When it comes to matters of the sole, I am an agnostic: The four pairs of shoes I have in current rotation are unpleasing to the eye, but they’re also reasonably comfortable and they keep my feet dry — and that’s about all I really want from them. Yet I am still endlessly fascinated by Ian's Shoelace Site, an astonishing repository of all that you could ever want to know about said topic. Here you’ll find tips on determining proper shoelace length (not as simple as you might think); a terse and almost philosophical consideration of ”crooked bows”; and even a list of shoelace-related books (including Nicholson Baker’s dazzling first novel The Mezzanine — which Ian, in his one truly fallible moment, lamely compares to Seinfeld). I first came to this site via a link to a section called Lacing Methods and learned that a shoe with six pairs of eyelets offers 2 trillion lacing options. Ian gives us 31 variations. I know exactly one of them. It seems I am an Over-Under man. Which explains my frequent bouts of crushing loneliness.
Imagine a sport that is a lunatic amalgamation of several popular team sports. Now imagine that I am not talking about BASEketball, the 1998 comedy starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone that more than a few people have told me is a worthy DVD rental. In fact, I am talking about bossaboll, a spectacular collision of volleyball, football, gymnastics, and capoeira. According to the site, the game is played on a court made up of ”trampolines and bouncy inflatables” — which: (1) strikes me as precisely the kind of language you should avoid if you want to attract the interest of any self-respecting athlete, and (2) also describes the setting of a particular kind of dream now sadly missing from my life. Anyhow, it seems bossaboll is taking Brazil by storm. Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But the game is definitely played in Brazil. There are pictures to prove it. And videos.
For a slightly more meaningful experience, take a few minutes to watch Imagining the Tenth Dimension, an elegant bit of animation found on the companion site to Rob Bryanton’s science book of the same name. I don’t know about 10 dimensions, but I think I explored at least seven of them while in the throes of a flu-induced fever a few years ago. I still miss you, Mr. Purple Horse.
I’m a sucker for cool Flash animation, so expect to see a lot of it in upcoming Must Links. Like this nifty site for the Leo Burnett ad agency. Use the Big Black Pencil to navigate the page — or look at the work they’ve done for a roster of familiar corporate clients. Just remember: Click on any white space to go back to the original screen. To get out of the site, simply drag the pencil off the page or onto your browser toolbar.
There might not be second acts in life, but there are second takes — as you can see at TVParty.com’s collection of flubs and bloopers (requires RealPlayer). The actors and shows appearing will appeal to a slightly, um, older demo (step forwward if you remember McHale’s Navy), but make sure you check out the clip of a future U.S. President working (slightly) blue.