The Most Ridiculous Halloween Costumes on the Net

Ah, yes. It is once again time for us to gather round, dress as make believe characters, and go from house to house gathering candy from our neighbors. Or just throw a party and get drunk, whatever works for you.

But for every vampire, zombie, and cartoon character outfit out there, I periodically see pictures online of some truly ridiculous costumes. So, I figured I’d show you some of my favorites.

The “Better Hope your Friendship is as Strong as you Think” Award

"Oh, gosh, would it... urf... kill you to lose some weight?"

This one seriously requires two people – the guy in the suit and the guy in the cage. The guy in the suit is lugging the guy in the cage around all day, that’s the costume. I can’t imagine how THAT would go wrong.

The “I Think I’m Being Cute and Original but I’m Not” Award

"Dude! Chyah! Beer, like, rocks, bro!"

Yeah, yeah, we get it. You like beer. Just be warned that when you go to the Halloween party, everyone is going to start cracking jokes about drinking you. Then a guy dressed as a Tequila shot will show up and you’ll look like a goofus.

The “Let’s Go Over the Top!” Award

"We spent weeks on something we will wear only once!"

Actually, yeah, that is kind of awesome. But I guess Heidi Klum (left) and Seal (right) couldn’t wear an ordinary costume considering their celebrity status.

The “Put Some Clothes On!” Award for a Woman

"I don't know what this is, but boys seem to like it!"

I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

The “Put Some Clothes On!” Award for a Man

"Seriously didn't need to see that."

In the interest of fairness, I figured if I was going to show an almost-naked female costume I had to show an almost-naked male costume. But seriously, why do people wear these almost-naked costumes? What could possibly make them think this is okay? Better not go trick-or-treating in that, unless you want to be arrested.

The “I call Animal Abuse” Award

"Just watch. Her precious sofa is SO scratched to bits."

Another question: Why do people put costumes on their animals? Animals aren’t people. They don’t know about this “Halloween” thing. All they know is that these big things that feed me seem to take joy in putting this uncomfortable thing on me that I can’t get off. Seriously, that puppy looks like it is trying to escape. Poor guy.

The “Huh?” Award

???????????????????

I honestly have no idea what that is. Feel free to leave a comment if you know or have a guess. As for me, I’m just going to award it “Most Ridiculous Costume of 2011”.

On a personal note 3: Hawaii edition

Those of you who follow the Cat Twitter Feed (at the bottom of the page) already know my mom just got back from a trip to Hawaii. The trip was a birthday present to her from my grandma. It was just the girls, though; my mom, her sister, and my grandma. I didn’t go. And based on the pictures my mom brought back, boy, I wish I could have gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my mom arrived in Honolulu, she said the city reminded her somewhat of Cuba. Then she stayed the first night in a hotel in Waikiki, which she said reminded her of southern California. Wherever she went, there were people walking around in nothing but their swimwear – some of them really attractive – and nobody seemed to bat an eye. She dined at a Jimmy Buffet-themed restaurant called Cheeseburger in Paradise, and went through a gift shop called Hilo Hattie that she described as “a Hawiian version of Cracker Barrel with clothes and jewelry”.

They went on a tour of the Maui Divers pearl factory, where my mom apparently lost her mind from excitement (she’s a huge pearl fan). Then they went to a luau. She learned that about 80% of the state’s economy runs on tourism now, so they really play up the Polynesian thing.

Polynesia? I don't see it.

That made me wonder how Hawaii is doing in this recession, what with fewer people traveling very far from home and all. This article for the Hawaii Independent said 10% of Hawaiian children had at least one unemployed parent, and this article says that the recession has caused the state’s largest budget crisis since the Great Depression.

Oh, remember how sugar was the main reason Hawaii is a U.S. state? Well, it turns out only one sugar plantation is left, and its sugar is sold exclusively to the military for ethanol production. But there are other cash crops grown on the islands’ shores, like chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

and coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Kona Joe’s coffee, by the way, is grown using a patented process that treats the coffee plant like a grape vine. I thought that was kind of cool.

My mom toured all of the islands on the Pride of America cruise ship. Believe me, this ship is huge:

HUUUUUGE!

She even got to see the Kilauea volcano

Before the eruption, this used to be a Macy's.

and some local craftsmen at work:

Talking on the cell phone while working? Tsk, tsk.

So, yeah, that’s why I’m envious. Hey, grandma? Next time, can I come? Please?

Thank you, mom, for letting me use your photos! Oh, and readers, I was just kidding with the “this used to be a Macy’s” caption.

