For those lacking the patience necessary to snap legitimate UFO photos, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry shows just how easy it is to skip all that boring vigilance and simply fake the damn things.

Astronomer Tom Callen offers advice on how to set up a proper green screen, how to match the lighting to your background shots and how to take atmospheric conditions into account when compositing your pictures in Photoshop.

And if you're too lazy to make your own UFO models, Callen also recommends a place called Lunar Models where you can just buy some.

In my own research, I've also come across a terrific site called Uforth that catalogs and classifies the most common UFO shapes and configurations, with plenty of photographs you can use as examples in creating your own images.

So, sit down, mash up some pics and show us what you can do. Share your hoax shots in comments below.

(At the time of this post, I'm having trouble accessing Lunar Models' Web site, so don't be surprised if you can't connect.)

"Join the Air Force's new project for studying saucers," invites popular science magazine Popular Science. Rig your camera with just the right equipment and "you, too, can join the hunt."

In an article published in January 1953, readers are shown, Instructables-style, how to add a special filter to their cameras to help determine the nature of any strange lights spotted hovering in the sky.

The article offers other tips for capturing UFOs, as well, like using a stereoscopic camera, including a landmark in your shot to determine a UFO's size and position, and most important, keeping your camera on hand for that rare moment the aliens choose to make contact.

The Air Force project the article refers to is presumably the famous Project Blue Book, which was launched the year just preceding the article and which was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where readers were instructed to mail their film.

See video

Some of my best TV memories come from the early days of cable, back before it had really found its place in the entertainment world. I was especially fond of the newly introduced Disney Channel, before the introduction of superfluous productions like Hannah Montana and High School Musical, when Disney dug into their vaults and replayed classic programs that really exercised the imagination.

Many of them, even back in the '80s, stood as quintessential examples of retrofuturism, a pie-in-the-sky view of what the future will hold, with fantastic and often laughable ideas of what space travel would soon hold for us.

Telstar Logistics has just reminded me of one of Disney's best, titled Man and the Moon, in which guest narrator and rocket genius Wernher von Braun describes the way in which we will achieve lunar flight and life in orbit, 13 years before Apollo 8 and 43 years before realization of the International Space Station. (I just love the way he says "atomic re-ack-tohr.") ... Continued

Despite the increasing popularity of CFLs and LEDs, I still love the warm glow and aesthetic design of a traditional incandescent. After all, I can't imagine lighting up a good, old-fashioned roadside arrow with fluorescent light.

That's why I had to admire this vintage sign I discovered at Gizmodo this morning. That and the reassuring disclaimer that this strange alternative to gas "is in no way harmful to health, nor does it affect the soundness of sleep." Reportedly, they still display these at the historic National Hotel in Jamestown, California.

I've recreated the sign in two versions you can print yourself and display at home.

The GIF is optimized for a typical letter-size sheet and the PDF is vectorized for lossless resizing.

I recommend printing on a nice antique-style paper stock.

Esquire magazine has just announced their official endorsement for Dublin Dr Pepper, my personal choice for best soda ever and the only DP to have never succumbed to the pressure of using cheaper high-fructose corn syrup over genuine, pure cane sugar.

The concoction in question is available only from a small-town bottling plant in Dublin, Texas. You can purchase it directly from the bottler — where you can also get a tour of the crazy Laverne & Shirley bottling line while you're there — or at distributors lying within a 44-mile radius of the plant.

Those, such as myself, who've enjoyed the Dublin recipe say it's better than any DP you can get elsewhere, a sentiment that Esquire's Chris Jones seems to share, referring to it as "nature's perfect candy, plus fizz."

Of course, Jones also says it's probably not worth driving to West Texas just to taste it, but that's moot since Dublin, which lies only about 100 miles southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, isn't considered anywhere near West Texas, anyway.

It was a difficult decision I had to make. A couple of weeks ago, I could either complete my scheduled Weird Oklahoma research trip as I had planned, or I could cancel the whole thing and participate in a revelation of the World's Largest Beach Ball in downtown Dallas. Unfortunately, I had work to do.

