This is Zsa Zsa, the English bulldog who this weekend took home the top prize at the 30th annual World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California.
"Nine years young with a swaggering tongue, Zsa Zsa delivered a shower of slobber as she claimed this year's title," said a news release.
A function of the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair, it seeks to demonstrate "the pedigree does not define the pet." By raising awareness about the benefits of adoption, "the contest speaks to the importance of advocating for the adoration of all animals," even those not blessed with Lassie's movie-star looks.
Many of the pups taking part in the contest were rescued from kill shelters or puppy mills, organizers say.
That includes Zsa Zsa, your 2018 queen, who spent five years at a puppy mill in Missouri before being purchased by the nonprofit Underdog Rescue.
Zsa Zsa resides in Anoka, Minnesota with her human Megan Brainard. Read the rest
Over at The Last Word on Nothing, esteemed science writer Rebecca Boyle wrote a lovely appreciation of trees. "Apart from humans, maybe, trees are the best form of life on this planet," she writes. From Boyle's essay, titled "Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here":
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Trees remain in one place, but reach elsewhere always. They stretch down into the ground, and they constantly strain toward the sun. They are the embodiment of our shared presence on a rocky planet that orbits a star. Hedgehogs and helminths may be interesting, but they don’t constantly remind us, simply by existing, that we are in a solar system.
Trees are also hosts for every other form of life. Their roots chew up the very crust, a process aided by microbes, and in doing so, trees remake continents. Their bark harbors fungus and lichen. Their branches and leaves shelter and feed insects, birds and mammals. Even now, when humans are capable of building machines that fly to Mars, we still use trees for shelter. We also cut them down and burn them for warmth. Some of us cut them down and bring them inside and festoon them, for a form of psychic warmth that lasts a few weeks and is the only reason I can tolerate December.
Trees are strivers. My pin oak is one of the fastest-growing species of hardwood trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. It can grow two feet per year. Trees also bide their time. The oldest living thing on Earth is a tree in Arizona, a bristlecone pine that sprouted from a seed a few years before the invention of writing, in 3200 BCE.
Someone on a crane captured this stunning video of a full circle rainbow. Unfortunately most of us never get a chance to see circle rainbows because the ground interrupts. Here's an explanation from Phil "Bad Astronomy" Plait in Slate:
...To see a rainbow, you face away from the Sun (180°), then look about 42° away from that point (180°–138°). The drops in an arc along that angle will then bend the light back toward you, and you get a rainbow, with the colors spread out a bit because they bend by different amounts.
Oh, wait. Did I say “arc”? Because technically, any raindrop 42° away from the anti-solar point (ooh, fancy science-speak again) will bend the light back to you. We see rainbows in the sky because in general the ground is close to you. When we look up toward the sky we see for a long way, and there are lots of raindrops along your eyeline that can add their light together to make the rainbow. When you look down, the ground gets in the way, there aren’t as many drops, and you don’t see a rainbow.
This amazing Gibson is for sale, a mere $11,999USD. Beautiful, but my guitar addiction syndrome has been cured.
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Freakishly clean 1908 Style U harp guitar in near mint all original condition, serial number 8618 batch number 1004 with original hand tooled rear loading leather case. By far the cleanest century old Gibson instruments we've seen. Purchased originally by the school teaching matriarch of a homesteading family from the Southwestern United States to entertain her students. The size was too much to deal with and the instrument sat unmolested at home in her closet, on her dresser until the death of her only son from old age. The caregiver attending to the dying needs of the now elder son claimed she was gifted the guitar before his death and that the conversation went something like this. Dying son says "what about my Moms' guitar? Caregiver says, what guitar? Dying man points to the closet and she sees the case on top of the dresser, that's for you, you take it." She sold it to me a few days’ later, perfect provenance, perfect guitar and perfect deal. It’s slightly difficult to covey how clean and original this instrument is, there will probably not be another of these, this nice ever. Spectacular varnished finish displays perfectly normal varnish shrinkage, patterned in a way only varnish does when not French polished out. A better example cannot be found for sale anywhere. All instruments are examined, cleaned and set up before selling. No modifications or repairs, no cracks or breaks.
When I was little, my mother had a 1960s sit-under hair dryer with a huge translucent plastic hood that I'd imagine was a variation on a Star Trek Transporter. But that hulking machine had nothing on these vintage hair dryers from the first part of the 20th century. These would have provided me with years of science fiction fantasies and nightmares. See more at Dangerous Minds.
Dyson, makers of high-end vacuum cleaners and other gadgets that do clever things with air, is moving into beauty products. The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer promises a premium model's power in a smaller, quieter package, and was built around the company's smallest motor yet.
It's priced at $400, too — apparently not unreasonable for salon gear, if an unlikely option for consumers — and will be available in white and fuscia. Here's the ad they've just put out:
For Ester Honig's Before & After, she used freelance platforms like Fiverr to contract 40 people from 25 countries to make her "beautiful" with Photoshop. (Above right, the work of someone in the Philippines.) Honig's hope was that the resulting images would provide insight into the contractor's "personal and cultural constructs of beauty."
"They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.
Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive."
The Korea Herald reports that a young man of European heritage from Brazil has had plastic surgery so that he might look Korean. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
He goes by the obliquely Asian internet-name of Xiahn.
Cosmetic procedures, such as silicone implants, lip surgery or other augmentations, are nothing unusual in Brazil. But the 25-year-old man went a step further to transform himself into Asian-looking man by making alterations to his eyes. Xiahn, who asked not to be named to protect his family from Internet scrutiny, underwent 10 surgical procedures on his eyes, along with other less-invasive procedures, which cost him around $3,100. He also began wearing contact lenses to change his eye color.
Originally blue-eyed with blonde hair, he became interested in having plastic surgery after spending some time as an exchange student in Korea. He was inspired by how common plastic surgery is here.
“Koreans have many surgeries to modify the shape of their eyes and become more like Westerners. It was easy to tell when one of them had done it, walking on the street wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask,” he said. “I have no regrets, and I don’t intend to have any more procedures.”
Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva asked twenty people to kiss for the first time. The awkwardness, anticipation, and culmination... Just lovely. Read the rest
A Gangnam, Seoul plastic surgeon who did a roaring trade in excising womens' jawbones to give them V-shaped chins was forced to remove the towering jars of thousands of jawbone fragments with which he decorated his office. Photos of the jars spread online, resulting in a visit from a local official, who fined the surgeon about $3000 and ordered the display removed. Read the rest