Archive for April 2016

Crazy and Strange Products as Advertised on TV   1 comment

The founder of K-Tel died today in Winnipeg. Phil Kives started the company selling anything and everything. His big breakthrough was a non-stick frying pan. And this was just the beginning. In the 70’s and 80’s K-Tel sold everything from the pocket fisherman to the vegie-matic, the miracle brush to bionic glue. Any crazy and obscure product he could find out there, Phil would offer it to the world via TV advertising.

But K-Tel didn’t have all the crazy products. The list below has some products even more bizarre than K-Tel’s most outrageous contraptions.


Kush Support

The weight of one massive jug on top of the other has been plaguing big-breasted side sleepers for ages. Or so the makers of this item claim.


Fridge Locker

Contain your lunch and expose your OCD.


The Better Marriage Blanket

Protect yourself from deadly farts with “the same fabric used by the military to protect against chemical weapons.”


The Backup

A bedside gun rack so you can shoot an intruder without hesitating long enough to notice it’s just your girlfriend.


FIR-Real Portable Sauna

Leave a little bit of your ball sweat every place you visit with this traveling torture chamber.


 The GoPilot Portable Urinal

This product for the prostate challenged was recently included in a Father’s Day Gift Guide … written by the worst son ever.


Gangnam Style Singing Toothbrush

Hear this maddening tune two times a day for two minutes straight and try not to kill yourself. It’s like Fear Factor.


The Tush Turner

A lazy Suzan for your fat ass that’s guaranteed to make it even fatter.


The UroClub

Douse your friends in urine when you accidentally swing this pee-filled tube instead of your three iron.


The Fat Magnet

Suck the grease—and fun—out of every meal.


Hand Fitness Trainer

Type so hard you break the goddamn keys!


Bigfoot Garden Yeti

A sculpture that ensures a neighbor will never come knocking.


Organic Woombie Baby Swaddle

Finally, a newborn straitjacket!

Posted April 29, 2016 by markosun in Advertising

The Hellish Gold Mine that was Serra Pelada   Leave a comment


August 1985, Brazil --- Thousands of saqueiros (sack carriers) working on the Serra Pelada gold mine, which was known rather descriptively as "the Ant Hill". The mine was closed down at the end of the 1980s. Brazil. --- Image by © Stephanie Maze/CORBIS

August 1985, Brazil — Thousands of saqueiros (sack carriers) working on the Serra Pelada gold mine, which was known rather descriptively as “the Ant Hill”. The mine was closed down at the end of the 1980s. Brazil. — Image by © Stephanie Maze/CORBIS


In 1979, Genésio Ferreira da Silva, a farmer in the remote interior of Brazil, discovered a nugget of gold on his property and hired a geologist to see whether there was more to find.

Within days, word had spread and a gold rush had begun. After five weeks, 10,000 speculators were scratching through the soil and finding nuggets as large as 13 pounds.

By May 1980, 4,000 miners had laid claim to two-by-three-meter plots in the rapidly deepening and expanding hole in the ground. Workers known as garimpeiros collected the muddy soil into 40-pound sacks, which they then carried up hundreds of feet of rickety wood and rope ladders to the lip of the mine for sifting.

At its peak, an estimated 100,000 garimpeiros worked in the yawning mine. A shantytown sprung up near the chasm, where some 60 to 80 murders went unsolved every single month.

In 1986, flooding forced mining operations to end. In six years, the officially recorded yield was 44.5 tons of gold — but it was estimated that as much as 90 percent of the gold found was smuggled out and sold on the black market.

Today, the mine is a small, polluted lake, which still sits on top of tons of undiscovered precious metal.



Mine surveyors measure off a single plot 2 metres by 3metres










August 1985, Brazil --- 70,000 workers or hormigueros, "ants", carry sacks of dirt down the mountain at the Serra Pelada, or Naked Mountain, gold mine in Brazil. The dirt is sifted at the bottom of the mountain for gold nuggets. --- Image by © Stephanie Maze/CORBIS

August 1985, Brazil — 70,000 workers or hormigueros, “ants”, carry sacks of dirt down the mountain at the Serra Pelada, or Naked Mountain, gold mine in Brazil. The dirt is sifted at the bottom of the mountain for gold nuggets. — Image by © Stephanie Maze/CORBIS


August 1985, Brazil --- 70,000 workers or hormigueros, "ants", carry sacks of dirt down the mountain at the Serra Pelada, or Naked Mountain, gold mine in Brazil. The dirt is sifted at the bottom of the mountain for gold nuggets. --- Image by © Stephanie Maze/CORBIS



As Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now said: “The Horror, The Horror!”


