Man Flu Article Gets Unexpected Reaction in Press

Every Christmas, the British Medical Journal turns away from dry-but-new scientific research and has some fun with tongue-in-cheek articles. This year, one of them looks at the existence of "man flu," that horrible disease that makes men take to bed and require constant care, while a woman in the same household with the same illness tends to him. You , no doubt, are familiar with the joke, but some media outlets reported on the article as a research breakthrough.

The man flu paper in particular has led to a chorus of media headlines and articles proclaiming with a straight face that “new research” shows that the man flu is real, and credulously quoting the paper’s author, Kyle Sue, a Canadian family doctor, as he advocated for “male-friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort.”

Sue’s paper isn’t a new study though, the kind where we imagine lab coats shuffling around the lab testing mice and men. It’s just a review of some interesting research, in both animals and humans, that suggests men generally have weaker immune systems than women and offers some reasons why. The reasons range from plausible—testosterone and estrogen could weaken and strengthen the immune system, respectively—to seemingly tongue-in-cheek: Sue suggests that men could have evolved their man flu response because it kept our surviving paleolithic ancestors better protected against predators. He also cringingly turns it back around on women for choosing these high-T men to mate with in the first place.

So, the research is real, but we aren't meant to take it seriously? Yes, the research is real, but its inclusion in the December BMJ means it had a lighthearted presentation. A review at Gizmodo takes issue with the BMJ holiday issue, particularly in the age of "fake news" and media distrust.

(Image credit: Wellcome Images)


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Embrace Your Dark Side With These Black Metal Comics

Black metal fans aren't known for their sense of humor, and they seem like they'd be too busy applying corpse paint to their faces and adding spikes to every article of clothing they own to read comics.

But it turns out black metal fans laugh, cry and have hearts that bleed just like the rest of us, and they even form little black metal families that pray to the dark gods of metal before sitting down to supper.

Or maybe these black metal families only exist in the panels of these Belzebubs comics by Finnish artist JP Ahonen, because a real-life family of black metal fanatics would get far too many visits from social workers...and exorcists.

See more from Embrace Your Dark Side With These Awesome Black Metal Comics here


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An Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

Just before we all go see The Last Jedi, Screen Junkies found it necessary to take a look back at the third Star Wars film from 1983. After we waited for what seemed like forever between movies (at the time), we found out in Return of the Jedi how the Rebellion defeated the Empire once and for all -until they were resurrected as the First Order and the Resistance. The one that introduced us to the Sarlacc, Luke's twin sister in a bikini, and the Ewoks.  

(YouTube link)

Wait a minute- the special edition doesn't have the Yub-Nub song? It seems like the Star Wars you get is heavily dependent on your age, at least in the age of Lucas. Oh, well. Watch this and get a little more amped up for The Last Jedi, which is only three days away. If you count today. -Thanks, Lacey!


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Cosmic Punch Clash! - Morty Meets The Mightiest Fist In The Universe


Cosmic Punch Clash! by Diego Pedauyé 

Morty wasn't a fan of anime before his life became stranger than a cartoon show thanks to grandpa Rick, but now he can't get enough of the stuff and often daydreams about being a hero in one of those strange tales from Japan. But Morty knew he could never become a hero without a little help, so he found a way to pack a powerful punch- by replacing his left arm with the mighty Armothy. Together the duo earned a reputation for knocking suckas out with a one-two punch, and Morty began to feel invincible for the first time in his life, until he came across a bald-headed man by the name of Saitama...

This Cosmic Punch Clash! t-shirt by Diego Pedauye is a real knockout, and it's a surefire way to make your fellow fans cheer with delight!

