Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

RotJJtHFilmmaker Jamie Benning created this short about the fascinating creation of of Star Wars’ most infamous (and my favorite) character.
He interviewed puppeteer Toby Philpott, one of the three men who crawled inside the Hutt to bring him to life. Benning’s 20 minute documentary brings together Philpott’s words with concept sketches and behind-the-scenes footage. “Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt” is entrancing. It’s fascinating to see the various methods used to make Jabba come to life.
To whet your pallet, here’s a few screen captures of the early concepts from the film:

At any given moment there were as many as 5 people inside and 2 or 3 more outside working remote controls.

<p><a href=”″>Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth – Life Inside Jabba the Hutt – @Jamieswb</a> from <a href=””&gt;
The first item in my Jabba/Leia collection was Avon Bubble Bath that I found at a thrift store. (I thought it ironic that Avon thought that children bathing in the liquid contents of a beast who liked to feed slavegirls to his rancor was a good idea)

Here are some captures of the mechanical aspects of what into bringing him to life.

And, for purely gratuitous purposes, here’s some pictures of Princess Leia:

And, playing breath games with her fella:

And here’s Carrie Fisher speaking candidly about her slug-ish costar:love

And, as a footnote, here’s some more Star Wars stuff:

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The Last Leg – A BRILLIANT UK comedy panel SHOW

The Last Leg started as a one-time color commentary on the Special Olympics but was such a success that it was picked up and turned into a hit series. It stars Aussie Adam Hills (who has had one leg since birth), Alex Booker (who has a variety of physical birth defects), and ‘posh’ British comedian Josh Widdicombe.

It is one of the funniest and most daring comedy panel shows I’ve ever seen. Their wit is often acerbic and they go places that no other comics would dare to venture and poke fun at themselves and their own foibles, both physical and social.

As a Yank I admit that I am often not familiar with the guests (which is fine because that inspires me to go and look the people up) and don’t get many of the UK-specific cultural and political references (which is embarrassing given their breadth of knowledge of what’s going on in the US)
But that being said, even with my own limitations, this is STILL consistently one of the most brilliant shows I have ever enjoyed.
This episode is the most recent, the 12th show of the 10th season but there are many more available on YouTube and they’re all worth watching.




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Watch a Badger Bury a Cow – Scientific American

This is exactly how I want to be interred after I die:

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GoFundMe Collection for Medicine & First Aid to Venezuela 

This fund has been set up by my beautiful (inside and out) daughter to send medical supplies to Venezuela.

82% of people in Venezuela are living in poverty. People are starving, babies are malnourished, there is little food, and no medicine. Everyday this week, the public has gone to the streets to peacefully protest Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship and has been met with bullets, tear gas and violence. Venezuela needs freedom NOW.

Venezuela is being governed by drug kingpins and criminals. The situation affects every Venezuelan- regardless of socioeconomic or educational status. 100% of ALL funds of this campaign will go toward first aid materials, medicine or shipment costs.

The first aid supplies will be delivered directly to a group of medical students at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. These brave young students have been taking to the streets to help anyone that has been hurt by the oppressive armed forces.

About me: I am a Venezuelan living in NYC. I am saddened everyday by what is happening in Venezuela and sending first aid is just one of the ways that I can help from NY. I will be gathering first aid supplies from other Venezuelans in New York this week, and will use these funds to send the shipments to Caracas (or Miami- where an organization is gathering supplies). Any money that is not used for shipping costs will be used to buy extra first aid supplies and medicines.

Source: Medicine & First Aid to Venezuela by Aurora Kearney – GoFundMe

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Small Things Come in Good Packages Too

Gulliver’s Gate, opening next month in New York City’s Times Square, spans an entire city block and transports guests throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, all through its whimsical and humorous miniature displays.

Created by model-makers from around the globe, the exhibit includes everything from Beijing’s Forbidden City to the destroyed Colossus of Rhodes in Greece, all 87 times smaller than their original size.

Inside this huge display of miniatures, America’s largest, everything is fascinatingly tiny.

One of the most exciting interactive elements to the exhibit is the 3D scanner that allows you to create a mini version of yourself and your friends.

Those who want to live in the model world can get their figurines placed in one of 20 locations of their choice, and have an extra copy to take home.

