Monthly Archives: December 2008

Mastering the art of the all-you-can-eat buffet

Written by 1000awesomethings

Keeps your pancakes foamy Munch lunch at a Chinese restaurant, brunch at a Holiday Inn, or dinner at a wedding reception, and chances are good you will come face to face with the The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.

If you’re a Buffet Amateur like me, your pupils dilate and your mouth starts watering as soon as you spot the long table full of steam trays and criss-crossed table cloths. Soon it’s game on, and you grab a plate and pile it high with some bread, a few salads, and a couple rolled-up salamis or a bowl of Won Ton soup. For plate number two you tackle the entrees, scooping up sticky heaps of Kung Pao chicken, soggy French Toast, or paper-thin slices of roast beef soaking in dark mushroom gravy. Then you go back for a third plate, this one featuring a tipsy mountain of desserts – maybe some assorted squares, a thick, gummy slice of cheesecake, or some fluorescent pink, freezer-burned ice cream sliding around your plate.

It begins

Then as you lay bloated on your chair, your buttons bursting, your eyelids drooping, you face a final decision: Do you go back for The Fourth Plate?

The Fourth Plate is almost always a good idea before you do it and a bad idea afterwards. It’s the helping after the helping after. It’s the Greatest Hits Plate, a star-studded collection featuring the most popular items from Plate 1, 2, and 3, coming together for the reunion tour, the last hurrah, the final dance at the dinner table.

The Fourth Plate is also a famous mark of a Buffet Amateur, because it can be the sign of someone who realizes that Plate 2 was the best plate and they really just want more of Plate 2. For years, I scarfed down The Fourth Plate at the Indian buffet near my college. Buttery, pillowy-soft naans piled high, thick and creamy Butter Chicken, and spicy, simmering lamb in a hearty broth. It was just too much. I caved in every time and walked away with a curry-busting gut and a samosa hangover.

Since then I’ve been tutored on the art of mastering the all-you-can-eat buffet. Everybody’s got their own techniques, but here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

Be a Sherlock and do a walk through

1. The Walk-Through. Don’t do what I used to do and blindly take a spoonful of everything. No, you’ve got to do your Walk-Through First. You’re a detective, popping open steam tray after steam tray, looking for recent fill-ups, traffic around popular items, and sure winners like omelet stations or a guy in a chef’s hat slicing big slabs of meat. Now’s also time for some Belly Space Analysis, where every item’s Tasty Deliciousness is weighed against it’s Projected Stomach Volume. Bread, soup, and salad rarely pass the Belly Space Analysis test. Skipping those means you just gained an extra plate and are on your way.

2. Drink Later. Sugary drinks just fill you up with carbs and cost extra. If you can postpone your Pepsi, then you’ll save belly space for the hot goods.

The Sampler takes willpower and strength

3. The Sampler. My dad is famous for the sampler plate. Within minutes of arriving he’ll dot a big white plate with small portions of every entree and proceed to say “Hmmm,” a lot while scooping up tiny forkfuls of each to see what will make the cut. You have to have willpower to pull off The Sampler, but it can be very rewarding. You know you aced it when your next plate is just piles of your two favorites. Good on ya.

4. Staggered Trips. If you’re with friends, don’t wait until everybody is done their first plate before uniformly filing up for a second trip together. No, go separately and act as each others eyes and ears out there – whats new, what’s hot, what’s fresh, what’s not. Your friends are doing their job when you see them running back to table to scream “They just brought out more coconut shrimp!” Also, be sure to designate someone at your table to be The Lookout. They should be seated with a clear view of the buffet and raise alarm whenever they see someone coming from the back with a new steam tray.

the-lookout-doing-his-job5. Big Plates Always. Be watchful of the small salad and dessert plates lurking about. Find your secret stash of full-size dinner plates and use them, know them, love them lots. The big plates will let you spread your meal around, and avoid piling things high, which generally results in meat gravy getting all over your salad.

One more egg roll

6. One More Egg Roll. When the check arrives, take your time. Slow it right down now and see who still has room. Since you’ve been so busy scarfing your food and staggering trips, now really is the best chance to catch up with your friends. Then after ten or fifteen minutes, someone will likely cave in and say “Okay, one more egg roll.” This is buffet victory.

With these tips plus your personal experiences, you too can master the art of the all-you-can-eat buffet. After that, there’s really no stopping you. So eat all you can, my friend.

Eat all you can.



Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, and here

7 Reasons Why the iPhone nano Is a Bad/Great Idea

Written by Aviv & Doug

7 Reasons Why the iPhone nano Is a Bad Idea

Apple rumors commonly take on a life of their own. The iPhone was this way, the multi-touch Mac is this way, and now the iPhone nano. However, unlike the original iPhone, and the excitement of a multi-touch Mac, an iPhone nano would overall just be a misplaced product.


Prior to Macworld 2007, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone, heated rumors were swirling much in the same way about the device. Nearly every analyst, blog, website, news publication and magazine had an inside tip, or what they thought was “credible” information about the rumored iPhone. Much in the same way the industry regards an Apple netbook or multi-touch Mac, a rumored iPhone nano has gained some major notoriety lately.

Even though a smaller device may appeal directly to a different market, we can’t help but label such a device as a bad idea. Here are a few of our reasons:

1.App Store

Apple would never sell an iPhone without the app store installed, or without the possibility of gaining access to the app store. The same goes for the iPod touch. In its relatively short existence, the app store has already been proven a smash success. RIM and Google have been left scrambling trying to spring up “app market” clones, but none have had anywhere near the impact of Apple’s app store. To assume that Apple would scale down the app store, or limit applications that would run on an iPhone nano is preposterous. Developers and designers spend massive resources both programming and designing applications exclusively for the iPhone. We can’t image that Apple would suddenly scale down the graphics of these applications, or dramatically alter the hardware that is running them which could in turn harm performance.

2.Virtual Keyboard

Some people love the iPhone’s virtual keyboard, other people loathe it. The keyboard definitely takes some getting used to, however even the most experienced iPhone user will tell you it can be an incredible drag to use. Especially if you don’t whole heartedly trust the iPhone’s spell check. An iPhone nano would require an even smaller virtual keyboard than what the current iPhone has. We just can’t see this being within Apple’s realm of possibility. For a company as focused on the end user experience, a smaller virtual keyboard doesn’t make sense.

3.The Tininess

Unless Apple is specifically designing the iPhone nano for the tiny-obsessed masses in Japan, what is the point of such a small phone? We have absolutely no complaints when it comes to the iPhone’s size, aside from hoping we get one with a bigger screen. As far as a gaming device, Apple is pushing the iPod touch and iPhone platform hard. In all honesty, it’s still a ways behind the likes of the Sony PSP (if only because of the lack of a directional pad). An iPhone nano would make gaming on the device even harder. And what would happen to games that have been developed specifically for the current iPhone? Would the graphics be scaled down? Or would the developers have to design new ones? Either way, the rumored tiny size of such a device doesn’t make sense.

4.Stripped Features

When we say Apple should persify its iPhone line, we don’t mean for them to introduce a new model with less features. Instead, expanding the top line of the iPhone family while making the current models cheaper would make more sense. Taking away GPS, 3G or any of the core technologies users currently rely on would only backfire. The iPhone nano would be stripped down of a lot of the features current iPhones have, and we simply can’t see Apple making this move. As the partnership between AT&T and Apple progresses, the 3G network has become a staple in both of the company’s advertising campaigns. Making an EDGE only iPhone nano doesn’t seem very plausible.

5.Less Storage

Yes, less storage can fit into the “Stripped Features” category, but we’re talking about portable media devices here, storage should be increasing not decreasing. Apple dropped the 4GB iPhone models leaving 8GB at the low-end and introducing a 16GB iPhone. The iPod touch tops out at 32GB and we expect new iPhones to do the same. Storage is after all what makes downloading apps, playing music and videos, storing photos, and playing games possible.