Visit Diego Pedauyé's Facebook fan page, official website, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty cool designs:

the X mas Kame Aerobics Pumpkin Space HPA

Stranger Ricks

View more designs by Diego Pedauyé | More Cartoon T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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Three-Player Chess

If you believe that a game of chess is just too simple, imagine the fun of keeping up with the strategy of two opponents at once! This 3 Man Chess board is circular, so you're all starting at the same disadvantage. From the product description:

Play chess with 3 people at the same time with this three player chess game. Without compromising any of the rules, strategy, or fun of Chess, this variant board has been developed that accommodates three players. The only changes from conventional chess are some protocol issues that must be followed to maintain order where the teams border each other, which is simple and necessary. The complexities of the third player are infinite. Your threatened piece may be allowed to maintain occupancy as your position is beneficial to the threatening player. But how long can it last? This scenario may exist all over the board. There are multiple trust and doubt situations among all players.

This board and 48 playing pieces (in ivory, black, and gray) is available at Amazon. Although I could see myself having a lot of problems with it, my first problem would be finding two other people who know how to play chess and who are willing to try it. -via Geeks Are Sexy   


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What An Untouched 100-Year-Old Box Of Holiday Novelty Chocolates Looks Like Now

I've been a choco-gobbler since I was a kid, and I gobbled up novelty-shaped chocolate just like the rest, but some kids get a box of novelty chocolates and refuse to eat it because it looks cool.

Back in 1910 a little girl named Eileen Margaret Elmes received a tin full of Red Riding Hood themed novelty chocolates shaped like characters from the story, each of which was dressed in tissue paper clothing.

Eileen loved the little figures so much she refused to eat them, so she stashed them away and kept them relatively untouched throughout her entire life. She passed away in 2007 at 99-years-old, leaving her box of chocolates up for auction:

Inevitably, time has taken its toll on the chocolates made decades before sell-by dates were even invented. They display a white sheen of age that would put off the most ardent chocoholics but, when you open the box, the delicious smell of cocoa still fills your nostrils.And now, for the first time in a century, the chocolates have been publicly revealed at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, near Derby …The box of Little Red Riding Hood Pascall’s Chocolate Novelties will be sold on December 19 at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Wild Christmas

Let's take a look at the magical woodland creatures and how they prepare for Christmas! You've got the turkeys, and the candy cane-antlered deer, and the, uh, elusive Christmas pudding emerging from his den.

(YouTube link)

Not the way you expected that to end, huh? Birdbox Studio presents an animated Christmas greeting card for you. -via Tastefully Offensive


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The Groundbreaking Life of the First Black Astronaut

In 1966, Robert Lawrence, Jr. had a PhD in physical chemistry and was an Air Force test pilot. That made him eminently qualified to be selected as an astronaut. And he was, making Lawrence the first black astronaut ever. However, the space program he was selected for was one you've probably never heard of: the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL).   

The Manned Orbiting Laboratory had an official mission nearly everyone could get on board with; conducting experiments in space. The program was approved in 1962 and assigned to the Air Force. A 1963 press release noted that the program’s aim was to “increase the Defense Department effort to determine military usefulness of man in space.” Astronauts were going to explore the cosmos, or, more accurately, figure out if the military even needed to be exploring the cosmos. In a space-race-obsessed America, this program was, at least publicly, another noble attempt at touching the stars.

However, what the press release left out was the program’s main mission; placing a manned surveillance satellite in space so that the U.S. could spy on the Russians. The MOL was less about star stuff than it was about spy stuff. The program’s real goal, according to NASA’s National Reconnaissance Office, was to “acquire photographic coverage of the Soviet Union with resolution better than the best system at the time.” Lawrence wasn’t just going to fly into space, he and his MOL brethren were tasked with photographing Soviet missile targets.

The MOL project ran into trouble, not the least of which was NASA's race to the moon, which overshadowed any other space project. Even though they went through training identical with NASA's, Lawrence and the other pilots selected for the MOL program were not officially recognized as astronauts until 1997. Read the story of Robert Lawrence, Jr. at Atlas Obscura.


