• Man with full body tattoos and inked eyeballs banned from teaching kindergarten

    French Kindergarten teacher Sylvain Helaine, 35, has full body tattoos and recently had the whites of his eyes inked black. He says that last year, the parents of a three-year-old complained that Helaine's appearance triggered nightmares for their child and he's since been banned from teaching children under six at Docteur Morere Elementary School in Palaiseau, a Paris suburb. A school spokesperson said that young children "could be frightened by his appearance." From Reuters:


    [Helaine] said he hoped to show his pupils that they should accept people who are different from the norm. "Maybe when they are adults they will be less racist and less homophobic and more open-minded," he said.

  • Dentists report spike in cracked teeth likely due to pandemic stress

    US dentists report a big increase in cracked teeth since the pandemic. Stress triggers bruxing (teeth clenching and grinding) which cracks teeth and breaks fillings and crowns. From CNN:

    For [San Francisco oral surgeon Paul] Koshgerian's office, before the pandemic, treating one cracked tooth per day or every other day was normal. These days, two visits per day for fractured teeth have been the norm; on the worst days, he might see five cases.

    Derek Peek — leader of Eastern Iowa Endodontics and diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics — found that in August and September, his office had already treated twice as many cracked teeth in comparison to those respective months last year, even with fewer patients this year.

  • Mystery man dumped more than 100 live eels into lake in Brooklyn, New York park

    On Sunday night in Brooklyn, New York's Prospect Park, a fellow was spotted dragging two big trash bags filled with live eels to the lake there and dumping the animals into the water. Dominick Pabon approached the man and captured the interaction on the video, seen below. "I just want to save their lives!" yells the man in response to Pabon. At least he meant well?From Brooklyn Paper:

    Pabon, a Sunset Park resident who has been fishing in the park for 13 years, says the eels looked similar to ones he's seen in seafood markets, and were likely saltwater eels, as some of them attempted to free themselves from the freshwater lake.

    "They were trying to swim back out of the lake, it was crazy," he said[…]

    "It is a hazard both to those animals, and the plants and wildlife that call the park home," said [Prospect Park Alliance] spokesperson Deborah Kirschner. "The parks waterways and natural areas are fragile habitats, and this can disrupt these naturally occurring systems, introducing disease and other pathogens which can be harmful."

    image: Dominick Pabon

  • Could the descendants of LSD-dosed monkeys from the 1960s still be swinging in La Honda, California?

    During the 1980s in La Honda, California, a tree-filled community in the Santa Cruz Mountains, kids would frequently report sightings of The Shaved, monkey-like creatures they'd spotted in the hills. It's possible that The Shaved were indeed monkeys, specifically animals that had been dosed with LSD during the 1960s psychedelic experiments supported by nearby Stanford University with US government funding. It's also not impossible that their descendants could still be swinging in the area. The story goes that decades ago, the psychedelic monkeys resided in the backyard of a La Honda home belonging to one of the researchers on the project, a Bill Marquis (aka "Monkey Bill"). Apparently, Bill was a head himself, keeping company with Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. According to an anonymous source cited by Rae Alexandra for KQED, after the tests were completed the government ordered the monkeys to be put down but Monkey Bill and the Merry Pranksters, tripping, decided to release the animals into the wild. From KQED:

    [In a 2006 documentary,] Monkey Bill confirms that he kept the monkeys in his backyard—but that it happened between 1974 and '76. "Eventually I brought the monkeys out here. We had a huge facility for them," he says. "I had, I think, six monkeys and we were giving them various psychedelic drugs at that time, that the government was synthesizing and sending to me. [The monkeys] would get very still on the psychedelic drugs. Higher doses, their eyes would dart back and forth."

    In the clip, Monkey Bill doesn't confirm where earlier tests took place, nor does he mention Stanford University. Crucially, he doesn't admit to freeing them either—but who would?

