Help wanted: Professional Christmas light untangler


UK retailer Tesco is hiring "Christmas Light Untanglers" so they can provide this new service at their stores.

Ideal candidates are "able to untangle 3 meters of Christmas lights in under three minutes" and "passionate about Christmas."

From the job description at Tesco Careers:

Your roles and responsiblities will include: • Man and managing the Christmas Lights Untangling stand • Taking time to listen and help out wherever you can: Every little helps • Check lights and bulbs for signs of breakage / broken bulbs and report findings to the customer • Handle customers Christmas lights carefully to keep everything in tip-top condition • Talking to colleagues, sharing your enthusiasm and helping to create team spirit • Getting to know your customers, greet them with a smile and serve them with pride. • Give a brilliant customer experience, making sure you deliver only the best service and put a smile on customers faces • Successfully untangle customers Christmas lights neatly, quickly and efficiently and in an orderly fashion • Abide by our Health and Safety policies • Always be there on time and properly presented • Be passionate and knowledgeable about the service you are offering

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Massive 19th century cat painting sold for $826,000


Austrian artist Carl Kahler's 1893 cat painting "My Wife's Lovers," thought to be the world's largest painting of cats, sold at a Sotheby's auction for $826,000. The cats in the painting belonged to San Francisco art collector Kate Johnson. Read the rest

New Orleans R&B legend Allen Touissaint, RIP


Allen Touissant, a deeply influential New Orleans rhythm and blues musician and producer, has died. He was 77. Touissant suffered a heart attack shortly after a performance in Madrid, Spain. Touissant's work influenced generations of artists, from the Rolling Stones and The Who, who covered his songs, to collaborators like The Meters, Harry Connick, Jr., and Elvis Costello, with whom he recorded a post-Katrina album. From the New York Times:

Mr. Toussaint was born in 1938 in Gert Town, a humble, working-class neighborhood of New Orleans, where he taught himself piano. He began his career as a teenager in the 1950s, releasing his first album in 1958 under the name Tousan. In 1960, he became the house producer, arranger and songwriter for the Minit label, working on songs like Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother in Law,” Lee Dorsey’s “Ya Ya” and Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo.”

Throughout his career, Mr. Toussaint embodied the traditions of the New Orleans R&B scene, working as one of the city’s most prolific and influential songwriters and producers during the 1960s and 70s. Even in that fertile period of New Orleans music, Mr. Toussaint’s work stood out for its humor, jaunty style and arrangements with piano flourishes that showed the influence of Professor Longhair.

After a brief stint in the United States Army, Mr. Toussaint returned to music in 1965 and continued to work with a range of New Orleans musicians, including the early funk group the Meters. He co-founded Sea-Saint Studios in 1972, which attracted Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and others.

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Watch Elmo give Julia Louis-Dreyfus a hard time for cursing on Sesame Street

Fan footage of Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday (1994) in which she appeared as "Kathie Lee Kathie." I hope she put $5 in the swear jar as Elmo demanded.

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Drone footage of insanely huge "sinkhole" outside of IHOP restaurant

Did you hear about the International Hole of Pancakes, the massive drainage structure collapse that swallowed a at least a dozen cars in an IHOP parking lot in Meridian, MS just a few days after the restaurant opened? Here is Jason Hartwig's drone footage of the site.

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Watch the banned "Taste the Bush" wine commercial!


The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority has banned winemaker Premier Estates' "Taste the Bush" advertisement, created by agency Saatchi Masius. According to the government agency, the phrase is understood "to be a reference to oral sex, particularly given that it was accompanied with the image of the wine glass positioned directly in front of the woman's crotch" and that the "ad presented the woman in a degrading manner."

Of course, the value of the ad's earned media, aka free publicity, has far exceeded anything Premier Estates could have paid for.

ASA Ruling on Budge Brands Ltd t/a Premier Estates Wine (via Huffington Post)

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Neurosurgeon had brain-computer interface installed in his own head


Neurosurgeon Phil Kennedy, a pioneer in brain-machine interfaces that enable "locked-in" patients to control computers with their minds, is trying to build a system that will translate imagined speech into computer speech so that severely paralyzed people could "talk" just by thinking. He couldn't find the right research subject to work with and even if he did, the FDA, concerned about prior experiments, wouldn't approve his company, Neural Signals, to do more implants. So last year, Kennedy flew to Belize City where a surgeon implanted electrodes in the scientist's own brain. After two very risky surgeries, he was able to start his experiments on his own brain's data. From Technology Review:

Kennedy says his early findings are “extremely encouraging.” He says he determined that different combinations of the 65 neurons he was recording from consistently fired every time he spoke certain sounds aloud, and also fired when he imagined speaking them—a relationship that is potentially key to developing a thought decoder for speech....

There was one major disappointment. Kennedy had hoped to live with the implants in his brain for years, collecting data, improving his control, and publishing papers. But the incision in his skull never closed entirely, creating a dangerous situation. After a few weeks of collecting data, last January Kennedy was forced to ask doctors at a local Georgia hospital to remove the implants. The bill came to $94,000. Kennedy submitted the claim to his insurance company (he says it paid $15,000).

Kennedy attributes this setback to his decision to build the electrodes extra large and install them at an unusual angle so they would be easier to work with—a decision he now believes was a mistake.