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Big Daddy

The 1999 film Big Daddy stars Adam Sandler as a man learning how to be a father figure to a 5-year-old boy. It was his first truly adult movie role and as of today it is Sandler's most successful live-action film. Altogether, that means that if you're not an Adam Sandler fan, this would be his one movie you might like. Lat's have some details of the making of Big Daddy.

8. Having Steve Buscemi do a cameo is a Sandler trademark.

If you notice he pops up in a lot of Adam Sandler’s movies and is almost always there and gone within a couple of minutes.

7. The twins that played Julian were losing their teeth and had to be fitted with fake teeth during the movie.

They lost their baby teeth while filming and the replacements kept falling out as well.

Learn more trivia about Big Daddy at TVOM.


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The Surprising History of the Kimono

Before it was called a kimono, which simply means "wearing thing," the Japanese garment was called kosode. As in other places around the world, it began as a very simple body covering that could be worn by everyone. How it changed from that point is what made it uniquely Japanese, just as clothing in other parts of the world were adapted for the cultures of their birthplaces. The Edo period (1603-1868) was when the kimono developed its most important cultural signifiers.

Like most societies, Edo period Japan was stratified. Since everybody wore kosode and the cut hardly changed during this period, messages were worked into the garment to announce its wearer. Style, motif, fabric, technique, and color explained who you were. They were also often subject to sumptuary regulations. This forged an intrinsic link between kosode and art and design.

Since the poorer classes wore their clothing to rags, almost none of their kosode remain intact. But the higher socio-economic levels of society were able to store and preserve theirs, and to commission new ones. And like other art forms—including painting, poetry, ceramics, and lacquerware — kosode adhered to aesthetic canons.

Those aesthetic canons were so rigid that they were documented in catalogs that dressmakers would consult to make sure the wearer was properly decorated. Read about the emergence of the kimono as a cultural icon at Jstor Daily. -via Digg


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How Star Wars was Saved in the Edit

George Lucas made a little movie back in 1976. You may have heard of it. Star Wars was unwatchable to the few filmmakers who got to see it. But it was an important project for Lucas, one he'd already poured his best efforts into. So they went back and re-edited the entire thing. When I say "they," I mean the production team, but the magic that took place in the re-edit was due to the talents of Marcia Lucas, George's wife at the time.  

(YouTube link)

David Welsh of RocketJump Film School goes through how the rough cut was changed into what we now know as Star Wars: A New Hope. You'll see a lot of the rough footage that was either deleted or changed -and even more important, why it was changed. You can see why Marcia Lucas won an Oscar for editing the movie (along with Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew). -via Metafilter   


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Medical Effects of Vegemite and Marmite

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

(Image credit: AZAdam/Adam)

compiled by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff

Marmite, the born-in-Britain foodstuff with a powerful taste and a whiff-of-superhero-comic-book name, is more than just a condiment. Marmite, together with its younger, Australian-born kin Vegemite, is an ongoing biomedical experiment.

Streaky dabs of information appear here and there, spread thin, on the pages of medical journals dating back as far as 1931.

Marmite and Pernicious Anemia
The 1930s were a sort of golden period for Marmite. A steady diet of Marmite reports oozed deliciously from several medical journals. Likely many physicians ingested them whilst munching Marmite on toast.

Dr. Alexander Goodall of the Royal Informary of Edinburgh regaled readers of The Lancet with a case report called “The Treatment of Pernicious Anæmia by Marmite”. Dr. Goodall told how a British Medical Journal article, published the previous year, had inspired him and benefited his patients:

“The Treatment of Pernicious Anæmia by Marmite,” Alexander Goodall, The Lancet, vol. 220, no. 5693, October 8, 1932, pp. 781-782. Dr. Goodall reports:

The publication by Lucy Wills of a series of cases of ‘pernicious anaemia’ of pregnancy and ‘tropical anemia’ successfully treated by Marmite raises many questions of importance.... Since the publication of Wills’s paper I have treated all my maintenance’ cases with Marmite. Without exception these have done well.

