Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Most Popular SFW & NSFW Failblog Pics of the Decade

Collected by nealrodriguez

SFW Fails

Ranked from least to most popular by my fam @ Failblog.org.

13

Homework Fail

12

Google Suggest Fail

11

School Bus Fail

10

Graffiti Win

9

Attempted Murder Fail

8

Serious Text Fail

7

Audi Billboard Fail

6

Denial Fail

5

Object Group Fail

4

Bill Payment Win

3

Bambi Fail

2

Congratulations Fail

1

Sneaky Restaurant Fail

NSFW Fails (stop scrolling if you’re under 18. I’m watchin!)

3

Gummy Fail, Dirty Mind Win

2

Parenting Fail

1

Epic Math Fail

Bonus:  Worst Elevator Ever ??

His and Her Reactions to Awkward Roomate Situations

Written by Emily

Situation: Not Doing the Dishes

Hers: “Someone left their dishes in the sink! Someone who eats Lucky Charms! Didn’t you buy Lucky Charms? I really don’t want to point fingers, I want to share the responsibilities of living together, but it just upsets me when people don’t respect my space and thus, don’t respect me. We can all be adults about this and talk it out. If it doesn’t change, I’m going to schedule a mediation with the RA.”

His: “Whoa, check out this mold! Cool!”


Situation: Keeping the Lights/Music on Late

Hers: “Hey, um, so, I noticed your light is still on, and it’s, like, 3AM.”

“I’m just having a hard time falling asleep.”

“Oh my God, is there something you need to talk about?! Is this about Brad? It is, isn’t it.”

“I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to be with me!”

“You’re so much better than him! I’m coming over there and we are spooning until you feel better!”

His: “Shut off that fucking light or I will smother you to death with this pillow once you do finally fall asleep.”


Situation: Not Cleaning the Bathroom

Hers: “Help! The tub isn’t draining because of all of this mold! I don’t understand how it happened, I cleaned the bathroom last Saturday and then this Saturday…as long as you cleaned it…this shouldn’t be happening! Maybe we have an extreme drainage mold problem and we need to call maintenance! That is…if you cleaned on Saturday like the bathroom chart said you were supposed to…”

His: “Isn’t your mom visiting this weekend? Do you think you can get her to clean the bathroom?”


Situation: Using Your Stuff

Hers: “Someone is using my bath towels because I keep finding them folded a different way. I really don’t want to make things weird, I’m sure it’s my problem, but it bothers me…I don’t want to resort to writing a passive-aggressive article on College Humor so you get the picture!”

His: “Dude, seriously. Is that my towel?”

“My bad. Wanna play XBox?”

“Sure.”


Situation: Bringing Home a Special Friend

Hers: “Nice!”

His: “Nice.”

Bonus:   If I Had One Hour to Live

You Missed It: Most Unfairly Overlooked Movies Of The Decade

Written by Josh Tyler

When people look back on the early years of the new millennium they’ll remember it for movies like The Dark Knight and Lord of the Rings. Or they’ll geek out with their friends about the cult classics they discovered together, rewatching copies of the original version of Donnie Darko or spreading around copies of Idiocracy and laughing at its accuracy. Or we’ll remember the prestige movies, the big Oscar winners like No Country For Old Men and Chicago.

But in a better world, maybe we’d remember these movies. These are the other guys, the great films you missed through circumstance or stupidity, through studio stumbling or simply bad timing. The best movies don’t always get seen, the best movies don’t always win the awards. This isn’t a list of critically acclaimed indies which didn’t do well at the box office, or films with huge fan followings which couldn’t get anyone else to turn out (sorry Serenity). Nor is this a list of movies which flopped at the box office but later found cult success. These movies fell between the cracks and never really found the audience they deserved. When you’re thinking back on the aughts, you won’t think of these films, but maybe you should. Consider giving these movies a second chance. Unique and strange, funny and weird, challenging and sexy; they’re the most unfairly overlooked movies of the past decade.

Black Snake Moan (2007)

Samuel L. Jackson will be forever remembered for Pulp Fiction but he gives the best performance of his career as Lazarus, an aging, god-fearing blues man in Black Snake Moan. When he finds a half-naked, whored-up party girl (Christina Ricci) lying in his driveway, he carries the beaten up, high, and unconscious hottie into his house, nurses her back to physical health, and soon decides the writhing, sexed-up, drugged out girl’s mental health is his responsibility as well. His southern hospitality goes a little too far when he chains the girl to his radiator to keep her out of trouble, but despite the chains Black Snake Moan is a movie about healing and redemption. Writer/director Craig Brewer’s film is smart and savvy but the movie’s also a big bomb of sensuality and southern grit. Soulful, down and dirty blues grinds its way through the movie as the soundtrack of Lazarus’s life. It’s sweet sound that stitches this underappreciated, brazen film together. Why didn’t anyone see it? I can’t explain it as anything other than uptight Americans skipping it based on the posters which featured Ricci scantily clad and in chains. Ironically, it’s a deeply spiritual film, one with a lot of good things to say about the religious fervor which likely kept audiences away in the first place.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Shane Black’s wicked script and the spot on timing of Robert Downey Jr., and most especially Val Kilmer as the hilariously named detective Gay Perry, made Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang the most badass piece of film noir since Fred MacMurray dropped dead in Double Indemnity. But this was before Robert Downey’s big return to the limelight, back when he was still in recovery mode and everyone still seemed to be boycotting him. So this murder mystery went unwatched and what should have been Robert Downey’s coming out party ended up on dusty, video store shelves where it was eventually shoved out of the way to make room for more copies of Iron Man. But it’s better than Iron Man and ten times more fun. The chemistry between Kilmer and Downey is spot on, they’re a classic on screen duo the kind which deserves a whole series of movies. Now the continuing adventures of Harry Lockhart and Gay Perry will never happen and all I can do is plead with you to hop on to Netflix and give Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang a chance.

Zack and Miri Make A Porno (2008)

It was supposed to be filmmaker Kevin Smith’s breakout hit but whether because of bad timing or bad titling Zack and Miri barely managed to tread water, bringing in the same, limited crowd which show up for all of his films. But this was the Kevin Smith that deserved to be seen by the masses, a raunch-comedy of Apatow proportions which kills with out of control laughs and adult sincerity. It features stellar performances from Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks, who, come together in one awkwardly perfect moment to create what is almost without question one of the greatest, most strangely moving fully-clothed sex scenes ever captured on screen. It’s also sweet, really sweet and romantic in a way the title probably doesn’t suggest. Most of all though it’s funny, really funny, in a way we’ll probably never see from Smith again. The movie’s failure has prompted the indie director to abandon his more personal filmmaking style in favor of taking on big studio projects. The next time you see his name on screen, it’ll be in the closing credits of a buddy cop movie.