6.Worse Battery Life

The iPhone isn’t all that great when it comes to battery life. Its got an okay amount of standby time, but Apple claims nearly 300 hours. That’s completely different when you’re using the device though, and under normal circumstances a charge is needed daily. Apple claims 5 hours of talktime while using 3G, and 10 hours while using the EDGE network. Throw in web browsing, maps, and some music/video playback, and 5 hours would be a dream. An iPhone nano would have a more disappointing battery life than current iPhones, and Apple’s lack of including a user replaceable battery doesn’t help.

7.Cell Contract

A cheaper, smaller iPhone is still a phone shackled to a cell contract. Making the device smaller and cheaper would not change AT&T’s coverage rates. An iPhone nano as a gift would still be like giving someone a puppy, with an immense amount of responsibility tied to the gift. Unlike a cute iPod nano, if Apple is hoping to appeal to a new market with a less expensive iPhone, AT&T’s plans better be altered accordingly as well.

The bottom line… An iPhone is not a keychain. Instead of focusing on such a niche device with limited features and storage, we expect Apple to leave this one for the cloners.

7 Reasons Why the iPhone nano Is a Great Idea

Let me break this list down 1 by 1 and tell you why an iPhone Nano is not only a great idea. . .but also, why it would sell well.

1 – App Store – This article says that if Apple released an iPhone Nano then they wouldn’t allow the App Store on it.
This is completely bogus. The best part of the App Store is that most of the applications work on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Yes there are some that use GPS and require the iPhone 3G. . .but for the most part, it’s all compatible.

2 – Virtual Keyboard – This article says that the virtual keyboard for the iPhone Nano would have to be smaller.
The virtual keyboard for the iPhone Nano wouldn’t have to be smaller. It might need to be re-designed, but that’s it. The iPhone Nano would have the same width as the regular iPhone(as least by the concept art), it just has a smaller height. Open the Notes application and notice the extra space above the keyboard, and below the text that’s actually being typed. There is room to fit the keyboard.

3 – The Tininess – The article says the iPhone Nano would sell well in Japan(they like tiny gadgets).
The size of the iPhone has always been an issue. Yes some people would like a bigger screen for playing games, but not everyone plays games on their iPhone. Look what Apple did with the 1st revision of the iPhone(they made it smaller). . .and the same can be said with the iPod Touch. The icons that appear on the home screen are scaled down, so why wouldn’t they do it with the iPhone Nano too(with all other images).

4 – Stripped Features – This article says the iPhone Nano would have to be stripped down.
Yet another bogus prediction that has no merit. It’s almost been 2 years since the launch of the original iPhone, why would they need to remove parts. Hardware gets smaller over time and all it really takes is a re-design(internally) with new, smaller parts.

5 – Less Storage – This article says the iPhone Nano wouldn’t be able to have the storage that the new iPhone models get.
This is the only part of the article I agree with. But that is only true if you want to one with a 16GB or 32GB SSD chip. Yes there are a lot of people with iPhones that think even 32GB isn’t enough. Then again, there are people that still have a 4GB iPhone and have yet to fill it up. I could even see a 2GB iPhone Nano(micro SD cards are pretty small).

6 – Worse Battery Life – This article says the iPhone Nano would have a smaller battery, hence a shorter battery life.
Even though this has the potential of being true, I think that a smaller device would be easier on the battery. Especially when it comes to a smaller screen. Personally I don’t have an issue with the battery life. I go days without having to recharge my device. Then again I’m not using it with wifi, bluetooth, 3g, and gps all the time.

7 – Cell Contract – This article says the iPhone Nano would still require a cell contract from AT&T.
This one makes me laugh the most. Personally I think they would have done better and left it at ‘6 Reasons Why an iPhone Nano is a Bad Idea’, and left this one out. I guess fluff is fluff though right? Of course the iPhone Nano would require a contract, but did that prevent you from buying the original iPhone(or iPhone 3G)? It didn’t prevent 10+ million other people from buying it(I don’t know the exact number of iPhones sold). If you don’t like a contract, jailbreak it and unlock it(that’s what I did).

Look, there will always been a market for small devices. Whether it’s people buying netbooks instead of laptops or people buying a PSP/NDS instead of a full console. Tiny is good, even when it comes down to losing some functionality. . .Apple and Steve Jobs have proven this with the MacBook Air. The bad part is that the smaller a device gets, the more it will cost(again, refer to the MacBook Air). I wouldn’t be surprised if an iPhone Nano would cost upwards of 400-600 dollars. And just like before, there will still be millions of people willing to buy it.

Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2008

Written by Ernesto

2008 is nearing its end, time to make a list of the top 10 BitTorrent sites that got the most traffic this year. The Pirate Bay is out in the lead followed by Mininova and isoHunt. TorrentSpy shut down earlier this year and is the most notable absentee.

The list is based on traffic rank reports from Compete and Alexa, backed up by visitor reports from some of the site admins.

1. The Pirate Bay

It has been a good year for The Pirate Bay. The number of visitors spiked, despite efforts in Denmark and Italy to block access the site. Last month, The site celebrated its 5th anniversary, just after it broke the 25 million peers mark. At any given point in time, more than 25 million peers actively trade files thought the Pirate Bay tracker.

Compete rank 885 / Alexa rank 117 / 2007 #3

2. Mininova

Mininova has seen a steady rise in visitors in 2008, and more than 3 billion torrents were downloaded from the site in the past 12 months. In addition to user uploaded content, the Mininova team has started to focus more on premium publishers with their content distribution platform.

Compete rank 1,225 / Alexa rank 79 / 2007 #1

3. IsoHunt

Despite being ensnared in legal proceedings with the MPAA and CRIA, isoHunt is continuing to grow. This year they partnered with the Creative Commons music distribution site Jamendo, and just like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt added SSL encryption to the site, making it impossible for your ISP or the authorities to monitor users’ activities.

Compete rank 1,106 / Alexa rank 200 / 2007 #2

4. Torrentz, one of the oldest torrent sites around, celebrated its 5th anniversary in July. The site added a “verified torrents” feature this year, and inspired many other meta-search engines to do the same. Last month a “hacker” caused some problems after it took over the torrentz domain, but luckily this issue was resolved in a few hours.

Compete rank 2,039 / Alexa rank 220 / 2007 #4

5. TorrentReactor

TorrentReactor redesigned and optimized the site throughout 2008, which resulted in a significant increase in visitors. In addition, the TorrentReactor launched TorrentPrivacy, a service that allows BitTorrent users to download torrents anonymously.

Compete rank 2,150 / Alexa rank 532 / 2007 #9

6. Demonoid

After being forced to go offline following threats from the CRIA, Demonoid returned this April after 6 months of downtime. Since then it is business as usual, and most of the members returned quickly.

Compete rank 3,869 / Alexa rank 526 / 2007 #na

7. BTjunkie

In December 2007 BTjunkie was forced to leave their ISP following a takedown notice from the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. This year there were no troubles, and the site continues to go strong.

Compete rank 3,762 / Alexa rank 625 / 2007 #5

9. SumoTorrent

In 2007, SumoTorrent quickly settled itself among the top torrent sites, and traffic continued to increase this year. The pop-ups and redirects are new though, and don’t make it one of the most convenient sites to browse.

Compete rank 4,110 / Alexa rank 1,019 / 2007 #na

9. BTmon

BitTorrentMonster, BTmon for short, debuted in 10th place last year, and managed to climb a spot. Other than that, there is not much news surrounding the site.

Compete rank 4,737 / Alexa rank 989 / 2007 #10

10. TorrentPortal

Not much news about TorrentPortal this year either, but for BitTorrent sites that is usually a good thing. Traffic seems to be stable, although the site is not growing as fast as the other BitTorrent sites in this list.

Compete rank 4,300 / Alexa rank 1,126 / 2007 #7

Honorable mention: TorrentSpy

In 2006 TorrentSpy was more popular than any other BitTorrent site, but this changed quickly in August 2007, when a federal judge ordered TorrentSpy to log all user data. The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities, and hand these over to the MPAA.