Continue reading

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Banner Ladies: The Human Billboards of Yesteryear

The 20th century had both storefront displays of goods and people walking around in sandwich boards; both proved to be effective advertising techniques. In the 19th century, these methods were combined in banner ladies. Vendors would show off their wares by hanging them all over a woman's dress and then taking her picture. Come for the pretty lady, stay for the spoons! Of course, it wasn't just spoons. Women were covered with candy, baked goods, photographs, bottles, toys, horseshoes, and even coffin parts, in a gallery of such images at Messy Nessy Chic. Do not miss the woman dressed as a Christmas tree.


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Thieving Seabird Films Award-Winning Short

Kjell Robertsen lives near the coast of Norway. He set out his GoPro camera to record seagulls eating bread off his railing, but one kleptomaniac bird helped himself to the camera as well as the bread. The camera kept recording.

(YouTube link)

It was five months later that Robertsen finally found his camera with the data intact. Robertson called the incident his "seagull drone." The footage won him a GoPro Award, even though it was technically the seagull who filmed it. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Luck, Companion Of Courage - Make Every Day Your Lucky Day


Luck, Companion of Courage by Propaganda Department 

Some people have all the luck, while others must make their own or steal it from some extra lucky creature like a leprechaun, but those who know how to properly apply their mojo can turn certain symbols into a font of lucky energy. The clover, hare and horseshoe are all powerful symbols on their own, but when you bring the three together and bind them with three sevens and an all-seeing eye so much lucky energy is created the symbolist has some mojo juice to spare!

Add a fresh and lucky look to your geeky wardrobe with this Luck, Companion Of Courage t-shirt by Propaganda Department, it's luckier than a rabbit's foot and way more humane!

Visit Propaganda Department's Facebook fan page, official website, Twitter and Instagram, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more magical designs:

Masters 777 Alfred Worlds Bats Detective Trust The Media

View more designs by Propaganda Department | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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Christmas Tree If You Have a Cat

This picture is from a Tweet by @juliettebaba. It's not clear whether this is a deliberate alteration to accommodate a cat-centric household, an art piece, or possibly the natural result of having cats around a normal Christmas tree. But a clue came into the comments underneath that Tweet.

The cats in the two pictures look like they may be related to each other, too. They must have a really destructive gene in the family. This was found in a collection of photos of cats in Christmas trees you can see at Mashable.

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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An Oral History of Viagra

Nineteen years after Viagra was made available to the public (by prescription), a generic version was released today. Viagra made a grand run during that time, becoming a household term even among those who never used it. The story behind the drug is told by those who were there, the scientists at  Pfizer Inc., the doctors who prescribed it, the FDA that approved it, and the marketers that made it famous. It all started out in low-priority trials for sildenafil, which might have been a treatment for high blood pressure and chest pain.  

David Brown (Pfizer chemist) : It was so close to failure that people weren’t coming to the meetings. I mean, you know how people sort of smell failure and disappear? It was that close.

I think it was June 1993. I stood up in front of the clinical development committee—senior management—and, as in previous quarters, got crucified for wasting money. And I was given an ultimatum, basically: “Come back in September. If you’ve not got good data then, we’re closing it.

Literally days after that, we were doing a study in South Wales on miners. At the end, there’s always kind of an open question: Is there anything else you noticed you want to report? One of the men put up his hand and said, “Well, I seemed to have more erections during the night than normal,” and all the others kind of smiled and said, “So did we.” That was the breakthrough.

Ian Osterloh (Pfizer research and development): At the time, no one really thought, “This is fantastic, this is great news, we’re really onto something here. We must switch the direction of this program.”

Read how Viagra went from failed experiment blood pressure drug to the most talked-about pharmaceutical in the world at Bloomberg. 

