Tag Archives: awesome

Help Choose Year’s Most Amazing Wildlife Photo

Screw the thousand words. Some of these pictures are worth a set of encyclopedia all by themselves.

Mostly because I had a son who always wanted to see more pictures of an learn more about the animals of the world, I’ve had a soft spot for amazing wildlife pictures.

'Shoaling Reef Squid' by Tobias Bernhard
‘Shoaling Reef Squid’ by Tobias Bernhard

Apparently, I’m not alone.

For the past 50 years, the fine folks over at the National History Museum in United Kingdom have collected together some of the best examples of wildlife photography every year. This leads to the selection of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and a truly stunning gallery exhibition.

This year, the Natural History Museum is allowing you (and, oddly, me) the opportunity to help choose the People’s Choice for best wildlife photograph of the year.

'Feel Safe' by Juan Carlos Mimó Perez
‘Feel Safe’ by Juan Carlos Mimó Perez

Vote for your favourite image from the WPY 2014 People’s Choice collection.

Our jury has chosen 50 of the best images from the 2014 competition shortlist. Which one captures your imagination?

Browse the images in this gallery and select the Vote button to make your choice. Choose carefully as you only have one vote.

Voting closes on 5 September 2014. The winning image will be revealed in October.

Share your favourite with @NHM_WPY on Twitter using the hashtag

'Shoulder Check' by Henrik Nilsson
‘Shoulder Check’ by Henrik Nilsson

#MyWPY and you could win a copy of 50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art, published by the Natural History Museum.

I’ll be honest with you dudes. I just spent an hour or so flipping through the gallery with my mouth hanging open in astonishment. These are some freaking awesome pictures, dudes.

My major problem with them is that I enjoyed them all so much I had an exceedingly difficult time choosing which one I should vote for.

StargazerEventually, though, I settled on one that just seemed to speak to me.

Okay, not exactly speak to me, but it certainly had a striking visual that just made me stare. And stare. Eventually, though, I blinked and lost the staring contest.

Seriously, dudes, if you’ve got some time and want to feed your brain and your sensawonder a bit, head on over to the gallery and look for your favorite.

Also, a very happy birthday to my father-in-law, The Italian. He’s the man behind the best, most-flavorful spaghetti sauce in the world and I’m a very fortunate man to have him in my family.


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Hashtag: WhatsUpWithThat

English is an amazingly adaptable language, but I sometimes wonder if maybe it hasn’t gone a bit far.

Of course, that could simply be the grouchy old dude living in my head yelling at all those new words to get off my language’s front lawn. After all, time passes, change accretes and we must develop new language to describe those things or behaviors new to the world.

Still, the idea of selfie being an actual word in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary seems to me to be an example of us being slightly too loose with accepting new words. You know?

My favorite quote about the English language (And, yes, I realize the fact that I have a favorite quote about the English language, which implies that I have more than one quote about it, definitely labels me as a nerd of the highest order. Deal.) comes from James Nicoll.

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

Which goes a long way toward explaining some of the new words that now exist as official parts of the English language. More than 150 words were added to the language as of this year, many of them reflecting the increasing importance of the online to our daily existence.

Some of the new words include “hashtag,” “selfie” and “tweep,” along with new definitions for words like “catfish,” which is now recognized as “a person who sets up a false social network profile for deceptive purposes,” according to a press release from the company.

“Crowdfunding,” “gamification” and “steampunk” join the dictionary as well, as does “Yooper” — a nickname for “a native or resident of the upper peninsula of Michigan.”

Merriam-Webster isn’t the only dictionary to notice tech words slamming into the English language.

The embrace of technology as a shaper of modern language has not gone unnoticed at the Collins English Dictionary, either. The company announced Twictionary on Monday, a tool to comb Twitter for new words.

I am so going totally going to use that tool as soon as I close this window. This will be awesome!

And, yes, I realize that only cements my image as a giant word nerd. Not like I’ve never heard that before.

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Dude Review: The Lego Movie

Go see this movie!

I don’t know how I can be any plainer, dudes. This movie, The Lego Movie, is just plain fantastic. In a paraphrase of one of the movie’s lines of dialogue (and an iteration of one of many themes) “everything (about this movie) is AWESOME!”The Lego Movie, starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnet and many others, is a fantastic movie, that is fun, funny, full of love and heart, and just plain AWESOME!

Seriously, this is a revelation akin to the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Remember that, dudes. I know I was poo-pooing the entire concept of a movie based on a Walt Disney World ride. It had to be terrible. And, yet, against all odds, the movie was one of the best of the year and still merits rewatching whenever I stumble across it. I just have to forget much of what came after and that’s relatively easy.

This movie has the same vibe. I mean, come on. It’s a movie based on a toy comprising building blocks that you click together. That’s it. That’s the basis.

Well, I should have had some insight that this would be a relatively entertaining movie, considering the various Lego versions of movie video games have been pretty amusing. But this. . . This movie is a quantum leap over the video games. It is, flat-out amazing. And hilarious. Don’t forget hilarious. And moving. Yes, really. It’s moving with a wonderful metamessage.

To start with, after all the gushing, let’s talk technical achievements. Since this takes place in the Lego world, where all the people look like Lord Business Plan, played in The Lego Movie by Will Farrell, is a vicious man er block who plans to destroy the world on Taco Tuesday. The fiend.the little Lego people with their curved hands and all, every single thing is on the screen (with an exception we’ll get to later) is a Lego piece.

Which means that when there’s an explosion (and there are plenty) it’s not a CGI of fire. No, it’s a rapid stop-motion explosion made of Lego flame places. That is, little Lego pieces that are (roughly) shaped like a flame. When Emmet, the generic construction worker and hero, takes a shower, it’s not water or badly CGI’ed water, it’s small blue Lego pieces that come out of the shower head.

Just the detail is an astounding achievement. No matter how small you look in the movie, it’s Legos all the way down. There were scenes where I literally could not close my mouth, forced to hang open in awe.

The story concerns the fascistic Lord Business Plan, who is going to destroy the Lego world on Taco Tuesday. A loose coalition of Master Builders (Lego pieces who don’t need to follow the directions to build something, but can whip whatever they need out of the parts around

Vitruvius, played by Morgan Freeman in The Lego Movie, is the venerable old dude who knows stuff and is there to mentor our hapless hero, Emmet. All, however, is not as it seems.
Vitruvius is most funny near the end of the movie.

them), who are, themselves, Lego versions of real people (Abraham Lincoln, who flies around on a giant stone seat) or fictional people (the best Batman in years, Superman, Wonder Woman, a horribly needy Green Lantern) gather together to stop Lord Business Plan’s um plan. They are led by Vitruvius, a blind, bearded prophet who is voiced by Morgan Freeman, who sounds like he’s having the most fun he’s had in years.

The focus of the resistance is Emmet, the so-called Special, who is destined to find the Piece of Resistance, which will stop the Cra-gl, a weapon so diabolical, it will freeze Lego worlds for ever. Emmet is the least “Special” Lego person ever, the very definition of generic. But he supposedly is the one who will win the day. (Spoilers: He does, but in a way you’ll never guess.)

Near the end of the movie, it changes format completely for a very meta reason. I’m not going to spoil this for you right here, but, trust me when I say, it’s amazing. It adds a tremendous depth and warmth to the movie. Yes, to a movie about Lego bricks. As hard as that is to believe.

This is a movie you really must go see, even if you dudes have to go see it on your own, without benefit of kids. It’s that good.

I’m giving this six (6) dudes out of five. Go see it now. Before it’s out of theaters. And then buy the DVD. You will want to rewatch it.

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