13th April 2007

Book of Ratings: State Quarters, Part 7

This is my second post in a row about Book of Ratings — Part One, about Hobo Signs, is here.

So, this is my actual introduction to Lore Sjöberg: he’s upgraded. This is his first Rating in newfangled videocast form, friendly for YouTube glory. Here’s Lore’s rating of the state quarters of California, Minnesota, Oregon, Kansas, and West Virginia.

State Quarters, Part 7, by Lore Sjöberg

[via Spectre Collie]

posted in Miscellaneous | 2 Comments

13th April 2007

Book of Ratings: Hobo Signs

This is a two-part post — I found a very funny website, and I’m pretty sure that I must have been living under a rock to have not seen it before now. I also couldn’t choose just one thing on it to post, so I’m doing something completely unheard of, and posting two things. HA! Enjoy.

Lore Sjöberg takes lists of things — anything from ” Pasta Shapes” to “Aspects of Santa Claus” and rates them on a grading scale. He gives out a lot of Cs and Ds, a few As, and practically no Bs. And he’s really goddamned funny.

Given our penchant for hobos ’round the old Junkyard Clubhouse, I couldn’t help but love his rating of Hobo Signs, the chalk symbols hobos used to communicate what they knew about a town to the hobos that might come after them. They’re a sort of Hobo Fodor’s. Here’s a sample of Lore’s assessment:

Hobo sign: the owner is not here

The Owner Isn’t Here

This doesn’t seem very good. Unless the owner is thoughtful enough to erase the symbol on his way back in, this is about as useful as a symbol meaning “it’s six-thirty.” I suppose you could carefully inscribe it somewhere where it’s going to get concealed whenever the ower gets home, maybe by putting it in his driveway or writing it in dust on the welcome mat, then spreading some dirt around the walkway so that the owner wipes his feet when he comes home. But that doesn’t seem like the sort of things that hobos do. When you’re playing word association, “hobo” is rarely followed by “elaborate plan.” D-

Lore’s three-part series on Hobo Signs can be found here, here and here. You can find all his ratings at, appropriately enough, Book of Ratings. And of course, there is a book, if you want to take your ratings reading on the road. [via Spectre Collie]

posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

11th April 2007

Cut Paper Art of Peter Callesen

Today I stumbled across the website of a Danish artist, Peter Callesen. Callesen’s media of choice is paper; simple, white paper. He’s done some very large installations that are impressive, but by far my favorite pieces are his simple works done out of a single page of standard A4 paper (A4 is the most common size of paper outside of North America; our 8½x11″ sheets are an anomaly).

Half Way Through, by Peter Callesen
Half Way Through, by Peter Callesen
Detail of skeleton

Callesen cuts shapes partway out of the paper, and folds them into objects that remain attached to the paper. The hole where the paper was removed remains as a sort of shadow, or as its own element in the piece.

In Down the River, a wall of water cascades off the edge of the paper, and a tiny canoe with two paddlers is headed for it. In Angel, the removed paper leaves a shadow of a tiny angel, surrounded by beams of light; the paper that was cut out has been formed into a cage whre the angel now sits — and the paper appears to have never been removed from the A4 sheet. Closet has a full 3-D wardrobe, with monsters crammed into it; the shadow left behind in the paper sheet shows a creepy menagerie and hints at the contents of the closet.

Callesen’s website has dozens of truly inventive pieces — some are astounding in their intricacies and elaborate forms, while others are simple and clever, and all the more compelling for it. Below is the one I think is the most stunning, in terms of its beauty:

Cradle, by Peter Callesen
Cradle, by Peter Callesen

There are so many fantastic pieces at Peter Callesen’s website that I wish I could put them all here — instead, I’m going to insist that you go over to Callesen’s website and see them for yourself. Here is Peter Callesen’s website, and here is a link directly to his A4 pieces.

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11th April 2007

Where’d the MFing Cheese Go?

I don’t know!

In 2002, the band Ween was approached to write a jingle for one of Pizza Hut’s Desperate Product Reconfigurations of the Month, the Insider pizza. The Insider pizza was the one where they put a layer of cheese inside the pizza’s crust. Never has a new pizza design so captured the imagination of the nation, with the possible exception of the P’zone.

Pizza Hut wanted to hire an edgy band come up with an edgy jingle for their very edgy new product, hence Ween. Ween came up with a funk-infused ditty, “Where’d the Cheese Go?” Click play to hear it:

Where’d the Cheese Go?

“Where’d the Cheese Go?” video, by Oblong Pictures

Pizza Hut didn’t like it, or any of the other attempts that Ween made at giving them what they wanted. They wrote, they re-wrote, and finally, tired of it all, they wrote “Where’d the Motherfuckin’ Cheese Go At?”

Where’d the Mutherfuckin’ Cheese Go At?