(Image credit: SElefant)


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Urban Explorer Ventures In To The Crooked Cottage, Left Untouched For 9 Years

The name "crooked cottage" conjures up images of fairy tale domiciles inhabited by witches and wolves, but in this story the Crooked Cottage earned its name when the foundation eroded, causing the cottage to lean.

This strange rural home in Hetfordshire, England once had a woman and her father living in it, but the old man died in 1971 and the old woman was taken to live in hospice in 2003, leaving the Crooked Cottage abandoned until 2012.

That's when photographer and urban explorer Toby Batchelor ventured into the abandoned home to find it untouched for 9 years, right down to the bed that was still made up and a calendar dating back to the 50s:

“The building itself was so tiny, like something out of a film,” Tony said. “It had only one upstairs room, and the whole building had began to be reclaimed by the elements. Locations like these don’t come up regularly, and this one was kept secret for a long time.”

(YouTube Link)

-Via Little Things


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Jaguar vs. Caiman

Scarface the jaguar is after a tasty meal of meat, and since he's the apex predator of the Brazilian rainforest, it doesn't matter who you are when he's after you. Caimans are swift and natural immerse, but the jaguar is even better at it.   

(YouTube link)

This sequence from Nat Geo Wild shows the power and skill of he big cat, even against the crocodile's cousin. -via Digg


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The Largest Employer In Each State

Employment seekers may have a hard time finding a job if they only look on Craigslist or job sites like Monster or Indeed, but if you're serious about getting a job you should do your homework and see who hires the most people in your state.  

And in 22 states that means going to work for Walmart, who is America's largest employer according to this map created by Visual Capitalist of the largest employers by state.

In states like California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Wisconsin and New York you should head to the universities to look for work, otherwise your best bet is to get into health services or medicine if you're looking for a gig in a non-Walmart state.

But let's be realistic- when all else fails there's a Walmart in all 50 states, and they're always hiring!

See full sized map here

-Via Mental Floss


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Why Have a Christmas Tree When You Can Have a Christmas Pineapple?

(Image credit: ryan_rips)

Pineapples are sweet, tropical, and downright tasty. While they have always been a part of Christmas decorating, there's a trend this year for using them as Christmas trees. It probably started in places that have more tropical fruits than evergreen trees, but these pictures come from all over the world. Decorating a pineapple has certain advantages over a tree: they are small, portable, hold ornaments well, and you can eventually eat them.

Pine-happy-tree #pineapplechristmastree #sydney #christmas #bondibeach

A post shared by Laura (@ellejayceee) on Dec 2, 2017 at 8:05pm PST

Had so much fun making these with my kids tonight! #PineappleChristmasTree #FloridaChristmas #FloGrown #SoCute #VeroBeach

A post shared by Kat Sutter Vero Beach Realtor (@keeping_it_real_estate_) on Nov 21, 2017 at 9:30pm PST

First, the pineapple Christmas trees took over Pinterest. Then they came to Instagram. And they look pretty cute with a pair of sunglasses, slightly reminiscent of Carmen Miranda and her famous tall hats of fruit. Continue reading to see more Christmas pineapples.

Continue reading

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Comedian Demonstrates How Cats Act In The Middle Of The Night

Cats don't have to adhere to a 9 to 5 schedule like their poor overworked humans, and because they're free to do their feline thang whenever they want many cats think the middle of the night is the best time to get frisky.

This naturally bugs the hell out of their humans, who are trying to sleep so they can make the most of the daylight, but cats are too busy scurrying around the house, knocking stuff over and tearing up the couch to care how their humans feel.

(YouTube Link)

Comedian Gus Johnson put on a pair of ears and some whiskers so he could properly channel the spirit of a cat when they're at their most rambunctious- at 3 a.m. when their humans dare try to dream.