Overview 1983




Posted April 28, 2016 by markosun in Money

Ted Cruz is Trying Anything to Stop Donald Trump   Leave a comment


Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is getting desperate.  He recently tag-teamed with John Kasich to try and stop the Trump locomotive. He wants to have Kasich and himself only campaign in states where either of them can win, instead of dividing their votes thus allowing Trump to win.  ‘The Ted” yesterday announced his running mate if he is to become the Republican nominee for President, very early for a VP announcement.  Carly Fiorina will be on his ticket, another desperate strategy.












Posted April 28, 2016 by markosun in Politics

Phil Kives, K-Tel International founder, dies at 87   Leave a comment


k tel


Winnipeg businessman Phil Kives, who brought you everything from hamburger patty stackers to hit music records with his company K-Tel International, has died. He was 87.

Founded by Kives in the 1960s, K-Tel marketed household items such as the Patty Stacker, the Bottle Cutter, the Veg-o-matic, Super Slider snow skates and the Miracle Brush.

The company was also behind numerous music compilation records with titles like Mini Pops, Hooked on Classics, Sound Explosion and Disco Motion.

News of his death surprised local filmmaker Cam Bennett, who produced the 2006 documentary As Seen on TV: The K-Tel Story.

Just as memorable as K-Tel’s products were the advertisements for them — catchy, memorable ads that are recognizable in Manitoba and beyond.

Proud Winnipegger

Bennett said whether people knew it or not at the time, chances are they’ve had at least one item or album that came from K-Tel.

“So the late ’60s and the ’70s, that was an incredible time for K-Tel, because they were often in the marketplace by themselves,” he said. “Like, their compilation albums were kind of the first; they kind of owned that space.”

Kives was a very proud Prairie person who, even at the height of the company’s success, insisted that the head office be based in Winnipeg, Bennett said.

“They were settled here, their family was from here, and they remained proud Winnipeg corporate citizens,” he said.

Some of the strange products


k tel1

k tel2

Comedy show SCTV spoofs K-Tel

Posted April 28, 2016 by markosun in Advertising, Economics

Russia’s New Vostochny Cosmodrome   Leave a comment


The Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport currently under construction on the 51st parallel north in the Amur Oblast, in the Russian Far East. When completed in 2018, it is intended to reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in Kazakhstan. The first launch was expected to take place on April 28, 2016 at 02:01 UTC.




Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made several statements emphasizing the importance of the new cosmodrome. In August 2010, he said “The creation of a new space center … is one of modern Russia’s biggest and most ambitious projects”. In January 2011, he ordered the government to complete the paperwork as soon as possible so that construction can start on schedule.

Construction of the cosmodrome began in January 2011 and, as of 2011, was expected to be completed in 2018.

Vostochny (which means “eastern” in Russian) is be located in the Svobodny and Shimanovsk districts of Amur Oblast in the Russian Far East, on the watershed of the Zeya and Bolshaya Pyora rivers, approximately 600–800 km (370–500 mi) from the Pacific Ocean, depending on launch azimuth. The planned total area is 551.5 km2, being a region approximately 30 km in diameter centred on

The nearby train station is Ledyanaya and the nearest city is Tsiolkovsky. The cosmodrome’s geographic location at 51 degrees north means that, to a given orbit, rockets will be able to carry almost the same amount of payload as they can when launched from Baikonur. Other arguments for choosing this location include the ability to use sparsely populated areas and bodies of water for the rocket launch routes; proximity to major transportation networks such as the Baikal–Amur Mainline, the Chita–Khabarovsk Highway; abundance of electricity production resources in the area; and the presence of the infrastructure of the former Svobodny Cosmodrome, on which the new spaceport will be based.[3] The site’s location in the Russian far eastern region will allow for easier transport of materials to the site, and will allow rockets to jettison their lower stages over the ocean. It was expanded as part of the plan of modernization of the supporting infrastructure. Putin said that among places offered was an area on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, near Vladivostok, but that experts recommended not to locate it there since the closeness to the ocean can create problems and delays in launches, and as a result the current place was chosen.

