Procrastinaut: Old Bryan Cranston commercials, toxic sludge paintings and BookShelfies

Rob Walker, Yahoo News
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Yahoo News presents Procrastinaut, a Tumblr to divert you from whatever it is you are supposed to be doing.

The news that Steve Ballmer is retiring from Microsoft means it’s time to sort out his legacy. Here it is. And now let’s get to something important: Highlights from the Procrastinaut Tumblr — where @gilbertjasono and I collect the material you need to squander your cognitive surplus (follow the Tumblr here) all week long — plus a few extra bonus items.

Branding Bad: If you’re a Breaking Bad fanatic who just can’t get enough Bryan Cranston these days, maybe you’ll enjoy this collection of ludicrous commercials from the 1980s, all starring Cranston. Preparation H, Carnation Coffeemate, Shield deodorant, and best of all a ridiculous ad for suits at JC Penney: Bryan Cranston’s 80’s Commercials Provide Evidence Of His Versatility . (Via Adfreak, which also throws in a rather tweaker-ish Aaron Paul ad for Juicy Fruit.)

Product Placement: Artist Plastic Jesus shopdropped a Useless Plastic Box 1.2 — “another gadget you don’t really need” — at Best Buy. No one bought the useless plastic box (well, not that useless plastic box, anyway.) More at: Plastic Jesus » Best Buy – Useless Plastic Box 1.2

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The Useless Plastic Box, on the shelf at Best Buy.

Creative Reuse: What might one do with leftover toxic sludge from coalmines? How about convert it into pigment and make lovely paintings?

Music Match: Conor Shafran and Eric Poe made the chess “Game of the Century,” between then-13-year-old Bobby Fisher and Donald Byrne, into a musical piece for two percussionists. Pretty awesome, actually.

Show Some Spine: Bookshelves, selfies. BookShelfies. I think that pretty much sums it up, but here’s an example with a dog.

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A dog takes a Shelfie.

How Does It Work? "It’s not tough to use a computer — and nothing even blew up." So says Kim Commando (??) in these highlights from a DOS-era computer how-to video. Via MetaFilter.

Stop And Go: In a 1974 TV interview, Terry Gilliam explains the making of his unique stop-motion Monty Python animations — and how you can do it, too.

Experimental Humor: Here is a robot comedian. Perfect match for a laugh track.

Shiny Toys? No: Toy Shining, Kyle Lambert’s delightful visual mashups of The Shining and Toy Story.

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A scene from Kyle Lambert's

Home Wrecker: Chaos In Your Town— which seems to be a State Farm promotion? —makes fun and clever use of Google Street View imagery. Type in your street address, and watch a giant, scary robot stalk through your neighborhood, locate your home, and blow it to smithereens. Via Gizmodo.

130-Cat Mosh Pit: Somewhat disturbing.

Letter Perfect: Type Hunting, a Tumblr of eye-pleasing found typography. Followed. Via BoingBoing.

Things That Look Like Other Things: Pillow That Looks Like Lap, Toilet Paper That Looks Like Measuring Tape, Mini-fridge That Looks Like an Amp — we collect ’em all.

And Remember: Long before the aforementioned Useless Plastic Box, there was Charles and Ray Eames’ dazzling Do-Nothing Machine. I’d buy that for a dollar, too.

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