In a response to this decision – and to ensure the privacy of their users – TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US. This led to a huge decrease in traffic, but still, it managed to make out top 10 list last year. March 2008 TorrentSpy owner Justin decided to shut down completely, and in May his company was ordered to pay a $110 million fine, which it will appeal.

List Of Very Weird Ways To Die

Collected by wikipedia


Note: Many of these stories are likely to be apocryphal (uncertain authenticity)

* 456 BC: Aeschylus, a Greek playwright, was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone. The tortoise survived.

* 430 BC: Empedocles, Pre-Socratic philosopher, secretly jumped into an active volcano (Mt. Etna). According to Diogenes Laërtius, this was to convince the people of his time that he had been taken up by the gods on Olympus.
* 272 BC: Pyrrhus of Epirus, the famous conquerer and source of the term pyrrhic victory, according to Plutarch died while fighting an urban battle in Argos on the back of an elephant when an old woman threw a roof tile at him, stunning him and allowing an Argive soldier to kill him.

* 270 BC: Philitas of Cos, Greek intellectual, is said by Athenaeus of Naucratis to have studied false arguments and erroneous word-usage so intensely that he wasted away and starved to death. Alan Cameron speculates that Philitas died from a wasting disease which his contemporaries joked was caused by his pedantry.

* 207 BC: Chrysippus, a Greek stoic philosopher, is believed to have died of laughter after watching his drunk donkey attempt to eat figs.

* 162 BC: Eleazar Maccabeus was crushed to death at the Battle of Beth-zechariah by a War elephant that he believed to be carrying Seleucid King Antiochus V; charging in to battle, Eleazar rushed underneath the elephant and thrust a spear into its belly, whereupon it fell dead on top of him

* 4 BC: Herod the Great suffered from fever, intense rashes, colon pains, foot drop, inflammation of the abdomen, a putrefaction of his genitals that produced worms, convulsions, and difficulty breathing before he finally gave up.Similar symptoms– abdominal pains and worms– accompanied the death of his grandson Herod Agrippa in 44 AD, after he had imprisoned St Peter. At various times, each of these deaths has been considered divine retribution.

* 64 – 67: St Peter was executed by the Romans. According to legend, he asked not to be crucified in the normal way, but was instead executed on an inverted cross. He said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as was Jesus.
* c. 98: Saint Antipas, Bishop of Pergamum, was roasted to death in a brazen bull during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian. Saint Eustace, as well as his wife and children supposedly suffered a similar fate under Hadrian. According to legend, the creator of the brazen bull, Perillos of Athens, was the first to be put into the brazen bull when he presented his invention to Phalaris, Tyrant of Agrigentum, but he was taken out before he died.

* 260: Roman emperor Valerian, after being defeated in battle and captured by the Persians, was used as a footstool by the King Shapur I. After a long period of punishment and humiliation, Shapur had the emperor skinned alive and his skin stuffed with straw or dung and preserved as a trophy.

* 415: Hypatia of Alexandria, Greek mathematician and philosopher, was murdered by a mob by having her skin ripped off with sharp sea-shells and what remained of her burned. (Various types of shells have been named: clams, oysters, abalones. Other sources claim tiles or pottery-shards were used.)

Middle Ages

* 892: Sigurd the Mighty of Orkney strapped the head of a defeated foe to his leg, the tooth of which grazed against him as he rode his horse, causing the infection which killed him.
* 1063: Béla I of Hungary died when his throne’s canopy collapsed.
* 1135: Henry I of England is said to have died after gorging on lampreys, his favorite food.

* 1219: According to legend, Inalchuk, the Muslim governor of the Central Asian town of Otrar, was captured and killed by the invading Mongols, who poured molten silver in his eyes, ears, and throat.

* 1258: Al-Musta’sim was killed during the Mongol invasion of the Abbasid Caliphate. Hulagu Khan, not wanting to spill royal blood, wrapped him in a rug and had him trampled to death by his horses.

* 1308: John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. according to an old tradition was buried alive following his lapse into a coma.
* 1322: Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford was fatally speared through the anus by a pikeman hiding under the bridge during the Battle of Boroughbridge.

* 1327: Edward II of England, after being deposed and imprisoned by his Queen consort Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, was rumored to have been murdered by having a red-hot iron inserted into his anus.

* 1410: Martin I of Aragon died from a lethal combination of indigestion and uncontrollable laughing.

* 1478: George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, reportedly was executed by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine at his own request.


* 1514: György Dózsa, székely man-at-arms and peasants’ revolt leader in Hungary, was condemned to sit on a red-hot iron throne with a red-hot iron crown on his head and a red-hot sceptre in his hand (mocking at his ambition to be king), by Hungarian oppressors in Transylvania. While Dózsa was still alive, he was set upon and his partially roasted body was eaten by six of his fellow rebels, who had been starved for a week beforehand.

* 1556: Humayun, a Mughal emperor, was descending from the roof of his library after observing Venus, when he heard the mu’azaan, or call to prayer. Humayun’s practice was to bow his knee when he heard the azaan, and when he did his foot caught the folds of his garment, causing him to fall down several flights. He died 3 days later of the injuries at the age of 47.

* 1599: Nanda Bayin, a Burman king, reportedly laughed to death when informed, by a visiting Italian merchant, that “Venice was a free state without a king.”

* 1601: Tycho Brahe, according to legend, died of complications resulting from a strained bladder at a banquet. It would have been extremely bad etiquette to leave the table before the meal was finished, so he stayed until he became fatally ill. This version of events has since been brought into question as other causes of death (murder by Johannes Kepler, suicide, and mercury poisoning among others) have come to the fore.

* 1649: Sir Arthur Aston, Royalist commander of the garrison during the Siege of Drogheda, was beaten to death with his own wooden leg, which the Parliamentarian soldiers thought concealed golden coins.

* 1660: Thomas Urquhart, Scottish aristocrat, polymath and first translator of Rabelais into English, is said to have died laughing upon hearing that Charles II had taken the throne.

* 1671: François Vatel, chef to Louis XIV, committed suicide because his seafood order was late and he couldn’t stand the shame of a postponed meal. His body was discovered by an aide, sent to tell him of the arrival of the fish. The authenticity of this story is questionable.

* 1673: Molière, the French actor and playwright, died after being seized by a violent coughing fit, whilst playing the title role in his play Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac or The Imaginary Invalid).

* 1687: Jean-Baptiste Lully, composer, died of a gangrenous abscess after piercing his foot with a staff while he was vigorously conducting a Te Deum, as it was customary at that time to conduct by banging a staff on the floor. The performance was to celebrate the king’s recovery from an illness.

18th century

* 1751: Julien Offray de La Mettrie, the author of L’Homme machine, a major materialist and sensualist philosopher died of overeating at a feast given in his honor. His philosophical adversaries suggested that by doing so, he had contradicted his theoretical doctrine with the effect of his practical actions.

* 1753: Professor Georg Wilhelm Richmann, of Saint Petersburg, Russia, was struck and killed by a globe of ball lightning.

* 1771: Adolf Frederick, king of Sweden, died of digestion problems on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as “the king who ate himself to death.”

* 1794: John Kendrick, an American sea captain and explorer, was killed in the Hawaiian Islands when a British ship mistakenly used a loaded cannon to fire a salute to Kendrick’s vessel.

Modern Age

19th century

* 1830: William Huskisson, statesman and financier, was crushed to death by the world’s first mechanically powered passenger train (Stephenson’s Rocket), at its public opening.

* 1834: David Douglas, Scottish botanist, fell into a pit trap accompanied by a bull. He was gored and possibly crushed

* 1862: Jim Creighton, baseball player, died when he swung a bat too hard and ruptured his bladder.
* 1868: Matthew Vassar, brewer and founder of Vassar College, died in mid-speech while delivering his farewell address to the College Board of Trustees.

