Amazon removes Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments

You can sell anything on Amazon, until you get noticed, and in the age of computer-generated copycats it can pretend not to even know what's for sale there. So it comes to pass that Amazon has now removed the Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments, which have been noticed.

The Christmas merchandise featured images from Auschwitz including the railway line leading to its infamous gates, the barbed wire fences and the buildings where it housed victims - mainly Jews. The memorial and museum later posted an update to say the items had been removed and thanked social media users for their "activity and response" after the post attracted thousands of retweets.

Sadly, Stephen Miller's christmas is not yet ruined. Similar products are still available to those who know what they're looking for.

But later Auschwitz Memorial posted again to say "sadly, it's not over yet".

It said it had found a "disturbing online product" from another seller - a computer mouse-pad bearing the image of a freight train used for deporting people to the concentration camps.

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Check out the 2019 Boing Boing Gift Guide

The Boing Boing Gift Guide has a hundred great ideas for stocking stuffers, brain-hammers, mind-expanders, terrific toys and unbelievably good books.

Happy holidays! Read the rest

Woman calls cops on black UPS driver because "walking around with a bunch of packages" makes her "nervous"

In this video posted to instagram, a woman calls the cops on a UPS driver because "I don't understand why you're walking around with a bunch of packages".

This woman legit called the cops on a Black UPS driver for working while Black.

No seriously😳

She said he “looked suspicious,” & then finally seemed to back off when a white UPS driver told her she’s wrong.

She looms up on him, variously keeps her hands in her pockets or waves them around in his face, rolls up her sleeves, grins, tells him where she lives, and says: you're making me nervous. The excuse that police use to justify killing people, cued up by a belligerent bigot who, when she realizes he's not going to react negatively to her provocations, calls the police.

Also, now you know why your packages are late.

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How to clean a flat top grill, restaurant-style

This vaguely comports to the methods I saw and knew in 1990s London. The proper way was to start with oil and use a grill brick [Amazon], but the reality is you will still need lots of environmentally unsound liquids. The mystery degreaser is Swisher but Ecolab is exactly the same stuff and widely available. Wear gloves. Never eat out. Read the rest

America's most hated company ruins E.T. for Thanksgiving

Comcast, frequent winner of "most hated company" polls, brought E.T. back to Earth to advertise its third-rate services.

Comcast, the owner of the Universal movie studio that distributed the creature’s blockbuster 1982 film, has placed him in a new longform commercial for the company and its broadband, cable and satellite products. In the ad, which debuted during the Thursday broadcast of the annual “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” on Comcast’s NBC, E.T. returns to see his friend Elliott. The character is once again played by Henry Thomas, the same actor who portrayed him decades ago.

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Clive James, 1939-2019

Clive James, the Australian writer, broadcaster, comedian and poet, is dead at 80.

James was renowned for his pithy turns of phrase. He once likened Arnold Schwarzenegger to "a brown condom full of walnuts" and said motor racing commentator Murray Walker sounded "like a man whose trousers are on fire". ... "Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing, moving at different speeds," was another of his famous quotes.He also had advice for his future obituarists, telling them "shorter is better, and that a single line is best".

"Any encounter with James, either in print or in person, left you desperate to go and open a book, watch a film or a TV show, or hunt down a recording," said Don Paterson, poetry editor at James's publisher Picador.

James was funny and silly enough to be enjoyed by children, but smart and deep enough to grow into--an Umberto Eco of things normal people see and read. Among other things, he was first to introduce the sadistic marvels of Japanese game shows to British television. He was diagnosed as terminally-ill almost a decade ago, and his dry wit became positively arid as he continued to outpace death in his last years. But also light and, when the occasion called for it, joyous. Read the rest

Twitter to cull inactive users

Dormant Twitter accounts not confirmed before an 11 December deadline will be closed, reports the BBC. Twitter's updating its user agreement, and if you can't agree to it, you're gone.

A spokeswoman also said it would improve credibility by removing dormant accounts from people's follower counts, something which may give a user an undue sense of importance. The first batch of deleted accounts will involve those registered outside of the US.

The firm bases inactivity on whether or not a person has logged in at least once in the past six months. Twitter said the effort is not, as had been suggested by some users on the network, an attempt to free up usernames.

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Guitarist performs whimsical counterpoint to dryer's cycle completion tune

I got a new 2-cubic-foot microwave yesterday, large enough to accomodate a whole turkey, and just realized that it plays a loud beepy tune when finishing even the shortest runs. The tune is too jaunty. The tune goes on too long. I already have a Samsung washer and dryer that do likewise, and was staring directly at the manufacturer's logo on the new appliance—Lucky Goldstar—as it erupted into Alla Turca or whatever. "OK Korea" I whispered into the early morning darkness.

This man has a better solution: counterpoint!

Behold the genre of appliance tune accompaniment: Read the rest

The Pursuit of Capyness is a capybaras-only coloring book

The Pursuit of Capyness [Amazon] is a coloring book featuring capybaras, the large and eminently peaceable rodents often observed just chilling, occasionally in hot tubs. The book is by psychiatrist John Terry, who knows what you need right now. Which is capybaras. To color in.

