Hodgepodge of Cool | Mindless Fun
We continue our weekly tribute to all the random, eclectic awesome stuff out there. Welcome to Part 2 of the Hodgepodge of Cool issue: Mindless Fun, or what blue balls and Stephen King have in common.
By Maria Popova
You know those times when your brain just gives you the cold shoulder and refuses to cooperate in any sort of efficiency-oriented task? Those are the times when you need a good, solid time-waster — something so utterly pointless but oh-so-indulgent to do until that mind of yours comes back home. And we’ve got you covered with the best 5 things to mindlessly savor — stuff to shrug and giggle at, to unleash your frustrations on, or just stare blankly and blissfully at.
THINGS YOUNGER THAN MCCAIN
Political catfights, with their ugly jabs and relentless undercutting, can get dangerously close to Jerry Springer territory. Normally, “good-natured fun” is the last thing that springs to mind in trying to describe them. But one Obama fan brings us a gem that injects a dose of playful, tongue-in-cheek humor into political campaigning — while still making its point.
Things Younger Than McCain is just that: a list of everyday objects and cultural items who came to be after Republican presidential candidate John McCain did. Part This Land, part Stuff White People Like, blatantly ageist as it may be, the concept is brilliantly amusing.
From the slinky to the chocolate chip cookie to the Golden Gate Bridge, you may actually nab a handy cultural lesson or two while relieving your brain of the stifling, boring, overcomplicated political climate currently melting our mental ice caps.
BIG BAG OF CRABS
Every once in a while, something so head- scratchingly absurd comes around we just can’t help but grin and embrace it.
Which is why we dig Big Bag of Crabs — a nondescript loop of imbecile animation scored to ridiculously campy music that’s somehow the most cheek-burstingly hilarious thing we’ve seen in a long, long while.
It comes from mysterious getup Skammich, which seems to exist for the sole purpose of making people explode into fart-like laughter.
These guys don’t stop at craps — there’s also lalala (if you ever thought mascots were hilarious just by virtue of their existence, you’re gonna need a diaper for this one), spinning leek (we like to think of it as vengeance against all those anime-heads who take it all too seriously), and pirate, which we think pretty accurately reflects the intellectual sensibility of the current copyright legislation.
Sometimes, there’s nothing more mind-soothing than unleashing all your chest-stuffing frustrations on some unsuspecting office supplies. Like the age-old practice of cubicle grievance exorcism: bubblewrap popping.
Well, you can now do it from the privacy of your computer screen — thanks to virtual bubblewrap. It’s perfect for anything from the 3 o’clock slump to those times The Boss is being a more-than-usual jerk. So go ahead, pop your flustered heart out without worrying about the expressive sighs and massive eye-rolling of irked office mates.
…although, we must admit, half the fun of the real-world version is in the irk factor. Mwahahahaha. (Haaa. (Ha.))
BLUE BALL MACHINE
Few mindless fun gems are so supreme that they require nothing more than staring blankly at to get the job done. The job, of course, being getting you into that blissful state of hypnotic mental purging. And nothing purges the overwhelmed mind better than little blue balls.
Yep, you may remember the Blue Ball Machine we’ve grown to know and love — a gigantic pinball factory full of tiny little men pushing, packing, moving along and inspecting tiny little blue balls. For no apparent reason. Endlessly. To the mind-drilling yet somehow soothing score of circus music.
Best part: the little guy who gets repeatedly decapitated only to have his head replaced by a blue ball. Oh joy.
A great time-waster knows not issues of datedness — which means it’s great every time, even if it’s another blast from the Brain Pickings past. And if the mindlessness comes with a touch of serious art, then it’s all the better.
We’re talking about Zoomquilt II, the collaborative art project that unleashes on you an endless mashup of various artists’ work, all Flash-woven together into a seamless and never-ending loop of interlocking illustrations.
It’s like your favorite Disney characters took psychedelic drugs and decided to have a tea party in Stephen King’s living room, reading Alice in Wonderland out loud to each other. And they’re about to pour your mind a cup.
Here’s to living vicariously through the eeriness of others.
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Published May 14, 2008