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Man Builds Special Kayak for His Dogs

(Photo: Linda Bahnson)

Years ago, David Bahnson, a retired orthopedic surgeon in Vermont, wanted to share his enjoyment of kayaking with his dogs. So he placed his dog, Susie, in the luggage compartment. After getting a second dog, Ginger, he cut another hole in his boat for her.

Those dogs have passed on and now Bahnson has two more dogs. They, like their predacessors, love to go kayaking. The Dodo quotes Bahnson:

"They are trained to get in the kayak themselves on command. They sit down, and off we go. When we come ashore, they'll stay seated until I tell them it's OK to get out. They never hopped out into the water, actually," he said, adding that the dogs are strong swimmers regardless.

"I love my dogs. I love training them, the companionship. We've gone miles and miles of paddling with our dogs," said Bahnson. "They just really enjoy going places."

-via Laughing Squid

Willow the Mini Pig Discovers Her Love of Leaves

YouTube Link

Willow is an acutely adorable miniature pig who has found a new love in life: leaf piles! The enthusiastic noises she makes and her deliriously happy spins and jumps are quick evidence of her intelligence and ample ability to be playful and experience joy. Via The Dodo

Linnaeus the Observant

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

The father of classification was a curious fellow
by Honoré Schoolcraft, Improbable Research staff

Carl Linnaeus paid attention to some surprising things.

Linneaus was the Swedish scientist who taught the world how to classify living things, and gave us the double-barreled way of naming them in Latin. This year, 2007, is the 300th anniversary of his birth. The science community celebrates most of his work, but tends to overlook some of his writings about Lapland. Of course, the world in general tends to overlook writings, or most anything else, about Lapland.

At the age of 25, Linnaeus traveled through that northern wild region for five months, noting down whatever caught his eye, ear or nose. His hodgepodge of jottings jumps from topic to unrelated topic. Some of his thoughts, appearing in print, may take modern readers unawares. Here are a few.

Linnaeus’s general Lapland notes were eventually published as a book called Iter Lapponicum 1732. An English language translation appeared in 1811. The following quotations are from a modern translation by Peter Graves, titled The Lapland Journey, published by Lockharton Press in Edinburgh in 1995. The page numbers given here are from that 1995 edition.

A Woman and Her Frogs
On page 67, Linnaeus mentions a parsonage, and a school that has eight pupils, and a “round Lappish snuffbox made of turned reindeer horn,” and a woman. He says of her:

There was a woman here who was dreadfully plagued by frogs she had drunk as spawn in water this past spring. She knew that there were 3 of them and both she and anyone who sat beside her could hear them croak. Salt did not kill them and she dulled her pain a little with schnaps. Someone else who had the same ailment some years before happened to take 3 Nux vomica and recovered, but this woman will not take the risk.

Continue reading

Dramatic Reconstruction of a YouTube Comment Faux Pas

(YouTube link)

The UK comedy group Dead Parrot is up to the 5th episode of their YouTube Comment Reconstruction series (see episode one here). They wade into the cesspool of YouTube comments to find treasures so that you and I don't have to.

In this video, British actors Grahame Edwards and Eryl Lloyd Parry reconstruct an exchange between commenters Sudasha Patel and SGOR2047 under the video "Nelson Mandela is Dead - Official News." Both are paying their respects, in the strangest of ways. NSFW language. -via Laughing Squid

10 Animals Who Can Talk

Most of us find it impressive to see a dog that knows more than a handful of basic commands, but that's small potatoes compared to these amazing animals who can actually speak. Take N'kisi (the parrot above), for example, who has a vocabulary of more than 950 words and has a basic understanding of verb tenses. 

In a story told by Jane Goodall, after seeing a photo of the acclaimed primatologist, N'kisi had the opportunity to meet her in person, whereupon he looked at her and asked, "Got a chimp?"

And that's only one critter of the 10 amazing talking ones on the list over at Oddee.

A Magnificent Look At Dogs Riding in Cars

Everyone knows that dogs love riding in cars, but it's rare to see the full extent of elation of their faces as clearly as you can see it in this new fantastic photo series by Lara Jo Regan. You might recognize that name because the great photographer is also the owner of the famous Mr. Winkle, who we mentioned in a few other articles before

Whether shooting her own little angel or the furry friends of others, Regan does a wonderful job capturing the happy spirit of dogs and their individual personalities and this new photo set is simply fantastic.

Via Laughing Squid

Study: California Men Are Increasingly Talking in the Valley Girl Dialect

(Image from the movie Valley Girl, Atlantic Entertainment)

Like, ohmygod you guys! Just gag me with a spoon ‘cause according to these dweebs, young California men are like totally talking like Valley Girls:

"We found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender," said Amanda Ritchart, a linguist at the University of California who led the research.

"We believe that uptalk is becoming more prevalent and systematic in its use for the younger generations in Southern California," she added.

The team recorded and analysed the voices of 23 native Californians aged between 18 and 22. The researchers were therefore not able to infer similar language patters in older Californians.

