Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cool Shit 12/31

Every time you feel as though life has dealt you something raw, take a moment to thank the cosmic forces that you weren't born as someone living here.

Santa isn't all sugar plums and presents. At least these 18 aren't.

So here's a surfing video to get you absolutely terrified of surfing...

There's a certain romantic notion about street chess.

Sit back, relax and enjoy some of these cooler videos from 2014.

Obviously, it's quite impossible to accurately predict an avalanche. But that doesn't mean there aren't people out there trying to do it. And their work is probably saving lives.

2014 was an odd year for music - in my opinion, there was no good narrative to define what music gave us. It was all over the board, with decent music released, but nothing earth shattering. There seemed to be a collective tiredness, with the inevitable realization that physical music is going to completely disappear in the next 5 years or so. But I'm probably wrong - and this trove of music-related articles from throughout the year probably disproves my point.

A timeline of banned books throughout history - one of the stupidest things a society can do. 

It's frightening to think what some people are capable of when given a little bit of power over other people. You can only hope government officials will seek the advice of experts when making policy; it seems from these stories from 2014 it doesn't happen as often as it should.

What it's like to work at Amazon during the holidays. I guess...wish there was a little more detail.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cool Shit 12/30

Huge bunch of Cool Shit to get you through your day, starting NOW:

Country-inspired, psychedelic-jazz - a genre I've admittedly never heard of before. And apparently, this is an example of it, courtesy Shooter Jennings.

The classic (I guess it's classic in some corners) debate of which would win in a fight: the technology of Star Wars or the technology of Star Trek, was obviously written by a Trekkie with a bias.

This modern world has passed Burt Reynolds by, and it's a shame he didn't embrace his Boogie Nights role, because it could have given him a resurgence ala John Travolta. Now his resurgence consists of him selling off his possessions, as Loni Anderson coyly inflates prices, most likely in an attempt to get the money she is probably still owed from the Bandit.

Sitting at work, staring at the clock slowly ticking by, wondering how you're going to make it though the day? Enjoy these Reddit AMAs from the past year.

Some of these theories that explain the deficiencies of movies you've heard before; others might be new. I will say that I've always subscribed the the theory about Signs; maybe not so much the fact that it's demons, but more the religious angle. It's really unavoidable if you watch the movie again. I always thought that the little girl was an angel (or some similar holy being) and could "bless" the water, making it a weapon against the creatures. There's also a moment in the movie where they suggest the creatures are being repelled out of Jerusalem, which was another hint. Anyway, I'm a Signs apologist.

National Geographic 2014 photos are up. Always an enjoyable look.

You can learn a lot about economics by studying a buffet. You can also learn a lot if you watch me at a buffet. I consider myself somewhat of an expert.

Get ready for 2015 with this list of anticipated films.

Like the fact that people are thinking about ways to terraform Mars. Love the fact that it's a bunch of students.

When you get right down to it, aren't all paranormal events hoaxes? (Aside - there's a great Uri Geller movie waiting to be made, similar in vein to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

I'm not sure what happened after the 35th second, but I have to assume the firework gained sentience and destroyed those 7-8 people that lit it on fire...

Traveling? Get the most out of sleeping in an airport.

Get a new electronic device this holiday season? Here's a quick start to what you can start filling it up with.

Stream these 10 movies from 2014 that you may or may not have heard of, and add some culture to your life.

There's a college thesis waiting to be written about the correlation of our economy based on what we put up our butts in a given year. Here's the butt part - you take care of the economy part.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cool Shit 12/23

While the FBI (and the rest of the US government I guess) have backed the theory that North Korea was behind the Sony hack, others aren't so sure. And their evidence is pretty convincing. When I think about it, I can't think of a motive for North Korea to attack the United States via hacking a privately owned entity. I'm just hoping the FBI did get this right. Because if not...

Get an early idea of what is cool technology is coming out in 2015. 

No matter what the conditions, you'll find humans living there.

You know what would make sipping coffee that much better? Sipping coffee while petting some rabbits. At least that's what the Japanese think...

Slingshotting your Christmas tree into oblivion. Well, to be fair you have to modify the tree a bit apparently, but you'll still see a giant slingshot.

Baldwin interviewing McEnroe? Someone does read my wishes!

Get on the Darknet save some money and make your friends feel really special this Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cool Shit 12/22

Try to stop the Dark Internet, and it just gets darker.