Frailty (2001)

Bill Paxton is at his absolute freakiest in this little seen horror movie about fundamentalism gone awry. At first he’s father to a happy little family. Father and two sons, they live in small-town Texas minding their own business, until of course Dad gets a message from God. God says there are demons in the world and it’s up to Pop and his sons to destroy them. One catch, the demons look like normal, every day humans. Older brother Fenton is skeptical but his young brother Tommy has a case of hero worship, and does whatever Dad says. As the kids are perverted and twisted into serial killers and as the body count rises, the movie becomes a spine-tingling thriller of the highest order; a slow, creepy build with a mind-blowing twist ending that would have left you shattered if, of course, you’d seen it. Paxton is brilliant and sympathetic… even while scaring the hell out of you. Most of all it’s the subtle little touches that make it so goddamn disturbing. There’s a moment when Dad threatens a supposed demon with an axe and in the background, if you listen closely you’ll hear Tommy whisper, “kill him” off camera and in the background. It’s a small touch, but one that sticks with you in the dark ride on the way home. Is that Tommy whispering for your death in the seat behind you? Maybe you’re a demon. Maybe you deserve death.

The Girl Next Door (2004)

The Girl Next Door had the gross misfortune to be released at the height of America’s religious fervor back in 2004. The Passion of the Christ was the biggest movie in the world and covering up Janet Jackson’s nipples was our new obsession. So it’s no surprise that a no holds barred teen raunch-comedy would slip out of theaters with barely a notice. That doesn’t make it right. Sure The Girl Next Door is down with nudity and sex as entertainment and sure a lot of it takes place at a porn convention. But Emile Hirsch plays the lead and makes it something special beyond that, with a character that it becomes impossible not to identify with while whatever crazy hijinks ensue. It’s legitimately hilarious and beneath the movie’s tits and ass veneer is a movie that John Hughes would have been proud to call his own back in 1984. Timothy Olyphaunt steals scenes as a porn king and the movie’s soundtrack kicks ass. Even now it seems like somewhere along the way there should be some sort of cult audience for a movie like this. Maybe it’ll find it yet.

City of Ember (2008)

We’ve been awash in second-rate fantasy movies since the very first Lord of the Rings, so perhaps it’s understandable that audiences would give this one a pass, assuming perhaps that it’s another lame entry in the vein of Legend of the SeekerCity of Ember is anything but. It dared to be different. The story of a lost, steam-powered city buried deep beneath the ground after the apocalypse should have been a crowd pleaser with stunning, eye-popping set design and a big stars in Tim Robbins and Bill Murray. Unfortunately 20th Century Fox seemed to forget to advertise it and its detailed set design and complex world of decaying civilization unspooled unwatched in theaters. Still there’s never been anything quite like City of Ember, a complete picture of a dying civilization and the struggle of a scant few to find a way to escape it. It’s ambitious and smart, and nothing like any other fantasy movie you’ve seen.

Jet Li’s Fearless (2006)

While over the past decade other aging action stars like Jackie Chan abandoned their ass-kicking ways in favor of Disney-style babysitter comedies, Jet Li delivered one of the biggest roundhouse kicks of his career. Jet Li’s Fearless embodied everything that has made Li, Li. As so many of these movies are, it’s set in China’s past, but in a way that’s utterly grounded. There’s no fantasy here and the fight scenes are gritty and feel completely real. They’re even more eye-popping because of it and it contains some of the best fights this side ofDrunken Master II. But more than that, it’s a deeply personal film for Li and it shows in his performance which is, easily, the best of his career. It’s based on the life of Huo Yuanjia, a real person who changed the path of Chinese fighting away from killing towards a simple battle of skill. He made it dishonorable for fighters to kill their opponents in the ring, and started the Jin Wu Sports Federation to ensure that future generations would learn from his mistakes. Apparently one member of those future generations was Jet Li who delivers a movie of deep honor, style, and intensity. And you missed it.

Below (2002)

Take The Hunt for Red October and turn it into a ghost story and you’d have Below, the scariest movies ever to take place below the waves. In the midst of World War II the submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark prowls the ocean on a rescue mission. But below the surface, the sub’s walls are closing in as the ship’s shell-shocked crew falls prey to sensory delusions and mental madness which send them over the edge. Or is it real? The ship could be haunted or cursed and they could be a damned crew sinking rapidly toward their doom. It’s a psychological thriller and a war movie and a study in what happens when men spend too much time in confined spaces all at once. Or maybe it really is the story of a horrific underwater haunting. Below keeps you guessing and wondering and scared shitless throughout it’s entire running time. For some reason though, this taut little thriller never got a decent theatrical release. It was dumped in a couple of theaters without advertising where, it never had a chance. Now’s your chance. Grab a copy on DVD, if you can find it.

Choke (2008)

Vile, seedy, and morally bankrupt Choke didn’t contain any fight scenes so no one bothered to see it. Sex doesn’t sell, apparently, but a good decapitation does. Amoral and filthy in the most glorious of ways, Choke starred Sam Rockwell as a sex addict and historical re-enactor who wanders through life screwing everyone he knows. Based on a book by Fight Clubauthor Chuck Palahniuk, it’s viciously funny and, in a dark and twisted way, even a little poignant. But a confusing theatrical release pattern made it nearly impossible to figure out where or if it was ever playing and so Choke just sort of passed everyone by. Deep conversations about relationships are had during handjobs and true love is uncovered while trying to convince a stripper she has cancer. It’s the film’s seediest moments that seem the most real,when Victor’s life is at its most despicable and unstable Choke shines. With the help of one of the coolest soundtracks you’ve never heard (Satan Said Dance!) it creates something unlike anything else you’ve never seen on screen.

Ghost Town (2008)

Do mainstream audiences know Ricky Gervais? Ghost Town proved rather definitively that they do not. Geeks know who Ricky is, but there simply aren’t enough nerds left out there anymore to matter. They’re all on the internet or they’ve morphed into Twilighters or something. But Ghost Town was a surprisingly smart, funny, and emotional movie. The premise seems stupid (A man talks to the dead? Doesn’t seem fresh does it?) but Gervais was too brilliant to let it stay that way. He makes magic out of thin air. If only anyone had shown up to see him do it. What if Jesus had turned water into wine in an empty room? Would we still have Christianity? If people had bought tickets to Ghost Town, would we be praying to Ricky Gervais? Maybe we should be anyway.

25th Hour (2002)

In 25th Hour Edward Norton gives what is perhaps the best performance of his career in what is easily one of the best movie’s of Spike Lee’s filmography. Norton plays a convicted drug dealer headed to prison for seven years. Before he goes Monty Brogan has twenty-four hours to say goodbye, and he spends most of them coming to grips with his father and friends while venting his anger and frustration at the path he’s taken. Anyone who’s seen it will particularly remember Brogan’s massive tirade against New York, America and everyone in it. “Fuck you all,” says Monty Brogan as his anger pours out of the screen. It’s Lee’s most compelling and thoughtful film, one that puts a new spin on the types of choices we’re all faced to make. You’ll identify with Monty Brogan, or you would have, if the movie had gotten enough attention to talk people into seeing it. A little movie like this needs support from critics and awards givers and somehow, 25th Hour never really got it.

