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Cafe Customers Massively Overreact to Non-Existent Best Customer Contest

It all began as a joke. Fraser Harvey, a regular customer at the Sensory Lab coffee shop in Melbourne, Australia taped a flier to the wall of his favorite cafe. It proclaimed him Customer of the Week.

Harvey then went about his business, which included drinking coffee. When he stopped by again, he saw this photo instead of his own. It was better than his, as it had a frame.

Harvey was angry.

He had been challenged.

He would not back down, as he was the true Customer of the Week. And thus began the Great Customer War of 2019, as neither would yield to the other. Both Harvey and his anonymous adversary repeatedly one-upped each other.

In their most recent engagement, Harvey's opponent got a tattoo affirming her position as Customer of the Week.

Read the whole extraordinary story at The Guardian, including feedback on the reactions of employees and customers:

Malatesta was able to shed more light: “Customers were weirding the [expletive deleted-ed.] out. Because she wheeled in that projector. She was there, you know, trying to get her face exactly where she wanted it. If only they’d filmed it. It’s like a Seinfeld episode.”

Yes, it really is like this. Cosmo Kramer would totally get into a competition like this.

-via Nag on the Lake | Photos: Fraser Harvey, whom I'm rooting for.


Nancy Tuttle's Outlandish Driftwood Sculptures

Nancy Tuttle, an artist in Oregon, makes extraordinarily vivid sculptures from driftwood. She finds monsters, fairies, beasts, and mages deep within the grains of wood. Tuttle carves eye-popping faces that direct their sometimes unwelcome attention at the viewer.

Continue reading


Instagram vs. Memers: The Great Memers Purge Of 2019

More than 140 meme-focused accounts on Instagram woke up to find they were unable to login to their accounts. Apparently, the purges are Instagram’s attempt to stop violations of Instagram's terms of service, such as the buying and selling of usernames, and copyright, and intellectual property rules. Paper magazine commented that this might be the app’s attempt on reposters, but this has caused a lot of frustration: 

However, many users who had their accounts deleted say they were meticulous about crediting creators, and don't understand why they're being targeted. "These waves of attacks on our right to free speech are not only affecting the repost accounts who have made a living off of posting memes, but they also are affecting the creators who have spent years of their lives organically growing a following from original content" reads one petition on to reinstate the purged accounts.
Memers are frustrated with the lack of transparency and clear answers about the deactivations.
"Every email or notification from Instagram support is bland and vague, explaining that the details aren't to be disclosed, but we want answers. We want change. And most importantly, we want our accounts back" the petition continues.

With the hit of backlash, Instagram has made attempts to try and win back its memers - with the establishment of a meme manager to work together with Instagram: 

This "meme manager" or "meme officer" as the position's been nicknamed online will essentially be a diplomat and allegedly, an advocate for the meme community, stationed at Instagram HQ. The job description says they'll be "an internal advocate within Facebook and Instagram for partners," and responsible for working with "relevant internal teams to ensure Instagram is considering partner input..." In addition they'll "manage strategy, implementation and optimization of Instagram's strategic partnerships with select digital publishers" and work with memers to "develop innovative and high impact partnerships, and drive operational management of projects."

image credit:


This Is The Unexpected Chaos Beyond The Frame Of A Passport Photo

London-based visual artist Max Siedontopf’s latest series depicts what lies beyond the frames of a passport photo. Inspired by ridiculous restraints on the small image (no smile, glasses, or anything interesting), he created an alternate reality for these regulation passport images. 

From shoulders up, the recreated images are what anyone expected from a regular passport image- rigid, straight-faced, and serious. From the shoulders below however, is where the fun and chaos begun. Siedentopf had people balance wine glasses on their arms, and some were taped to the wall. 

image credit: Max Siedontopf via Colossal


What Was It Like to Be an Executioner in the Middle Ages?

In 16th century Bavaria, a professional executioner named Frantz Schmidt kept a diary through most of his life. This left us an extraordinary opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a professional we mostly know from fiction and the very fringes of textbooks. Schmidt was an educated man, took his work seriously, and sometimes felt empathy for those he lawfully killed. But he didn't choose his work; like most folks in the Middle Ages, he inherited the career from his father. Vanderbilt University historian Joel Harrington tells us more about executioners.

Over time, this passing of the baton from father to son created what Harrington called long-standing "execution dynasties" that spread across Europe during the Middle Ages.

But the existence of those dynasties also reveals the poor image executioners had at the time. People were trapped in this family cycle of employment because, in reality, they had few other opportunities to work, according to Harrington. People whose professions revolved around death were people that the rest of society did not want to associate with. So executioners were typically consigned to the fringes of society — and even forced to literally live at the edge of town.

"People wouldn't have invited executioners into their homes. Many executioners were not allowed to go into churches. Marriage has to be done at the executioner's home," Harrington said. "Some schools would not even take the children of executioners."