In case the title doesn’t make it obvious, that one’s NSFW, unless you’ve got headphones handy. And thus, Ween’s association with Pizza Hut ended before it even really started, probably to the delight of all.

posted in Food, Music | 5 Comments

10th April 2007

The Wonderful World Passport of Walt Disney

Walt Disney's passport
Walt Disney’s passport

Walt Disney’s 1965 passport is up for sale on eBay. He died just a year and a half after it was issued, and its only use was for a trip to London. The UK premiere of Mary Poppins was on August 23, 1965, just four days after this passport was issued, and that seems a likely use, but the London arrival stamp isn’t shown, and the New York return stamp says September 29. It’s currently at $3,600, and is estimated to close in the neighborhood of $14,400-$21,600 when the auction ends on Saturday. [via TMZ]

posted in Design, Midcentury | 1 Comment

9th April 2007

Haw Flakes — Haw in Convenient Disc Form

Sometimes, your gamble in the candy aisle of a Chinese market pays off… sometimes it doesn’t. Not everybody loves haw flakes, but I’m a fan.

Mmmm... haw
Mmmm… haw
Contains haw, sugar, water and dye. But mostly haw.
Contains haw, sugar,
water and red dye.
But mostly haw.

What are haw flakes, you ask? Why, they’re flakes. Made out of haw. Just like it says on the package. They may look like firecrackers, but they’re a delightful candy treat. Each roll has a couple dozen super-thin wafers of hawiness. They look like monochrome Necco wafers, and taste and feel somewhat like a desiccated Fruit Roll-Up. I think they are delicious, but a few people have said they “taste like ass.” Most people seem to like them, though. Even if you don’t go for the taste, the packaging is so colorful and fun, they’re hard to resist. Unless you’re just really disappointed that they aren’t really firecrackers.

Haw flakes, in the buff
Haw flakes, in the buff

They are dirt cheap — possibly literally. I used to work for a dirt company, and dirt can get pretty pricey. As I said, each roll comes with a couple dozen wafers, and ten of those rolls come in a pack. I bought a bag of about a half-dozen packs for just a couple bucks. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 flakes. I don’t understand how that is possible, what with all the elaborate packaging involved, and the shipping halfway across the globe. I would love to see pictures of a haw flake factory, they’re probably lots of fun to watch in action.

I brought some with me to Forbidden Island last week (that’s our favorite bar, we tend to be there on Wednesdays), and they were a big hit. I might try crumbling some up into some Schnapps of some sort, and call it Hawschläger.

posted in Design, Food | 10 Comments

8th April 2007



I really don’t need to say anything. The cover says plenty. Go on, I know you just want to look at it for a bit. I’ll be right here when you’re done.

I Love This World posted about the cover to Mastermind, and made my day. Has any game ever had better packaging? I think not. Hanford said it all, when he looked over my shoulder as I was preparing that photo to post — “Ooh, Mastermind! That was a very adult game.” Yes, yes it was. It was a game that demanded the most refined demeanor your seven-year-old self could muster (which mostly involved one raised eyebrow and a lot of “hmmm… interesting”s and soft, knowing chuckles under one’s breath). I loved this game, but even to this day, I cannot tell if it was really the game I loved, or if it was the cover. Mastermind was mental dress-up in a box.

I mean, look at it! Clearly, those two are plotting world domination, and are taking a break from their evil schemes to play a little mind game with you. They will win. It is a foregone conclusion. But you’re happy to be their little plaything, because they are so urbane and suave, and maybe if you play along with them they’ll be nice to you after they take over the world, and MY GOD THEIR TABLE IS SO SHINY.

And that woman — is she just along for the ride? Is she playing him, and biding her time until she can cast him aside? Or has he warped her to his purposes? Hm, maybe you should try to save her. But you can hear her laughs mocking you even now, at the thought that she might need saving. Yes, we will play this game as a distraction, while you suss out what’s really going on here.

If you’d like the mystery broken (and by broken, I mean shattered into a thousand little pieces, never to be reconstructed), move along past the jump, and learn the story of the making of the Mastermind cover, and see a recreation of the photo with this same couple, 30 years on. (Hint: They didn’t succeed in taking over the world.)

Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Midcentury | 25 Comments

8th April 2007

Ancient Artifacts

Pac Man Skeleton

Rare fossils of the pellet-eating omnivore Homo pacius , commonly known as Pac Man. [Via gaygamer]

posted in Art, Video Games | Comments Off

8th April 2007

More Rankin/Bass Easter Art

Here comes Peter Cottontail

The Rankin/Bass Historian has posted some excellent art from Here Comes Peter Cottontail. First we have the character sheet by Paul Coker Jr, who did a lot of art and design work for Rankin/Bass specials. Also on the blog is a high-resolution black and white still of Sassafrass and his cart, it’s got some incredible detail to it. Make sure you check out the link to see the whole thing. Happy Easter everyone!

Here comes Peter Cottontail

posted in Animation, Rankin/Bass | Comments Off

7th April 2007

Baker’s Coconut Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake

I’ve found my other book of Cut-Up Cakes!

Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake instructions
Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake instructions

This book is from 1973, and it isn’t nearly as cool as my 1959 booklet of Cut-Up Cakes, from a design point of view — but it has more cakes in it, including this great, full body Easter Bunny cake. Marie was asking for this — I hope it does the trick!

Another Bunny Cut-Up Cake
Another Bunny Cut-Up Cake

Here’s another, simpler Easter Bunny, from the same book.

posted in Crafts, Food | 53 Comments