    "A Wild Monkey Chase: Do Ken Kesey's LSD-Dosed Apes Still Roam La Honda?" (KQED)

    image: transformation of original photo by Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • Man finds 9 carat diamond at state park

    The policy at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park is that if you find a diamond in the 37-acre eroded volcanic crater, its yours to keep. Since he was in second grade. Kevin Kinard, now 33, has occasionally searched the field to no avail. On Labor Day though, Kinard was wandering the site when spotted a rather large shiny stone. It was about the size of a marble and turned out to be a 9.07 carat diamond. It's the second largest diamond found there. The biggest is a 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight someone nabbed in 1975. From CNN:

    After hours of searching, the friends stopped by the park's Diamond Discovery Center to have their stones examined.

    Moments later, Kinard was called into an office and given the good news.

    "I honestly teared up when they told me. I was in complete shock," he said.

    He decided to call his find the Kinard Friendship Diamond."It weighs 9.07, and I found it on 9/7. I thought that was so unique."

    More: "Visitor Finds 9-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park" (Arkansas State Parks)

    image: Crater of Diamonds State Park

  • This 1982 Japanese punk cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is perfectly restrained aggression

    Many artists have covered Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." In 1982, enigmatic Japanese post-punk musician Kiyoaki Iwamoto truly made the song his own. From the description of the new re-issue of this scarce 7" record:

    December 1982, Tokyo. Kiyoaki Iwamoto has a guitar, a simple rhythm box, a friend with a bass guitar, and some stripped-down songs, brazen in their post-punk simplicity, irritation and controlled aggression, yet full of sadness and resignation. Five songs, including a rearranged version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" are recorded and released on a now extremely rare 7" record. This [new] release, available on 10" vinyl, CD, or digital download, features those five songs, along with a previously unreleased 1980 live performance by his duo Birei, as well as a 2020 reworking of "Love …" , by the Japanese duo Chisato and Junta. Iwamoto was an enigma, active in the post-punk scene in Japan in the late 70s and early 80s, a member of Birei and founding member of Guys & Dolls with Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz); in the mid-80s he cut contact with his friends, disavowing his name and later performing under a different moniker.

    Kiyoaki Iwamoto "Sougi +" (Light in the Attic)

  • SF Bay Area police detain "cult or activist" group and find "four-foot model of a vagina"

    On Saturday, police in Richmond, California just north of Oakland detained around 60 individuals wearing "black uniforms" and gathered on Point Molate, a historic city-owned dock near a Chevron refinery. From SF Gate:

    "Inside, they located some items (that won't be further described) that led the officers to believe this was some type of occult group or activist group since this event was in close proximity to the Chevron refinery," the department said in an announcement. "There were prerecorded audio files being played in the background relating to Mother Earth and climate change."

    One of the items reportedly found was a four-foot model of a vagina, according to a post by Richmond police Capt. Al Walle on social media.

    Point Molate has been a point of tension with activists representing environmental groups and indigenous people protesting the city's plans to develop the shoreline.

    image: Google Earth

  • Police respond after man repeatedly yells SHOOT!…. during a hockey game on TV

    Devon Garnett of Tampa, Florida and his buddies were watching the Stanley Cup final hockey game on Wednesday night when things got exciting. "Shoot! Shoot!" yelled the fans at the players on TV. Moments later, the police were at their door. From the Tampa Bay Times:

    [The police] thought there were guns in the house," said Garnett, 26. "We're like, 'Nope, we're just screaming for Steven Stamkos.'"[…]

    In a sheriff's office dispatch report released late Thursday afternoon, the complainant [in a neighboring apartment] told police he heard a couple screaming at each other, with one yelling, "I dare you to shoot!"

    "Four deputies responded and discovered there were no domestic problems at the apartment in question," Verdina said in an e-mail. "It was a roommate screaming at the TV in regards to a Lightning game."

  • Joyous animated video for Nina Simone's "Color Is A Beautiful Thing"

    Musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone's Fodder On My Wings from 1982 was one of her mostly forgotten albums until its reissue this year by Verve Records. In celebration, director Sharon Liu and animators Nicolette van Gendt & Duncan Gist created this beautiful and uplifting music video for the High Priestess of Soul's nursery rhyme-like tune "Color Is A Beautiful Thing."

