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Friday, September 30, 2011

iTree: An iPod Dock Made from a Tree

The iTree is a top-quality iPhone and iPod docking station made out of a simple tree trunk. This is hollowed out using a special technique and specialized tools, expertly proportioned to produce optimum sound quality.
Each iTree is unique – costumers choose the wood, the length and the built-in technology. They can even take a ride through the forest and pick out their own tree. The iTree is then made by hand in the “Steirische Vulkanland” region of southern Austria by carpenters “Tischlerei Lenz”, keeping the iTree local. There are currently three types of iTree – cherry, poplar and spruce – however, almost any kind of wood can be used. The iTree is compatible with any iPhone, iPod docking station, W Lan stream unit or CD player. It can even be fitted out with a turntable.
Designers KMKG believe that good design is based on experience, it’s personal, it has a “Heimat” (“home”) and has as little design as possible. Just like the iTree.

Technical Information:
Width: ~200 up to 400 cm
Diameter: starting at 35 cm
Sound by Trenner & Friedl
Bandwith: (-3db) 45Hz – 40.000Hz
Impedance nominal: 4 ohm
Sensitivity: (2.83 V /m) 88db
using finest paper cones
currently available: cheery, poplar and spruce
iTree is compatible with any Apple iPod, iPhone
or iPad using the Apple dock connector
The wireless version is using the wireless
streaming technology from ARCAM

City: Graz
Country: Austria
Client: Studio project
Year: 2010
Trenner & Friedl

Tischlerei Lenz

<p>full view of ‘iTree’</p>
full view of ‘iTree’

Americans Get Pot From US Government

By NIGEL DUARA, Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- Sometime after midnight on a moonlit rural Oregon highway, a state trooper checking a car he had just pulled over found less than an ounce of pot on one passenger: A chatty 72-year-old woman blind in one eye.

She insisted the weed was legal and was approved by the U.S. government.

The trooper and his supervisor were doubtful. But after a series of calls to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency and her physician, the troopers handed her back the card - and her pot.

For the past three decades, Uncle Sam has been providing a handful of patients with some of the highest grade marijuana around. The program grew out of a 1976 court settlement that created the country's first legal pot smoker.

Advocates for legalizing marijuana or treating it as a medicine say the program is a glaring contradiction in the nation's 40-year war on drugs - maintaining the federal ban on pot while at the same time supplying it.

Government officials say there is no contradiction. The program is no longer accepting new patients, and public health authorities have concluded that there was no scientific value to it, Steven Gust of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse told The Associated Press.

At one point, 14 people were getting government pot. Now, there are four left.

The government has only continued to supply the marijuana "for compassionate reasons," Gust said.
One of the recipients is Elvy Musikka, the chatty Oregon woman. A vocal marijuana advocate, Musikka relies on the pot to keep her glaucoma under control. She entered the program in 1988, and said that her experience with marijuana is proof that it works as a medicine.

They "won't acknowledge the fact that I do not have even one aspirin in this house," she said, leaning back on her couch, glass bong cradled in her hand. "I have no pain."

Marijuana is getting a look from states around the country considering calls to repeal decades-old marijuana prohibition laws. There are 16 states that have medical marijuana programs. In the three West Coast states, advocates are readying tax-and-sell or other legalization programs.

Marijuana was legal for much of U.S. history and was recognized as a medicine in 1850. Opposition to it began to gather and, by 1936, 48 states had passed laws regulating pot, fearing it could lead to addiction.
Anti-marijuana literature and films, like the infamous "Reefer Madness," helped fan those fears. Eventually, pot was classified among the most harmful of drugs, meaning it had no usefulness and a high potential for addiction.

In 1976, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must provide Robert Randall of Washington, D.C. with marijuana because of his glaucoma - no other drug could effectively combat his condition. Randall became the nation's first legal pot smoker since the drug's prohibition.

Eventually, the government created its program as part of a compromise over Randall's care in 1978, long before a single state passed a medical marijuana law. What followed were a series of petitions from people like Musikka to join the program.

President George H.W. Bush's administration, getting tough on crime and drugs, stopped accepting new patients in 1992. Many of the patients who had qualified had AIDS, and they were dying.

