jackson, age fifty, has died after suffering a cardiac arrest. 

Charlie's Angels star Farrah Fawcett Dies At 62

After battling cancer for three year, actress, Farrah Fawcett dies at 62.


(Image created by Inhale)
My Milk Toof photographs the adventures of a baby tooth after the owner has placed it under his or her pillow in exchange for money. 


Mama gonna kiss that Kodachrome

Kodak is going to stop production of Kodachrome, and the one American lab that still handles the stuff will only offer the service through the end of 2010.


America's Top Second Banana Dies

TV legend, Ed McMahon, best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show has died at 86.

DC Metro Crash

At least nine people have died in the subway crash on the Red Line in Washington, D.C. Read more info here


The Man Condemned for Surviving the Titanic Disaster

Read the story on Neatorama about Masabumi Hosono, the Japanese man who escaped the Titanic but was told by his countrymen that he should have gone down with the ship.

Hosono was denounced as a coward by Japanese newspapers and fired from his job with the Transportation Ministry. The ministry hired him back a few weeks later, but his career never recovered. College professors denounced him as immoral, and he was written up in Japanese textbooks as a man who had disgraced his country. There were even public calls for him to commit hara-kiri -ritual suicide - as means of saving face.


Steal it back!

Looking for that 12 gram nugget ring someone stole from you last month? Perhaps a doubloon, or that lot of 15 cell phones you used to love so much? Head on over to this site and steal it back!


The Ventures' guitarist, Bob Bogle dies

Read the full obituary of one of the founding members of the surf-rock group The Ventures here. The New York Times focuses mainly on the band's hit version of "Walk - Don't Run."

But I also love their version of the Surfaris' famous "Wipeout":

Book Hungry!

Google and Amazon are battling out the future of the book...or one version of the book, at least.


Gay community loses trust

The Gay community expresses disappointment in President Obama's recent actions. 

Closed for Business

I went to a media conference at Gettysburg College a few months ago. All the journalists there were a twitter about twitter. I went home that night and opened up my account. So far, it hasn't had much action.  To my knowledge, not many of my college classmates are on Twitter; most prefer facebook. (Myspace is totally out.) 

I love things from the internet that hark back to an earlier time (like YOU ARE REMARKABLE that coordinates people sending strangers snail mail -- not emails! -- telling them how remarkable they are). Incorporating the new with the old seems to be a growing trend, which is why I was disappointed that I missed the deadline (by mere hours) for: the Twitter on Paper Project. Twitter on paper was a service that allowed people to request custom paper versions of Sam Pott's tweets to be mailed to them for free. 


Good for what ails you, if what ails you is "health"

Decades ago, Americans were a simpler and much, much higher bunch. Pill Talk has a great selection of classic medical ads for drugs that would now get you arrested if you tried selling them. Looking at these ads reminds me of visiting the old site of the New Orleans' Museum of the American Cocktail, which was then part of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.

Michigan Central Station

(Photo copyright Southen.)

The Detroit City Council voted in April to tear this incredible Beaux Arts landmark down. For a look inside it 22 years ago, when it was closed but still largely intact, check out this video.

Anyone know the latest status of the building?


Summer's melting ice pops

(image copyright Meredith Allen)
The last three days I have walked to work in Manhattan in the pouring rain. To my dismay, it's suppose to keep raining this week. These pictures of melting ice pops make me long for hot hot weather and endless summer. I miss the simple summers of childhood. 

The Perforating Mexicans Strike Again

Filled with skeletons and still not completely mapped, Paris' catacombs have always been fascinating. A recent Guardian article describes a secret cinema/bar in the catacombs discovered during a police training session (bizarrely, the catacombs are protected by the "sports squad"). The cinema had an motion-sensitive alarm system that sets off a tape of dogs barking when intruders entered, and the collection of videos included mostly noir films and contemporary thrillers. Since its discovery, the set-up has been claimed as the work of The Perforating Mexicans (I can't help but hope this is a mistranslation), a group of "cataphiles" dedicated to exploring (and partying) in the tunnels. 

Up in smoke

The e-cigarette is making a bid to let smokers get what they want: all the pleasure and none of the complications. They have their detractors, but on the positive side, they leave no litter and can be smoked inside. Plus, they have an eerie red tip.


North American Bats at Risk

I can think of plenty of puns to go with this piece, but rather than reducing it to Jay Leno-monologue status we should take this problem seriously: 

A mysterious fungus attacking America's bats could spread nationwide within years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century, experts warned Congress Thursday.

Displaying pictures of bats speckled with the white fungus that gave the disease its name — white-nose syndrome — experts described to two House subcommittees Thursday the horror of discovering caves where bats had been decimated by the disease.

As a state wildlife biologist from Vermont put it, one cave there was turned into a morgue, with bats freezing to death outside and so many carcasses littering the cave's floor the stench was too strong for researchers to enter.

They also warned that if nothing more is done to stop its spread, the fungus could strike caves and mines with some of the largest and most endangered populations of hibernating bats in the United States.

And in one particularly surprising example: 

"I went into a cave last spring and most damn near cried," [Marvin Moriarty, acting deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service] said in an interview after the House panel.

There were supposed to be 3,000 bats in the cave, the Greeley mine in Vermont. Moriarty and his colleagues could only find 33. 

"And I don't think a single bat was going to make it out of the cave."

Read the full Associated Press article here.

He ran his eyeballs out

This Belmont Stakes ended a dream for jockey Calvin Borel, aboard Mine That Bird: to win all three races that make up the Triple Crown. Borel won the Kentucky Derby riding Mine That Bird and switched over to the promising filly, Rachel Alexandra to win the Preakness. He went back to Mine That Bird, hoping to win the Belmont, but Mine That Bird's half brother, Summer Bird, overtook him.


A Bird's-Eye View of the Chesapeake Bay

The Washington Post Magazine has a gorgeous series of aerial photos from Maryland/Virginia's the Chesapeake Bay. Not only is it an impressive look at the region's landscape now but a visual argument for protecting the region. 


Paul Auster's Children's Book

GalleyCat relates a bizarre story from the New York Observer about a children's book that was created based on Timbuktu, an adult novel by Paul Auster. Auster was asked about the book at a recent BEA panel but didn't know anything about it and had never seen a copy.

Compare the original book and the children's version. And read the full Observer story to discover why "It’s kind of a macabre idea for a children’s book."

Protecting manuscripts from dumps and war

A major movement to protect at-risk texts is underway.



High and Dry

Most shipwrecks end up at the bottom of the ocean, but occasionally a ship ends up abandoned above water. Webphemera has some terrific pictures  of these oddball wrecks from around the world. Below is one from Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland:

Losing Inches to Escape

Jake was stuck until the pounds came off.   


Try Not to Think About That Television Show

The Times reports that an Air France Jet has disappeared while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. It's moments like these when you realize that time-travel is not the worst that can happen, and that reality is always more dangerous than fiction. Here's hoping that the passengers and crew are safe.

Last Titanic Survivor Dies

Millvina Dean was only two months old when she was rescued from the sinking Titanic. She wasn't even aware that she was one of 706 survivors until she was eight years old.