Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Strange Maps is one of my favorite blogs. It has been turned into a book. Here is a short review by the NYT.
The above map is illustrative of the blog's posts. It compares the populations of China's provinces to the populations of nations. Xinjiang is the same as Madagascar. The city of Tianjin is equal to Cuba. The official population of Guandong is Germany. Plus, the migrant workers in Guandong make up one Uganda. That's a lot of people.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
In general, I am against all things retro. But I really dig this.
Hot Wheels Dodge Mirada Stocker
Hot Wheels Olds Flat Out 442
Have you ever noticed how Putin and Medvedev walk funny? They both have this strut where their left arms move about freely while their right arms seem to be stapled to their hips. I looked into this.
In a 2005 article in The Atlantic, experts (a cardiac thoracic surgeon, two orthopedic surgeons, a physical therapist, and a neurodevelopmental therapist) looked at Putin's gait. Their theories on the cause of Putin's gait include:
- he had a stroke in utero,
- Erb's palsy from forceps squeezing his right shoulder during birth,
- old judo injury,
- Putin is a badass.
What is more fascinating is why Medvedev walks with the same gait. He was coached to walk like Putin.
This video shows their gaits perfectly. At first, Putin is self-conscious about his gait so he exaggerates the swing of his right arm. He also fidgets with his right arm and hand by playing with his coat, wiping his face, and waving. But after walking a bit (0:52), he returns to his normal gait. And you can see how Medvedev apes Putin's stride.
Friday, November 27, 2009
I had always assumed that these six Tomica cars are the oldest in my collection. For as long as I can remember, they suffered from catastrophic corrosion. The other trait they all shared-- they're all two door mid-70s Japanese coupes.
Nissan Sunny 1200GX
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
All the backgrounds are from Lonely Planet's big, glossy, and wonderful The Travel Book.
Matchbox Air France Airbus A300B flying over Peru.
Matchbox Ferrari 308 GTB at Venice's Piazza San Marco.
Hot Wheels VW Sunagon at Yosemite.
Tomica VW Microbus in Botswana.
Matchbox Audi Quattro in Liechtenstein.
I just watched an extraordinary movie about cars. It's Louis Malle's 1974 documentary Humain, Trop Humain. The 70+ minute movie was mostly shot at a Citroen GS factory in Brittany. At the factory, there is no dialogue. There is no monologue; there is not even narration. The film just shows the workers assembling the car from start to finish. It's mesmerizing and shows how man and woman have become an integral part of the assembly line machinery. It's not a good fit. The eyes of many of the workers are glazed over. You can literally see the soul being slowly sapped out of them.
There's also a nice snippet from a car show. Apparently, not all French people were impressed with French cars and their eccentricities.
What did I learn? It took a lot of cigarettes and hammers to build a Citroen.
(It's available on Netflix.)
Well, it's been yet another disappointing season for Cal. At this point, I don't even care if Jahvid Best plays again. I just want that kid to be healthy and graduate. But what will salvage this season is if we win Saturday's Big Game. Leland Stanfurd JUNIOR University is favored by a touchdown.
Here is an enhanced version of 1982's The Play, undeniably the greatest single moment in college football history (with Joe Starkey making the call).
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In my make-belief town, cars broke down. Fortunately, everyone had AAA tow coverage and I had three tow trucks on-call.
My favorite of the three was this Matchbox Freightliner.
Here it is towing a temperamental Matchbox Citroen CX.
This Matchbox Foden tilt cab was an odd duck. As its name states, the blue cab tilts forward 90 degrees.
Foden carrying a Tomica Fix It Again Tony X 1/9.
This Matchbox Leyland truck was a mystery to me. I never knew what the two holes on the bed were for. I used to get those toothpicks from club sandwiches with the colorful plastic on one end and stick them in the holes. Kids.
Going back to the unreliable French theme, here is a Matchbox Renault 5 getting a ride to the shop. I understand the scales are way out of proportion, but hey, I was eight!