* 1897: Salomon August Andrée, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg died in October 1897 at Kvitöya (White Island) (located to the northeast of Svalbard) where they had arrived after a failed attempt to reach the North Pole in a balloon. Their deaths might have been due to exhaustion but also could have been due to eating insufficiently cooked polar bear meat causing trichinosis, or carbon monoxide poisoning from the miniature kerosene stove when snow made it difficult to air out the fumes.

* 1899: Félix Faure, French president, died of a stroke while in his office. It is popularly believed that he was “in the arms of his mistress” at the time, though this may have been a misunderstanding whether of words used when the maid that found him dead had yelled in French that either his consciousness or companion had just left him.

20th century

* 1911: Jack Daniel, founder of the Tennessee whiskey distillery, died of blood poisoning six years after receiving a toe injury when he kicked his safe in anger at being unable to remember its combination.

* 1912: Franz Reichelt, tailor, fell to his death off the first deck of the Eiffel Tower while testing his invention, the coat parachute. It was his first ever attempt with the parachute and he had told the authorities in advance he would test it first with a dummy.

* 1916: Grigori Rasputin, Russian mystic, was reportedly poisoned while dining with a political enemy, shot in the head, shot three more times, bludgeoned, and then thrown into a frozen river. When his body washed ashore, an autopsy showed the cause of death to be hypothermia. However, there is now some doubt about the credibility of this account.

* 1918: Gustav Kobbé, writer and musicologist, was killed when the sailboat he was on was struck by a landing seaplane off Long Island, N.Y.

* 1923: Martha Mansfield, an American film actress, died after sustaining severe burns on the set of the film The Warrens of Virginia after a smoker’s match, tossed by a cast member, ignited her Civil War costume of hoopskirts and ruffles.

* 1923: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, became the first to die from the alleged King Tut’s Curse after a mosquito bite on his face became seriously infected with erysipelas, which he cut while shaving, leading to blood poisoning and eventually pneumonia.

* 1925: Zishe (Siegmund) Breitbart, a circus strongman and Jewish folklore hero, died as a result of a demonstration in which he drove a spike through five one-inch thick oak boards using only his bare hands. He accidentally pierced his knee. The spike was rusted and caused an infection which led to fatal blood poisoning. He was the subject of the Werner Herzog film, Invincible.

* 1927: J.G. Parry-Thomas, a Welsh racing driver, was decapitated by his car’s drive chain which, under stress, snapped and whipped into the cockpit. He was attempting to break his own land speed record which he had set the previous year. Despite being killed in the attempt, he succeeded in setting a new record of 171 mph.

* 1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.

* 1928: Alexander Bogdanov, a Russian physician, died following one of his experiments, in which the blood of a student suffering from malaria and tuberculosis, L. I. Koldomasov, was given to him in a transfusion.

* 1932: Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning after having consumed large quantities of a popular patent medicine containing radium.

* 1932: Peg Entwistle, actress, leapt to her death from the “H” of the Hollywood Sign, following her perceived rejection from the industry for which the sign stood. The day after her death, a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse, in which she was offered the lead role in a play about a woman driven to suicide.

* 1933: Michael Malloy, a homeless man, was murdered by gassing after surviving multiple poisonings, intentional exposure, and being struck by a car. Malloy was murdered by five men in a plot to collect on life insurance policies they had purchased.

* 1935: Baseball player Len Koenecke was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the crew of an aircraft he had chartered, after provoking a fight with the pilot while the plane was in the air.

* 1939: Finnish actress Sirkka Sari died when she fell down a chimney. She was at a cast party celebrating the completion of a movie, her third and last. She mistook a chimney for a balcony and fell into a heating boiler, dying instantly.

* 1940: Marcus Garvey died after suffering either a cerebral hemorrhage or heart attack while reading his own obituary, which stated in part that he died “broke, alone and unpopular”.

* 1941: Sherwood Anderson, writer, swallowed a toothpick at a party and then died of peritonitis.

* 1943: Critic Alexander Woollcott suffered a fatal heart attack during an on-air discussion about Adolf Hitler.

* 1944: Inventor and chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr. accidentally strangled himself with the cord of a pulley-operated mechanical bed of his own design.

* 1945: Scientist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. accidentally dropped a brick of tungsten carbide onto a sphere of plutonium while working on the Manhattan Project. This caused the plutonium to come to criticality; Daghlian died of radiation poisoning, becoming the first person to die in a criticality accident.

* 1946: Louis Slotin, chemist and physicist, died of radiation poisoning after being exposed to lethal amounts of ionizing radiation. He died in a very similar way as Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., from dropping a block of material on the same sphere of plutonium by accident. The sphere of plutonium was nicknamed the Demon core

* 1947: The Collyer brothers, extreme cases of compulsive hoarders, were found dead in their home in New York. The younger brother, Langley, died by falling victim to a booby trap he had set up, causing a mountain of objects, books, and newspapers to fall on him crushing him to death. His blind brother, Homer, who had depended on Langley for care, died of starvation some days later. Their bodies were recovered after massive efforts in removing many tons of debris from their home.

* 1955: Margo Jones, theater director, was killed by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.

* 1956: Nina Hamnett, artist, died from complications after falling out her apartment window and being impaled on the fence forty feet below

* 1958: Gareth Jones, actor, collapsed and died while in make-up between scenes of a live television play, Underground, at the studios of Associated British Corporation in Manchester. Director Ted Kotcheff continued the play to its conclusion, improvising around Jones’s absence.

* 1959: In the Dyatlov Pass incident, Nine ski hikers in the Ural Mountains abandoned their camp in the middle of the night in apparent terror, some clad only in their underwear despite sub-zero weather. Six of the hikers died of hypothermia and three by unexplained fatal injuries. Though the corpses showed no signs of struggle, one victim had a fatal skull fracture, two had major chest fractures (comparable in force to a car accident), and one was missing her tongue. The victims’ clothing also contained high levels of radiation. Soviet investigators determined only that “a compelling unknown force” had caused the deaths, barring entry to the area for years thereafter.

* 1960: In the Nedelin disaster, over 100 Soviet missile technicians and officials died when a switch was turned on unintentionally igniting the rocket, including Red Army Marshal Nedelin who was seated in a deck chair just 40 meters away overseeing launch preparations. The events were filmed by automatic cameras.

* 1960: Inejiro Asanuma, 61, the head of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death with a wakizashi sword by extreme rightist Otoya Yamaguchi during a televised parliamentary debate. Yamaguchi was immediately arrested and later committed suicide.

* 1961: Valentin Bondarenko, a Soviet cosmonaut trainee, died from shock after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body due to a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator. This incident was not revealed outside of the Soviet Union until the 1980s.

* 1963: Thích Qu?ng ??c, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, sat down in the middle of a busy intersection in Saigon, covered himself in gasoline, and lit himself on fire, burning himself to death. ??c was protesting President Ngô ?ình Di?m’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion.

* 1966: Worth Bingham, son of Barry Bingham, Sr., died when the surfboard lying atop the back of his convertible hit a parked car, swung around, and broke his neck.

* 1967: Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger B. Chaffee, NASA astronauts, died when a flash fire began in their pure oxygen environment during a training exercise inside the unlaunched Apollo 1 spacecraft. The door to the capsule could not be opened during the fire because of its particular design.

* 1967: Vladimir Komarov became the first person to die during a space mission after the parachute of his capsule failed to deploy following re-entry.

* 1970: Yukio Mishima, award-winning Japanese playwright and novelist, committed seppuku after failing to inspire a coup d’état at the headquarters of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in Tokyo.

* 1971: Jerome Irving Rodale, an American pioneer of organic farming, died of a heart attack while being interviewed on The Dick Cavett Show. According to urban legend, when he appeared to fall asleep, Cavett quipped “Are we boring you, Mr. Rodale?”. Cavett says this is incorrect; the initial response was fellow guest Pete Hamill saying in a low voice to Cavett, “This looks bad.”The show was never broadcast.
* 1972: Leslie Harvey, guitarist of Stone the Crows, was electrocuted on stage by a live microphone.

* 1973: Bruce Lee, a martial arts actor, is thought to have died by a severe allergic reaction to Equagesic. His brain had swollen about 13%. His autopsy was written as “death by misadventure.”