In the New York City model, the focus lies on buildings’ first five stories to mimic the street view you’d typically see when strolling through the city.

Details radiate throughout, from a replica of the intricate ceiling of Grand Central Terminal to tiny little screens against the windows that showcase what you’d see inside each of the structures.

You’ll also see modern buildings like the Standard Hotel, complete with glass windows showcasing figurines lounging in their room and even a group of mini partiers on its rooftop bar.

Visitors will also walk through the vast landscape of Asia, where they’ll see iconic landmarks like India’s Taj Mahal, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the historic Pearl Theater in China, Mount Everest, and Japan’s famed Mount Fuji.

Guests will be able to control all of the interactive scenes through a RFID key.

With the turn of the key, visitors can watch a monk descend in a tiny basket down a cliffside to join in on the celebrations in Santorini below, or watch zombie mummies chase after tourists in the ancient pyramids that lie within the Africa exhibit.

Each of these interactive depictions has clever audio and lighting elements, from little specks that light up when tourists are “taking photos” to musical figurines that range from the Rolling Stones and The Beatles to Adele and The Clash, all of whom you may catch performing a song during your tour through Great Britain.

The entire exhibit will also have a day and night cycle that will allow guests to see what the buildings look like in the “sunshine” during the day and lit up in the evening.

The exhibit’s model-makers come from the United States, Montreal, Italy, Russia, Israel, Denmark, Germany, and other nations across the world.

“We see this as being a truly global project and completely inclusive, so when any visitor comes here, whether they are a resident of the U.S. or a visitor to the U.S., we want them to see themselves in the models,” Hackett said.

Sources:  Gulliver’s Gate, Travel & Leisure Magazine

And here’s my most recent album of wrong-sized stuff:

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Illustrations from the Russian Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (1890-1907) |

From Runiverse, a sort of Russian Google Books:
Dear users! 
Again we present you the “Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron”. We carried out work to restore the integrity of the publication. The volumes XXVIIa and XXVIII, dedicated to Russia, and also volume XXVII have been scanned, processed and published again. 
Sincerely, Runivers

The largest pre-revolutionary Russian universal encyclopedia, issued by the joint-stock publishing company “F. A. Brockhaus – IA Efron ». It consists of 86 volumes (82 basic and 4 additional) that were issued during the 1890-1907 period. The first 8 volumes (before the letter “B”) came under the general editorship of Professor IE Andreevsky and mainly contained translations into Russian of the articles of the famous German encyclopedia Brockhaus “Konversations Lexikon”.

After the death of Andreevsky, the new editorial board headed by KK Arseniev and FF Petrushevsky significantly increased the number of original articles and attracted a wide range of liberal political figures ( PN Milyukov , VI Ger’e, NI Kareeva to the legal Marxists PB Struve and MI Tugan-Baranovsky, the division of philosophy was led by the largest Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Solovyov ), as well as by such prominent scientists as DI Mendeleev, A. I. Beketov, AI Voeikov, DI Anuchin, Yu. M. Shokalsky, NM Knipovich, AO Kov Alevsky, AI Sovetov, VS Soloviev and others.
Today the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron is a public property: although the scientific encyclopedia is already outdated in science and technology, many of its articles still represent an exceptional historical value.

Here is the site in English (via Google Translate)

The 86-volume encyclopaedia features 7,800 pictures, 121,240 articles and 235 maps. It is steadily being scanned and posted online.
So far they have posted 47 volumes.

You might note this wtf?! one: Volume XXXIV (67). Trump – Carbon Calcium


List of volumes

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Serendipitous Saturday Find

While giving a walking tour I spotted this:1$

At first I thought it might be one of those tracts designed to fool sinners but:2$3$4$6$

I plan on keeping this one in my wallet but making 10 more and leaving them out in the world to make others smile the way I did.

Et voilá:

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DON’T Look Down!

Oleg Sherstyachenko is clearly missing the part of his brain that in the rest of us keeps us, if not earthbound, certainly well away from the edge of precipices that might mean our doom. I was unable to watch any of the 3 videos below straight through.
Here he is skipping along on the tops of pilasters on the 43rd floor of a Dubai hotel:

Here he performs acrobatics that I would not try on level ground surrounded by nice soft mats.