The AP asked the agency that administers the program, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for documents showing how much marijuana has been sent to patients since the first patient in 1976.

The agency supplied full data for 2005-2011, which showed that during that period the federal government distributed more than 100 pounds of high-grade marijuana to patients.

Agency officials said records related to the program before 2005 had been destroyed, but were able to provide scattered records for a couple of years in the early 2000s.

The four patients remaining in the program estimate they have received a total of 584 pounds from the federal government over the years. On the street, that would be worth more than $500,000.

All of the marijuana comes from the University of Mississippi, where it is grown, harvested and stored.
Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, who directs the operation, said the marijuana was a small part of the crop the university has been growing since 1968 for all cannabis research in the U.S. Among the studies are the pharmaceutical uses for synthetic mimics of pot's psychoactive ingredient, THC.

ElSohly said the four patients are getting pot with about 3 percent THC. He said 3 percent is about the range patients have preferred in blind tests.

The marijuana is then sent from Mississippi to a tightly controlled North Carolina lab, where they are rolled into cigarettes. And every month, steel tins with white labels are sent to Florida and Iowa. Packed inside each is a half-pound of marijuana rolled into 300 perfectly-wrapped joints.

With Musikka living in Oregon, she is entitled to more legal pot than anyone in the nation because she's also enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program. Neither Iowa nor Florida has approved marijuana as a medicine, so the federal pot is the only legal access to the drug for the other three patients.

The three other people in the program range in ages and doses of marijuana provided to them, but all consider themselves an endangered species that, once extinct, can be brushed aside by a federal government that pretends they don't exist.

All four have become crusaders for the marijuana-legalization movement. They're rock stars at pro-marijuana conferences, sought-after speakers and recognizable celebrities in the movement.

Irv Rosenfeld, a financial adviser in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has been in the program since November 1982. His condition produces painful bone tumors, but he said marijuana has replaced prescription painkillers.

Rosenfeld likes to tell this story: In the mid-1980s, the federal government asked his doctor for an update on how Rosenfeld was doing. It was an update the doctor didn't believe the government was truly interested in. He had earlier tried to get a copy of the previous update, and was told the government couldn't find it, Rosenfeld said.

So instead of filling out the form, the doctor responded with a simple sentence written in large, red letters: "It's working."

Watch two floppy drives play Star Wars’ Imperial March

By: Andrew Couts


Floppy drives have made a musical return from the pages of history with the help of a Polish hobbyist and some open-source gadgetry in this super-dork rendition of Darth Vader's Imperial March.
Polish gadget hobbyist “Silent” has created what is quite possibly the nerdiest thing we’ve every encountered: the “Imperial March” – a.k.a. Darth Vader’s theme song – played by two floppy drives. That’s right, this obsolete technology has now returned as a musical instrument.

Now, some of you are probably asking, “What the heck is a floppy drive?” A floppy drive is what us geezers used back in olden times before CDs, DVDs, flash drives and the Internet became the standard technology for storing data externally. (Granted, CDs and DVDs are quickly on their way to obsolescence as well.) They only store 1.44 MB – yes, megabytes – of data, which now isn’t even enough to hold a single high-resolution photograph, let alone anything else. And, as you can see from the video below, the were extremely noisy.

Well, with the help of an open-source ATMega microcontroller board, Silent has managed to program two floppy drives to clatter away at the exact pitches necessary to send fear into the hearts of a Jedi. But how, exactly, does it work? Silent explains on his blog:

The sound comes from a magnetic head moved by stepper motor. To make a specific sound, head must be moved with appropriate frequency…

To move the head you need to activate the drive by pulling the DRVSB0 or 1 (depends on the cable you have and the connector – notice the crossover on the FDD ribbon cable) pin low and then falling edge on STEP pin makes the head move one step in direction dependent on DIR pin state.

An ATMega microcontroller is generating those frequencies and it makes the drives play music.

In plain English, that means the microcontroller is sending electrical frequencies to the drives in a specific pattern to make them recreated the desired tone.