* 1974: Christine Chubbuck, an American television news reporter, committed suicide during a live broadcast on 15 July. At 9:38 AM, 8 minutes into her talk show, on WXLT-TV in Sarasota, Florida, she drew out a revolver and shot herself in the head.

* 1974: Deborah Gail Stone, 18, an employee at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was crushed to death between a moving wall and a stationary wall inside of the revolving America Sings attraction.

* 1975: Physicist and businessman Kip Siegel died of a stroke while testifying before a US Congressional subcommittee.

* 1975: Band? Mitsugor? VIII, a Japanese kabuki actor, died of severe poisoning when he ate four fugu livers (also known as pufferfish). The liver is considered one of the most poisonous parts of the fish, but Mitsugor? claimed to be immune to the poison. The fugu chef felt he could not refuse Mitsugor? and lost his license as a result.

* 1976: Keith Relf, former singer for British rhythm and blues band The Yardbirds, died while practicing his electric guitar. He was electrocuted because the amplifier was not properly grounded.

* 1977: Tom Pryce (Formula One driver) and Jansen Van Vuuren (a track marshal) both died at the 1977 South African Grand Prix after Van Vuuren ran across the track beyond a blind brow to attend to another car which had caught fire and was struck by Pryce’s car at approximately 170mph. Pryce was struck in the face by the marshal’s fire extinguisher and was killed instantly.

* 1978: Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was assassinated in London with a specially modified umbrella that fired a metal pellet with a small cavity full of ricin into his calf.
* 1978: Janet Parker, a British medical photographer, died of smallpox in 1978, ten months after the disease was eradicated in the wild, when a researcher at the laboratory Parker worked at accidentally released some virus into the air of the building. She is believed to be the last smallpox fatality in history.

* 1978: Claude François, a French pop singer, was electrocuted when he tried to change a light bulb while standing in his bathtub which was full of water at the time.

* 1978: Kurt Gödel, the Austrian/American mathematician, died of starvation when his wife was hospitalized. Gödel suffered from extreme paranoia and refused to eat food prepared by anyone else. He was 65 pounds when he died. His death certificate reported that he died of “malnutrition and inanition caused by personality disturbance” in Princeton Hospital on 14 January 1978.

* 1979: Robert Williams, a worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant, was the first known man to be killed by a robot.

* 1981: Carl McCunn paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska in March 1981 to photograph wildlife, but failed to confirm arrangements for the pilot to pick him up again in August. Rather than starve, McCunn shot himself in the head. His body was found in February 1982.

* 1981: Boris Sagal, a film director, died while shooting the TV miniseries World War III when he walked into the tail rotor blade of a helicopter and was decapitated.

* 1981: Jeff Dailey, a 19-year-old gamer, became the first known person to die while playing video games. After achieving a score of 16,660 in the arcade game Berzerk, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. A year later, an 18-year-old gamer died after achieving high scores in the same game.

* 1981: Kenji Urada – Was killed by a malfunctioning robot he was working on at a Kawasaki plant in Japan. The robot’s arm pushed him into a grinding machine, killing him.

* 1982: Vic Morrow, actor, was decapitated by a helicopter blade during filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Two child actors, Myca Dinh Le (who was decapitated) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (who was crushed), also died.

* 1982: Vladimir Smirnov, an Olympic champion fencer, died of brain damage nine days after his opponent’s foil snapped during a match, penetrated his mask, pierced his eyeball and entered his brain.

* 1983: Richard Wertheim, a linesman at the boys’ singles finals in the US open, was struck by a ball hit by a young Stefan Edberg. He toppled backwards off his chair fracturing his skull as he hit the ground.

* 1983: Four divers and a tender were killed on the Byford Dolphin semi-submersible, when a decompression chamber explosively decompressed from 9 atm to 1 atm in a fraction of a second. The diver nearest the chamber opening literally exploded just before his remains were ejected through a 24in (60cm) opening. The other divers’ remains showed signs of boiled blood, unusually strong rigor mortis, large amounts of gas in the blood vessels, and scattered hemorrhages in the soft tissues.

* 1983: Sergei Chalibashvili, a professional diver, died after a diving accident during the 1983 Summer Universiade in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. When he attempted a three-and-a-half reverse somersault in the tuck position from the ten meter platform, he smashed his head on the platform and was knocked unconscious. He died after being in a coma for a week.

* 1983: Author Tennessee Williams died when he choked on an eyedrop bottle cap in his room at the Hotel Elysee in New York. He would routinely place the cap in his mouth, lean back, and place his eyedrops in each eye. Williams’ lack of gag response may have been due to the effects of drugs and alcohol abuse.

* 1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming, playing Russian Roulette using a revolver loaded with a single blank cartridge . Hexum apparently did not realize that blanks too have gun powder that explodes into gas with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired as contact shot. This is the principle which gives a powerhead its lethality.

* 1987: Budd Dwyer, the State Treasurer of Pennsylvania, committed suicide during a televised press conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Facing a potential 55-year jail sentence for alleged involvement in a conspiracy, Dwyer shot himself in the mouth with a revolver.

* 1992: Christopher McCandless died of starvation near Denali National Park after a few months trying to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. His life and death were researched by Jon Krakauer, who then wrote the novel Into the Wild which was later turned into a movie.

* 1993: Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by Michael Massee using a prop .44 Magnum gun while filming the movie The Crow. A cartridge with only a primer and a bullet was fired in the pistol prior to the fatal scene; this caused a squib load, in which the primer provided enough force to push the bullet out of the cartridge and into the barrel of the revolver, where it became stuck. The malfunction went unnoticed by the crew, and the same gun was used again later to shoot the death scene. His death was not instantly recognized by the crew or other actors; they believed he was still acting.

* 1993: Garry Hoy, a Toronto lawyer, fell to his death after he threw himself through the glass wall on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in order to prove the glass was “unbreakable.”

* 1993: Michael A. Shingledecker Jr. was killed almost instantly when he and a friend were struck by a pickup truck while lying flat on the yellow dividing line of a two-lane highway in Polk, Pennsylvania. They were copying a daredevil stunt from the movie The Program. Marco Birkhimer died of a similar accident while performing the same stunt in Route 206 of Bordentown, New Jersey.

* 1994: Gloria Ramirez was admitted to Riverside General Hospital for complications of advanced cervical cancer. Before she died, her body mysteriously emitted toxic fumes that made several emergency room workers very ill. She has been dubbed as the “toxic lady” by the media.

* 1996: Sharon Lopatka, an Internet entrepreneur from Maryland, allegedly solicited a man via the Internet to torture and kill her for the purpose of sexual gratification. Her killer, Robert Fredrick Glass, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the homicide.

* 1998: Tom and Eileen Lonergan were stranded while scuba diving with a group of divers off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The group’s boat accidentally abandoned them due to an incorrect head count taken by the dive boat crew. Their bodies were never recovered. The incident inspired the film Open Water and an episode of 20/20.

* 1998: Daniel V. Jones committed suicide on a freeway carpool lane near Los Angeles, California by shooting himself through the chin with a shotgun, which was accidentally televised by journalists monitoring the incident on helicopters. Jones, a former hotel maintenance worker, had killed himself partly due to his frustration over treatment by his HMO.

* 1998: Every player on the visiting soccer team at a game in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was struck by a fork bolt of lightning, killing them all instantly.

* 1999: Owen Hart, a professional wrestler for WWF, died during a pay-per-view event when performing a stunt. It was planned to have Owen come down from the rafters of Kemper Arena on a safety harness tied to a rope to make his ring entrance. The safety latch was released and Owen dropped 78 feet, bouncing chest-first off the top rope resulting in a severed aorta, which caused his lungs to fill with blood.

* 2000: Jonathan Burton stormed the cockpit door of a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. The 19-year-old was subdued by eight other passengers with such force that he died of asphyxiation.