And finally here, if you’ve still not lost your lunch, is a compilation of his insanity:

And here’s an album I’ve collected of equally vertigo-inducing images:

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Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

Photo taken on December 31, 2010 shows Chuck performing at the Congress Theater in Chicago, Illinois

Chuck Berry died Saturday, March 18, 2017 at the age of 90. Police in Missouri where he has been living said, “The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry,”

Chuck Berry, one of the creators of rock ‘n’ roll whose dance-ready rhythms and energetic stage performances helped define modern youth culture, died Saturday. He was 90. Police in the St. Louis area, where Berry was born and lived most of his life, said that first responders found the guitar legend unresponsive when they responded to an emergency call at his home.

Here’s a collection of Mr Berry’s greatest hits that should swallow the next 2 hours of your existence:

Berry became a sensation in the years after World War II as he brought together rhythm and blues, country guitar and a consummate stage showmanship. His 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” was so influential and recognizable that the US space program chose it to represent rock music for potential extraterrestrial listeners on the Voyager* spacecraft. “Roll Over Beethoven” from 1956 was almost a manifesto of rock ‘n’ roll as the charismatic Berry urged the DJ to switch off the classical records and turn to the new genre of the youth. Other hits included “Maybellene,” one of the pioneering rock songs that gave a guitar edge to a popular fiddle tune, and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” in which Berry hailed rock ‘n’ roll’s sweep across the United States.

But Berry, one of the first African Americans to find a widespread white audience, saw his career crumble in 1959 when he was arrested for taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for “immoral purposes” under an obscure 1910 law. Berry defended himself against the allegations he slept with the young waitress. But he was convicted by an all-white jury and served a year and a half in prison.

Associates would later describe the laid-back and fun-loving Berry as a changed man, and the conviction has long been viewed in the African American community as a warning sign for artists on the rise. Berry mostly avoided the media limelight as he resurrected his career. In a rare 1987 interview with NBC television, Berry declined to describe himself as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, listing others including his contemporary Elvis Presley as well as Fats Domino and Little Richard. “We’re all I think just a cog in the wheel. We all got the ball rolling,” he said.

Berry late in his life stayed low-profile in St. Louis where he played two decades worth of shows at the Blueberry Club, with his son Charles Berry Jr. in his backup band.

In a surprise, Berry last year celebrated his 90th birthday by announcing that he had recorded his first album in 38 years. Entitled simply “Chuck,” the album is slated to be released sometime this year. In a statement as he announced the album, Berry dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.

The newlywed couple, 1948

August 1972: Chuck Berry arrives at Heathrow Airport with his wife Themetta.

“My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

Source: Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

*At the time of this posting, Chuck Berry’s voice is about 20,600,362,260 km (12,800,471,658.02 mi.) away from the sun and getting farther at about 20 km per second.

ADDENDUM: I just found this 1980 interview in the St Louis punk zine Jet Lag where Chuck reviews several punk bands of the day:


The Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”:

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

The Clash’s “Complete Control”:

Sounds like the first one. The rhythm and chording work well together. Did this guy have a sore throat when he sang the vocals?

The Ramones’ “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”:

A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started, I only knew three chords too.

The Romantics’ “What I Like About You”; 20-20’s “Oh Cheri”; The Beat’s “Different Kind of Girl”:

Finally something you can dance to. Sounds a lot like the sixties with some of my riffs thrown in for good measure. You say this is new? I’ve heard this stuff plenty of times. I can’t understand the big fuss.

The Gladiators’ “Sweet So Still”; Toots & The Maytals’ “Funky Kingston”; Selectors’ “On The Radio”:

This is good, real smooth and soulful. Real good to bump and shuffle to. Sounds a bit like my old buddy Bo Diddley, only slower. I tried something similar on a song called “Havana Moon”.

Dave Edmunds’ “Queen of Hearts”:

This is more like it. This guy’s got a real touch for rock and roll, a real gut feeling. Has he ever made it big? Well, if he ever needs a job, I could use him.”

Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”:

A funky little number, that’s for sure. I like the bass a lot. Good mixture and a real good flow. The singer sounds like he has a bad case of stage fright.