However it works, this is awesome. Watch and listen below:

Insanely Hot Chicks Demonstrate Proper Rugby

So, inherently as Americans… we couldn’t care less about rugby. It’s not even on our radar… until now. The makers of this video have found the much sought after formula of how to get Americans to pay attention to something rugby related. Turns out all you have to do is get a bunch of scantily clad, insanely hot and oiled up women to demonstrate the sport… the NFL is probably seriously sweating it now.

Al Qaeda's Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen


This Oct. 2008 file photo provided by Muhammad ud-Deen, shows radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. (CBS)

WASHINGTON - An American-born cleric killed in Yemen played a "significant operational role" in plotting and inspiring attacks on the United States, U.S. officials said Friday, as they disclosed detailed intelligence to justify the killing of a U.S. citizen.

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Islamic preacher who rose to the highest level of al Qaeda's franchise in Yemen, was killed in a CIA-directed strike upon his convoy, carried out with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command's firepower, according to a counterterrorist official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

U.S. officials considered al-Awlaki a most-wanted terror suspect, and added his name last year to the kill or capture list - making him a rare American addition to what is effectively a U.S. government hit-list.
In remarks at the White House Friday morning, President Barack Obama called the death of the jihadist cleric a "major blow" to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and praised the United States' successful alliance with Yemen's security forces.

"This is further proof that al Qaeda and its affiliates will find no safe haven anywhere in the world," Mr. Obama said. "Working with Yemen and our other allies and partners, we will be determined, we will be deliberate, we will be relentless, we will be resolute in our commitment to destroy terrorist networks that aim to kill Americans, and to build a world in which people everywhere can live in greater peace, prosperity and security."

Obama: Awlaki death "major blow" to terror
Obama, GOP leaders praise killing of Awlaki

Al-Awlaki was suspected of inspiring or helping plan numerous attacks on the United States, including the Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up a jetliner.

Following the strike, a U.S. official said al-Awlaki specifically directed the man accused of trying to bomb a Detroit-bound plane on Dec. 25, 2009 to detonate an explosive device over U.S. airspace to maximize casualties.

The official also said al-Awlaki had a direct role in supervising and directing a failed attempt to bring down two U.S. cargo aircraft by detonating explosives concealed inside two packages mailed to the U.S. The U.S. also believes Awlaki had sought to use poisons, including cyanide and ricin, to attack Westerners.

Who was Anwar al-Awlaki?
Multiple terror plots linked to Anwar al-Awlaki

Video: Anwar al-Awlaki urges attacks on Americans
The U.S. and counterterrorism officials all spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence matters.

Four individuals were killed in Friday's attack, according to U.S. officials. Yemen's Defense Ministry said another American militant was killed in the same strike alongside al-Awlaki. Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani heritage who produced the English-language al Qaeda Web magazine Inspire that proselytized attacks against the United States. U.S. officials said they believed Khan, from North Carolina, was in the convoy carrying al-Awlaki that was struck by the same U.S. military unit that got Osama bin Laden, but that they were still trying to confirm his death.

2nd U.S. jihadist reported dead in drone attack
A look at al Qaeda's Web magazine
Al-Awlaki had been under observation for three weeks while they waited for the right opportunity to strike, one U.S. official said.

His death will deal al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula a serious blow, says CBS News terrorism analyst Juan Zarate, particularly his work to draw young Muslims into the jihadi mindset.

"His role as a propagandist actually will be very difficult to fill," says Zarate.

The cleric known for fiery anti-American rhetoric and use of the Internet to spread his message was suspected of inspiring the mass shooting at Fort Hood Army base in Texas in 2009, and taking a more direct role in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner and the planning of other attacks on Americans.

He is the most prominent al Qaeda figure to be killed since bin Laden.

Special Section: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
Pictures: Terror attacks since 9/11
Word from the U.S. of his death comes after the government of Yemen reported that al-Awlaki was targeted and killed Friday about five miles from the town of Khashef, some 87 miles from the capital Sanaa.
U.S. counterterrorism officials said that counterterrorism cooperation between the U.S. and Yemen has improved in recent weeks, allowing the U.S. to gather better intelligence on al-Awlaki's movements. The ability to better track him was a key factor the successful strike, U.S. officials said. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Al-Awlaki's death is the latest in a run of high-profile kills for Washington under President Barack Obama. But the killing raises questions that the death of other al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, did not.