Open Range (2003)

The Western has been dead since Lonesome Dove and shows no sign of returning. When they’re attempted we tend to instantly dismiss them, and usually with good reason, as yet another carbon copy of the hundreds of Westerns which have come before. Maybe that’s why so much of the world missed out on Open Range, easily the best Western sinceUnforgiven and perhaps even worthy of being listed as one of the best ever made. Opening with a beautiful and irresistibly realistic portrayal of trail riding life, Open Range eventually morphs into a balls to the wall, shoot-em-up save the town flick. It’s the chemistry between Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall that sells it, their interplay coming easy and slow, with a sometimes humorous and sometimes touching chemistry that would normally seem impossible to achieve with two such staunchly stoic characters. I suppose it also doesn’t hurt that Duvall blows a guy to hell through a wall, with the rumbling blast of a killer shotgun. It’s a visually stunning, gripping film. One which probably deserves to have been seen on the big screen, but since you missed that, just make sure you see it.

Spartan (2004)

David Mamet’s films are usually an acquired taste but Spartan is a rare Mamet effort that works on slightly more accessible level. Nameless special operations soldier played by Val Kilmer, at the forefront of a massive manhunt for a kidnapped VIP. Who Kilmer is and just who it is that he’s hunting unfolds as a part of the events swirling around the film, never as a piece of obvious exposition that awkwardly lays things out for you. Mamet never really explains anything and the movie just sort of happens as if we’ve really stepped into the middle of something. And since it’s a Mamet movie, yeah sometimes it’s talky. But it’s also an action packed, gritty thriller. An intense military puzzle which doesn’t wait around for you to figure out the answers and leaves you with plenty to ponder later.

The Lookout (2007)

Scott Frank’s brilliantly written and directed heist movie should have earned, at the least, an Oscar nomination for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Instead, in part because it was released too early in the year to stick with Oscar voters and in larger part because it never received any real promotion, almost no one seems to realize it exists. The Lookout stars Levitt as a young man with brain damage. He’s not exactly stupid he just has trouble keeping things straight. Through circumstance he finds himself involved in a complicated heist plot and things spiral out of control while Levitt tries to remember brush his teeth. Jeff Daniels co-stars as a blind roommate and delivers one of the best visually impaired characters this side of Scent of a Woman. But Gordon-Levitt is the film’s anchor and he’s stupendous in his portrayal of a former prom king reduced to disability assistance and a janitorial job at the bank after a reckless accident. The heist plot is just the icing on the cake as Levitt’s Chris Pratt gets in over his head.

Eagle vs. Shark (2007)

This is the movie Napoleon Dynamite wanted to be. Funny and quirky but without the vicious hatred for its own characters that seems to seep throughout Jared Hess’s cult hit, Eagle vs. Shark is a beautiful and delicate where Dynamite is clumsy and stupid, an awkward film about awkward people looking for someone. It’s the performance of unknown New Zealand actress Loren Horsley that really carries it. Lily is a completely magical character. Shy and uncomplaining, Lily says little but somehow says everything. Horsley makes her incredibly alive for a woman of so few words. On the outside she’s a façade of almost painfully shy reserve, on the inside she burns with passion and bravery unmatched by any woman you’re likely to see in any other film.

The Woodsman (2004)

It’s a testament to just how good The Woodsman is that everyone ignored it. The topic is pedophilia and we’re not talking about some revenge fantasy in which a pedophile gets his due. Instead it stars a pedophile and what’s more a nearly sympathetic one. Kevin Bacon plays a man struggling with his own inner demons, as a recovering molester who served his time and now desperately wants to reintegrate into normal society. But he’s at odds with himself, fighting to resist the urges inside him, his own lust for little kids. It’s a compulsion. one which he doesn’t want to give into but almost can’t resist. The Woodsman tackles its topic with unflinching determination, showing the true face of what is definitely a sickness, without in any way condoning it. Bacon deserved and Oscar and the film deserved accolades, but awards givers and critics mostly refused to touch it, scared away by just how raw and real The Woodsman is. Without anyone to champion it, most audiences never even heard about it, and so what may be Kevin Bacon’s greatest and most horrifying performance sits on a DVD somewhere, unwatched and underappreciated.

Grindhouse (2007)

Grindhouse was the most fun to be had in theaters in a decade, so of course no one bothered to show up for it. Audiences were confused by the premise and intimidated by the four or five hours necessary to sit through two movies back to back. But those who took the plunge had a blast. Sure Tarantino’s half, Death Proof, is talky and slow. There’s a decent car chase, but he spends most of his running time wandering around the rural areas outside Austin with annoying coeds. But the fake movie trailers shown during intermission are comedic gold and Robert Rodriguez’s zombie film, Planet Terror, is as insane and over the top as Tarantino’s movie is not. It’s more than enough to compensate for Quentin’s inexplicable naval gazing. He has a stripper with a machine gun leg! What’s not to love? The real tragedy here is that it’s just not something you can properly experience at home on DVD. Grindhouseis all about atmosphere, and you can’t get atmosphere at home on your couch. If you missed it in theaters, then you missed it.

The Weather Man (2005)

Nic Cage’s complicated character study The Weather Man is downbeat and dejected, by design. So maybe it’s understandable that no one showed up to see it. Sure it’s not the quick and easy gratification we’re used to but there’s something emotionally connected about Gore Verbinski’s movie. Cage has taken a lot of crap for making, well, crap over this past decade. But this is one of his true gems. It’s the story of a weatherman named Dave, but not a meteorologist, who’s good at his job but finds no satisfaction in it. He only spends two hours a day doing actual work, the rest is spent looking awkward and unimpressive while the real meteorologist figures out what Dave is supposed to say. Sometimes people throw things at David. His life is going badly and that’s just one of the symptoms. Weirdly, it’s so downbeat it’s actually funny. The jokes and the misery play off one another, amplified by the contrast between them. At some point Dave’s unhappiness becomes so profound it becomes intentionally hilarious.

The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)

In an era of sexual repression Bettie Page got out the whips and chains, but there’s more to her biopic than the kink you’ve seen on posters flaunting the iconic pin-up. Gretchen Mol delivers an epic performance as Page, who, didn’t really understand the impact her pictures had in a time when sexual repression and censorship fought with freedom. She challenged the establishment, but almost inadvertently. For Bettie, it was just a good time playing dress up. The story of America’s first sex icon is compelling and yeah, of course, also sexy as hell. But mostly it’s the story of a beautiful, purely innocent soul and a love for life which made her sometimes dark pinup pictures endure and end up on your bi-sexual girlfriend’s t-shirt. Unfortunately awards voters overlooked Mol’s performance and, of course, general audiences were scared off by nudity. Oh the irony.

