Explain the unexplainable.
October 10, 2007 4:16 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know the back story to this supposedly "unexplainable" image?
posted by roofus to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like the dude with the sewing machine was photoshopped in. And I doubt he was originally holding that sewing machine, but you never know. To each his own...
posted by heavenstobetsy at 4:33 AM on October 10, 2007

Best answer: That picture pops up a lot on SomethingAwful.com. I believe the story that they most often attach to it is that the UPS truck was delivering a wedding gift and the deliveryman forgot to set the handbrake.

The groom thought it would be funny to take the wedding gift it delivered and get a picture with the aftermath.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 4:34 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

FWIW, I originally saw it captioned differently. I believe it's part of a set. Collect them all!
posted by sephira at 5:37 AM on October 10, 2007

Unless sewing machines come with handgrips on top now, there is no way that isn't a Photoshopped amalgam of several unrelated images. The position of his hand makes it look highly unlikely that he is actually holding anything. My bet is hand sitting on table, in the original shot.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:54 AM on October 10, 2007

FWIW, my Brother sewing machine does indeed have a little niche-handle that allows me to hold it at that angle. It's very awkward and if I was carrying it any distance I'd just pick it up in my arms, but it's plausible.

That being said, I could definitely see the foreground and background being different.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:00 AM on October 10, 2007

sephira's link has a bigger, better quality image.

Not photoshopped. The lighting is consistent (not just direction, but color and quality) and there are no artifacts that indicate an edit. Those machines can be held that way; you can even see one side of the handle going up under his thumb.
posted by D.C. at 6:26 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's a real event that happened at Princeton, as near as I can tell.

A UPS truck crashed, and some students thought it'd be funny to take a crazy picture. Here's an Article at the Daily Princetonian about the accident.
posted by skynxnex at 6:40 AM on October 10, 2007

I should add that I saw the link in this comment in a reddit thread: Is there an explanation for this?.
posted by skynxnex at 6:42 AM on October 10, 2007

Best answer: Some forums claim it's a reference to the Seinfeld episode "The Pothole." A short explanation:
That UPS truck crashed outside that kid's house. So he though it would be funny to go take a picture holding a sewing machine in front of it.

Why? You might ask. I'll tell you why.

He is a Seinfeld fan. There is an episode of Seinfeld where Kramer adopts a road, paints over the lane lines to make wider "luxury" lanes. He then has to take the black paint off later, and he spills paint thinner all over the road.

Newman, who I believe was using the mail truck to haul garbage or something on the weekends, is going down the road and runs over a Singer sewing machine (left there after falling off the back of a truck or somthing).

The sewing machine is dragged under the mail truck, shooting sparks everywhere. The truck goes over the patch of paint thinner, the sparks igniting the chemical, and Newman and his truck, in turn, causing him to crash and burn.
posted by itchie at 6:57 AM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'll second "not photoshopped."
posted by miss lynnster at 7:03 AM on October 10, 2007

There is a good copy here, with EXIF data showing it was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5700 on 4/30/2004; another pic from the same incident is used as a background here (annoying graphics and embedded mp3). This is consistent with the Daily Princetonian story skynxnex linked.
posted by TedW at 7:05 AM on October 10, 2007

I see D.C. has mentioned the consistency of lighting. I'll add as well that the shadow cast by the sewing machine on the guy's suit is very consistent with the low angle shadows cast by every other object in the scene. That's a detail that would be missed by most Web meme Photoshoppers...
posted by Slothrop at 8:08 AM on October 10, 2007

Unless sewing machines come with handgrips on top now

Sewing machines have had grips on top for ages. I have one circa 1970 and a 2001 machine, both with handles.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:47 AM on October 10, 2007

Nthing not photoshopped. If it is a photoshop job, it's darn good because all the objects are casting consistent and convincing shadows.
posted by mpls2 at 11:32 AM on October 10, 2007

Dude hemmed the cuffs on his tux. What's so inexplicable?
posted by steef at 1:02 PM on October 10, 2007

caution live frogs writes "Unless sewing machines come with handgrips on top now, there is no way that isn't a Photoshopped amalgam of several unrelated images."

Sewing machines have had handles for ages. They used to put portables in cases with a handle on top but someone figured out they could just attach the handle to the machine and save the cost of the box.
posted by Mitheral at 1:07 PM on October 10, 2007

#1 Kids grandmother spends her youth drinking absinthe at Cabaret Voltaire in Z├╝rich.
#2 Dadaism skips a generation.
#3 Profit!
posted by Iron Rat at 2:25 PM on October 10, 2007

It's a shop. I can tell from the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:27 PM on October 10, 2007

So why is Darth Vader Filtering water in the middle of the river?
posted by afu at 10:13 PM on October 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

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