-Via Laughing Squid

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Movie Dutch

The 1991 holiday road trip movie Dutch starred Ed O'Neil as a working class man (Dutch) trying to bond with his girlfriend's son (Doyle), a spoiled prep school student still hurting from his parents' divorce. As they travel from Georgia to Chicago, a series of unfortunate events helps them get to know one another. The movie wasn't a hit, but if you have fond memories of Dutch, you'll want to read some trivia about it.

3. Dutch gets Doyle’s name wrong on purpose throughout the movie.

In fact the only time he gets it right is when Doyle stages a car wreck and he’s so mad that he gets into a confrontation with Doyle.

2. Dutch admits to being a truck driver at one point in his life.

This is kind of ironic since at one point they have to hitch a ride on a truck carrying concrete pipes so they can get home.

Learn more about Dutch at TVOM. 


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A Cheat Sheet To Indian Restaurant Menus

Foodies who like to sample dishes from all over the world have at least some experience with Indian food, and once they've seen how many interesting and exotic flavor combos Indian restaurants have to offer they're hooked for life.

But bland and unadventurous eaters in the world are afraid to give Indian food a chance, usually because they're afraid of spice, don't dig curry or have been told some BS about it being unsafe without giving Indian food a chance.

Vindaloo

Vindaloo is a south Indian dish with many variations. The version you’ll likely see in an Indian restaurant will include some kind of meat base cooked with red chilies, vinegar, garlic, and sometimes potatoes. In India, the dish is known for its unmitigated spiciness. But at your neighborhood Indian joint, chances are the heat has been tamed. Unless you ask for it.

Maybe if they knew Indian restaurants serve up more than curry they'd give it a chance? The Takeout created a "cheat sheet" to Indian restaurant menus that takes all the mystery out of strange sounding dishes like Vindaloo, Chana masala and Rogan josh:

With most Indian dishes, you can select your choice of meat. When it comes to rogan josh, lamb is the only option. The key to its smoky and sweet taste is the base, which consists of onions that have been browned in oil or ghee (clarified butter) until essentially caramelized, as well as the heavy dose of bracing, warming spices like whole cardamom and clove. You might see on a menu that the dish has chilies, but don’t worry—the chilies used in rogan josh are usually mild ones. If you’re at a good Indian restaurant, your rogan josh might be finished with a touch of saffron—an expensive spice with a delicate, floral flavor.

Read A Cheat Sheet To Indian Restaurant Menus at The Takeout

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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How to Ruin a Pizza

Why would anyone do such a horrible thing to a pizza? And what kind of candy are those Santa Clauses made of that they didn't melt like the candy canes? This disaster was Tweeted by yung g.

My guess is that this was done specifically for an internet picture. But it's far from the only dastardly deed done to a pizza that didn't deserve it. Besides adding candy, there are burned, mis-sliced, and mis-handled pizzas, and pizza hybrids from hell. For ardent pizza lovers, it's a horror story. See 17 Of The Most Disrespectful Things Done To Pizza In 2017 at Pleated-Jeans.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Perfectionists Gonna Hate - Suck It Squares!


Perfectionists gonna hate by Vó Maria

Perfectionists have a problem with control- they can't control every aspect of their own lives so they try to push their too-high standards on to other people, tearing down their artwork if it doesn't live up to their expectations. But you know what? Life is boring without imperfections, and if you spend all your time chasing perfection you'll wind up missing out on those messy moments of fun experienced by people who feel free to make mistakes. So embrace your wabi-sabi side and leave the perfect ninety degree angles to the squares!

Drive anal retentive people crazy wherever you go with this Perfectionists Gonna Hate t-shirt by Vo Maria, it's one mouse-tastrophy that''l make people smile wherever you go, except for the haters, of course...

Visit Vó Maria's Facebook fan page, official website, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more delightfully geeky designs:

Pig Bacon Pixel Purrrsist! Typographic Peace Dove Nope

View more designs by Vó Maria | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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The Real-World Locations Behind The Last Jedi

The cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi traveled around the world to work in otherworldly places that could pass for a galaxy far, far away. That includes the Bolivian salt flats, Skellig Michael in Ireland, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Yeah, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. 