Stardust (2007)

Stardust was really weird, but knew it and seemed to have no problem poking fun at itself and the fantasy genre for just how strange it all is. That wickedly sarcastic sense of fun made the story of a boy’s quest to save a fallen star (which happens to be a woman) with the help of unicorns and gay air pirates one of the most inspired bits of filmmaking in the last decade. A lot of the credit has to go to director Matthew Vaughn who took an 80s story in the vein of Willow or The Dark Crystal and used his own sense of style to make a completely unique fantasy film. So of course no one saw it. As funny and engaging as the movie was, it proved too challenging for the average moviegoer. Stardust was another flop. Let’s hope Matthew Vaughn’s next movie, the equally inventive looking superhero movie Kick-Ass, fares better.

Open Water (2003)

Open Water is the exact opposite of almost every horror movie you’ve seen lately. A couple on holiday goes scuba diving and through accidental circumstances gets abandoned out in the ocean without a boat, all alone, with sharks circling around. What follows is pure, gut-wrenching terror as they float together, waiting for death as sharks circle and clouds form and things go from bleak to certain doom. It’s an exercise in stripped down restraint, almost the entire movie is spent on these two people. It works because they seem so real, they’re any couple you’ve known. Maybe they’re you and your mate. Open Water is Jaws on a much more intimate and personal level. Its unflinching, uncompromising approach not only makes you afraid to go in the water, but makes you question all sorts of things about the way you spend whatever amount of time you have left on rock hard earth. It’s the kind of movieParanormal Activity was supposed to be, and wasn’t. So of course no one saw it, preferring instead to watch the same horror movie over and over again, in which a large man with a knife chops off pretty girls’ heads.

Death at a Funeral (2007)

It’s getting remade with Chris Rock in the lead but before you bother with the redo you owe it to yourself to catch the original, one of the funniest movies no one has ever seen. Directed by the great Frank Oz, Death at a Funeral takes an ensemble cast and drops them into the funeral from hell. There’s a blackmailing midget and a drugged out Alan Tudyk. The body in the casket isn’t the family’s beloved father and the oldest son is trying to keep it a secret. Cranky uncles and insane family members abound. The only reason you haven’t already seen it and pronounced it one of your favorite movies is because, for some inexplicable reason, MGM never bothered to market it. Even surprisingly few critics saw it. There’s literally no way the remake can top it, so why settle for second best when you can pick up the original comedic insanity on DVD?

The Wackness (2008)

The Wackness, despite a lot of buzz from blogs like this one, was another victim of Sony Pictures Classic. They’re the indie distributor you don’t want buying their movie. They release the occasional Rachel Getting Married but for the most part, SPC is where good indies go to die. And The Wackness is a good indie. Those who have seen it know that it’s a special little film, a perfect homage to growing up in the 90s, even for those of us who didn’t grow up in New York dealing pot. Josh Peck, who till now had shown no aptitude for well, anything, acts his ass off and Ben Kingsley does the most strangely effective and affecting Robin Williams impression I’ve seen since Williams did one of himself in Aladdin. Oh and it has one of the Olsen Twins! Wait, that may not seem like a positive. But really she doesn’t suck. A movie where an Olsen Twin doesn’t suck? Come on, that has to be something pretty dope doesn’t? Seek it out. Watch it. Itunes the soundtrack and imagine the Fly Girls dancing in your living room while you listen. You’ll thank me for it.

How To Add 20 Best Features Of Other Browsers to Firefox

Written by Varun Kashyap

Firefox is a great browser and we all love it but you might have at some point however tried different browsers. I bet you had a feature or two that you really loved in them and wished one browser could have all you need.

Well as it stands today, with so many Firefox addons, almost anything is possible in Firefox. Here are some add-ons that add common features of various browsers that are not present in Firefox by default:

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the one browser that really comes close to being the default browser on my computer. Extensions are possible but the API is limited. Once the extensions API opens up you can expect to see a slew of extensions for the Chrome browser as well.

Here are some Firefox addons that replicate the features found in Chrome:

  1. Locationbar2 – Adds Chrome-like domain highlighting and other interesting features to the Firefox address bar. It allows you to click on segments of the URL for navigation. The colors and text are customizable according to your liking.
  2. New Tab Jumpstart – Replaces Firefox’s default start page with a Chrome-like start page displaying thumbnails and recent history. Although the start page’s design has changed in the latest version of Chrome, jumpstart still offers you the start page from previous versions.
  3. Chromifox Extreme – If you like the looks of Google Chrome you should check out the Chromifox extreme theme. It’s as close as you would get to the Chrome look and feel. If the title bar irks you, you can try Chromin Frame. It didn’t work on my side when I was writing the article so you might want to keep that in mind.
  4. Download Statusbar – Chrome displays downloads at the bottom of the window whenever you start one. Download statusbar lets you do just that in Firefox. You can customize it with a host of options and appearance settings. It also features a mini mode, which you can use if you would want to save on screen real estate sometimes.
  5. App Tabs – Lets you pin selected tabs permanently to the tab bar. The tabs are locked and remain open across different browser sessions until you explicitly close them.
  6. Mozilla Prism – Lets you prism applications from Firefox. The applications can be opened using a shortcut just like any normal desktop applications and feature a minimum browser UI.
  7. Omnibar – Omnibar is a nice attempt (although it falls short) at replicating Chrome’s incredible address bar and what all you can do with it.

Firefox’s Newer Versions

Quite a lot is known about how upcoming Firefox releases will look like and what they will all feature. Here are some Firefox addons that let you enjoy those features in Firefox 3.5:

  1. Ctrl+Tab – Lets you switch and list tabs by using the Ctrl + Tab shortcut. So what’s new about that? Ctrl+Tab presents an Alt+Tab like UI, which lets you see thumbnails of all open tabs when you hit ctrl + tab.
  2. Tab Progress Bar – Displays a progress bar on top of each tab.
  3. Strata40 and Stratabuddy – These are more for the visual overhaul than functionality. Here is a glimpse of what Firefox looks like after installing Strata40 and Stratabuddy

Opera

  1. All in One Sidebar – Opera features a very functional sidebar. You can get a sidebar for Firefox using the excellent All in One Sidebar extension.
  2. FireGestures – There are many Firefox addons that add the ability to execute commands using gestures. FireGestures lets you do almost all of them. You can use mouse movement gestures, wheel gestures, rocker gestures and keypress gestures. An absolute must try if you love mouse gestures in Opera.
  3. ImgLikeOpera or ImgLikeOpera Reloaded – These add-ons give you greater control on how Firefox loads images. You can block images altogether, display cached images only or load all images. You can also selectively load images if you have turned them off for some reason.
  4. Smart Stop/Reload – I absolutely loved the idea of a single button that acts as stop and reload depending upon current browser activity. If a page is currently being loaded the button changes performance to the ’stop loading’ action, else it acts as a reload/refresh button.
  5. FireTorrent – Opera can act as a bittorrent client. If you want to add such capabilities to your Firefox install have a look at FireTorrent.
  6. Speed Dial – The name says it all. It replicates Opera’s speed dial which is shown on new tab pages. I personally prefer it over something like Newtab Jumpstart, mainly because of too much information that the latter presents. The add-on gives you access to the 9 most visited websites from the new tab page.
  7. Tab Preview – Gives you a thumbnail representation of the contents of any tab when you hover over it within the tab bar.