21st century

* 2001: Bernd-Jürgen Brandes from Germany was stabbed repeatedly and then partly eaten by Armin Meiwes (who was later called the Cannibal of Rothenburg). Brandes had answered an internet advertisement by Meiwes looking for someone for this purpose. Brandes explicitly stated in his will that he wished to be killed and eaten.

* 2001: Gregory Biggs, a homeless man in Fort Worth, Texas, was struck by the car of Chante Jawan Mallard, who had been drinking and taking drugs that night. Biggs’ torso became lodged in Mallard’s windshield with severe but not immediately fatal injuries. Mallard drove home and left the car in the garage with Biggs still in the windshield. She repeatedly visited the man and even apologized. Biggs died of his injuries several hours later. The 2007 movie Stuck was loosely based on this unusual death.

* 2002: Brittanie Cecil, an American 13-year-old hockey fan, died two days after being struck in the head by a hockey puck at a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena.

* 2003: Doug McKay was killed at the Island county fair amusement park when his arm was caught as he sprayed lubricant on a Super Loop 2 circular roller coaster. The ride was in operation at the time and he was pulled 40 feet in the air before falling and landing on a fence.

* 2003: Brian Douglas Wells, a pizza delivery man in Erie, Pennsylvania, was killed by a time bomb that was fastened around his neck. He was apprehended by the police after robbing a bank, and claimed he had been forced to do it by three people who had put the bomb around his neck and would kill him if he refused. The bomb later exploded, killing him. In 2007, police alleged Wells was involved in the robbery plot along with two other conspirators.

* 2003: Brandon Vedas died of a drug overdose while engaged in an Internet chat, as shown on his webcam.

* 2003: Timothy Treadwell, an American environmentalist who had lived in the wilderness among bears for thirteen summers in a remote region in Alaska, and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed and partially consumed by a bear. An audio recording of their deaths was captured on a video camera which had been turned on at the beginning of the incident. Werner Herzog’s documentary film, Grizzly Man, discusses Treadwell and his death, including the audio clip.

* 2005: Kenneth Pinyan (‘Mr. Hands’) of Gig Harbor, Washington died of acute peritonitis after submitting to anal intercourse with a stallion. Pinyan had had sex with a horse before. Pinyan delayed his visit to the hospital for several hours out of reluctance to admit what happened. The case led to the criminalization of bestiality in Washington. His story was recounted in the 2007 documentary film Zoo.

* 2005: Lee Seung Seop, a 28-year-old South Korean, collapsed of fatigue and died after playing StarCraft for almost 50 consecutive hours in an Internet cafe.

* 2006: Steve Irwin, a television personality and naturalist known as The Crocodile Hunter, died when his heart was impaled by a short-tail stingray barb while filming a documentary entitled “Ocean’s Deadliest” in Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.

* 2006: Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian State security service, and later a Russian dissident and writer, suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized. He died three weeks later, becoming the first known victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome.
* 2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, died of water intoxication while trying to win a Wii console in a KDND 107.9 “The End” radio station’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.

* 2007: Kevin Whitrick, a 42-year-old man, committed suicide by hanging himself live on a webcam during an internet chat session

* 2007: Surinder Singh Bajwa, the Deputy Mayor of Delhi, India, was kicked by a Rhesus Macaque monkey at his home and fell from a first floor balcony, suffering serious head injuries. He later died from his injuries.

* 2008: Gerald Mellin, a U.K. businessman, committed suicide by tying one end of a rope around his neck and the other to a tree. He then hopped into his Aston Martin DB7 and drove down a main road in Swansea until the rope decapitated him. He supposedly did this as an act of revenge against his ex-wife for leaving him.

* 2008: David Phyall, 50, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished in Bishopstoke, near Southampton, Hampshire, UK, cut his own head off with a chainsaw to highlight the ‘injustice’ of being asked to move out.

* 2008: Marciana Silva, 67, died after her dead husband’s coffin slammed into the back of her neck during a traffic accident en route to his funeral in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

How They Make Toys At Google

Written by Erick Schonfeld

You know those engineer elves at Google like to do things their own way. That build-it-better ethic also applies to Christmas toys. If you click on the Christmas Doodle on Google’s main search page, you will see the five images below, which shows what I can only assume is one of Google’s older engineers in his workshop with his son. He is putting together a contraption with wooden gears and tubes that create toys (and explosions too!). Those must be Internet tubes.

(Yahoo and Live Search are also celebrating today).

The top 5 Linux myths: Why you shouldn’t fear the penguin

Written by Shawn Ingram

Tux the Linux penguin
As Christmas approaches and Hanukkah comes along to the later days, there’s a chance you might be expecting a new computer, or perhaps even a netbook.

Now, what to the do with the old computer, or even with the netbook? Why not give your old computer a new life by running Linux on it? It may seem like a scary thought, but chances are you have a few misconceptions about Linux and that’s keeping you from making the jump.

Here is a list of five of the biggest Linux myths out there and how you can make Linux your friend.

5. It won’t connect to an iPod or MP3 player.

This might not apply to everyone, but to some people who only have one computer it could be a big deal. Most people now have some sort of MP3 player, and need a computer to put music on it, with special software on top of that, especially with the iPod.

Now, of course, you can’t use the App Store without iTunes (which has some problems installing with WINE), but you can easily buy songs from Amazon MP3 store, or rip them from CDs. Most music players for Linux support MP3 players, and even iPods, some like Songbird even look like iTunes if you’re almost too comfortable with the program.

4. Linux is not compatible with Mac/Windows files.

This seems to be a general misconception about computers in general. A lot of people seem to think that files from one operating system won’t work on any other one. This is true about applications, but not for the files they use or create.

If you’re working with a word processor, chance are it can export files to .doc files, which just about any program can use. Music is usually stored in MP3, AAC or FLAC files, all of which are easily usable on any platform. Having compatible files is easily avoided if you use cross-platform applications such as OpenOffice, that way you dont have to worry about exporting to other file types

3. Linux can’t play games.

This might not be important to everyone, but to some people games are the main reason why they stick with Windows. Even if all they play is World of Warcraft, they don’t want to give up their games just because thy switch to another OS.

There’s actually a lot of games that are native to Linux, though most aren’t as pretty as the newest games. There are ways to play those new games on Linux, however. There’s Codeweaver’s Crossover and Crossover Games, Cedega, and WINE (Crossover is essentially a more stable, paid version of WINE). Between these three, most popular games are easily played. I run WarCraft III on Ubuntu Eee using WINE, and it can easily handle WoW or even games liek Team Fortress 2, assuming your computer can handle it, of course.

2. Apps are hard to find.

Most Linux distros come with a lot of useful software, but sometimes you might want to replace them with something else or find something else you might want ot need. Unlike Windows, and to a lesser extent Mac, there aren’t many retail box copies of Linux software. However, with a quick Google search for “Linux apps” I was able to find Linux Online’s application page. Or, if you’re running Ubuntu, there’s Get Deb, which not only lists Ubuntu software, but also makes it really simple to install them.

1. You have to learn command line/terminal

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that I’m running Linux, and they immediately cringe at the idea of the terminal. Somewhere along the line, Linux got the reputation that it’s only usable by coders, or those who know a decent bit of code.

The same people that cringe are the same people that are surprised when I show them Ubuntu Eee. It’s possibly even more simple than Windows with the netbook remix UI, but Linux is easy even without that.

Some distributions such as openSUSE have a Windows-like start menu, some, like Ubuntu, have an applications drop menu that lists all your applications, making for an environment that should be easy for anyone. Most also use GNOME or KDE file browsers which are just as easy to navigate as Windows Explorer.

If you can possibly get past these scary ideas, I would recommend Ubuntu, or Ubuntu Eee for your Eee PC (soon to be Easy Peasy, with more netbooks supported). Also look for my article on useful applications for Linux that can replace your Windows or Mac Apps.

How To Score At Your Company Christmas Party

Written by holytaco

Company Christmas parties are about sharing a love for Christ with your co-workers, as well as finding someone to rub genitals with. We decided to show you how to do the latter.