However the first scheduled launch for today was scrubbed, and President Putin was not pleased.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged space officials to fix “hitches” after flying thousands of miles to see the first rocket launch from a new cosmodrome, only for it to be delayed.

The Soyuz launch from the Vostochny space port, about 5,500km (3,500 miles) east of Moscow, was called off just minutes before the planned lift-off.

Officials blamed a mechanical failure, and the launch was rescheduled for Thursday.

Mr Putin will stay on until then.

“The fact is there is a large number of hitches,” the president said at a meeting with the country’s top space officials on Wednesday.

“That is bad. There should be an appropriate reaction.”

The second launch attempt is now expected at 05:01 Moscow time (02:01 GMT) on Thursday.

At the meeting, Mr Putin also stressed that the launch delay was related to the rocket itself – not the cosmodrome.

It was Mr Putin’s personal idea to build a new space port in Russia to avoid any potential political risks of using the old Soviet launch centre at Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

But construction of the vast complex in Russia’s Far East has been hit by delays and dogged by corruption scandals.

Four people have already been arrested.

“If their guilt is proven, they will have to change their warm beds at home for plank-beds in prison,” the president warned.



Posted April 27, 2016 by markosun in Space

Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Alaska   Leave a comment

National Geographic


Alaskan Brown Bears Fishing


Yellowstone Grizzly feeding on Bison carcass with the Birds looking for morsels


Bison and Elk side by side in the Grand Tetons


Cougar caught on a trail cam

nat jackson wy

Jackson, Wyoming



Hungry Wolves in Yellowstone



Posted April 26, 2016 by markosun in Animals, Nature

Ice Road Truckers: Behind the Scenes   1 comment


Ice Road Truckers is a reality television series that premiered on History on June 17, 2007. It features the activities of drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and rivers in remote frozen territories in Canada and Alaska. In the first few seasons the long haul semi trucks operated mainly in Alaska and the Canadian Northwest Territories.  But in the last few seasons the truckers have discovered the area of North America with the most ice roads and also the most treacherous. The Canadian province of Manitoba.

Many of Manitoba’s isolated Native communities in the central and northern part of the province do not have access to year round roads or rail lines. The Native reserves are located in areas of thick forest and thousands of lakes. Therefore the winter roads are the only way to get supplies up to those communities.  Thousands of tons of freight is hauled to the communities during the short winter road season, usually January, February and the first half of March. Once the melt starts, the roads disintegrate. Hundreds of kilometres of the ice roads are just that, roads running on frozen lakes. When the lake ice starts to melt it can be quite hazardous.

Manitoba Winter Road Map


ice map


I have always wondered what kind of support the truckers receive when they are out in the bush hundreds of miles from nowhere.  When old grizzled God-fearing trucker Alex Debogorski is hauling across a frozen lake what back-up does he have when the ice starts cracking?  While Alex is praying to the heavens to keep him dry there is always cameras shooting his movement from many different angles, some from outside his semi truck.

And when foul mouthed trucker Art Burke is swearing like a drunken sailor because he took a wrong turn and is 300 miles in the opposite direction of where he should be, a helicopter is filming his semi’s movement from a thousand feet up.  When Art starts getting bleeped out by the program censors because of his obscene and indescribably vulgar diatribes he is talking to somebody who is riding with him.  And when Art runs out of fuel and he is pacing around in the snow there are two different cameras capturing his every lewd gesture.

How isolated and in potential peril are the Ice Road Truckers?  A recent photo seems to shed some light on this question.




The back-up and support package that shadows the Ice Trucks is extensive. Middle: Polar Industries truck driven by swear-master Art Burke; middle left: two F-350 Ford pick-ups providing mobile camera footage from different angles outside the truck; top left: Jet ranger helicopter that doubles as a camera platform and air ambulance; bottom left: the main satellite receiving central processing television truck; bottom right; 4-wheel drive ambulance with defibrillators, body thaw-out receptacles and neuro-cryogenicist surgeons; middle right: super-heavy X-1000 Mack telescopic arm tow recovery vehicle, and for good measure, a high-speed all-terrain mobile crane. Just in case a semi needs to be plucked out of a very deep lake.