Internet Explorer

  1. Fireclip – Loosely replicates the Web Slices feature that is available in Internet Explorer 8. The addon lets you clip various parts of a web page and monitor them for change
  2. myFireFox – A theme that simulates the IE8 look and feel.

Safari

I must confess that I am not a big time Safari user so I am looking for your help on this. I had it on my computer for maybe an hour or so before I got sick of it. So based on that little meeting, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Fission – Takes the progress bar inside the address bar. You can customize the color or use your own images as the progress bar. Neat!
  2. Tabs Open Relative – This add-on makes new tabs open next to the currently selected tab, instead of opening it all the way to the right at the end of the tab list.
  3. FoxTab – Brings cool 3D effects to Firefox. It replaces the default tab switching action with something a lot more spectacular. Not only that, it offers you different layouts in which tabs are arranged when you summon FoxTab’s powers

You can of course mix and match all these. In fact many of them could have easily featured under more than one browser category. App Tabs and Fission could have been mentioned under upcoming Firefox features while tabs open relative could have been featured under Opera as well. The Firefox addons mostly play well with each other, themes can cause the occasional problems, in which case you can always switch back to the default theme, or start Firefox in safe mode.

Got some more suggestions? I am sure you do. There is always a little more when talking about Firefox addons. Share your recommendations in the comments.

Funniest email conversation ever?

Shared by Boris

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Monday 16 November 2009 2.19pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Logo Design

Hello David,

I would like to catch up as I am working on a really exciting project at the moment and need a logo designed. Basically something representing peer to peer networking. I have to have something to show prospective clients this week so would you be able to pull something together in the next few days? I will also need a couple of pie charts done for a 1 page website. If deal goes ahead there will be some good money in it for you.

Simon

From: David Thorne

Date: Monday 16 November 2009 3.52pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Logo Design

Dear Simon,

Disregarding the fact that you have still not paid me for work I completed earlier this year despite several assertions that you would do so, I would be delighted to spend my free time creating logos and pie charts for you based on further vague promises of future possible payment. Please find attached pie chart as requested and let me know of any changes required.

Regards, David.

Fwd  Pie Charts %E2%80%94 Inbox 20091204 101416 This must be the funniest email conversation ever

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Monday 16 November 2009 4.11pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Logo Design

Is that supposed to be a fucking joke? I told you the previous projects did not go ahead. I invested a lot more time and energy in those projects than you did. If you put as much energy into the projects as you do being a dickhead you would be a lot more successful.

From: David Thorne

Date: Monday 16 November 2009 5.27pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Dear Simon,

You are correct and I apologise. Your last project was actually both commercially viable and original. Unfortunately the part that was commercially viable was not original, and the part that was original was not commercially viable.

I would no doubt find your ideas more ‘cutting edge’ and original if I had traveled forward in time from the 1950’s but as it stands, your ideas for technology based projects, that have already been put into application by other people several years before you thought of them, fail to generate the enthusiasm they possibly deserve. Having said that though, if I had traveled forward in time, my time machine would probably put your peer to peer networking technology to shame as not only would it have commercial viability, but also an awesome logo and accompanying pie charts.

Regardless, I have, as requested, attached a logo that represents not only the peer to peer networking project you are currently working on, but working with you in general.

Regards, David.

Fwd  Pie Charts %E2%80%94 Inbox 20091204 101805 This must be the funniest email conversation ever

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 11.07am

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

You just crossed the line. You have no idea about the potential this project has. The technology allows users to network peer to peer, add contacts, share information and is potentially worth many millions of dollars and your short sightedness just cost you any chance of being involved.

From: David Thorne

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 1.36pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Dear Simon,

So you have invented Twitter. Congratulations. This is where that time machine would definitely have come in quite handy.

When I was about twelve, I read that time slows down when approaching the speed of light so I constructed a time machine by securing my father’s portable generator to the back of my mini-bike with rope and attaching the drive belt to the back wheel. Unfortunately, instead of traveling through time and finding myself in the future, I traveled about fifty metres along the footpath at 200mph before finding myself in a bush. When asked by the nurse filling out the hospital accident report “Cause of accident?” I stated ‘time travel attempt’ but she wrote down ’stupidity’.

If I did have a working time machine, the first thing I would do is go back four days and tell myself to read the warning on the hair removal cream packaging where it recommends not using on sensitive areas. I would then travel several months back to warn myself against agreeing to do copious amounts of design work for an old man wielding the business plan equivalent of a retarded child poking itself in the eye with a spoon, before finally traveling back to 1982 and explaining to myself the long term photographic repercussions of going to the hairdresser and asking for a haircut exactly like Simon LeBon’s the day before a large family gathering.

Regards, David.

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 3.29pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

You really are a fucking idiot and have no idea what you are talking about. The project I am working on will be more successful than twitter within a year. When I sell the project for 40 million dollars I will ignore any emails from you begging to be a part of it and will send you a postcard from my yaght. Ciao.

From: David Thorne

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 3.58pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Fwd  Pie Charts %E2%80%94 Inbox 20091204 101857 This must be the funniest email conversation ever

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 4.10pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Anyone else would be able to see the opportunity I am presenting but not you. You have to be a fucking smart arse about it. All I was asking for was a logo and a few pie charts which would have taken you a few fucking hours.

From: David Thorne

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 4.25pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Dear Simon

Actually, you were asking me to design a logotype which would have taken me a few hours and fifteen years experience. For free. With pie charts. Usually when people don’t ask me to design them a logo, pie charts or website, I, in return, do not ask them to paint my apartment, drive me to the airport, represent me in court or whatever it is they do for a living. Unfortunately though, as your business model consists entirely of “Facebook is cool, I am going to make a website just like that”, this non exchange of free services has no foundation as you offer nothing of which I wont ask for.

Regards, David.

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 4.43pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

What the fuck is your point? Are you going to do the logo and charts for me or not?

From: David Thorne

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 5.02pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Fwd  Pie Charts %E2%80%94 Inbox 20091204 101936 This must be the funniest email conversation ever

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 5.13pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Do not ever email me again.

From: David Thorne

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 5.19pm

To: Simon Edhouse

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Ok. Good luck with your project. If you need anything let me know.

Regards, David.

From: Simon Edhouse

Date: Tuesday 17 November 2009 5.27pm

To: David Thorne

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Logo Design

Get fucked.

The original post, written by David Thorne, with more background information is here.

The Top 4 Risks You Face When You Use Facebook

Written by Tobias Verhoog

facebook risksFacebook is continuing to grow and has passed the 300 million user mark. Every 100 million extra have added faster. The first 100 million obviously took years, but the second 100 million took eight months and the third 100 million took about 5 months.

Facebook attracts all kinds of people and connects people from all over the world. From your old high-school friends to your colleagues or even your parents (unfortunately).