Zappa is a tough nut to crack - easily appreciated, not so easily enjoyed occasionally. And these five albums are definitely not the place to start if you want to get into him. 

Quite possible a real life Thunderdome in the dunes of Australia.

Apparently, Richard Simmons is missing? Possibly of his own volition? Since last January? Why isn't this a larger story? I guess no crime has been committed, that we know of yet.

Cool concept for a restaurant that is less like a restaurant and more like a place that will just serve you an unbelievable dinner, if you can get a reservation.

Crazy to think, but there was a time where there was doubt whether the Beatles would succeed in America.

Ten mysterious aircraft disappearances.

It's a little bit sad that George Clooney has to be the one that rights the ship in the midst of this Sony hack event. Sadder that few people will stand up with him.

Elon Musk's Hyperloop - without his involvement - is still moving forward. Can you imagine if trains become significant again? Ayn Rand was right!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cool Shit 12/19

So Serial ended yesterday. I hope it satisfied you and met whatever expectations you had for it.

String theory. It's a theory about the universe. Poppycock or Groundbreaking?

Global disaster: how are we all going to eat? Two guys put some thought behind it. Hint: it's probably bugs.

The cost of your a hacker.

Hey, remember Elon Musk's Hyperloop? And he was all like, "I could totally do this, but I'm too busy." And everyone else was kinda like, "Hmmm, sounds cool? Is it like Super Train, the 1979 NBC series? Because if it isn't I'm out."

Well, where do you think it stands now? (Hint: unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be paralleling Super Train.)

Looking for vacation ideas? Why not head to a Soviet Union-era ghost town

Looking back down on us at night. While these images are cool, it does sadden me a little that with all this light pollution we're losing our sight what lies above us. And that is filled with wonder too.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cool Shit 12/18

Rogue Pharmaceuticals. It's weird how something potentially so dangerous is so accessible to basically anyone with a computer.

It's a simple question: Lennon or McCartney?

The U.S. - Cuban relations are getting better, which means we're probably going to be able to get our hands on more Cuban cigars. But are they really better, or is the allure of doing something illegal what makes them so in demand?

The top Google searches for 2014. Of course I assume they've scrubbed the list clean of porn.

Another one from Adult Swim. Warning, you will most likely not laugh:

When Tron came out, Disney inadvertently commissioned one of the trippiest documentaries about computer graphics that you will ever see. Here's the story behind it. And here's the documentary...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cool Shit 12/17

Bogus science is bogus; I'm hoping that the majority of the people that visit here read these claims and laugh at the absurdity rather than assume it's government propaganda and go back to revering Dr. Oz.

Tim Burton confirms Winona Ryder will be back for the Beetlejuice sequel. Wait - there's a Beetlejuice sequel? And no one thinks this is a bad idea because...?

Every time I listen to Black Messiah I like it more. Here's a breakdown of thoughts on each track on the D'Angelo album.

Living in Antarctica. I think the thing that saddens me the most are the misconceptions people have about Antarctica, such as the idea that there are polar bears there, or that there would be native Antarcticans.

There are some people out there that think the super nova of a distant star is going to bathe Earth in a ungodly amount of weird radiation, causing a catastrophe worse than a Nuclear War which will basically destroy our existence. And it could at any moment, even right...NOW! But that's completely insane. I assume the radiation will simply turn us all into Hulks.

Enough with the naysayers. The next ten years are going to be awesome!

Podcasts are huge right now, and it's almost as though people didn't realize they've been around for the last eight years or so. Anyway, here's a list Slate did for the best 25 podcast episodes. I'd just use it to find some cool podcasts to listen to. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cool Shit 12/16

Sure, the idea of antibiotic resistant viruses aren't that big of a deal yet, but when it's killing 10 million people a year, we might start to notice.

Been following Serial? Then you know the timeline of the murder is one thing that's never been accurately figured out. Until now?

More post-Serial fodder: Eight intriguing unsolved murder mysteries.

D'Angelo has a new album out after nearly 15 years of silence. Find out what that's a big deal.
If you like what you read and heard there, then you can deep dive on the past 15 years of D'Angelo, and try to wrap your head around everything.

New Terrence Malick film called Knight of Cups starring Christian Bale. It's certainly Malickian. But it also seems it may involve Antonio Banderas and Brian Dennehy so...