Al-Awlaki is a U.S. citizen who had not been charged with any crime. Civil liberties groups have questioned the government's authority to kill an American without trial.

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, condemned the drone attack on Awlaki, saying, "The targeted killing program violates both U.S. and international law.

"As we've seen today, this is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts," Jaffer said. "The government's authority to use lethal force against its own citizens should be limited to circumstances in which the threat to life is concrete, specific and imminent. It is a mistake to invest the President - any President - with the unreviewable power to kill any American whom he deems to present a threat to the country." Al-Awlaki's father filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming his son's civil rights were violated by the U.S. call for his killing.

A federal court dismissed Nasser al-Awlaki's suit on Dec. 7, 2010, on the grounds that he had no legal standing to challenge the targeting of his son.

U.S. officials have said they believe al-Awlaki inspired the Fort Hood shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the November 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who pleaded guilty to the May 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt, said he was "inspired" by al-Awlaki after making contact over the Internet.

Al-Awlaki also is believed to have had a hand in mail bombs addressed to Chicago-area synagogues, packages intercepted in Dubai and Europe in October 2010.

Al-Awlaki's death "will especially impact the group's ability to recruit, inspire and raise funds as al-Awlaki's influence and ability to connect to a broad demographic of potential supporters was unprecedented," said terrorist analyst Ben Venzke of the private intelligence monitoring firm, the IntelCenter.

But Venzke said the terror group al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) will remain the most dangerous regional arm "both in its region and for the direct threat it poses to the U.S. following three recent failed attacks," with leader Nasir al-Wahayshi still at large.

Venzke said al-Awlaki was due to release a new article in the next issue of the terror group's magazine, justifying attacking civilians in the West.

"The article, which may already have been completed, was announced by the al Qaeda group on Tuesday as being entitled, 'Targeting Populations of Countries at War with Muslims,'" he said.

The 10 Craziest Liquor Bottles


Milagro Tequila

Milagro celebrates the origins of tequila (the noble agave plant) in their premium hand blown bottles. These bottles house the brand's trio of Barrel Reserve offerings.

Remy Martin Cognac Louis XIII

Old world French luxury is the spirit of this bottle from Remy Martin. This cognac hits at around $500, so logically the bottle are appropriately opulent.

Medea Vodka

What's wild about this bottle? How about the fact that you can broadcast your favorite phrase (or ladies birthday, or whatever) via the LED screen? Medea claims it is the first interactive bottle. We can't think of any others.

Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Voda is crazy for two reasons. 1. The skull bottle. 2. It is owned by Dan Aykroyd.

Jazz Vodka

Nothing wrong with literal design. Jazz Vodka, which comes from Poland, employs a trumpet shaped bottle. Fittingly, the brand debuted at the 1991 International Jazz Fest. Smooth.

Armenian Brandy

This brand has served up some really insane bottles over the years — dragons, bulls, ships, etc. The sword is the craziest. Brandish this at a party and be guarenteed some degree of drunken knighthood.

Tommy Guns

Again, literal design never hurt anyone. Tommy Guns works with a 1920s era gangsta feel (think Al Capone) and pushes that with its eyecatching bottle.

Hijos De Villa Pistol Reposado Tequila

Wild inappropriate or awesome? The brand claims this limited bottle represents the courage of the revolutionary era (and it was released on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution).

Kalashnikov Vodka

Two legendary Russian inventions combined in a single product. Bang! 

Brew Dog The End of History

Scotland's Brew Dog takes no shorts when crafting inventive drinks. Their "The End of History" was a limited edition 55% abv (CRAZE!) brew presented in bottles housed in road kill. The bottles were limited to just 11.

Ocean Spray readies Craisins and chef Ming Tsai for Epcot exhibit

Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., the cooperative of cranberry and grapefruit growers, said it will exhibit its Craisins brand of dried cranberries at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in Florida.

The exhibit is scheduled to run from Sept. 30 through Nov. 13, and plans call for celebrity chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger fame to make an appearance at the cranberry bog exhibit on Oct. 11, said Ocean Spray, whose headquarters campus is located on the Lakeville-Middleborough line.