Now, as any Windows user can tell you, with size and high market share come risks and attention from people with bad intentions.

So what are the main Facebook risks you need to worry about while staying connected to your friends or growing your crops?

Facebook Risk #1: Remember Who Your Visitors Are

facebook risks

When you receive friend requests often, it might be tempting to accept them all. You might be thinking the more the merrier or you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you should really remember who you have friended over time.

There are multiple examples of people who have said too much on Facebook and have got in trouble for it. If you call in sick for work or school make sure you haven’t posted photos from the boozefest of the night before, or the citytrip you’re making today.

Also don’t forget that one of the first things employers do when looking at job applicants is Google them and trying to find them on Facebook.

The way I see it you have to make a choice between writing everything you want on your profile while restricting the people you allow very much and choosing your words and photos very carefully and allowing everyone.

For more information on how to safeguard your Facebook privacy read this article by Mahendra. He explains things like lists, photo privacy and application use. When you do friend your boss, co-worker or anyone else with whom you don’t want to share everything with read this article by Tim.

Facebook Risk #2: Protect Your Private Information

That sounds pretty straightforward right? Keep your private information to yourself because it’s private. You wouldn’t give your credit card number or street address to any stranger in the street so you have even less reason to give it to any stranger on Facebook. You should also be careful because other than your own private information you can give individuals or applications the possibility to access the information of your private friends and even talk to your friends in your name.

Because of this it is important to mind what applications you use. I say use and not authorize because every application you use, you also authorize.

facebook risks

You can keep an eye on which applications you have authorized by going to “Settings” and clicking “Application Settings“. Then, on the “Show” dropdown menu select “Authorized” and you’ll see the applications that can access your data and are allowed to post and view information from your contacts.

You can also completely remove applications here or even block them from contacting you, so you’ll never get superpoked again. It’s also wise to have a look at your own stream now and then, just click on your name at the top of the page. It may be a bit narcissistic but just view it as taking a look in the mirror to see what you’re presenting to other people.

risks of using facebook

You can control which friends or other contacts can see what information when you go to the “Setting > Privacy Settings“. There you can also have a look at your profile the way other people see it. Beware that networks are usually authorized, but can be very large. Many people are, for instance, members of the network of their city or country which can be millions of people. When you go to “News Feed and Wall” you can also deauthorize Facebook to show your name to your friends in social ads. This can happen when you’re a fan of a page. It is not true that Facebook uses your photos in ads. Read more on the Facebook blog.

risks of using facebook

Facebook Risk #3: Treat Strangers As Strangers

risks of using facebookYou don’t know a person right away when you meet them in real life, but online it is even more difficult to get a feeling of who you’re dealing with. Some people make a sport out of exaggerating or making up their life or persona. Even worse, some people make it their business.

People only need a little of your personal information to take over your identity and apply for store cards or even commit crimes in your name. Social engineering, the process of tricking people into giving information has always been around, but is especially useful on Facebook. Ryan has written an excellent and controversial post on how to trick people on Facebook in giving up their data. It might help you protect against these kinds of attempts.

Some people use Facebook precisely to meet strangers, in the form of dating. While this can of course be fun you should treat strangers as strangers. Even when you’ve known people for over months online and connect spiritually, you still don’t know much about them.

Pictures also don’t prove much. Never send money to people asking for it. Don’t give out your home address. If you want to meet in real life just meet in a public place with lots of people where you can leave within five minutes if you smell something fishy or the date is just disappointing. It’s OK to check some of the claims a person makes, like by calling the company he or she works for to ask if that’s true.

Facebook Risk #4: Internet Addiction

It may become increasingly attractive to wander around in the virtual world. This of course counts for anything online that’s entertaining, but Facebook lends itself very well to sucking you in and keeping you there for hours on end. There are so many things to do, chatting with friends, looking at photos or posting your own, playing a game or searching for old classmates.

It’s not good when this starts to become a large part of your life and gets in the way of other things that need to happen or activities that are fun like hanging out with friends in real life. Just try to keep an eye on the time you’re spending there and take a break now and then. You can use Facebook as an reward after useful things are done. Remove a game that is taking up too much time or maybe take an entire break from Facebook for a week or so. The harder that is, the bigger your problem.

It might look as if I condone the use of Facebook and try to say that behind every avatar there’s some pervert that’s trying to scam you out of your money. This is of course not the case and you should use Facebook as it’s intended; hanging out with friends and having some fun. It’s just that online relationships are different from relationships in real life and when love or money are involved strange things may happen.

Images credit: Todovisual, Sappymoosetree

6 Places You Should Not Attempt to Have Sex

Written by Toyama

We’ve all been there, the sore knees or dirty looks the next morning. At the time you thought it was a good idea. When the passion (or moral disregard) sweeps you up and you end up having sex somewhere you probably shouldn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, if I can get my “p” in a “v”, I’ll try basically anything that comes to mind, but there are certainly more desirable ways to do it than others. I’m going to take a look at the others…

I think I’ll do these in chronological order, as it’s probably funnier if you learn with me. The first time I had sex out of a bed it was an attempt on a black leather loveseat in my mom’s basement. Granted, the couch had absolutely no padding and was wrought with hard wood (pun intended, score) digging into us at all different angles, but the simple fact is that there is no way the both of you can get this done on a love-seat if you’re not experienced. I’ve watched a lot of porn and thought I worked well from example but that is simply not the case. I definitely could have passed a written test but when put into practice I failed miserably. You can’t go missionary as the couch is too short and there’s really nothing for you to get a good hold on and provide some serious thrusting action. The only thing that did kind of work to get one member in the other was me just sitting on the couch and her cowgirling me. Plus, all that butt sweat on the couch still freaks me out to this day. There wasn’t much thrusting action as we both kind of just sat there but her knees were killing her and we eventually moved to the carpet.

Which is also a terrible place to have sex. This is what the term rug burn was invented for. In a regular missionary, your knees are going to get dominated and the entire back of her body will be burning within two minutes. And not because of the Chlamydia you just gave her either. You can try every single position in the Kama Sutra but no matter how you slice it, somebody is going to have rug burn to the point of bleeding when it’s all over.

kitchen-sex

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The kitchen is in my opinion one of the hottest places to have sex. It just screams of “we shouldn’t be doing it here but we can’t really wait to get to the bedroom”. I’ve attempted counter-tops, bar stools and the kitchen table, and seen some pretty impressive work in videos too, but you should by no means drop to the tile. Tile is so painful to attempt to have sex on that I’ve never even made it past ten seconds. There’s that little point right below your kneecap, where your tibia ends, that your entire weight of your body is pressing on. Your knee will begin to hurt within seconds and I might say that this is the most uncomfortable feeling in the world. If you absolutely must do it on the kitchen floor, I would suggest taping some potholders to your knees to minimize injury and bruising.