Wire’s “I Am the Fly” and Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures”:

So this is the so-called new stuff. It’s nothing I ain’t heard before. It sounds like an old blues jam that BB and Muddy would carry on backstage at the old amphitheatre in Chicago. The instruments may be different but the experiment’s the same.

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Old files reveal wartime tale of ‘Bolivian Schindler’

LA PAZ (AFP).- Old files have revealed the story of a businessman hailed as the “Bolivian Schindler” for helping thousands of Jews flee to the South American country to escape the Nazis. Piles of documents had stood stacked for decades in the headquarters of a mining company formerly run by German Jewish Dr. Moritz (Don Mauricio) Hochschild.In his time Hochschild was vilified as a ruthless tycoon, but when researchers started sorting through the paperwork decades later, they began to unravel the tale of how he helped Jews flee from persecution in the 1930s. “He saved many souls from the Holocaust by bringing them to Bolivia and creating jobs for them,” Carola Campos, head of the Bolivian Mining Corporation’s information unit, told AFP.  Along with fellow magnates Victor Aramayo and Simon Patino, Hochschild had his mining company nationalized in 1952 by the Bolivian government. It accused them of plundering the nation by mining its tin reserves for their own profit. But the documents revealed what else Hochschild had been up to. They include work contracts drawn up for Jews from Europe by the mining firm in the 1930s, says the head of the corporation’s archives, Edgar Ramirez.

Edgar Ramirez, the head of the archives in the Bolivian state mining company COMIBOL, shows unearthed documents which reveal that Jewish-German tin baron Mauricio Hochschild helped thousands of Jews escape Nazism, in El Alto, Bolivia, on January 19, 2017.
The documents were declared “Memory of the World” by UNESCO on October, 2016, and Hochschild is now called the “Schindler of Bolivia”.

There is a letter from a kindergarten housing Jewish children in La Paz asking for Hochschild’s help to expand the facility “in view of the number of children who are here and others who want to come.”

One letter was from French authorities, asking him to receive a thousand Jewish orphans. There are letters sent at the time by the British embassy to Hochschild with blacklists of companies linked to the Axis powers, whom he was forbidden to do business with. ‘Bolivian Schindler’ Of the many Jews who fled from repression under Adolf Hitler in 1930s Germany, thousands came to Bolivia. For many it was a stepping stone on to the United States, Brazil, Argentina or Israel. “In 1938 Hochschild calculated that he had brought between 2,000 and 3,000 Jews over. But seven months later, in 1939, he calculated that he had brought 9,000,” said historian Robert Brockmann. That is several times more than the 1,000 or so that the German industrialist Oskar Schindler is estimated to have saved from deportation to a death camp. Ramirez and Udler echo the phrase used by the Bolivian media to refer to Hochschild: “the Bolivian Schindler.”  Brockmann is writing a book about Hochschild and his friendship with German Busch, Bolivia’s military president from 1937 to 1939. He says Hochschild helped persuade Busch to open up the country to Jewish migrants in 1938. Hochschild told Busch the measure would bring laborers to Bolivia to help its agricultural development. But it also allowed Hochschild to save the lives of fugitive poets, writers and historians, Ramirez says. Hochschild paid the Jews’ passage to Bolivia and housed them to begin with after they arrived. Refugees welcomed In the 1940s there were an estimated 15,000 Jews in Bolivia, says Ricardo Udler, president of the Bolivian Israelite Circle. Some of them arrived with Hochschild’s help, while others arrived in Bolivia by different means. Many moved on to other countries, and today the number of Jews in the country has sunk to just 700, Udler says.

Circulo Israelita de Bolivia is the highest synagogue on earth, located at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet in La Paz, Bolivia. The synagogue serves 700 Jews

“We are very grateful to Bolivia. It was one of the few countries that opened its doors to refugees from the war,” said Monica Blankitny, whose father Jacobo came to Bolivia after surviving internment at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

The Hochschild documents were certified in October by the United Nations’ cultural heritage body UNESCO. It has listed them in its Memory of the World documentary preservation program, Campos said. Bolivia’s Mining Museum plans to publish them online in March. Hochschild was born in Biblis in western Germany 1881 and migrated to Bolivia in 1921. He died in 1965 in Paris, four decades before the story of his help for his fellow Jews would come to light.

Source: Old files reveal wartime tale of ‘Bolivian Schindler’

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