In 2005, a strange little thing popped up outside a coffee shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was a tiny doorway, just about the right size for, say, a small, mythical, flying creature. It was the first in what has become a series of "fairy doors" scattered about the city, hidden in discreet corners, sometimes leading to tiny, secret rooms.

Thought a couple of have reportedly vanished recently, a number remain as a sort of scavenger hunt of an attraction. Upon finding them, visitors have made a habit of leaving tiny gifts in the form of coins, candy or notes.

Messy Nessy Chic has more on the phenomenon, including its origin.

No one has yet claimed ownership of a giant head found last week floating in the Hudson River, but with the help of my friends at Weird N.J., we may have scooped the major news outlets on its possible origin.

If you aren't familiar with the story, a rowing crew from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, found the 7-foot-tall, foam and fiberglass head damaged and adrift on April 22.

The team's coach considered the enormous, Greek-style noodle a water hazard and enlisted 10 students to haul it to shore. It's since become a school attraction.

Oddly, no one has seemed interested in retrieving the head. ... Continued

One thing I've heard pretty consistently when talking to fans of the Weird series of books is that they love the cover design. I can't take credit for it, unfortunately, but I agree. It's simple, clean and eye-catching, just the way a book cover should be.

Sadly — no, thankfully — for every cover design that's great there are a dozen that are, well, not. And Nathan Shumate has assumed the task of compiling the best of the worst at Lousy Book Covers.

Just as much as he was fascinated by a star show, Owen Phairis was intrigued by the uniquely peculiar contraption responsible for creating it. It's a love that has resulted in the largest collection of planetarium projectors in the world.

With digital-video and laser systems replacing the somewhat alien-looking devices most of us grew up with, the classic planetarium projectors are now being discarded. Loath to see them scrapped, Owen decided to give them a home. His goal now is to acquire at least one of each model ever made.

See him show off a few of his favorites in this video, and try to resist counting how many times he says "projector."

See video

The guys over at Tested recently visited Las Vegas's magnificent Neon Museum and its famous boneyard, an outdoor exhibition of Sin City's discarded Googie signage.

In the resulting video, we get a glimpse at some of Vegas's most iconic bits of neon, as well as a short history of the city's signage from the museum's executive director, Danielle Kelly.

When you're done watching, be sure to head over to my own Googie-preservation project, Satelluxe.

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Richard Garriott, sometimes known as Lord British, is a successful video-game developer, avid astronomer and well-known space tourist, having paid a substantial amount of his own money in 2008 to visit the International Space Station solely to fulfill a personal dream.

He's also an enthusiastic collector of space artifacts, as well as a large number of oddities, which he houses at his estate in Austin, Texas, known as Britannia Manor.

In this short film, we get a brief glimpse of his fantastical collection, most notably of his assemblage of wonderful automata.

Fairgoers at the State Fair of Texas this morning witnessed a shocking scene as the famous 52-foot-tall icon known as Big Tex was engulfed in fire.

Big Tex greets visitors every fall, when he's erected in Dallas's Fair Park for the annual three-week-long fair. He can be heard throughout the day, making announcements in his signature booming voice.

Fox 4 News reports that the fire apparently began around the head, which is animated when he speaks, leading some to believe that the fire was electrical in nature. Only Tex's arms and metal frame remain.

Having joined the fair in 1952, this year marked Big Tex's 60th anniversary.

It's been five years since I lost my beloved beagle Rocky. In his memory, I'd like to repost a little something I wrote about him after my family and I were forced to put him to sleep:


Written June 6, 2007

On Monday morning, I got up, I showered, I clipped my fingernails, I ate a blueberry fruit pie, and then I paid a man to kill my dog.

It was all legal and everything. A veterinarian with a white table and a syringe. All very humane and professional. But that's really what it boils down to, isn't it? I took out a hit on my beloved beagle for 74 dollars. Oh, and I'd like to put that on my credit card, please.

His name was Rocky. A name I wasn't incredibly fond of, but he started out as my nephew's dog, so the choice was entirely out of my hands. As the years passed, though, the name conjured fewer Stallonian images as the dog made it his own. Besides, the name was easy to play with — Rock, Rock-o, 30 Rock, Rock-a-doodle-doo. Though I usually just called him Stinky Dog. ... Continued

Caine Monroy, at only nine years old, is already a budding folk artist and entrepreneur. With his own hands, he's constructed an entire interactive arcade in the front office of his dad's East Los Angeles auto-parts store, made almost entirely of cardboard boxes and packing tape.

Caine's created a basketball-hoop game, a miniature soccer game with green army men as goalies, his own version of a claw machine, as well as others, all made by hand. He's even worked up business cards, multi-play "fun passes," ticket dispensers (which he operates manually by crawling inside the games) and prizes that can be redeemed with said tickets.

Unfortunately, since his father's shop does most of its business online these days, Caine doesn't get a lot of foot traffic to his arcade. So, when filmmaker Nirvan Mullick discovered Caine's amazing creation, he not only decided to make a short film about the boy and his passion, but also organized a flash mob to spring a surprise grand opening. It's a heart-warming story you've got to see.

And if you're in the area, stop by and play! Hours and location are on Caine's website.

Just thought I'd add my two cents on this whole thing.