Classics We Will Likely Never See

Two weeks ago, I brought up several literary, musical, and artistic works that were widely misinterpreted. That got me thinking about classics in film and literature generally, and I wanted to do another “factoid” blog about them. So, here’s a look at some classics that have been lost to history, actively suppressed, or for some other reason really, really hard to come by. These are classics the likes of you and I will probably never see.

Valley of the Dolls

This classic tale from 1966 about fame and drug abuse sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and was adapted into film the very next year. It was a runaway hit – striking the right balance between celebrity gossip, new-wave feminism, and warnings about drug abuse and self-destruction. It spoke to a generation, and became a quintessential summation of the swinging ’60s. And you won’t find it in bookstores.

Why you’ll never see it: It’s been out of print for years.

To be fair, it’s not like you can never see it. It’s just that you have to shop a used bookstore or something like Amazon. Like anything else, publishers stop printing if the book stops selling.

That said, the story of the Dolls is far from over – NBC will soon air a miniseries based on the novel. So we can also get the story that way.

I’m not certain where I first learned this, but a quick online search confirmed the information via those sites I cited.

Song of the South

This 1946 Disney movie was based on a series of children’s books, and combined live-action and animation to tell folk tales to children. At the time, the film was incredibly popular, and added to America’s soundtrack the immortal Zip-A-Dee-Dooh-Dah.

Why you’ll never see it: Racism.

The film portrays a runaway white boy who discovers a magic black man telling folk tales. Who lives in what looks like either a log cabin or shack. And talks in a stereotypical accent. And who is accompanied by a little black boy (his son? a neighbor?) that works on a plantation. And they’re all just oh-so-happy about their situation. Zip-A-Dee-Dooh-Dah.

The film essentially portrays an idealized vision of the old-timey South. A vision that would offend many Americans today. So, Disney has refrained from ever releasing the movie on video in the U.S., and as of last year Disney CEO Robert Iger said there were “no plans” to release it on DVD.

Information from Wikipedia

Love’s Labor Won and Cardenio

William Shakespeare’s influence on the language, literature, and popular culture of all English-speaking nations is tremendous, to say the least. So imagine that one of his works was lost to history. What great story and dialogue are we missing? What information on Shakespeare’s mind might those pages uncover if only we could find a copy? What would we do?

Turns out any English teacher can answer that. It happened twice.

Why you’ll never see it: There are only two records of Love’s Labors Won ever existing. One is a bookseller’s list including the title among Shakespearean works; the other is a passing reference by Francis Meres when he lists off Shakespeare’s best comedies. It is often interpreted as a lost sequel to Love’s Labors Lost, though some scholars think it might be an alternative name for a comedy that we do know about.

Cardenio‘s existence is much more clear. We know from records kept by Shakespeare’s theater company that such a play was performed, and that Shakespeare did co-write it with John Fletcher. We also know that Cardenio is a character in the tales of Don Quixote, so it is likely that the plot was based on the Don Quixote stories. But, over the centuries, whatever manuscripts there were of the play have been lost, and the main early sources we have collecting Shakespeare’s work failed to include it.

Information from The Norton Shakespeare

Most early TV shows from before the 1950s

Ah, the classic days of television. I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Addams Family, Leave It To Beaver. Good stuff.

But did you know television has been around since the 1920s? And that there has been regularly scheduled public broadcasts since 1939? What happened to all that early stuff?

Why you’ll never see it: In our modern age when we are so used to all of our TV shows being recorded and edited beforehand, we forget that in the beginning to television, everything was live. The technology to record what was being broadcast to the world didn’t exist. You would only see what you were watching on TV once, and never again.

It was the TV show Amos & Andy that pioneered the idea of filming the show with a motion picture camera while simultaneously using a TV broadcast camera to broadcast the same show. That way, the broadcast could be preserved and “rerun”. Four months later, I Love Lucy picked up the technique. Eventually, videotape made the dual-camera method irrelevant, and opened up the world of television to shows produced well beforehand and edited later. But as for those earlier broadcasts? Sorry, they have been lost to history.

Information from Wikipedia.

World-changing inventor and businessman Steve Jobs dead at 56

Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone in 2007. Image from Wikipedia.

There is no doubt in my mind that history books will revere Steve Jobs they way they do Thomas Edison, and I am not alone in this assessment. Jobs, who died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer, will be remembered as the man who changed technology and drove the information revolution.

