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Roger Ebert on Anime, with a focus on Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

"In Japan, animation is not seen as the exclusive realm of children's and family films, but is often used for adult, science fiction and action stories, where it allows a kind of freedom impossible in real life. Some Hollywood films strain so desperately against the constraints of the possible that you wish they'd just caved in and gone with animation." -- Roger Ebert on anime, with this excerpt being related to Tokyo Godfathers. Ebert has been a fan of anime for a while, especially the works of Hayao Miyazaki. Ebert has reviewed 6 of the 18 Studio Ghibli films released to date, and even interviewed Miyazaki with a bit of fanboy glee. More reviews and videos inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief at 7:46 AM Aug 30 2010 - 92 comments [221 favorites]

Oh Noes! The dreaded #REF error!

In the world of conversation killers, talking about Excel to the average person ranks up there with the best. At the same time, there is always a chance that you wish you could have that conversation at work when it gets down to the wire. Even as a pro, you might need that brush up on Array Functions, calculation tricks, VBA examples or some examples from one of the well known authors on Excel. There is also no shortage of people who dedicate their working lives to this arcane program and are more than willing to assist others for free by posting solved issues on their websites. People like David McRitchie, OzGrid, Rob Bovey, Ron de Bruin, John Walkenbach, Dick Kusleika, Joseph Rubin and Chip Pearson.

Or if you just want to be a Debbie Downer at the next party, just take page from any of the following, memorize it. and recite it when faced with that nudge you don't want to talk to: Excel Support, Jon Peltier, Colo's Junk Room, Scriptorium, Andrew's Excel Tips, Andy Pope, Anthony's VBA Page, Rodney Powell, Array Formulas, Erlandsen Data Consulting, Excel-it, ExcelUser, JKP's Excel Page, John Lacher, McGimpsey, Bill Jelen, Stephen Bullen, Tushar Mehta, VBusers.com, The Excel Nexus, The Excel Logic Page, and Anthoney Does Excel. It’s a fast and easy way to ward off lounge lizards.
posted by lampshade at 2:13 PM Aug 18 2007 - 42 comments [220 favorites]

How the Daddy of Jesse Helms Gave Birth to Black Power

In 1936 in the Jim Crow South, Robert F. Williams was an 11-year-old black boy in Monroe, North Carolina, who watched helplessly as Jesse Helms Sr. (father and namesake of the former senator) beat an African-American woman to the ground and "dragged her off to the nearby jailhouse, her dress up over her head, the same way that a cave man would club and drag his sexual prey." Years later, after a stint in the segregated military, Williams returned home to Monroe and worked as an NAACP organizer, where he brought international attention to the Kissing Case, a 1958 incident in which two black boys under the age of 10 were sentenced to a reformatory for kissing a white girl. By then, Williams had also attracted controversy for his advocacy of armed self-defense, a position he outlined in the book Negroes with Guns. But it would all change overnight in 1961, when Williams landed on FBI's Most Wanted list, after being charged with kidnapping a white couple that Williams claimed he was trying to save from an angry black crowd. [more inside]
posted by jonp72 at 6:03 PM Jun 8 2010 - 36 comments [220 favorites]

The ability to recreate an entire movie is insignificant next to the potential of the Force.

Back in 09', Star Wars Uncut (previously) asked people to recreate 15 second chunks of Star Wars: A New Hope however they wanted, using live action, animation, text adventure screens, SCUMM interfaces, costumed pets, and more. Now they've been edited together to recreate the entire movie as a homemade, constantly shifting media experiment. (Vimeo link)
posted by The Whelk at 2:08 PM Jan 20 2012 - 131 comments [219 favorites]

The rain in Spain smells mainly of dimethyl-9-decalol

The smell of earth after rain is called Petrichor, and it is caused by Geosmin, a sesquiterpenoid metabolite with the chemical formula C12H22O. Human sensitivity to geosmin is about 10 parts per trillion. (via)
posted by mrgrimm at 9:48 AM Nov 28 2012 - 95 comments [219 favorites]

We're just taking baby steps in the right direction.

You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide "This is meant to be an interactive flow chart for people who struggle with self care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals. It's designed to take as much of the weight off of you as possible, so each decision is very easy and doesn't require much judgment."
posted by desjardins at 4:34 PM Sep 28 2015 - 103 comments [218 favorites]

Oniongate

Undoubtedly, at some point in your life, a recipe has told you to brown or caramelize some onions for 5-10 minutes. As many frustrated cooks have found through experience, this step of the recipe is a damned lie. In fact, the now-ubiquitous suggestion of 5-10 minutes isn't even a remote approximation of the amount of time it takes to brown an onion; Alton Brown and Julia Child weigh in on the matter, suggesting that the task can take anywhere from 45 minute to an hour. [more inside]
posted by schmod at 7:51 AM May 7 2012 - 202 comments [217 favorites]

What's That?