For Ocean Spray, an ongoing marketing challenge is to convince the eating public that cranberries are good for more than just slathering onto a helping of Thanksgiving turkey. The cranberry is a versatile ingredient, and one that should be top of mind for any home cook with Julia Child aspirations, Ocean Spray believes.
So to convey the notion that the Craisin should be a regularly used ingredient, Tsai will join other uber chefs at the Oct. 11 event to “whip up an array of worldly cranberry creations celebrating the versatility of the cranberry and the many cuisines and cultures celebrated in the World Showcase at Epcot.” Ocean Spray said in a press release.

The Epcot exhibit follows up on a deal that Ocean Spray struck last year that makes Craisins the official fruit snack of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
Chris Reidy can be reached at

The Eight Most Iconic Cinematic Jackets ... and Where to Get Them



By now, a good number of you regular theater goers probably checked out Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, which sped into theaters last weekend. One of the elements of the film that cannot be ignored is Ryan Gosling's white quilted sateen racing jacket, emblazoned with a giant scorpion patch on the back (more on the careful choosing of and inspiration behind Gosling's character's jacket in my recent interview with Refn).

Having always been a fan of both film and fashion, I thought it fitting to take a look back at the coolest jackets in cinematic history. Whether the clothes make the man or the man makes the clothes, the jacket is the essential piece of cool for any iconic character.

Try them on after the jump.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his brown leather adventurer jacket from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

This is the cinematic jacket. It is the Holy Grail when it comes to film fashion. If ever a character was known by his iconic pieces of clothing, it's Indiana Jones. The fedora. The boots. The bag. The shirt. And of course the jacket.

Other than just being eternally cool with its brown leather bomber style, Indy's jacket serves as an external, visual reminder of just what the teacher by day/adventure-seeking archaeologist by any other day has been through on his quest to find the secret treasures of the Earth. Rough and weathered. Beaten, bruised and worn in. Nicked, scratched and scarred just as Indy, a man's man, is. But the jacket, also like Indy, is always ready to keep on absorbing the abuse, looking cooler and cooler as time and wear conditions it. But, most importantly, it never looks as if it belongs in a museum.

Kind of crazy when you think about the fact that not only did Harrison Ford play not one but three iconic fanboy characters (Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Rick Deckard) and that each character had their own iconic jacket.

Original maker: Wested Leather Co.

Peter Botwright, Wested's original tailor of the Indy jacket commissioned by Spielberg for Raiders, is still producing authentic replicas of the jacket in standard sizes and even made-to-order custom tailored ones, which come complete with a Certificate of Authenticity. Botwright even offers the rest of Indy's outfit, including the trousers, the shirt and the belt. Punching sound effects not included.

Where to get a good reproduction: There are number of places that make their own version of the Indy jacket though screen accuracy is always a big determining factor that separates the costumes from the clothing so to speak. If you don't want to pay the equivalent of a few golden idols, then Todd's Costumes is your best bet.

The Rocketeer (Billy Campbell) and his tan leather aviator jacket from The Rocketeer

Another leather jacket inspired by fashion from the aviation days of the '30s and '40s in another film inspired by serials of the same period (Disney actually planned The Rocketeer as a trilogy hoping it would take off after the success of Raiders but unfortunately it ran out of gas at the box office). Flyboy Cliff Secord already had the aviator ensemble ... all he needed was a retro-futuristic jet pack created by Howard Hughes and a helmet that resembled a hood ornament to bring out the hero in him. Yet, he wouldn't have looked as cool jetting around saving the world from Nazis without that camel-colored jacket!

Original maker: Unknown

Where to get a good reproduction: Only a few companies offer reproductions of The Rocketeer's jacket, ranging in price all the way up to $700, but the cheapest is coincidentally Wested Leather Co. - maker of the original Raiders jacket. Their jacket is made using original patterns from the actual film jacket and will run you about $352.

Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) and his black leather motorcycle jacket from The Wild One

If we're talking leather jackets and film, it doesn't get any more eternally cool than Johnny Strabler's black leather motorcycle jacket from The Wild One. You see this style of jacket on bikers, ruffians, punks and rebels everywhere but it was Brando who first made it iconic. The Wild One jacket (officially known as the "Perfecto") has been seen on the likes of James Dean, Bruce Springsteen and just about every other icon of Americana cool.

Original maker: Schott, NYC., the first company to put zippers on jackets!

Where to get a good reproduction: Don't settle for a reproduction! Get the real deal from Schott, who offers the jacket for $540 bucks (along with plenty of other cool leather moto jackets like the red, white and blue racing striped Easy Rider jacket). If you don't want to drop that much, you can probably find a close enough style at any respectable vintage shop or motorcycle outfitter. Just remember, no amount of money can buy cool. You've got to wear it!

Jim Stark (James Dean) and his red Baracuta-style jacket from Rebel Without A Cause
Speaking of Jimmy Dean, the rebel without a cause made a jacket of his own iconic in the second of only three films he starred before suddenly and tragically dying in an automobile accident. Dean's on-screen presence as Jim Stark was as fiery and eye-catching as his signature red wind breaker, which instantly became as recognizable as Dean himself.

Original maker: The original maker of the Rebel jacket is still unknown, despite many enthusiasts efforts to discover its origin. Many believe it was not made by Baracuta but was in fact a McGregor Anti-freeze style, popular in the '50s, custom made by the film's costume designer, Moss Mabry. However, director Nicholas Ray claimed he took it off a Red Cross worker and another account claims that it was simply bought at a department store. So, it seems the famous red Rebel jacket is as mysterious as the man who made it famous.

Where to get a good reproduction: Being that the jacket is so recognizable (come on, even people who have never even seen Rebel Without A Cause are familiar with that jacket), you can find various versions all over the place, both screen accurate replicas with all the buttons, flaps, and zippers in the right place or off-the-rack jackets inspired by Dean's. This American Apparel nylon taffeta wind breaker is a good start. A Google search for red Baracuta jacket will get you going in the right direction if you're looking for something a little more authentic. There are even times when you can even find original vintage McGregor Anti-freeze jacket on eBay but they are rarely in red and are typically more expensive.

The Joker (Heath Ledger) and his purple long coat from The Dark Knight

Like James Dean, Heath Ledger was an actor taken well before his time. Fortunately, he left us with an eclectic filmography filled with memorable performances. No performance of Ledger's, however, is more memorable than his last: Batman's arch nemesis The Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
What made The Joker's clothing, specifically his signature purple long coat, so memorable is the true style it had. So opposing yet so complimentary to his personality. A character that represented total anarchy in its truest and purest form, that cared about nothing more than watching the world burn just to see what happened, was actually quite the snappy dresser! Not exactly what you'd expect from this guy, right? Exactly. The Joker's custom clothing (that was made referenced more than a few times in the film) only added to the dynamic contrasts of the character.

Original maker: The Joker's clothing was in fact custom made by the film's costume designer, Lindy Hemming. Man, was she ever born for that profession with that last name. [Editor's note: Rimshot! He's here every week! Try the lamb!]
Where to get a good reproduction: Don't settle for the lousy Halloween costume version on this one! Magnoli Clothiers -- the leading tailors in film costume reproduction -- offers the entire Joker ensemble, including his violet-colored long coat.

Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and his '80s tan trench coat from Say Anything
Another cool long coat worn on screen, yet this time it was by a Mr. Nice Guy. Lloyd Dobler had a thing for Diane Court to the point that, when he gave her his heart and she gave him a pen, he stood outside her window blaring "In Your Eyes." Eat your heart out, Romeo! But aside from Peter Gabriel's ballad blaring for a boom box held high, what makes this titular '80s scene so totally rad is, yep you guessed it, Lloyd's trenchcoat.

Original maker: Who knows? Say Anything isn't exactly up there on the list of cinematic jackets so not too much detective work has been done on this one ... outside of my own that is for when I went as Lloyd for Halloween one year. Talk about commitment; your arms get tired holding that boom box all night!
Where to get a good reproduction: Your local Goodwill. Actually, that's probably where Lloyd would get his anyway.