Like Edison, most of Jobs’ inventions were not so much new technologies as they were repackaging existing technologies in a new and innovative way that blew consumers away and changed daily life for everyone. Edison is remembered for the phonograph, the first practical, commercial light bulb, and the motion picture. Jobs’ first world-changing invention was the personal computer, with his Apple I and Apple II designs. His second was the iPod, which completely revolutionized the music industry with the aid of the iTunes software. His third, of course, was the smartphone. In between, he found time to help jump-start the field of computer animation. Of course, all of these were collaborative efforts with many other innovators, but Jobs will be the one history remembers for the same reason it remembers Edison: he had the business sense and salesmanship to push these products into millions of homes around the world.

Jobs was Arab-American by birth, but was given up for adoption as a small child and was raised in Mountain View, California by Paul and Clara Jobs. He met Steve Wozniak as a summer worker at Hewlett-Packard. He was a college dropout, working for a time at Atari before traveling to India and converting to Buddhism. In 1976, he and Wozniak co-founded Apple Computers. At the time, computers were massive machines exclusive to laboratories and giant corporations, accessible only through a terminal and only with authorization. Jobs and Wozniak, using their knowledge of computer technology, came up with a simple computer that people could have in their homes with a TV-like display monitor. Their idea set the world on fire.

I said on fire. Where's the fire, Apple II? Do I have to do everything myself?

The Apple II would sell 6 million units, and soon other companies began getting in on the PC business, including established companies like IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Businesses, schools, and governments began to depend on these new personal computers to conduct their business, and of course plenty of ordinary people bought them, as well. The PC helped make the Internet something accessible to the public instead of being restricted to a handful of universities. Without the Apple II, it is likely I wouldn’t be writing this blog and you wouldn’t be reading it. Let that sink in for a minute.

But in less than eight years Jobs would be kicked out of Apple for what employees saw as an “uncontrollable” boss with an “autocratic style”. He attempted to start his own company with his own PC, the NeXT computer. But while the NeXT was applauded for being extremely advanced and a technical masterpiece, but the price was so prohibitive that it never caught on.

What did catch on, though, was Jobs’ side-project. He bought a little-known wing of Lucasfilm and renamed it Pixar. The renamed studio was experimenting with computer animation, and in 1995 it hit box office gold with Toy Story. Soon, Pixar was producing hit after hit: A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Wall-E and UP! all to its credits.

During this time, Apple was struggling and suffering in the wake of Microsoft’s rise. I remember when it was the standing joke that only a handful of die-hard nerds and Bill Gates haters used Apple. Then, in 1996, Steve Jobs wound up back at his first company when Apple bought NeXT. One quick political power play later, and Jobs was CEO of Apple once more. And Jobs had a plan to bring Apple back to profitability.

A plan with pretty, pretty colors

After dropping several projects that were going nowhere (and a few high-profile cannings that created a sense of fear among Apple employees), Jobs put Apple to work on the iMac, a computer that has been so successful it is still sold in some form or other and its sales continue to grow as it attracts ex-HP, ex-Dell, ex-Lenovo, and ex-every-other-competitor users.

Yet this was only the beginning. As we all know, he followed this up with the iPod, an MP3 player with an extremely user-friendly interface and works together with the free iTunes software that allows for legal music downloads at a low cost. This was followed by the iPhone, the first of the so-called smartphones that combined the abilities of a cell phone, a digital camera, and a computer with a super-cool touchscreen. Like the Apple II, it has entered the hands of millions and has inspired a generation of competing products. And of course, last year the iPad was unveiled, which similarly established the tablet computer industry.

But is hasn’t been easy on him. He began his fight with cancer all the way back in 2004. He even had a liver transplant in 2009. He ultimately resigned as CEO in August due to his failing health.

Already, tributes to the man have appeared across the world. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called Jobs his “mentor and friend, according to BBC News. People are leaving flowers and notes at Apple stores, and laid wreaths out at his house. Apple flew its flags at half-mast at its headquarters, and Apple is planning a memorial ceremony Wednesday. In China, Apple’s largest market, millions of Chinese are paying tribute to the man the know as “Qiao Bangzhu”, roughly translating to “Master Jobs”. Of course, Apple stock dropped substantially on the news.

Jobs’ legacy is in our homes, our pockets, our DVD collections and/or Netflix accounts, our workplaces, our schools, and everywhere else you look. Just as Edison’s light bulb has become so ubiquitous we hardly notice it, so has the sight of people with the characteristic tiny earbuds in their ears as their iPod plays their music, or people chatting or texting away on their iPhones while surfing the web.

Information from Wikipedia, BBC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and The Guardian.