I love the Black List - NOT the NBC/James Spader show, but the list of popular, unproduced screenplays that comes out every year. Here's a breakdown of all the science fiction related scripts on the list this year.

You're obviously not making hot chocolate the way you should be making hot chocolate if you really want to enjoy the essence of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate!

The night Richard Pryor made Saturday Night Live what it is. 

Space missions you probably don't know about, but should, or at least will think are kind of cool.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cool Shit 12/15

I think the moral of the story of this sliding board video is, if you see an awesome looking slide that is boarded up, get one of your friends to climb it and go down:

These 24 pictures do a pretty good job of summarizing 2014.

Undulating fog in the Grand Canyon...

Where has James Bond been and where might he go: an essay.

Want to put your true insignificance on display? Travel to these places and gaze upon the stars.

The mysteries of World War II. Where's Robert Stack?

The reason we're not back on the moon? Money.

Anyone else excited to see Inherent Vice? If so, here's a primer list of movies to get you into good shape for it.

Lesser Star Wars characters that were turned into action figures. You know for the sake of completeness and not a money grab at all.

It will be interesting to see how they deal with the whole "Deckard is a replicant" in the Bladerunner sequel that is apparently happening. I hope it's in a "he was never a replicant" way since I think there was a bit of revisionist history when Ridley Scott said he made the movie with that idea. Because if that were the case, the movie loses the whole "replicants have more humanity than humans angle" which really worked (in my opinion). Regardless, Harrison Ford likes the script!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cool Shit 12/12

In case you want to keep an eye on the progress of artificial intelligence, this chart is a great place to start. Also, maybe practice unplugging stuff to get ready for the human/machines war.

Photography is hard, but once you get that shot you could sell it for millions.

The concept of the top 10 most secret US American military bases seems slightly oxymoronic.

With news of Serial wrapping up next week, there's going to be an outcry for more murder mysteries to follow. While I can't offer up any podcasts that are similar just yet, I can offer up some stories and bizarre mysteries that might sate your appetite. Start here with these 3 stories. Once you're finished with those, find out what it means to murder someone out in what's basically international waters (it happened). Once finished with those, head over to this Slate post that tackles the issue directly and crowdsourced some other mysteries you can dig into after next Thursday comes and goes.

Tomorrow is the last day for a sequential date this century; I guess we'll always have 12:34 to satiate our number OCDs. But what other dates should we be on the lookout for?

Any excitement for the Golden Globes other than the fact that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are coming back to host?

Leo DiCaprio is living the life he should be. I have no problem with that.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cool Shit 12/11

New trailer for Mad Max. It's getting mixed buzz. Not from me. I'm all in:

Speaking of being all in, I'm also all in on Inherent Vice. And here's a new trailer for that:

Thinking about a burger for dinner tonight? Take a look at this handy illustrated guide of awesome burgers with their toppings for some cool ideas.

What? You're still in movie trailer land? The burger thing didn't do it for you? Fine - here's the latest from Pixar:

I know...that trailer was great, but your mind is still on that Inherent Vice trailer and all the trippy music that was going on it, like that previously unreleased Radiohead track...

Boat racing and the all too real danger behind them (i.e. you can sink).

An awful lot of examination into the best movie fighter in the last 35 years.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cool Shit 12/10

Fans sometimes can come up with some awesome theories to original entertainment. Take Lost for example. Anything would have been better than the actual reason the island existed. (I really think the plan was for the island to be purgatory until everyone had that theory so early on that the creators changed their minds. Think about it. After the thousand denials about the island being purgatory, the end had some weird, spiritual concept that made no sense. Had they simply stuck with the purgatory concept, it would have pulled everything together. Well, most things together.)

"Line of the Year" as it pertains to skiing. Yeah, I'd say that's about right.

Haven't had time to dive into this yet, but I'm assuming it will be awesome. An oral history of the film, Boogie Nights.

I don't know how much this simplifies things for tasting your wine, but it certainly gives you an idea of what certain types should smell/taste like.

Stories of wilderness disappearances. Some seem pretty basic (people get lost and succumb to the elements) but others are genuinely creepy.)

I love the cold, but even these places might be a bit much.