-via Dave Barry

A Day in the Life of Jack the Fox

(YouTube link)

An unnamed elderly man talks about foxes and how they've received a bad rap in literature and legend. He knows better, because he knows Jack! Meanwhile, we get to watch him and Jack playing and snuggling together. It's a charming sequence in which we see how much the man and the fox enjoy each other's company. You'll either fall in love with Jack or his owner. -via Viral Viral Videos  

Police Respond to IKEA Assembly

If you thought the confusion one confronts when assembling IKEA furniture was because the instructions are Swedish, this story should reassure you that they are just as baffling to Swedes as to the rest of the world. A family in Strömstad, Sweden, on the country's western coast, was assembling furniture at 1AM. The banging, or possibly the swearing, woke their baby, who began screaming. The neighbors, alarmed at the commotion, called the local police.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found the couple was engaged in that most Swedish of activities, assembling Ikea furniture, and that the crying did indeed come from an infant child. It remains unclear if the baby was simply crying in need of attention, or whether it too was frustrated by the complexity of the Ikea instructions.

The police understood completely. -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Susanna Wolff and Caldwell Tanner)

Leopard vs. Porcupine

(YouTube link)

A young leopard is curious about this strange-looking animal that isn't afraid of him. The porcupine might be afraid, but he has his own defense system. Neither seems to be aware or care that the encounter takes place in the middle of a road with tourists on both sides. I believe this all takes place in Kruger National Park in South Africa. -via Say OMG

How to Quit Your Job

(YouTube link)

If you're going to quit your coffee shop job to start your own business, you may as well provide the customers some entertainment as you go! The bosses can't even be mad at this guy. So I did a little digging and found out the story behind the song, so to speak.

His name is Phil Sipka, and he wanted to quit his barista job to start his own non-profit coffee shop in a disadvantaged neighborhood. He enlisted the help of The Steve Harvey Show, which fixed him up with the vocal group The Voices. You can see the entire segment here. The new coffee shop is called Kusanya Cafe, and it should be opening any day now.

-via Buzzfeed

10 Fascinating Facts About Costco

Photo: Rosa Say/Flickr

"I really wish I had worn a condom."
- Sol Price, the founder of Price Club (and later Costco),
when some discount retail executive told him that he's
the father of the warehouse discount retail concept.

Do you love Costco? I love Costco ... maybe a little too much. I've been a member of Costco since the Price Club days (Costco merged with Price Club in 1993 and became PriceCostco. In 1997, the company changed its name to the Costco Wholesale you know and love - more on that below).

Back in those days, Price Club didn't use barcodes - instead, the checkout process consisted of an unloader and a cashier. The unloader took your items out of your shopping cart and yelled out the item numbers to the cashier. The cashier typed in the item numbers one by one into the cash register. Oh, and back then, it was still possible to get parking on a Saturday morning.

If there's one thing I know about Costco today is that it's impossible to leave the store without spending at least $100. Once, I was on a mission: to get that one thing I need at $50. I went straight to the item, grabbed one, and went to the checkout line without looking at anything else or (gasp) even sampling their food. I thought I had outsmarted them. When I got to the cashier, she informed me that I had to renew my membership at $55. Total spent (before taxes): $105! Hah!

Anyways, here are 10 most fascinating facts about Costco:

1. The concept for Costco was drawn up on a napkin

Like I mentioned above, the Costco we knew and love today started out as Price Club, which was founded by legendary businessman Sol Price*. In 1975, Price was forced out of a chain of discount department store company he founded called FedMart**. Shortly after, he drew up the concept of a "warehouse store" retail model on a napkin.

A few of Price's friends and associates put together $2.5 million seed money for the first Price Club, which opened in 1976 (more below). Their first week's sale was downright disappointing. Price said, "It was terribly slow. Our sales were only about $32,000 in our first week, and it got worse from there."

To make it seemed that the store was busy with customers inside, Price made his employees park their cars near the warehouse entrance. Luckily, sales improved and Price Club was off and running.

*What a perfect name for retail, huh? Legend has it that when his parents Samuel and Bella, immigrated from Minsk, Russia, the clerk at Ellis Island misheard "Press" or "Preuss" and wrote down "Price."

**Another neat trivia: In the 1960s American businessman Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton opened his own retail store and decided that he liked the "Mart" in Price's "FedMart" name so much that he decided to name his store after it. That store? Wal-Mart.

2. Costco's first store: A converted airplane hangar

The first Price Club store we mentioned above was located in a converted airplane hangar once owned by Howard Hughes on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. The store only sold to small businesses, who could "invite" non-business members. That created a "secret club" mentality that appealed to many people.

This store is still in operation today.

3. Costco's main layout is called "The Race Track"

Costco purposely put fresh food at the back in the store, to make sure that their customers pass by every category of items - electronics, clothing, jewelry, amongst others - as they wind their way down "The Race Track" to the food section.

This strategy obviously works because, as I mentioned above, it's impossible to get out of Costco for less than $100.

Continue reading

Patrick Stewart and His New Wife

Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, married his girlfriend, Sunny Ozell, this weekend. He tweeted this adorable image of himself and his new bride--one that will be familiar to fans.


Sheep Teaches Young Bull to Head-butt

(YouTube link)

The sheep is handling his student with patience and gentleness. The bull, being a bovine and therefore pretty stupid, doesn't seem to be learning much.  -via Tastefully Offensive

Happy Birthday Bai Yun!

Just last month, we wished the San Diego Zoo's newest panda a very happy birthday and now it's time to wish the same to his mother, 22 year-old Bai Yun. And just look at that impressive cake -now that's a panda that loves to party!


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