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his reddish-orange puffy down vest and denim jacket from Back to the Future

Speaking of quintessential '80s movies, no list about jackets or '80s flicks in general would be complete without Back to the Future and Marty McFly's bitchin' threads. Sure, his vest may have not had arms -- which is generally what qualifies something as a jacket -- but, as a subject of multiple classic jokes in the film (For one, "Hey kid, what'd you do, jump ship?") and an iconic piece of film clothing in general, it deserves its spot on this list! Not to mention the fact that the denim jacket McFly sports underneath his vest is a sought after piece of cinematic clothing in itself.

Made by Guess by Marciano, the denim jacket was actually a rare run almost impossible to find nowadays that many BTTF enthusiasts have begged and pleaded the fashion label to rerelease. Hey, Nike did it with the Air Mags and we saw the media frenzy that caused.

Original maker: Of the vest, no one knows. The two-tone gray and blue denim jacket was made by Guess by Marciano.

Where to get a good reproduction: For the vest, you should be able to find a good red puffy down vest at just about any department or sporting goods store as the temperatures get colder. But if you want one that is the right shade of redish-orange and has buttons instead of a zipper like McFly's, then eBay is probably you're best best. For the denim jacket, well, as we said it's extremely rare. But Magnoli Clothiers -- we told you they were the leading tailors in film costume reproduction -- make the most accurate reproduction out there, complete with the jacket's unique lining.

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and his red blazer/red leather racing jacket from Fight Club

Red. A color that keeps reappearing on this list. Jim Stark's red wind breaker. Marty McFly's red down vest. And of course, Tyler Durden's not one but two insanely cool red leather jackets. It takes a lot for a man to wear a red leather jacket, but if ever an actor or a character could pull it off, it was Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden. Then again, he wasn't real so he could wear whatever he wanted to ... and, well, as you'll recall, he did. But somehow, even though it all looked so thrown together and effortless, it still had such a well-dressed vibe. In this case, the man definitely made the clothes.

Original maker: Unknown. But Durden's red leather blazer was likely vintage as a lot of his clothing was. As for his red leather racing jacket, that was probably made by a more high end designer.
Where to get a good reproduction: Both styles are all over the Internet. From expensive reproductions (like this one or this one) to cheaper pleather ones, they are not too hard to come by. Nowadays, being able to wear one and look and feel like Brad Pitt while you do it is a little more difficult to achieve.

So what about Drive's sateen scorpion-emblazoned racing jacket that inspired this whole thing...
Well, with the film being so fresh, no one has announced a reproduction yet. Refn himself told me that he has three hanging in his closet and, in a recent interview all about the jacket, the film's costume designer, Erin Benach said that 13 total were made. After all, The Driver's jacket does get a little dirty and blood-soaked as the film plays on...

According to Benach, the character's jacket was inspired by 1950s Korean souvenir jackets that Gosling himself actually wears (you know, the kind that were kind of baseball-style jackets and had patches of tigers and dragons all over them -- before Ed Hardy made that forever uncool).

The good news for all of us cinematic jacket enthusiasts out there is that Benach also hinted that the jacket may soon be available for purchase online. (For the rest of Gosling's get-up, check out these two recent articles on GQ &

Where there is a famous film jacket, there is a group of people out there (myself included) who want to get their hands on it. For proof, look no further than, a website wholly devoted to this quest.
I hope this list helps you to stay cool while you stay warm this fall, sporting one of your cinematic hero's outerwear.

Van Damme Friday - Bloodsport Final Fight (1988) - High Quality

Van Damme in Bloodsport, the best martial arts movie of all time. A Great inspiration!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5th Annual Dog Surfing Competition (Slideshow)


All aboard

Five competitors pile on a surfboard during Sunday's Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in Del Mar, Calif. The event welcomed 4,000 spectators, 80 pooches, and raised more than $100,000 for orphaned animals. Canine surf competitions have recently grown in popularity, and a number are held in Southern California each year. Click through for a look at more pups hanging ten.
PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The perfect pitch

Since dogs like this California competitor don't have the ability to paddle into the oncoming wave like human surfers can, dog surfers need to be "pitched." That's when the dog's human helper pushes the board — with the dog sitting or standing on top — so it's moving at the same speed as the wave. The human then lets go and the dog is set free to ride its wave.
PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson