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Man flies new jetpack around the Statue of Liberty

For decades, engineer Nelson Tyler has kept the jetpack dream alive, most recently with the company Jetpack Aviation. Above, video of the company's CEO David Mayman flying the latest model, the JB-9 JetPack, over Manhattan.

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Watch out for the remote-controlled Pizza Rat!

PrankvsPrank turned a remote-controlled car into the infamous pizza-loving rat to terrorize unwitting passers-by. How-To video below:

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Gunnar Hansen, "Leatherface" from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, RIP


Gunnar Hansen who Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's iconic splatterpunk film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) has died at age 68. Inspired by serial killer Ed Gein, Leatherface work a mask of human skin. From CNN:

After the movie's release, Hansen began a career as a writer and editor, although he eventually returned to acting -- mostly in low-budget horror movies with titles like "Chainsaw Sally" and "Swarm of the Snakehead."

At the time of his death he was developing "Death House," a horror film he had written about a prison break at a secret underground government facility. The movie will be produced next year in Hansen's memory...

And here's the original trailer for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

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Strange and beautiful clip of a huge "shelf cloud"


Stormchaser/photographer Nick Moir posted the gorgeous video clip below of a shelf cloud off Sydney, Australia. The whole shot is quite surreal, as if the cloud background was digitally added later.

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Woman shredded $1 million before death to spite relatives


An 85-year-old woman in Vienna shredded more than $1 million in cash before dying just to zing her relatives. Amazingly, the National Bank of Austria (OeNB) will replace all the cash.

"If the heirs can only find shreds of money and if the origin of the money is assured, then of course it can all be replaced," said Friedrich Hammerschmidt, deputy head of the OeNB. "If we didn't pay out the money then we would be punishing the wrong people."

(AFP) Read the rest

New paintings by Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall (San Francisco opening tonight!)

The dynamic hypercreative duo of Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock have a huge show of new paintings opening tonight (Friday 11/6) at San Francisco's 111 Minna Gallery. The reception starts at 5pm with DJs Dan the Automator, Maurice, and Bald Elvis. The exhibition, titled "Holding Pattern," includes their own individual paintings and several collaborations`. It will be on display through December 31. Don't miss it! Sneak preview below.

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Oasis's Noel Gallagher rips on Thom Yorke and many others

"I reckon if Thom Yorke fucking shit into a light bulb and started blowing it like an empty beer bottle it’d probably get 9 out of 10 in fucking Mojo," Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher told Esquire UK. "I’m aware of that."

And here's Gallagher on Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, and the "new generation of rock stars":

“They’ve got the fucking skinny jeans and the boots, and all that eyeliner. I’ve got a cat that’s more rock ‘n’ roll than all of them put together. Pigeons? Rips their fucking heads off...”

“I go back to this: Fame is fucking wasted on these people. The new generation of rock stars, when have they ever said anything that made you laugh? When have they ever said anything you remember? People say, ‘They’re interesting.’ Interesting! That’s a word that’s crept in to music: ‘Yeah, man. Have you heard the new Skrillex record?’ ‘No.’ ‘Yeah, man. It’s really interesting.’ I don’t want interesting! Rock ‘n’ roll’s not about that. To me, it’s about fucking utter gobshites just being fucking headcases. Well, not headcases. But what I want, genuinely, is somebody with a fucking drug habit, who’s not Pete Doherty. Do you know what I mean?”

(Esquire) Read the rest

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer with much unseen footage!


Posted by Walt Disney Studios Japan.

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Hypnotic synchronized juggling routine


A round of synchronized applause for Vlad Gapanovich, Maxim Golovchenko, and Evgeniy Pahalovich! I haven't seen a multi-person juggling routine this captivating since The Flying Karamazov Brothers. The video, titled, um, "Drugs," was directed by Taras Pozdnyakov, founder of [Raw Art], a "post-circus" of graduates from the Kiev Circus Academy.

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Groove to the deepest, most beautiful jazz you've probably never heard


Strata-East Records was a pioneering record label founded in 1971 that went deep down the post-bop, spiritual jazz path most famously explored by John Coltrane on his iconic 1964 work "A Love Supreme." Strata-East was a radical label, featuring radical sounds by the likes of Gil Scott-Heron, label founders Charles Tolliver and Stanley Cowell, Clifford Jordan, Pharaoh Sanders, Cecil McBee, Sonny Fortune, Shirley Scott, and other greats.

I'm just beginning to check out the history, edges, and intersections of the jazz genre(s), and I had never heard of Strata-East until I visited San Francisco's legendary Groove Merchant record store several weeks ago. I told proprietor Chris Veltri that I love "A Love Supreme," Alice Coltrane, and Pharaoh Sanders, and asked where I should go next. Without missing a beat, he answered Strata-East. And now I can't get enough. My primers are Andy Thomas's excellent article "A Guide to Strata East," the killer compilation Soul Jazz Loves Strata East (from top-shelf reissue label Soul Jazz), and DJ Gilles Peterson's incredible Strata East Mix, celebrating a Strata-East Live event that took place in London earlier this year. Listen to Peterson's mix below:

(illustration above from Peterson's event poster) Read the rest

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