What's That? Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a portabello mushroom. And no, she wasn't new...and to make matters worse the checker next to her didn't know either. (more inside)
posted by MiHail at 9:25 AM Nov 12 2005 - 1025 comments [215 favorites]

Drew Caricature

Can't get enough Whose Line is it Anyway? 71 Scenes From a Hat, 16 Party Quirks, 52 Props, 5 Film Dubs, 84 Hoedowns, 37 Sound Effects, 45 Questions Only, 11 Hats/Dating Service Videos, 52 World's Worst, 13 News Flashes, 35 Let's Make a Date, 9 Press Conferences, 60 Superheroes, 6 Foreign Film Dubs, 29 Irish Drinking Songs, 4 Animals, 9 If You Know What I Mean, 2 Backwards Scene, 54 Greatest Hits, 58 Song Styles, 2 All in One Voice, 21 Scenes to Rap, 3 90-Second Alphabets, 11 Questionable Impressions, 4 Two-Line Vocabulary, 3 Number of Words, 17 Weird Newscasters and (probably the most telling of how much they had to hold back due to censorship standards) 6 Blooper Reels. Prefer the UK version? Every episode of Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 10:56 AM Jun 3 2009 - 70 comments [215 favorites]

Procrastination and Useful Websites

29 Semi-Productive Things I Do Online When I'm Trying to Avoid Real Work
posted by MechEng at 11:45 AM Apr 11 2010 - 42 comments [215 favorites]

Underrated Movies

Notes on 124 underappreciated films. [more inside]
posted by Iridic at 9:32 AM Jul 18 2011 - 139 comments [215 favorites]

the new frontier of sharing useful tips might well be Pinterest

35 Lifechanging Ways To Use Everyday Objects - such as using a banana to get the scratches out of a CD or DVD, the very popular "make a hair bun with a sock" trick, and the ever-useful how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew. "These handy little things are all things you probably own already. I know this is a topic usually reserved for moms on Pinterest..." It's true, the denizens of Pinterest are an excellent source of useful tips: how to peel a potato in 10 seconds, how to get rid of a sunburn, making emergency ingredient substitutions when you're baking, or 20 new ways to use magic erasers; why not iron your kitchen floor to get out ground-in dirt? (previously: how to fold a fitted sheet - a big list of sites that teach you how to do stuff)
posted by flex at 3:46 PM Jun 2 2012 - 63 comments [215 favorites]

More free online courses!

Do you love learning? I know you do. This might help keep you busy for a while.
posted by loquacious at 10:44 PM Jan 13 2007 - 44 comments [214 favorites]

Web 2.0 Vaudeville

A woman walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a double entendre, so he gave it to her. Ba-dum dum. What's green and has wheels? Grass. I lied about the wheels. Ba-dum dum. A baby seal walks into a club. (pause) Ba-dum dum. How many kids with ADD does it take to change a lightbulb? LET'S GO RIDE BIKES! Ba-dum dum. A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this, some kind of joke?" Ba-dum dum. Instant Rimshot. For all those times you need a big red Flash button that'll give you a well-timed rimshot. (Jokes courtesy of Ask Mefi.)
posted by WCityMike at 7:10 PM May 12 2008 - 249 comments [213 favorites]

Typical Pentagon boondoggle

The Global Language Online Support System (or GLOSS), produced by the Defense Language Institute in sunny Monterey, CA, offers over six thousand free lessons in 38 languages from Albanian to Uzbek, with particular emphasis on Chinese, Persian, Russian, Korean, and various types of Arabic. The lessons include both reading and listening components and are refreshingly based on real local materials (news articles, radio segments, etc.) rather than generic templates. [more inside]
posted by theodolite at 1:27 PM Oct 11 2012 - 23 comments [213 favorites]

Bad Education

The Higher Education (Debt) Bubble - "[H]igh and increasing college costs mean students need to take out more loans, more loans mean more securities lenders can package and sell, more selling means lenders can offer more loans with the capital they raise, which means colleges can continue to raise costs. The result is over $800 billion in outstanding student debt, over 30 percent of it securitized, and the federal government directly or indirectly on the hook for almost all of it. If this sounds familiar, it probably should... [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 9:00 AM May 17 2011 - 185 comments [212 favorites]

The Best Thing Since Sliced...

"Long ago Occidental man acquired a definite preference for raised bread instead of cooked cereals and flat breads. Bread reigned over the ancient world; no food before or after exerted such mastery over man. The Egyptians, who invented it, based their entire administrative system on it; the Jews made bread the starting point of their religious and social laws. The Greeks created profound and solemn legends for their Bread Church of Eleusis. And the Romans converted bread into a political factor. They ruled by it, conquered an entire world by it, and lost the world again through it. At last the day came when Jesus Christ made consummate all the spiritual significance that had become attached to it, saying, 'Eat! I am the bread.'" (Reinhart, Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History). (Google Books) The Romans ruled through bread and circuses; "bread" (and "dough") are money, and the "bread-winner" is the head of the household. The next big invention is always "the greatest thing since sliced bread" Wheat, Rye, Brioche, Challah, Matzo, Limpa--a look inside the long and fascinating history of bread. [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe at 2:51 PM Oct 24 2011 - 55 comments [212 favorites]

Barack Obama is the next President of the United States

Attention world: We're back baby! USA! USA! USA! USA! [more inside]
posted by plexi at 8:00 PM Nov 4 2008 - 1282 comments [211 favorites]

From Basics to Technical

100 Helpful Photography Tutorials for Beginners and Professionals. Photography as both a profession and a hobby is an expansive topic that covers a vast range of subjects from science and art. No matter where you lie on the spectrum, there is always more to learn. From the folks at Tuts+.
posted by netbros at 7:34 AM Aug 22 2010 - 15 comments [210 favorites]

"October is a fine and dangerous season in America"

Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi at 4:07 PM Oct 1 2013 - 2207 comments [209 favorites]

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