The man who collects belly button lint

Forty-five year old librarian 
Graham Barker 
collects belly button lint.

Sometimes we don't know what's true and what's false. Here's an article by a collector:
Many people collect stamps. Some people collect coins, a few collect antique bottles, others shoe laces, bottle caps, yellow pencils, and endless array of miscellaneous items worth absolutely nothing (except, of course, to those who ardently collect them).

I collect belly-button lint.

Before you put this down and go back to your television, read on. It really is quite a fascinating hobby–if you like that sort of thing. Honest!–it is! Well… maybe, but it’s still fascinating. Why, believe it or not, I’ve belly-button lints from all over the world: Spain, France, China, Canada, even USSR. Indeed, I even have lints from some very famous people, too. One of my most valuable is a small wad of plaid lint from an eccentric Scotch clan-leader over 300 years old (the lint, not the man). My favorite is a piece of red lint from Khrushchev’s great gram-pa. I received that one just before I was lucky enough to possess a hunk of green lint from an old Irishman (drunken) I met one night in the gutter facing Barney’s Bar and Grill. Another priceless possession of mine is a pillow stuffed with lint of all shapes, sizes and colors from just plain people.

A novice just can’t realize the thrill and joy obtained from the experience of discovering a piece of belly-button lint once proudly worn by General George Washington just before he met Martha.

All in all, I have about 23,000 different specimens, ranging from one set up to and including a ball almost one and one half inches across, fished from King Farouk’s bath tub. These, I keep mounted in glass covered wall plaques starting in the entrance hall of my home, going through the living room, dining room, through my den and ending in my bedroom. The less interesting ones I keep in my wife’s bedroom (she’s a very understanding woman) and the poor ones I keep in a box in the garage. As soon as it gets about another 7 pounds in it, I think I’ll stuff a mattress.

As far as practical uses, I have already mentioned pillows and mattresses. Well, there is an infinite source of objects that lints can be substituted for if you have a practical mind. Some of my friends are soaking them in formaldehyde and using them as moth balls. Do you have noisy neighbors? Why, just stuff some in your ears and eliminate the noise (or better yet, send a box them next door and eliminate the neighbors). Actually, you can do almost anything with this wondrous material if you have the imagination &/or the nerve.

However, I think I should warn you about using lints for practical purposes instead of keeping them. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats the grandeur of collecting–especially collecting such an important item as belly-button lint. What could be more satisfying than surprising your house guests by showing them a mounted board or row of glass cases containing hundreds of lints! Doesn’t it sound wonderful!!! It is almost a sure bet that they will never bother you again.

Now that I have undoubtedly sold you completely on the art of collecting belly-button lints, your first reaction is probably: where would an ordinary person like yourself obtain old and rare lints?

Damn good question.

Egg on your face - an iPhone case

This optical illusion of a fried egg on toast covering 
your iPhone is just what you need for… 
Oh hell, you don't need it for anything.
But you can have it if you want.


Why? Because you can.


There's also this phone case, 
of bread with some multiplication 
problems, which I don't understand.
(The concept, not the math.)

How a Hollywood makeup man affected everyone

He created a new hair color for actress Jean Harlow 
that was called, along with the movie, Platinum Blonde.

It used to be only commonly used by prostitutes, actresses and aristocrats. And then a Polish immigrant by the name of Max Factor created a product for the movies that he called "Pan-Cake Make-Up":
It was a startling success for a product so nondescript. Bland in color and subtle in effect, foundation is the most prosaic part of a made-up face, and the most prosaic part of making up. There is no glamour or allure in a bottle of beige liquid. And yet, if the product itself is unassuming, the name Pan-Cake Make-Up signaled otherwise. Powder had been variously termed “enamel” or “maquillage,” while “paint” was used with the implication that makeup was immoral. “Cosmetic” was traditionally reserved for face creams and lotions, but was increasingly adopted in the early twentieth century to make face paint seem more socially acceptable. Guided by his sons’ advice, Factor rejected all of these options and instead chose make-up—a word that, like costume or prop, squarely belonged to theater and film. If not with its formula, with its name Pan-Cake Make-Up frankly declared its artifice, and in doing so, evoked the prescient words of Charles Baudelaire, written some seventy years earlier: “Maquillage has no need to hide itself or shrink from being suspected; on the contrary, let it display itself, at least if it does so with frankness and honesty.” With its playful ring, Pan-Cake Make-Up offered a bit of make-believe to everyday life. Indeed, the product signaled that the distinction between real life and the silver screen—between dressing up for the camera and simply dressing up—was swiftly eroding.
I also enjoyed learning why early movie chimpanzees wore camouflaged pants.

Read it: Making Up Hollywood, Cabinet Magazine>>

Visionary, con man or both?

Bernie Jobs and Steve Madoff

A short article on the tiny American boundary between entrepreneurs and con artists:
It seems that con artists, for all their vices, represent many of the virtues that Americans aspire to. Con artists are independent and typically self-made. They don’t have to kowtow to a boss—no small thing in a country in which people have always longed to strike out on their own. They succeed or fail based on their wits. They exemplify, in short, the complicated nature of American capitalism, which, as McDougall argues, has depended on people being hustlers in both the positive and the negative sense. The American economy wasn’t built just on good ideas and hard work. It was also built on hope and hype.
Read the entire article: Do the Hustle, The New Yorker>> 

One of these women is not a liar - a puzzle

Who is not a member of the club?

Perversely, the six women belonging to the "No Deception Club" are required to always tell lies, and one of the women below is going to get kicked out of the club because she's telling the truth.  Who's getting kicked out?
Donna Decent: I am very honest. 
Emma Equitable: Glenda Genuine is not a member of this club. 
Frankie Fair: I am a liar. 
Glenda Genuine: Emma Equitable does not lie. 
Helen Honorable: I am not from Washington, D. C. 
Irma Innocent: I am not wearing any undergarments.

Find Darwin in a monkey puzzle (and more)

Professor Darwin isn't sure 
what to think about this.

I found this advertisement for boots and shoes from 1885 that asks you to "Find Prof. Darwin." It's called "The monkey's tea party puzzle". Evidently the recently deceased Professor Darwin (he died in 1882) was a perfect subject for a puzzling ad for boots and shoes.

The puzzle is not too hard, but as a historical oddity, I found it oddly compelling.

The caption read:

Here's a merry Monkey's Tea Partee
Now don't they look a jolly set;
They seem happier far than we.
And troubled less with etiquette.

Find Professor Darwin amidst the monkeys.
(Click to enlarge)

Later advertisements have also used Darwin and his theory of evolution. Here's an ad that supposes evolution - now regarded as a fact - had gone a different way.

It is also a puzzling ad, and also oddly compelling. Ah, the 70s.

Levi's "Evolution" TV commercial from the 1970s
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