    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, I know
    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, oh, yes, I know
    Color is the e-ching-chang
    For sure, ding-dang
    Color is a beautiful thing
    I know, I know

    (YouTube)

  • Railroad workers' "man cave" discovered under NYC's Grand Central Terminal

    New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended three railroad workers for building out a secret "man cave" in an old locksmith storage room under Grand Central Terminal. Their hidden break room featured a TV, futon sofa, refrigerator, air mattress, and microwave. From CNN:

    The Office of the MTA Inspector General said it received an anonymous complaint in February 2019 about the room. That complaint described the same three specific employees would "hang out and get drunk and party." A second, similar complaint was made in late June 2019.[…]

    Grand Central Station management told investigators they didn't know the room even existed, let alone that it was a locksmith storage room, according to the report. Officials said the wiring of the TV and the streaming device created a potential fire hazard and that "the MNR Fire Brigade considers an unmapped room for which no one appears to have the key to be very dangerous."

  • Qantas sells decommissioned 747 airplane bar carts, stocked

    Qantas airline retired its fleet of Boeing 747 airplanes and listed several fully-stocked bar carts for sale to the public. Starting at US$685 (or 169,000 Qantas frequent flier points), the carts sold out in an instant. From their shopping site:

    Enjoy drinks' service at home with a fully stocked bar cart from a retired Qantas 747. Includes a range of Business Class items, including Champagne, mini bottles of red and white wine, Tim Tams, iconic Qantas pyjamas, an exclusive Qantas First Class Sheridan throw and more.

    The bar carts are used and will show signs of wear and tear.

    (CNN)

  • Watch: Stevie Wonder's incredible statement on Breonna Taylor, the George Floyd uprising, the election, and the universe

    From a statement that Stevie Wonder released yesterday, titled "The Universe Is Watching Us — Stevie Wonder In His Feelings":

    "As time is evolving, it seems so much has changed. So much is moving to a different rhythm. The way we work, live, love, meet, and greet. Can't you feel we're changing the way we see and hear our life and reality? 

    …You can feel there's a beat that's drumming and it's off. Even if you're not a musician, you can hear when the music is not right. Can you tell that life is out of tune? Do you feel our reality is off-beat? We're out-of-sync."

  • National park mails trash back to litterbug campers

    Officials from Thailand's Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, packed up the garbage dumped by some campers and mailed it back to them. They identified the litterbugs via equipment rental documents and a prescription bottle amidst the garbage. From Food & Wine:

    The move was spearheaded by Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa, who reminded people in a Facebook post on Sept. 14 to take their trash with them upon departure, especially because of the impact it can have on animals looking for food. He added that if they didn't, he would pick up the junk, put it in a box, and return it to their home as a souvenir.[…]

    "We applaud Khao Yai National Park and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment for their commitment to maintaining the beauty and well-being of our country's natural resources," Thailand's director of tourism authority, Charinya Kiatlapnachai, told The Washington Post via email

  • It's now official: No pooping on NYC subways and buses

    New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is updating their rules to specifically ban pooping on subways and buses. In fact, doing a number 2 on the number 2 train, or any other train for that matter, is already subject to a $100 fine "for create[ing] a nuisance, hazard, or unsanitary condition (including, but not limited to, spitting or urinating)." But now "defecating" is being added to the list. From the New York Post:

    "MTA rules are periodically tweaked to enhance clarity, and that's the case with the addition of more descriptive language," MTA spokesman Tim Minton said in a statement[…]

    The poop ban was first included in a host of new, temporary emergency rules issued back in April in response to the coronavirus pandemic[…]

    Those rules also include policies targeting homeless people who live in the system. The rules require riders to exit subway cars at the end of the line, ban people from lingering in subway stations for more than an hour and bar riders from bringing large shopping carts on trains.

    image: detail of original photo by Adam E. Moreira (CC BY-SA 3.0)

    (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)