The event, which has earned an official Guinness World Record, was hosted by Carnival Cruise Lines as part of their "Fun for All. All for Fun" campaign. Unleashing not one, but two, 35-foot-wide beach balls onto Elm Street on October 26, Carnival got themselves a TV commercial and Dallasites got the risk of being crushed to death by multicolored vinyl.

Carnival then took the celebration to Philadelphia, where today they unleashed the World's Largest Piñata, a donkey 62 feet tall and 55 feet long. In their effort, Carnival successfully bitch-slapped Microsoft, who held the previous record of 48 feet by 53 feet. ... Continued

Those of you with coulrophobia should jump to the next blog entry now.

A couple of weeks ago, artists Chris Hausbeck and Dawn Exton officially revealed Keeshan Delight Number 9, a giant, bobbing clown head that continuously "springs" from the top of a 40-foot grain silo at Wild Bill's Nostalgia Center in Middletown, Connecticut.

The enormous fiberglass head that was used in the project was discovered wasting away at an antique shop. It was reportedly modeled after Howdy Doody's sidekick Clarabell the Clown, originally played by Bob Keeshan, who later went on to play Captain Kangaroo.

The head was restored, a support structure was built inside the silo and the whole thing was rigged together with a mechanism that lifts the giant, grinning noodle to the top of a pole every 60 seconds. The head is counterbalanced with a 600-pound ball of antlers, whale vertebrae, mortar shells and random bits of rusted metal, which just add to the piece's overall creepiness.

See more imagery, including video of the contraption in action, at the links below.

Well, look at all the ghosts and ghoulies we've got here! Aren't you adorable! And what are you supposed to be? A chupacabra! How clever! And it looks like we've even got La Llorona here, too! What a little sweetheart you are. Did your mommy help you with your costume?

Well, kids, let's fill those bags up with some holiday goodies ...

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Steven Martin's passion is collecting antique opium-smoking paraphernalia. (No, go back and read that again; it's not Steve Martin.) He's even published a book on the subject. But for about the past 5 years, he's also been working on a collection of vintage Halloween photographs.

He's decided to share them with us this year and has been posting a new one to his Flickr set every day this month.

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Ghosts in the Library

Last year, the official blog for the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (did you know there was one?) featured a list of haunted libraries across the U.S. and around the world. ... Continued

While I was researching the "Cemetery Safari" chapter for my upcoming book Weird Oklahoma, I came across an unusual burial site west of Tulsa that was entirely enclosed within a strip-mall parking lot. Once sacred ground, it's now a conspicuous patch of grass in a sea of asphalt, a quirky spectacle to the shoppers forced to drive around it on their way to Radio Shack.

The handful of graves had become an absurd sight gag that punctuated the often indiscriminate momentum of American progress. And it got me thinking: were there others like it? Surely this wasn't the only time the deceased had stubbornly spoiled the aesthetics of a well-drafted parking lot. I mean, the good spots had already started going to the handicapped; it was only a matter of time before the dead horned in on the action, too.

And you know what? I was right. In fact, I found even more than I expected ... ... Continued

One of the most intriguing things about urban exploration, at least for me, is the archaeological aspect — discovering the tangible remnants of recent history. I find it fascinating to see things as they once were, even a few short decades ago.

Unfortunately, by the time most of us uncover an urbex site, dozens of vandals have already been there, grabbing up or destroying anything of cultural value.

A man in Lancashire, England, however, has recently hit the jackpot. Developer Alan Duffy, who purchased a building presumably with plans to renovate it, opened the door to his new property and discovered an outdated corner shop and ice-cream parlor that closed about 40 years ago with products still on the shelves, which have laid untouched ever since.

Such English corner shops were the convenience stores of their time, offering a small selection of cigarettes, sweets, medicines and other sundry items. Among those discovered in Duffy's shop are kidney pills, old chocolates, something called "dulcet cream" and a 1971 issue of Titbits magazine. Lying on a counter was also an old invoice dated to 1927. ... Continued