(YouTube link)

In the coming years, these places will be on even more bucket lists than they are now. After all, people still travel to Tunisia just to see where the Tatooine scenes in the first Star Wars movie were filmed. We also get to see some scenes of The Last Jedi film shoot and a glimpse or two of the special effects we'll see in the movie, which opens this coming weekend. -via io9


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The Billionaire Who Refused to Pay Kidnappers to Save His Grandson's Life

You may have heard about the movie All the Money in the World because actor Kevin Spacey was replaced at the last moment with Christopher Plummer. What's even more amazing is that the movie will be in theaters December 22, which means that Plummer's work was done and edited in at astonishing speed for Hollywood. But the true story behind the movie is even more intriguing. Plummer plays John Paul Getty, the richest man in the world in 1973. That was when Getty's 16-year-old grandson John Paul Getty III (Paul) was abducted in Rome. The kidnappers demanded $17 million in ransom.   

Initially, they suspected it was a hoax that Paul had contrived in order to ascertain more money from his family.

At the time, Old John told the media that he didn’t believe in paying kidnappers.

“I have 14 other grandchildren and if I pay one penny now, then I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren,” he said.

After three months of silence from the Gettys, the kidnappers took action by cutting off the wealthy teenager’s right ear with a razor and sending it in a bag to a newspaper in Rome.

Read the story of Paul Getty's kidnapping at The Independent. -via Nag on the Lake


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I Won't Wear a Jacket

Gus Johnson is a YouTube comedian with a short rap about pretty much anything you can think of. In this one, he looks at the campus phenomenon of that guy who never wears a jacket. You've seen him around, although it's more common in high school, as far as I can tell.  

(YouTube link)

My kids, and all the kids I knew, went to high school all winter without coats (although most would wear a sweater or hoodie). They said it was because there are no coat hooks in their huge school, and people would steal a coat even if there were. Lockers are too small for winter coats, and security rules prohibit students from wearing coats in class. A story from opie2 gives us another reason.

I teach middle school. One day a 12-year old boy shows up in my classroom at 8:00 in the morning dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip- flops. It's about 45F outside. He stands there with his teeth chattering, shivering like a leaf in the wind.

Me: Dude, you're cold because you're not dressed properly. You need pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes, and a jacket.

Kid: That's exactly what my mom said to me this morning.

Me: Well why don't you listen to her?

Kid: Because I can't let her win.

The jacketless guy on campus may be simply retaining his earlier habits, and might learn his lesson eventually as he trudges several blocks between each class on winter days. Unless he's just too high. -via reddit


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The Christmas Bird Count

The following is an article from Uncle John's OLD FAITHFUL 30th Anniversary edition.

(Image credit: Flickr user Jim Bauer)

Here’s a holiday tradition that you may not have heard of if you’re not a bird-watcher. It’s more than a century old and still going strong.

BIRD MAN

Frank Chapman was an ornithologist, publisher of Bird-Lore magazine, and curator of birds at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History at the turn of the 20th century. He enjoyed Christmas as much as anyone, but there was one yuletide tradition he abhorred: “side hunts,” in which groups of people divided into teams and spent the day roaming the countryside shooting every animal they came across. The hunted included rabbits, foxes, squirrels, and plenty of birds. Not for food -hardly any animals were eaten- but for sport. At the end of the day each team counted their kills, and the team that had the most animals was the winner.

Chapman wanted to come up with a replacement for the side hunts that wouldn’t involve the pointless slaughter of so many animals, especially birds. Why not count the birds without killing them, in a “Christmas Bird Count”? He published his idea in Bird-Lore magazine and on Christmas Day 1900, 27 people (many of them Chapman’s friends and colleagues) in 25 locations around the United States and Canada went out and counted all the birds they could find.

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