There are more than 50 within, with lots of capybara facts, and a range of complexity to make it fun for kids and adults alike. Here's an inteview with Terry:

Capybaras, in general, but especially on the internet, are associated with being very tolerant. There are all those photos of other animals hanging out and sitting on them. Their reputation is that they get along with everyone, making the emissaries of this really nice message.

There was a day that was a particularly rough day in the world of news, and a lot of negativity online. In response to it all, I was compelled to post this photo of a capybara stretching, and the response to the photo was just unbelievable. I didn’t really expect anyone to notice, but I suppose it was the distraction a lot of people needed because it gained so many likes and shares.

Moreover, it's for a good cause:

What are some examples of how funds from this book will be used? • Toward a free medical clinic that provides care to 200+ people every Saturday. The clinic was recently featured on national news • Book donations to mental health clinics and shelters; we are currently discussing donating 300+ books to children at a women and children’s shelter • Free services for the uninsured, underinsured, students, and impaired professionals • Consultation to nonprofits serving mental health and primary care causes • Education for health sciences students, pre-meds, and more, with the goal to improve access and investment in our communities in the long-term • During furloughs and disasters, we have seen federal employees and displaced people for free • International disaster relief (such as recent volunteering with the World Central Kitchen after hurricane Durian)

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Arrests made in Somerset gimp mystery

Two men were arrested in connection to reports of a "latex-clad gimp" prowling a Somerset village and have been released without charge, say local police. No further shenanigans have since been reported. Somerset Live reports:

Terrified locals in Claverham spent the summer in fear after reports that a man clad in a black bodysuit and head mask was approaching people late at night. Residents of the village, near Bristol Airport, spoke of being scared to walk home alone with the latex clad pest on the loose - and various stories emerged about freakish encounters. Some then speculated the area had been plagued by the gimp for years - with police revealing they had already received numerous reports about the odd behaviour.

Reminds me of those cosy 1990s-era U.K. comedy-drama mystery shows set in bucolic English villages where everything turns out to be fine, but weird. Quality Lovejoy Christmas Special material here.

Previously. Read the rest

At the chemist’s: recording of a 1930s conversation in England

The Sound Archive posted a 1930s-era recording of a conversation in a British pharmacy. The received-pronunciation chatter isn't quite reality--it was recorded to teach English as a foreign language--but it's a stark and amusing insight into English as she was spoke.

Madam. Would you like a hard brush, or a medium one?

The recording also offers a glimpse of contemporary pharmaceutical products and terminology. Court plaster – as opposed, simply, to plaster or sticking plaster – is particularly intriguing and J.R. Firth’s endorsement of the brand New-skin ('you see what it is from what it says on the label') bears an uncanny resemblance to the famous 1990s TV slogan for Ronseal wood preserver (‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’). Finally, Lilias Armstrong’s use of good morning as a farewell might seem particularly unusual to modern ears.

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The importance of turkey-frying situational awarness

In this video, a dad deep-frying a turkey for the first time spots a young family member wandering into the cooking zone, then successfully guides them away from danger. Have a happy and a safe Thanksgiving! Read the rest

Four Persian drivers arrive simultaneously at an intersection

Tarof is the Persian etiquette of deference, wherein one must both yield to others (you first!) and decline the offer (no, you!). One may not insist or accept until the end of the line--at least in this hilarious parody by Simon Garshasebi--so what happens when a circle forms?

There are similar norms of recursive politeness in Britain; perhaps that's why there are so many roundabouts there. Read the rest

Cthulhu Ventures: equity from the depths

Cthulhu Ventures looks like a parody of the contemporary venture capital fund, complete with glossy website and benignly promotional (but in this case also cosmically horrific) literature. But it's for real!

Our goal, as Cthulhu, is to support initiatives designed to rise from the dark depths of R’lyeh (metaphorically speaking!) and end up destroying or at least disrupting, some market paradigm. We also strive, in our weak moments, to generate some sort of meaningful “good” for humanity (whom we would like to see at least survive until the day that we, ourselves, rise from those same dark depths to act as the harbinger of mankind’s final doom).

“I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.” ― H.P. Lovecraft Read the rest

A freight train's emergency brake is applied at 40 MPH. How long does it take to stop?

This video captures a freight train engaging its emergency brake (about 2m in) and grinding slowly to a stop. Momentum is everything... until it's nothing. Read the rest

8-year-old, denied school picture over cool hairstyle, becomes star of own photoshoot

An 8-year-old girl was denied a school photo because her principal singled her out for hairstyle policy enforcement. The unjust treatment, with its racial edge—a middle-aged white man policing a young black girl's hair—could have led nowhere happy. But Chicago-area photographer Jermaine Horton got in touch with her parents, then arranged a photo shoot that put made sure Marion Scott stayed the star of her own story. [h/t Quori]

"This is an 8-year-old girl who was singled out by her school," Horton said to CNN. "I'm a father and I'm tired of seeing injustices like this happen. I wanted to go out there and help build this girl's confidence."

Earlier this month, Horton drove 4 1/2 hours to Michigan just to make it happen. His one request? Marian should wear her red, braided extensions for the shoot.

"I wanted her to be herself and to let her know that it's OK to be herself," said Horton. And Marian did just that.

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Bloomberg officially announced entry to presidential race over the weekend and no-one noticed

Watch $1bn or so go up in smoke on his way to 3-5%. ATTN Mike: ads@boingboing.net. Read the rest

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