In my opinion I’d say the Ice Truckers are covered pretty good for any contingency.


Posted April 26, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

Hammerhead Shark has camera temporarily attached to its fin for great footage   Leave a comment

A deep sea diver has captured life in the Caribbean like never before – by attaching a camera to the body of a hammerhead shark by hand.

Andy Casagrande, an award-winning wildlife cinematographer, captured the extraordinary scenes just off the coast of Bimini, in the Bahamas.

The GoPro camera stayed on the shark’s fin for almost three hours and took in a tour of the sea bed to give Mr Casagrande, 37, a unique viewpoint of the creature’s adventures.


Hammerheads routinely make top ten lists of world’s most deadly sharks, but it didn’t stop Mr Casagrande diving in to attach the camera.

Mr Casagrande, who has worked with sharks for 15 years, said he hoped the footage would help give a greater understanding of hammerheads’ natural lifestyle.

He said: ‘Bimini is the worldwide hot spot for hammerheads so we knew we had a chance of getting some good shots. I’m fascinated by the secret life of sharks and I’ve wanted to film them on the GoPro for some time.

‘It was actually more of a struggle than I thought it might. I had to grab the shark’s head to stabilise it and then take a chance with attaching the GoPro.

‘Hammerheads are quite a timid shark usually but this one was hard to get close to.

‘We have to build up trust but it’s pretty awesome just getting up close and observing these guys. When it finally came close enough I put the camera’s clamps around the dorsal fin and off it went.

‘The clamps are harmless because they’re designed to dissolve in salt water after a few hours.’

Mr Casagrande then sat back and waited for the GoPro to release itself and tracked it hundreds of metres away using a high-frequency radio.

The device – a GoPro Hero 4 provided by his sponsors – had floated to the surface of the crystal-clear water and the footage was edited at his home in the U.S.



Mr Casagrande, who lives with wife Emma, 32, and their two children in Naples, Florida, dismissed some online critics who claimed that the project was harmful to sharks.

Mr Casagrande, an Emmy award winner with more than 100 wildlife filming credits to his name, said: ‘I’m trying to engage people to care about sharks and conservation. The whole reason I got into this was because I care about sharks.

‘This was 100 per cent non-invasive. It seemed pretty chilled out once the GoPro was on. It just turned on its side and took off.

‘I deployed it on a few of them and this one just stuck. It cruised all around the area.

‘Bimini is a pretty small island but it went out to some deeper water and through some pretty different habitats. I’m really happy with the footage and I’d love to do more of this.’

Posted April 25, 2016 by markosun in Animals

Shark Movie Feeding Frenzy   Leave a comment


The shark movie is a staple in the B-movie genre. Ever since JAWS the ever hungry killer shark has been on the prowl. The titles are quite funny as the list below demonstrates.

The Last Shark (1981), Shark Night 3D (2011), Sand Sharks (2012 TV Movie) , Avalanche Sharks (2014 TV Movie), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012 Video), Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009 Video), Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010 Video), Dinoshark (2010 TV Movie), Ghost Shark (2013 TV Movie), Cruel Jaws (1995 TV Movie), Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002 Video), Shark in Venice (2008), Sharknado (2013 TV Movie), Sharktopus (2010 TV Movie) to name a few.

I found another obscure movie that has a funky title:





Posted April 25, 2016 by markosun in Movies

Billy Paul and his Mega-Hit “Me and Mrs. Jones”   Leave a comment


Billy Paul (born Paul Williams; December 1, 1934 – April 24, 2016) was a Grammy Award winning American soul singer, most known for his 1972 number-one single, “Me and Mrs. Jones”, as well as the 1973 album and single “War of the Gods” which blends his more conventional pop, soul and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences.

He was one of the many artists associated with the Philadelphia soul sound created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell. Paul was identified by his diverse vocal style which ranged from mellow and soulful to low and raspy. Questlove of The Roots equated Paul to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him “one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution ’60s civil rights music.”

Posted April 25, 2016 by markosun in Music