It wasn't all bad, though. There were perks designed to keep the executioner from abandoning his job, which was seen as a necessary part of law enforcement. Read about the life of an executioner at LiveScience.  -via Damn Interesting


The Cost of Dating a Chinese Man as an Indonesian Woman

“I cannot believe I am in a relationship with a Chinese guy. Chinese dudes were never my type,” says Jason Hung’s 28-year-old Muslim Indonesian girlfriend almost every other day.

She is not criticising me personally, but like many of our Indonesian female friends, she racially profiles men of Chinese descent. We can be rude and unhygienic, among other things, they seem to think.

For a Muslim woman in Indonesia, courage is required if she wants to be in a relationship with a Chinese man, or just admitting to having feelings for one. Social, cultural, and religious obstacles await the woman should she dare to traverse that path.

“If I meet the wrong guy, I am wasting my 20s and may end up failing to find a husband,” several Indonesian female friends have explained.

This racial bias against Chinese men has its historical roots dating back to the late 60s. Check out the story over at the South China Morning Post.

(Image Credit: SCMP)


Muggers Attack Female Boxing Champion, Get Repeatedly Punched in the Groin

"I just kept throwing my right hand to his balls."

Two muggers in Chicago experienced a major failure in the victim selection process when they attempted to take the phone of Claire Quinn, a female boxing champion. She's trained for the past four years and holds a Golden Gloves title. That experience came in handy, as she explained to Block Club Chicago:

Within minutes, a person that Quinn described as a man walked up to Quinn from behind, pulled her shoulder back and pushed her to the ground.
He punched her in the head, and yelled, “Gimme your phone, b—h!”
At that moment, Quinn switched into “fight” mode.
She held her phone close to her chest in her left hand. She knew the man’s head was too far away, so she readied her right hook and aimed for the next best target: his groin area.
“A man hits me, I’m firing back,” she said.

And Quinn did so until the testicularly aggrieved robbers fled.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Hannah Alani


Man Gives His Sister a Label Maker for Her Wedding - and She Goes Wild

Give a clever woman who has a propensity for puns a present that allows her to express her creativity, and be prepared for some rib-tickling results.


500 Million Bees in Brazil have Died within 3 Months, Raising Concerns about the World's Food Supply

Bees contribute enormously to agriculture, as they are necessary for pollinating 75% of the world's crops, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. However, Brazil is suffering a shocking loss of its bees, probably due to pesticides. As if the fires destroying the Amazon Rainforest are not enough, now Brazil faces another potential disaster.


Your Cthulhu Fridge Friend

Cthulhu Finger Puppet and Magnet

Call him the little Great Old One. Call him Cthulhu. Whatever you call him, don't call him late for dinner! 

Meet the Cthulhu Finger Puppet and Magnet available at the NeatoShop. With his frightfully adorable octupus and dragon features he is sure to be worshipped in your house. Some may think your new fridge friend is a bit of a monster, but aren't we all without our morning coffee. Who can blame a guy for being grouchy when he is first awoken from his death like slumber? 

The Cthulhu Finger Puppet and Magnet is a pretty helpful little guy. He never minds hanging onto important documents and he's always up for some play time. You may even get him to tell you some weird tales from his youth. However you spend your time together, we know you are going to lovecraft love crafting a relationship with him.   

Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more Magnet fun! New items arriving all the time. 

Don't forget to stop by the store to check out our large selection or custom apparel and bags. We specialize in curvy and hard to find sizes. We carry baby 6 months all the way to 10 XL Big and Tall shirts. We know that fun and fabulous people come in every size. 


The 1945 New Guinea Rescue

A US military plane crashed in New Guinea, in a remote area called Hidden Valley populated by unknown natives. There were no roads in or out, no place to land a plane, and the elevation was too high for a helicopter. Besides, the Japanese were pretty close by. The crash survivors were injured and desperate for rescue. The History Guy tells the story of an audacious, or frankly insane, plan to bring them home. -via Nag on the Lake


The “Black Dirt” Onions of Pine Island, New York

Cheryl Rogowski’s parcel of land in Pine Island, New York is down a steep slope that opens up into a wide view of the valley. The crops of this season are lettuce, epazote, cabbage, squash, cucumber, tomato, peppers, sunflowers and gladiolas — all of them reflecting Rogowski’s love for color.

Rogowski is no stranger to Pine Island, a land known as the “Black Dirt Region” or “The Drowned Lands” because of its dark and damp soil, which locals call “muck”.

She’s always experimented with the land. In the 1980s, soon after her father gifted her five acres to farm for herself, she started planting jalapenos. “You can’t grow jalapenos in the north-east,” some were quick to warn. This was when it was rare to see a jalapeno in the local supermarkets. But it worked, and at one time her farm had more than 1,000 varieties of chillies. 

But her thousand varieties of chillies were not the ones that transformed the landscape. It was the onions. But what’s the difference between a regular onion and this one?

The high sulphur content of the soil from thousands of years of composted vegetation ups the pyruvic acid levels in the onions, which, in turn, increases the sugar content, resulting in a bold, pungent taste. This makes the Pine Island onion exceptional for cooking. When caramelised, they become uniquely sweet.
“The flavours are brighter, sharper, cleaner,” Rogowski said. She makes a smoked onion jam that she claims won’t taste the same with any other onions.