Trailer for The Walk, a fictionalized account of the documentary movie Man on Wire, about the guy who tight-rope walked between the twin towers. Honestly I'm not sure how this movie is going to play, especially since the first shot of the trailer invoked a not-so-great feeling of despair about the twin towers. Also, the movie has kinda sorta been done, as in the documentary. ALSO, 3-D?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cool Shit 12/9

Awesome time lapse of New York that pretty much gives you the flavor of the city in 4 minutes.

Heading down to Mexico to dig up and enjoy peyote.

Drone videos shot this past year to give us some interesting perspectives, both due to the technology and the subjects.

Super criminal organizations in movies never seem to be all that well organized.

I've never been to a Tim Horton's so I'm not sure if throwing a snake at one of its employees is a rational thing to do. I will point out that I enjoy the fact brought up that the snake was in one man's pocket, while another man actually pulled it out to instigate the attack.

The idea that there could be a second, mirrored universe to ours is mind bending enough; that it could also have time moving "backwards," (don't ask) is that much more mind bending.

Nicholas Cage has a new movie out; that's good or bad depending on what you think about him. Though it seems this time the director is the insane one.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cool Shit 12/8

In Indonesia, there's a place called "Fuck Mountain," which is exactly what it sounds like.

20 controversial documentaries.

A deeper look at the show WKRP in Cincinnati and why radio stations and program directors are not like that anymore.

Here's a chipper thought right before the holidays - antibiotics are no longer working and we're probably all going to be wipes out by infection!

It's tough to disappear in this day and age, with the internet and all, but apparently it's not impossible. If you have the cash.

The guy that was going to get eaten by a snake didn't really get eaten by a snake. And when you think about it - how were we - as humans - going to force a snake to eat some guy in a weird suit?

An essay about a man and his bar. The man happens to be Roger Ebert, and the bar is O'Rourkes in Chicago. We miss you Mr. Ebert.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cool Shit 12/5

Filed under "Another video showing how awesome the planet is if we look hard enough:"

Something we should get to the bottom of: Did Kevin from Home Alone grow up to be Jigsaw from the Saw movies?

Are you a Star Wars fan? Know a Star Wars fan? These offbeat gifts are sure to please them this holiday season!

A new Terminator movie. Here's the trailer. I honestly have no idea what's going on other than it appears they are playing fast and loose with the rules established in the Terminator universe. Looks deliciously bad.

Want Bruce Lee abs? Here you go!

Awesome history of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and Blofeld form the Bond movies. And speculation about the newest Bond movie, simply called Spectre. This is the one that could take it to the next level. I also predict it's the last one with Daniel Craig.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cool Shit 12/4

If you missed it yesterday, we started a new series here at the Popcorn Trick called, Down the Rabbit Hole. Yesterday we covered some live music performances on Youtube. Check it out!
I know this is going to be hard to believe, but trust me - here's a cool story about cheating on the Pro Bass Fishing Circuit.

Trailer for Vice, a film that looks spectacularly awful...

So it seems Preacher is one step closer to becoming an actual show, as it has been ordered to pilot. While that doesn't guarantee it will become a series, it's getting closer. I still can't imagine it will deal with the same subject matter the comic did though.

It's Thursday so you know what that means...a new episode of Serial is out! It also means that we're one episode closer to Serial being over. Here are 10 other similar mysteries to obsess over as we wait for season 2.

Lineup for Sundance 2015 has been released.

Crazy golf courses for the rich. Chris Rock was right!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole: Youtube Live Performances

Down the Rabbit Hole is (hopefully) a routine series about what happens when I lose myself in Youtube after trying to hunt something down. While surely not original in any respect at all (what is on the Internet?), I hope to bring you some stuff that is interesting.

On the Orneriness of Singers and Magical Performances...

You ever get into one of those texting conversations with a's late at night, possibly after you've been sipping a cocktail or four, and the topics and narratives flow with little direction or focus?

Or is that just me?

Anyway it happened last week to me, after I had stumbled upon Lake Street Dive - my new favorite band. Take a look...

It's like the cosmos took my subconscious awesome band recipe and put it all together:
  • Female lead with powerful chops and timbre
  • Stand up bass!
  • Beautiful choruses
  • Catchy, slightly offbeat songs
Thank you universe! Check out their latest, Lake Street Dive and their previous album, Bad Self Portraits if you like what you see.
But anyway, from there the conversation intertwined into more music, and more offbeat performances. I brought up Cat Power, one of my favorite female artists, and her transcendent performance of Willie, a top ten favorite song of mine. And yet, what she does with it here, in this live performance...