1. Do Your Homework

Odds are there are going to be more than a few women at the office Christmas party, and they can’t all be viable options for you. You’ll have to know which chicks to watch and which ones to forget about, so it’s important to be prepared. Pay close attention on casual Fridays. If you know what you’re looking for, the smallest details can speak volumes. Watch for things like tramp stamps, exposed underwear straps, and big slutty heels. Those things say “I have in the past or still do, enjoy casual intercourse with partners I wish to never speak to again.”

2. Make Your Presence Known But Keep Focus

No one is going to bang you if they don’t know you’re there. Therefore, you can’t get sucked into the vortex of the weird IT guy who wants to corner you for forty minutes and talk to you about an episode of the original Batman series were he’s pretty sure Adam West uses the N word. The best way to avoid this is to walk past these people and point at them, while saying their name loudly and adding the suffix “-bo” to the end of it. then continue walking past them. E.g. “Tim-bo!!” If they still attempt to come up to you and engage in conversation, continue walking, and add “You’re hilarious man, I’m gonna head to the bano. We’ll talk later though.” Now you’ve complimented them, as well as substituted the word bathroom for its Spanish counterpart, which for some unknown reason, makes them think you think they’re cool.

3. Watch Who Likes Themselves Some Booze

Booze is like Jeff Goldbum, It’s really great to a point, but if you put too much of it in something it becomes really annoying. Therefore you have to make sure to keep an eye out for who’s downed what liquor and how much of it. Sure, that’s an annoying task, but so is masturbating at 4 in the morning in a Christmas sweater because you tried to take home the girl who was doing the “putting your tongue between two fingers to make the eat my pussy face” signal before they started serving dessert.

4. Smell The Desperation

The great thing about evolution is that it tells us we’re only worth as much as the highest quality penis or vagina we can find to play with us. Now, while we’re sober, we allow things like our career, or integrity to help define our worth. Luckily, booze eliminates those factors, and evolution kicks in. Their body is telling them “Unless you can find someone to make a strong child with, you’re a complete piece of shit.” Thus, the more rejections they get, the closer they are to coming to the realization that nature intended for them to die out. Once they’ve reached the point of “Only finding a penis to enter my vagina will reestablish my worth as a human being” you approach.

5. Be Ready for the Encounter

Now that your target has become sufficiently intoxicated, it’s time for her to start the hunt. Your objective here is to make it seem like she’s found you. She’ll start by drunkenly chatting up every guy in the room. Make sure that you’re toward the front of the line. Most of the dudes she chats with will be thrown by her overt drunkenness, and will stutter, stammer, or take a few moments to get into the “I’m talking to a drunk chick” zone. Those few seconds are enough to send her packing to the next witless beau, so don’t give her a chance. Be in the zone ahead of time, and be ready to engage her in a conversation that a typical drunk would enjoy. Non-sensical observations that make fun of other employees work incredibly well. E.g. “I totally agree, bob from ad sales looks like a circumcised penis.” Reciprocate body language, like touching, laughing, and eye contact.

6. Find the Point of Lowest Self-Esteem & Boost It

Have another drink on hand for this one. A quick visual survey of your target should provide you with adequate material. Odds are, there will be at least one thing that makes your penis cringe a little bit, and if you noticed it, then she is certainly aware of it. Compliment that disgusting attribute, but only once. Avoid mocking tones and gag noises at all costs, and use words like “cute”, “adorable”, and “very attractive”. Examples:

“You have an adorable underbite.”

“That’s a really cute knife-wound scar you have.”

“I have to tell you something: I find your scoliosis brace very attractive.”

7. Know exactly where you can find a taxi

If having sex with someone you work with is considered “shitting where you eat,” then having sex with someone you work with AT your company Christmas party is “shitting on what you’re eating, then eating it, while sitting in a pile of shit.” In other words, don’t do it. Before you enter the party, know exactly where you can catch a cab. Any sort of delay between deciding you’re going to have sex, and having sex, provides your partner with the opportunity to realize what a mistake their making. Drunk people are like monkeys, so if you do have to wait, keep them distracted by showing them a function on your cell phone or feeding them something that needs unwrapping.

The Best Movies of 2008

Written by Movie Retriever

It’s that time of year when critics make the often futile attempt to sum up hundreds of movies and twelve months of viewing into a nice, neat package. How do you define 2008 in movies? Personally, I found myself turning away from films that were too focused on the depressing. The movies that I loved not only transcended criticism but also were more often than not “positive.” Maybe Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky wore off on me but bleak films like Revolutionary Road, Changeling, Ballast, Wendy and Lucy, and I’ve Loved You So Long didn’t make my top twenty and I’m completely burned out on everything Nazi (The Reader, Valkyrie, The Boy with the Striped Pajamas). Not that they’re all bad, I just found myself looking for those moments of emotional transcendence instead of reminders about the bleakness of humanity. Walter’s drum-playing in The Visitor, the beautiful wedding at the center of Rachel Getting Married, the Dickensian triumph that has made Slumdog Millionaire a phenomenon, the movement of Milk, even The Ram’s final moment of twisted glory in The Wrestler, and, of course, the little robot who saved planet Earth. Blame the economy, the war, the bitter campaigns, or just the general state of the world, but the movies that really spoke to me in 2008 gave me hope, not just for filmmaking, but for life.

Before we get to the list, I feel I should address the question I’ve been asked the most this season – was 2008 a good year for movies? Let’s break it down statistically. I gave my highest rating (four stars or “bones”) less times this year – 11 out of over 200 seen – than I have since 2002 – and, to be fair, I saw half as many movies that year than I did in this one, so the percentage of quality at the top was disturbingly low. But I also gave three stars more than any other rating in 2008. So, there weren’t a lot of great movies, but there were a lot of good ones. At the same time, and I’ll get into this more in next week’s “Worst Films of 2008” article, there was an unacceptable amount of total junk – one star or less films. (I shattered my record for that rating.) More three-star films than four-star ones and more one-star films than two-stars – it seems pretty clear that everything slid down a notch, making 2008 not a very good year. But we’re here to stay positive. These were the best…

Acclaimed films of 2008 that I didn’t get a chance to see that could have conceivably made this list: August Evening, Before I Forget, Cadillac Records, Chop Shop, The Flight of the Red Balloon, Frozen River, My Winnipeg, Shotgun Stories, and Waltz With Bashir

Runner-ups: Burn After Reading, Che, The Class, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, The Edge of Heaven, Pineapple Express, Sangre de mi Sangre, Snow Angels, Still Life, Tell No One, Transsiberian, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Wendy & Lucy

Brian Tallerico


10. Hunger

Remember what I said about emotionally positive movies in my introduction? Forget that for just a little bit. Steve McQueen’s stunning dissection of the human power to choose the mental or even the spiritual over the physical is one of the most riveting films of the year. Almost dialogue-free except for a 17-minute, unbroken conversation that sets up its final act, Hunger is the story of IRA prisoners led by Bobby Sands (Michael Fassbinder) and their decision to go on a hunger strike. The first half of the film ping-pongs protagonists from a cop in the prison to one of the physically-abused inmates to eventually Bobby himself. Seemingly disjointed but stunningly photographed scenes like the cop washing the wounds on his hands (from beating prisoners) to an amazing sequence visualizing the physically violent way the inmates are cut and cleaned add resonance to Sands’ decision, which takes center stage in only the final act. But McQueen isn’t mythologizing Sands or hunger strikes. Hunger may not be thematically “positive,” but in seeing the striking visual sensibility of one of the best directorial debuts of the year, I certainly felt something close to elation at the use of the form.