A pug is thrown off its board on Sunday. Depending on the timing of the pitch or the size of the wave, dogs may wipe out just like human surfers — which is why all dogs wear life jackets and are assisted by human lifeguards.
PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The old pro

Buddy, a 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, took home the honor of "top dog" Sunday, his fifth win in the competition's six years. Buddy is also the first member of the Surf Dog Hall of Fame. While Buddy is likely to retire after this competition, his owner said there was no doubt those last waves were "probably the best of Buddy's life."
PHOTO: Facebook/Helen Woodward Animal Center


A surfing bulldog tumbles off its board during Sunday's competition. The 80 dogs competing were divided among four weight classes.
PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

One with the wave

One of Sunday's competitors sits behind a spray of water during his ride. A dog's low center of gravity and relatively low weight often give him stability in rough waves. 
PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Helping hand

A labrador participates in a different Southern California surf competition last year. Humans are an important part of dog surfing. Getting the board out past the break point can be the most difficult part, because handlers have to keep the dog on the board through an onslaught of crashing waves.
PHOTO: CC BY: Port of San Diego

Big air

A small dog competing in the 2008 Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon wipes out while riding a wave. While humans attach themselves to their boards with a leash to the ankle, dogs are attached by their life vests. Surfboard companies now make softboards for dogs, which are preferable to fiberglass or wood because they prevent injury during canine wipeouts. 

Shake it, baby

A dog shakes off some sea water during the 2008 Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, and some have to practice holding their breath. While beginners can't exactly tell their owners they don't want to surf, canines do have other ways of expressing their disinterest in the sport.

The best reward

Australian Kelpie Abbie G gives her owner a little lick during a calm moment on the water. Abbie G is a longtime surfer who this year became the first Guinness World Record holder for the longest surf ride by a dog. The record-setting distance of 65 yards was measured using a GPS system duct-taped to the top of her wetsuit.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner is finally delivered

The differences between people who can and can't drive a stick


The latest infoporn from delves into the site's proprietary user data system to uncover the characteristics of people who can drive cars with a stick shift vs. those who can't.

The graphic, designed by Column Five Media, shows people who visit apparently know how to drive a stick shift more than the average American driver. Or at least they say they're able to drive a stick.
Either way, here's some of the results from the data about people who claim to be able to handle a stick:

• 69% more likely to have a graduate degree.
• 39% more likely to be married or in a long-term relationship.
• 19% more likely to be extroverts.
• 75% have changed a flat tire.
• 14% more likely to be optimists.
• 27% more likely to consider themselves close to nature.
• 22% more likely to hike, bike, or run at the park.
• They watch the Newshour with Jim Lehrer.
• They watch Face the Nation.
• They watch History Channel.
• They like George Carlin
• They read 1984.
• They read National Geographic.
• They like Trivial Pursuit.
So, if more people knew how to drive a stick, the world would be a better place. The numbers don't lie. Even if the respondents probably did.
See the rest of the data by clicking on the infoporn below:

Click to ENLARGE

Click to ENLARGE

Ladies Of Oktoberfest: Das Ist Gut [Photos]


The world has a bit of a love/hate relationship with Germany, with most of the love occurring during Oktoberfest. For those not familiar, it's a festival that celebrates beer and cleavage, at least that's what we've gathered from the not-so-extensive research we've done. It's a time of year when everyone can find a reason to drink way too much beer, eat half their body weight in cured meats and wear lederhosen without fear of judgment. Find yourself a beer tent and clear your schedule for the next week or so, because you're going to spend it welcoming the fall by throwing up and falling in love.

Even this guy can make it happen during Oktoberfest.

Not sure how that Daisy Duke shirt fits the dress code, but whatever.

Hello, German warrior princess.

Tara Reid may have lost her swagger in the States, but she may be pulling a Hasselhoff in Germany.

1993's Miss Germany, Verona Pooth, has a love affair with soft pretzels.

If you're not holding a mug full of beer at Oktoberfest, you have no reason to smile.

Photos via Getty