Know more about the land and its onions over at BBC.

(Image Credit: Matthijs Wetterauw/Alamy)


Easy To Harvest, Hard to Grow

Miriam Pawel was not expecting to return to their tiny farm in Del Rey, California — at least, not every summer. Yet she found herself there once again, amidst the triple-degree heat in July for the ninth straight year of pilgrimage with her friends to an orchard just south of Fresno, near the geographic center of California.

We come to harvest peaches from a tree we “adopted” on the farm of 65-year-old David Mas Masumoto, a third-generation Japanese-American farmer who began his adoption program to connect people to their food and to find homes for old-fashioned fruit too delicate for commercial sale. He has succeeded in ways he could not have foreseen. We are drawn back each summer by the intense flavor of the heirloom fruit, but even more by the unexpected attachments that have deepened over the harvests: bonds among members of our multigenerational team, ties with the Masumoto family, and a connection to our decades-old Elberta peach tree.

This year, however, would perhaps be one of the moments Pawel would certainly remember.

Climate change has brought extremes in heat and precipitation that play havoc with the harvest season, now elongated and unpredictable. And farm labor, long one of the few factors growers could control, has become equally unpredictable, as immigration crackdowns cause shortages and fear suffuses the largely undocumented Mexican farmworker community in the state.
When we return next year, we will see one of the more tangible consequences: Our peach tree will be two-thirds its former height. All trees on the 80-acre farm will be pruned to make them easier to be cared for by women, who have become by necessity the preferred workers for this small farm during a labor shortage that shows no sign of abating. The Masumotos hope to turn the challenge into an opportunity by shaping the trees to produce fewer, larger peaches, which command a higher price.

More details of the story over at The New York Times.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: Gosia Wozniacka/Associated Press)


Some Developers in L.A Say They Can Build Homes for Homeless People Faster and Cheaper

Building houses for the homeless takes a lot of time and money. It is a slow and expensive process, and it gets slower and more expensive as the years pass by. Six developers, however, through their response to a challenge from L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti, say that they can do it faster and cheaper.

Pre-fab construction, simplified financing, shared housing and small-scale projects were the strategies spread through the proposals recommended Friday to share a $120-million grant funded through the city’s $1.2-billion homeless housing bond.
The proposals promise to produce 975 new units of supportive housing at an average cost of $352,000 per unit, according to a report the mayor and housing officials presented to the citizen committee tasked with oversight of the bond, Proposition HHH. The committee, which had called on the mayor last fall to conduct the innovation challenge, voted with little comment to send Garcetti’s recommended proposals on for City Council consideration.

The proposals, however, fell short of the committee’s goal of building 1,000 units in two years or less (but hey, it’s just 25 units short).

More details about the proposals over at the Los Angeles Times.

(Image Credit: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times)


Kid Influencers on Social Media Platforms: What About Them?

Child film and TV stars are no longer new to us. Like their predecessors, child stars on social media platforms also attract and fascinate audiences far and wide. Instagram and YouTube are expected to grow to a $6.5 billion to $8 billion by the end of this year. The huge growth on influencer marketing on these platforms, however, raises a lot of questions and concerns about the lack of oversight and the possible long-term impact on children’s lives.

One of the examples of these kid influencers is the three-year-old twins Taytum and Oakley Fisher, who recently branched out from their family’s YouTube channel. Now, they have a channel of their own.

It's run by parents Madison and Kyler Fisher, whose "FishFam" home-video style vlogs have amassed more than 3.6 million subscribers on YouTube. The family also has 5 million Instagram followers, of which 3 million belong to Taytum and Oakley's unique account. At just 4 months old, the newest Fisher family member, baby Halston Blake, has more than half a million Instagram followers on her account.
"(Our) new channel for Taytum and Oakley, called Taytum and Oakley Play, it's going to be more geared towards just them," dad Kyler Fisher told CBSN Originals on a recent morning at the family's Los Angeles home. "Them playing with toys or just doing whatever they do, using their imaginations and stuff like that." 
Becoming a social media star is one of the most popular career aspirations named by kids in a recent survey. The influencer marketing industry is projected to grow to $15 billion by 2022. But experts warn that regulations need to be put in place as younger and younger influencers are sharing their lives on camera. Since 1939, Coogan's Law — named for child star Jackie Coogan, whose parents squandered his fortune — has protected the earnings of professional child performers. The law, however, doesn't apply to kid influencers online.
Asked about whether he's concerned about the lack of labor laws governing kids in this new social media entertainment space, Kyler Fisher said: "Who gets to say who does the work? My kids are in a picture, and that's work? I'm not so sure." 
The Fishers were among the forerunners of family vlogging and can earn upwards of $200,000 per month, with money coming in from brand deals and advertising revenue from Facebook and YouTube. 

There are also other parents of kid influencers who also have a different take on the subject. Check them out on CBS.

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: CBS News)

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