Which brings me to my next point. They’re called hardwood floors for a reason people. I know they look like they want you to root a special friend on them, but do yourself a favor, throw down a lambskin rug or something. Getting down in front of the fireplace on the hardwood floors does sound incredibly manly but, like the kitchen tiles, there will be bruising and any time you try to jockey some position that is functional in sex in any way, your knees will hurt like nothing else. If you can manage to get yourself a dead animal to have sex on, then by all means lay that rug out on the hardwood and let her rip. There’s really nothing like the feel of a lambskin rug on your back when your p’s in a v. Don’t forget to share the wealth though. You have to let her on her back and you do some of the work too. We are all equals now.

hardwood-floor-sex

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When I was growing up, I couldn’t afford to move out until I was twenty so I got to have sex numerous times in my Volvo. Granted, I had some of the best times of my life under bridges in that piece of shit car but I also learned some serious lessons. The driver’s seat of a 1985 240DL does not go back far enough to make sex possible. Well, technically, I guess possible, but still, not really all that fun. And fun is what it should be all about. Let’s look at this from a mechanical point of view: The man will have to be on the bottom here, there’s just no way she’s gonna be sitting down and you could fire your unit down into her lap. No, I just don’t think so. Anyways, once we’ve got the girl in the boy’s lap, put the seat back all the way and unless you’re boning Kate Moss, her ass is going to be rubbing your steering wheel something fierce. Probably okay for you (until you want to drive back) but a pain in the ass for her (again, that pun was intended). Quit being a lazy ass and get her into the back seat. I have accomplished some amazing things in the back seat of that Volvo and you’ll be surprised just how much is possible. You’ll want to put both seats as far forward as they go and you’ll be pumped you didn’t spend all that money on a motel. A car is a great place to get laid if you can’t do it at home, but do yourself a favor and don’t even try it in the front seat.

volvo-sex

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What is with you people that insist on having sex in public washrooms? I mean, first of all, that’s just nasty, people fecalate in there. My buddies have told me stories of getting laid in stalls. I don’t understand who is bashful enough to hide in the stall, but not self conscious enough to do it in a public washroom. You really think nobody knows what’s going on in there? Nasty. I guess it would be possible to bend her over the bowl and nail her from behind but then she has basically got her face in the toilet and you’re the jock giving her the swirly. The only other arrangement that makes any sense to me is having her sitting on the seat as if she’s deucing. Again, this is just gross but the public toilets that lack that front part of the seat might add a couple extra much needed inches of maneuvering space. I figure you’d have to be really comfortable with your balls repeatedly hitting porcelain. You will never catch me nailing some chick in a bathroom stall. If I’m ready enough to nail a chick in a public washroom, it’s going to be on the counter right next to the sink and soap. I’ve seen some incredible work done in videos having the chick sit up on a countertop. I’ve even done it myself in my own bathroom, but it was awesome height placement. Everybody was happy, especially me.

pubwashroom

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In conclusion, public washroom stalls are the most uncomfortable place to have sex, not physically, but mentally. I’ve done it in a few places out of a bed but there’s just no way I could get any work done in a bathroom stall. The idea that people could walk in and mock my lackluster technique would bother me way too much. Plus it’s just disgusting.

Bonus:  Just Do It

15 Brand Names Decoded

Written by Olivia Putnal

Learn where these popular company names originate from

Some time or another, you’ve probably contemplated how the name Walmart came about, or how a name like Starbucks became so popular. We’ve wondered the same things, so we set out to learn the origins of 15 popular brand names. Check out how some of the most-favored brands began their corporation and who or what sparked the inspiration for its name.

Sephora

One of the most well-known beauty stores actually began in France in 1969 and later opened its first US store in 1998 in New York City. Sephora gets its name from a blend of two words. The first is the Greek word “sephos,” which means “pretty,” and the second is the name “Zipporah” who, according to the Bible, was the wife of Moses known for her beauty. Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

Banana Republic

This popular and classic clothing store began in 1978 with founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler. The name was meant to reflect the originality and travel theme that the store wanted to maintain. Photo by Retna.

GEICO

Have you ever wondered what these letters stand for? At the start of the company, founder Leo Goodwin’s first goal was to attract the U.S. government employee and military personnel demographic. “Government Employees Insurance Company” was the initial slogan. Photo courtesy of Geico.com.

Google

Believe it or not, the word “Google” was a play on words by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1997. They longed for a name that would reveal the wide range of information that lives on the Web; the word “Google” was derived from the mathematical term “googol,” meaning a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Photo courtesy of Google.com.

Yahoo

Another brand name that originated as an acronym, Yahoo stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” Creators Jerry Yang and David Filo transformed “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” in 1994 into the search engine site that we have today, claiming they also liked the actual definition of a yahoo meaning “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Photo courtesy of Yahoo.com.

LEGO

Created in 1934 from the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which means “play well,” the name LEGO was later found to mean “I put together” in Latin—the perfect description for this beloved children’s toy company. Photo courtesy of Lego.com.

eBay

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar originally started a website called AuctionWeb for listing, viewing and placing bids on the products. When his wife mentioned she wanted to find other PEZ collectors to trade with, the process began for a new and improved site. At that time, Omidyar’s web consulting company was called Echo Bay Technology Group, however, when he tried to register the domain name EchoBay.com—it was already taken. So he settled on a shorter version: eBay.com. Photo courtesy of ebay.com.

Wendy’s

We all know and love the familiar face of the owner and spokesperson for this American fast-food chain, Dave Thomas. When challenged to create a business could compete with Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1969, Thomas came up with Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant, naming it after his daughter Melinda’s nickname, Wendy. Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

Walmart

After touring the country in order to become familiar with everything discount retail, Sam Walton began the Walmart phenomenon with his wife in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962, gaining inspiration for the name from the couple’s own last name. Photo courtesy of Walmart.com.

Gap

Gap Inc. was started by Donald and Doris Fisher with the dream of a clothing store that bridged the generation gap. The store was meant to target a younger generation, but in a classic, yet casual way. Creator Don Fisher “couldn’t find a decent pair of jeans that fit him, so in 1969 he solved his problem by creating the Gap brand.” Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

Target

In 1962, the first Target store opened its doors in Minnesota. The Director of Publicity, Stewart K. Widdess, described his thinking behind the creation of the store name and logo: “As a marksman’s goal is to hit the center bull’s-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to community, price, value and overall experience.” Photo courtesy of Target.com.

Borders

This reliable bookstore was named after the original founders, Tom and Louis Borders, who opened an 800-square-foot used bookstore in 1971, calling it simply Borders Book Shop. As the company expanded over the years, the name has remained the same. Photo courtesy of Borders.com.

McDonald’s

The world’s largest chain of hamburger fast-food joints was founded by none other than Dick and Mac McDonald in 1948. The only items originally served were the classic hamburger, cheeseburger and an assortment of drinks, potato chips and pie. The hamburger was first priced at only 15 cents! Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

CVS Pharmacy

When this retailer opened its doors in 1963, selling only health and beauty products and later adding the pharmacy departments in 1967, the letters stood for “Consumer Value Stores.” Now, present CEO, Thomas Ryan, likes to say the letters represent “Convenience, Value and Service.” Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

Starbucks

Surprisingly enough, this well-liked coffeehouse got its name from the first mate in Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. Originally called Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices, it has since had its name shortened to Starbucks Coffee Company. Photo courtesy of Nelson Cupeles.