9. Let the Right One In

Speaking of debuts, Tomas Alfredson made one of the best of the year with his riveting tale of vampire in love, Let the Right One In. I mistakenly gave the film only three-and-a-half “bones” the first time I saw it. Watching it again and letting it sink in from the first viewing, it deserves four. One of the things that struck me most both times I saw Let the Right One In is the way Alfredson and his cinematographer turn their snow-covered setting into a character in their brilliant blend of adolescence and blood-lust. Who’s more emotionally isolated than the awkward pre-teen? The awkward, pre-teen vampire who literally can’t be close to anyone. And the isolation of puberty is amplified by a cold, snow-covered setting that forces everyone indoors. Oskar is drawn to Eli partially because she’s the only other child on the playground. Their love story is one of the best of the year, a beautiful tale of how much we are willing to forgive to keep the one person (or vampire) who has ever loved us close.


8. The Visitor

Walter Vale is one of the most full-realized, believable characters of the year and it’s in the way that writer/director Thomas McCarthy and actor Richard Jenkins bring him to vivid life that gives The Visitor its beating heart. The Visitor is as full of life as any film in 2008, partially because it’s about a man who discovers the passion for his own in the most unusual of places – his own apartment. I hate it when people try to classify The Visitor as a movie about our nation’s ignorant and stupid immigration laws. Yes, that’s part of the fabric of the story, but The Visitor is a much more complex film than that. It’s a beautiful, heartwarming story of a man who opens his closed heart to music, friendship, and love. When Walter plays his drum in that final scene, he does so with anger at what happened to his friend Tarek, but also as a tribute to the man who changed his life by merely being a visitor to this country.


7. The Wrestler

The Wrestler is almost more remarkable for what it’s not than for what it is. A film about an over-the-hill wrestling superstar who can find no happiness or stability outside the ring – and increasingly less inside of it – it could have been a melodramatic, soapy mess. There’s even yet another stripper with a heart of gold, one of the most overdone clichés in movie history. But Darren Aronofsky, Mickey Rourke, and Marisa Tomei take the stereotypes and make them genuine again. The physical and emotional pain of Randy “The Ram” Robinson feels completely real in every single scene of The Wrestler. Rourke has been praised for giving one of those soul-baring, physically demanding performances that you only see every few years, but it’s a part of the realism that Aronofsky is going for in the entire piece. Even the emotional confrontation with his estranged daughter, an underrated Evan Rachel Wood, which would have been pure soap opera in another director and actor’s hands, feels painfully honest.


6. Happy-Go-Lucky

I can’t shake Poppy. I think about her back story, what happens to her in Happy-Go-Lucky, and I wonder what she’s up to now. Maybe she’s been so memorable in part because I think she’s been so miscategorized by people instantly turned off to a character whose main goal in life seems to be to try to make everyone happy. But Poppy is not naive. She’s not blissful in ignorance. That’s a misreading of the film. When she encounters the abuse of one of her young students, she doesn’t ignore it. She doesn’t believe in blind love with her new beau. She even knows that Scott, her sometimes violent driving instructor, is a little crazy. Like Walter and Randy, Poppy is fully three-dimensional and, in bringing her to life, Sally Hawkins gives the most memorable performance of the year. Happy-Go-Lucky is a hard movie to define. It has its comedic moments but also goes to some dark places. And what’s the message of Mike Leigh’s movie? I’m not sure there is one. I think it’s just a classic character study and the one this year that has most imprinted herself on my brain.


5. Rachel Getting Married

Jonathan Demme’s best film since Silence of the Lambs is one of his most personal. Surrounded by musicians, multi-cultural artists, and good friends, Rachel Getting Married is like Demme’s dream wedding. How better for a filmmaker to capture what thematically needs to be an overwhelming declaration of love than to do so with music he loves (it’s no coincidence that the groom sings Neil Young) and people he honestly cares about? Into this atmosphere of overpowering warmth comes a woman who can no longer feel love. She doesn’t even think she’s worthy of God’s love. Hathaway’s award-winning portrayal of Kym, the deeply damaged sister of the titular Rachel, provides the perfect counter-balance to the cinematic wedding of the decade, but the entire ensemble excels in Demme’s creatively rewarding environment. Rachel Getting Married is one of the most unique movies of 2008 because it’s filled with dichotomies. Slowly paced yet riveting. Painfully emotional yet not melodramatic. Loving and filled with self-loathing. And brilliant in every scene.


4. Slumdog Millionaire

When I was writing the introduction to this piece, I was looking for a word other than “triumph” to describe Slumdog Millionaire but nothing seems nearly as appropriate. Danny Boyle’s best film is about the human will’s ability to triumph over any kind of adversity. It’s turned into the sleeper hit of the year because of its power to inspire every audience that sees it. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t leave the theater for Slumdog Millionaire with a smile on their face. Simon Beaufoy’s Oscar-worthy screenplay distills a book full of what were basically short stories into a study about the importance of life experience over purely intellectual pursuit. And with Boyle’s masterful direction, they turn the story of a lucky young man on a crash course with destiny into an inspirational film that everyone can relate to around the world. We’d all like to think that the ups and downs of our life have an end-goal and that, even though we may not know every answer on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, our life experience has led us to where we are for a reason. Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of 2008 because it takes the amazing and makes it relatably inspirational.


3. Milk

Speaking of inspirational, just as you shouldn’t trust anyone who’s not smiling at the end of Slumdog Millionaire, stay away from anyone unmoved by the best film of Gus Van Sant’s career and the best performance of Sean Penn’s. Milk is a masterpiece. It’s easy to write a movie about a martyr and, in lesser hands, that’s exactly what Milk would have been. But Harvey himself would hate a movie that turned him into a martyr, so Van Sant and should-be-Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black did something a lot more complicated and made a movie about a movement. Milk is a movie about the painful steps that the homosexual community has had to make just to be seen as equal. Black and Van Sant film every element of Harvey Milk’s life in that context. So, we see the impact of his drive for gay rights on his lovers, most notably in performances by James Franco and Diego Luna. We see him run repeatedly for office, picking himself up and trying again when he loses. And we see the impact of Milk’s movement on the damaged soul that would take this inspirational man’s life because he couldn’t get a grip on his own in Josh Brolin’s incredible portrayal of Dan White. As 2008 has painfully taught us, the gay rights movement is far from over, but no film has ever captured the importance of the continued struggle as vibrantly or brilliantly as Milk.


2. The Dark Knight

What more is there to say about The Dark Knight? Is it the best superhero movie ever made? There’s no contest. Seen outside of the blurry haze of the summer movie season, The Dark Knight looks even more accomplished than it did earlier this year. So much has been written about Heath Ledger’s riveting portrayal of The Joker – and I’m certainly a part of the chorus calling for him to win Best Supporting Actor – but he’s just one piece of the amazing puzzle that director Christopher Nolan put together for The Dark Knight. It’s one of the most technically accomplished films in YEARS from Wally Pfister’s gorgeous use of shadow and light in his award-worthy cinematography to the spectacular score by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer to the editing, costume design, etc. Leave Ledger’s performance aside and The Dark Knight would still make this list. Perfectly conceived, paced, and executed, The Dark Knight not only raises the bar on superhero movies – that’s a given – but it also raises the bar on what we should expect from our entertainment.


1. Wall-E

Believe it or not, even a critic as cynical as I am is really just looking for that theatrical experience that transcends what we do. The movies that I find most notable are almost always the ones that simply make me forget about the review I inevitably have to write. It’s the rare film that a critic can just let wash over them and take them away from their profession. Most of us are sitting there in the dark taking notes, trying to grab quotes or ideas for our inevitable review. But when a movie can make a critic stop pre-planning their review and just enjoy the experience, well, that’s rare indeed. Pixar has that power and never more so than in their best film, the masterpiece that is Wall-E. Director Andrew Stanton and the team at Pixar proved yet again that they are filmmakers truly willing to take the biggest risks that reap the biggest rewards. A movie with almost no dialogue, references to Hello Dolly, and set in the overdone genre of science fiction? Wall-E was a HUGE risk. They swung for the fences and they hit a home run for the ages, a movie that people will be watching for generations to come. It’s one of the few films from 2008 that I can guarantee you will last throughout the years. The little robot that could is the star of not just one of the best movies of the year, but one of the best of the decade. 2008 may not have been a good year, but any that gives us a movie as treasured as Wall-E isn’t half-bad either.