Which is amazing, since Cat Power is known for uh...let's go with sporadic behavior during live performances. As may be hinted to when she immediately walks off the stage after performing this song here. Of course, having live performance issues is not really an unusual thing. Take Van Morrison for instance here - whatever set him off, he took it into this performance of Into the Mystic, and I can't decide whether I like it more because of it, or hate him for seemingly not caring and yet still producing a beautiful rendition...

And while that may be a strong look into the orneriness of Mr. Morrison, it's not like he doesn't know how to let loose on a stage...

Where does the Last Waltz rank on your list of "Shows you would hit if you had a time machinc?" Top 5? Top 3? I mean...

The amount of cocaine at that show must have been through the roof... and what happened to Neil Diamond? Why does he get the bad, corny rap in music circles? Is it just because of Sweet Caroline and Boston? Is it his leaning into adult contemporary stylings? Whatever it is, I ignore it. The man has written some truly great songs and needs a resurgence - if he hasn't had one already. I realize he still tours and does well, but he needs his Johnny Cash moment. Because obviously Mr. Cash was a fan...

Of course, few people, outside of Neil Diamond fans know that he has tried to go the "late in career stripped down" album that Cash had so much success with. 12 Songs, produced by Rick Rubin saw an older, contemplative Neil Diamond. One of my top 10 albums from 2006, here's a taste of what you can expect...

From Lake Street Dive to Neil Diamond. Much like the text that started it all, we've meandered down the road and made little sense, other than there's a lot of great music out there. Until next time...

Cool Shit 12/03

I will never get tired of these videos of Muppets doing hip hop. NEVER!

I'm not sure which I'm more angry at - the people suggesting this footage is evidence of Bigfoot in England, or the website it's on for sorta kinda taking it seriously enough to make it a post...

A history of DIY space travel. Or, I guess more accurately, the history of people attempting DIY space travel.

Stephen Hawking warns us about artificial intelligence. But seriously, won't we just be able to pull the plug whenever we want?

Of course, it's now a race to see what is going to kill us off - AI or climate change.

Enjoy the latest Star Wars trailer? Here's a look at when you might see the next one.

How feminine beauty changed throughout the last 100 years. I'm going to be honest, I think 1910 was the best decade.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cool Shit 12/02

Awesome interview with Chris Rock that spans a lot of topics and goes a lot of places.

The top two "Albums of the Year" from Rolling Stone's list pretty much exemplify exactly where that publication is coming from.

You may think you understand how people think and react in certain situations, but these psychology experiments suggest otherwise.

One chart: every vessel that has carried humans into space.

Speaking of space, maybe I've been out of the loop for awhile, but I wasn't aware of how close (relatively speaking) we were to attempting to colonize Mars. Well, I guess I should amend that: I didn't know how close one company has been suggesting how close we were to colonizing Mars. And here's an astronaut pretty much taking down their plan and explaining why it will never work. I'm guessing this is all an elaborate ruse anyway and just really good viral marketing for something.

What an unbelievably awesome picture:

Cool story about how advertising, engineering and paper airplanes all came together once in 1966.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cool Shit 12/1

Are you ready to laugh? Check out these standup specials that you can watch on Netflix. Then go down to the comments to get recommendations about all the standup specials this list missed and watch those!

While I'm sure these live performances on Youtube are great, somehow they missed these two, possibly the greatest ever, for so many different reasons:

Bill Withers - Use Me Up

I mean, everytime I watch this, I attempt to pick the coolest guy in the band, and end up with a different answer.

And then there's Cat Power singing Willie:

Not only is the song completely broken down from the original, the reason this one is spectacular is because it's so rare you get a good live Cat Power performance.

It's not that I don't believe people aren't entitled to their opinion, it's that when it comes up in weird places and don't really make sense. Also, the story behind the Prestige really takes a left turn into crazyville (if you've seen it you know what I'm talking about) and so it's not like the author doesn't have to answer his own questions.

Brooklyn has a lot of music coming out of its borough - here's a list of bands you might want to check out before they get big and people hate them.

Who says the internet is making us dumber? Not these websites. Take advantage of them to get smarter.

I'd live to give a shout out to this tumblr: Conversations with Death. Not because I know the person behind it, because I believe it to be hilarious.