12 Thoughtful Xmas Gifts That Are Better Than Expensive Ones

Written by BillShrink

It’s the same story every Christmas, isn’t it? Without fail, the same expensive “big ticket” items top seemingly everyone’s wish list. Whether it’s expensive jewelry, new cars or the latest video game system, each Christmas is inseparably linked with the hot gifts everybody wants that year. And sure, dropping big bucks on these items is a pretty sure-fire way of pleasing the people on your Christmas list. But what about originality? Believe it or not, you can put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars – and without the same impersonal, cookie-cutter gifts everyone else is obsessing over. Here are 12 thoughtful Christmas gifts that show you did more than swipe a credit card.

Scrapbooks

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It’s a cliche, but sometimes the most warmly appreciated gifts are those that come from the heart. And few gifts are more heartfelt and personal than a lovingly constructed scrapbook. Whether the intended recipient is a spouse, child or friend, a scrapbook filled with your most cherished shared memories is sure to elicit smiles and appreciation for years to come. Fill it with anything significant that the two of you have shared: pictures, movie stubs, vacation tickets and souvenirs, bumper stickers, inside jokes, and anything else that captures your unique relationship with that person. The result will be a treasured keepsake your recipient enjoys forever.

Collages

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A great supplement or replacement for a scrapbook is a collage. Think of it as a scrapbook of just pictures. Begin with a large canvas (poster board works great) and a shoebox of pictures. Then, try to arrange them on the canvas in some symbolic or meaningful way. For example, if the recipient is your boyfriend or girlfriend, consider arranging photos of the two of you from different periods of time – say, beginning from when you met and ending with the pictures most recently taken. Much like a scrapbook, a well-done collage is more meaningful than any store-bought item because it is literally a tribute to one or two unique people. ScrapBooks.com and similar websites offer great deals on starter supplies for any scrapbook you choose to create.

Pandora Charms (have unique meanings)

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Jewelry makes a great gift, but it isn’t usually very customizable. The diamond bracelet you buy your wife or girlfriend is being purchased by hundreds (if not thousands) of other men the very same day you bought yours. A rare exception to cookie-cutter jewelry are Pandora charms. Unlike most jewelry, Pandora bracelets and charms are 100% customizable. Begin with a bracelet or necklace and attach any of literally hundreds of different charms, ranging from animals to astrology signs to flowers. The charms can be purchased at virtually any mall in the country and at numerous online retailers.

Gift Certificates (spa, etc.)

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Some may be surprised to see gift certificates listed as a thoughtful, personalized gift. It is widely believed that gift cards reek of thoughtlessness. However, seen from another perspective, they might be the most personal gift you can give. Yes, it’s tough to put an original spin on a gift card to Subway or Burger King. But what about gift certificates to places you know the intended recipient loves, like bookstores or health and beauty spas? Chances are, these people have long lists of books they’d like to buy “eventually” or spa treatments they’d love to try “someday.” With some thoughtful gift card purchases, you can give these people exactly what they’ve been longing for all year.

Artifacts From First Meeting or Date

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Call us cheesy, but what better way to make your better half happy on Christmas morning than with artifacts from your earliest encounters? If you met on a beach, go back one day (alone, of course) and scoop up a small bottle of sand from where you met. If you met at a park, go and pick some fresh flowers and snap a photo of where you were standing. If you met at a bar, see if you can buy a glass or souvenir with the bar’s name on it. The idea is showing that your first kiss or meeting was memorable enough to you to encapsulate into a gift many months or years later, in recognition of when it all began.

Memory Boxes

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Another heart-warming way of capturing personal memories in your Christmas gifts is the memory box. Generally speaking, a memory box contains memorabilia from throughout your friendship or romantic relationship with another person. But remember – just because a gift is heartfelt doesn’t mean it has to be tacky. Don’t use a cheap cardboard box from the garage. Instead, visit a website like FindGifts or a local arts and crafts store. Special boxes are available for just this purpose, some of which can even be engraved with special quotes or phrases that personalize the memory box even more.

Locket With Photo Inside

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No list of thoughtful Christmas gifts would be complete without the locket and photograph. There’s a reason so many movies and soap operas show distressed women drawing comfort from having her husband or boyfriend’s picture close at heart. Dripping with personality and sentiment, it’s a gift all women love – and for good reason. If you’re looking to show a casual girlfriend that you’re ready to start taking things seriously, a locket with your photo inside (or one of the two of you) makes a wonderfully thoughtful Christmas gift!

Homemade Tree Ornaments

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One of the criminally under-appreciated romantic or family bonding moments of the Christmas season is decorating the tree. Luckily, this presents an opportunity for the creative gift-giver to work their magic. Homemade and personally significant Christmas tree ornaments make great gifts. Just wait until decoration night comes and all the usual ornaments are already put up. Then, spring out your gift-wrapped ornament and tell the recipient that they forgot one. Let them open it and watch their eyes widen with excitement.

Books

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Unlike many gifts, books must be selected with particular people in mind. Your 15 year old nephew wont like the same books that your 40 year old sister does. This makes books an ideal choice for personalized and thoughtful gift-giving. If you have an avid reader (or several) on your gift list, think long and hard about the types of books they enjoy. Which books have you seen them reading or heard them talking about? Better yet, do they have public wish lists on websites like Amazon? Before long, you should have all the clues necessary to buy books that your recipients will truly enjoy getting as Christmas gifts.

Games

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If you have young sons, daughters, nephews or nieces, what better to give them than the classic board games every generation loves? No child should grow up without playing Monopoly, Life, Clue or the other myriad games that make up traditional, early childhood play. If you’re looking for an alternative to mind-numbing shoot-em-up video games, look no further. These classics will develop critical thinking skills, stimulate imagination, and create priceless memories for any young person you give them to.

Movies

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The movie buff on your list will be happier to receive some timeless flicks than just about anything else you could buy them. Much like book-buying, being selective is critical here. Different people are going to like different kinds of movies, and you don’t want to be “that guy” who just buys whatever big box-office hit came out on DVD last week. Try to pay attention to the types of movies the recipient enjoys most, and hit the stores. Between Walmart and Amazon, there’s no excuse not to track down the exact DVD or video your recipient will love.

Personal Mix CDs

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Some people love books, some people love movies, and still others love music. And we’ve yet to meet the callous soul who doesn’t love listening to mix CDs burned especially for them. Knowing you took the time to carefully select each song on the track list makes the CD all the more special, and your recipient will think of you every time they listen. Of course, burning a personal mix CD as a Christmas gift works best if there is some kind of theme involved. Rather than simply burning a CD of random songs by their favorite bands, see if you can arrange them in some symbolic way – perhaps commemorating a period of the recipient’s life or memories the two of you shared.