Archive for March, 2016

I’ve always been fascinated by mysteries. Always. As a kid I devoured books about the Bermuda Triangle, Stonehenge, UFOs and whatnot. Sure, as I grew older I realized most of the things that interested me had plausible explanations, but that has never dampened by obsession for all things unexplained. Hell, I even enjoy visiting those conspiracy websites about 9/11 and the Kennedy Assassination.

With that said, there are still several mysteries of the world that still intrigue me, and here are my five favorites:

THE GROOVED SPHERES

Over the last few decades, miners in South Africa have been digging up grooved_sphere_lgmysterious metal spheres. These spheres measure approximately an inch or so in diameter, and some are etched with three parallel grooves running around them. Two types of spheres have been found: one is composed of a solid bluish metal with flecks of white; the other is hollowed out and filled with a spongy white substance. The kicker? The rock in which they were found is Precambrian – and dated to 2.8 billion years old. Oh, some scientists have claimed they’ve formed naturally, but those people are clearly morons. Who made them and for what purpose is unknown. Be amazed.

GIANT STONE BALLS OF COSTA RICA

Hundreds of these stone balls have been documented in Costa Rica, ranging in costa-rica-stone-spheres-768x511size from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter. Some way as much as 16-tons. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone, and are not natural in origin. Rather, they are sculptures made by human hands and are perfectly spherical. That’s cray-cray man. Workmen hacking and burning their way through the dense jungle of Costa Rica to clear an area for banana plantations in the 1930s stumbled upon these incredible objects.

MODEL AIRCRAFTS

Check this out – there are artifacts belonging to ancient Egyptian and Central American cultures that look amazingly like modern-day aircraft.

The Egyptian artifact on the left, found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt in 1898, is a six-inch wooden object that strongly resembles a model airplane. It has a  fuselage, wings and tail. Experts believe the object is so aerodynamic that it would actually be able to glide.

The small object on the right was discovered in Central America and is estimated to be 1,000-years old. It’s made of gold and could easily be mistaken for a model of a delta-wing aircraft – or even the Space Shuttle. And look – it even features what looks like a pilot’s seat. Yow.

THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM

The Antikythera Mechanism is an incredibly intricate analogue computer mechanismfound in a shipwreck near Greece in the year 1900. The device was used to determine the positions of celestial bodies using a mind-bogglingly complex series of bronze gears.

The device would already be impressive, but you know what the unbelievable part of it is? It was created 100-years before the birth of Christ and more than 1,000 years before anything even approaching its level of technological complexity and workmanship would be discovered again. The device also came long before our modern understanding of astronomy and physics. The Antikythera Mechanism was built over 1,600 years before Galileo was born, and over 1,700 years before Isaac Newton was born. And you know what? Nobody can explain how or why.

THE ALUMINUM WEDGE OF AIUD

This object was found 1.2 miles east of Aiud, Romania. It was discovered on 1-Aluminum-Wedge-of-Aiudthe banks of the Mures River under 35-feet of earth and sand and right beside two mastodon bones. It looks like a weapon that was used to kill the mastadon. The weird part is that it’s made of an alloy of aluminum that’s encased in a thin layer of oxide. Why is that weird, you ask? Because aluminum was not discovered until 1808 and was not produced in quantity until 1885. Since it was found in the same layer as mastodon bones, it would indicate that this wedge was at least 11,000 years old. Again, science cannot explain its existence.

So there ya go, my favorite unexplained mysteries from the past. And before any of you science experts try and burst my bubble by debunking any of these, I ask you politely to back the eff off. Let me have a little mystery in my life, man.

Note: Coming soon – Modern Mysteries, including “Why do people like Donald Trump?”

 

 

 

 

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The River Thames runs through it.

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Interesting as always.

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Name someone who writes better headlines than me. You can’t. On a related note, I’m pretty sure I just invented two new words.

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Once above sea level, this well drew fresh water for an ancient  Neolithic Village.

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Contrary to popular belief, satellites carry less than 1% of human communications. Submarine cables carry the rest.

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Another interesting one.

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A father who allegedly caught an intruder rifling through his baby WTF-memedaughter’s bedroom has been charged with murder after he broke the would-be burglar’s neck as he tried to make a citizen’s arrest.

Ben Batterham, 33, allegedly found Richard James Slater, 34, looking through his young daughter’s room after the intruder broke into his home in Hamilton, a central suburb of Newcastle, on the New South Wales mid-coast, at around 3:30 am on Saturday.

A fight broke out and Mr. Batterham, who is understood to have put the would-be burglar in a choke hold to detain him until police arrived, Seven News reported. Richard James Slater, known as Ricky, died in hospital after he was found by police with a suspected broken neck following an alleged break and entering. Mr. Batterham was reportedly treated for injuries to his face at a nearby hospital and charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. The charges were upgraded to murder when Mr Slater’s life support system was turned off, with the 33-year-old father handing himself into police on Sunday afternoon.   

 
Mr. Slater’s devastated family have demanded justice, claiming the 34-year-old father-of-three was murdered in cold blood. “I want my baby’s killer brought to justice,” his mother Beryl Dickson told Seven News. “He was my eldest baby and now I got to bury him for a reason I don’t know.”

Ms. Dickson said her three grandchildren have been robbed of a father, claiming that he had been on the straight and narrow since leaving prison.

“Just to think those little kids are going to grow up without a dad now.”

Allow me to take a deep breath before I begin. I need to think this through rationally and sequentially:

  • Father finds intruder who was just released from prison in his baby daughter’s bedroom at 3:30am.
  • Father grabs intruder and holds him until police arrive.
  • Intruder dies from injuries suffered in the fight.
  • Father arrested for murder.

OK, I think I’ve got it straight now and I’m pretty calm except not really because WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING IN NEW SOUTH WALES, MAN? Exactly what sort of legal system are they running over there? Listen, in the United States if you break into a guy’s house and end up in his baby daughter’s bedroom you’ll not only get murdered but the cops will pat the guy who killed you on the back for saving the legal system time and money. ‘Murica!

And Ricky Slater’s mom is a piece of work, huh? Now she has to bury her son for “a reason I don’t know?” Uh, here’s a heads-up for you Beryl – he was committing a crime in the bedroom of a man’s baby daughter. Bingo! There’s your reason. Oh, and here’s a great quote: “They’ve lost their father, their beautiful father that they haven’t seen for years because he was in jail.” Sounds like a real peach, huh? Good Lord. And they’re demanding justice! Well folks, justice has already been administered, and its name was Mr. Ben Batterham.

PS – How the hell did Ben Batterham call the police while holding the guy in a chokehold? Dude’s some kid of superhero.

PSS – New South Wales in Australia. I looked it up.

 

Or sunrise. Hard to tell without, you know, motion. Let’s stick with sunset.

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Sometimes a video just cracks me up for its weird randomness. This is one such video.

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This map is resized to reflect the mortality rate of children under 5-years old.

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I love old libraries, and here is a great one. Pictured below is The Long Room at the library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Take a look at the pictures to see how unbelievably awesome it is. Built between 1712 and 1732, The library contains over 200,000 books. This, my friends, is my version of Utopia. Lord have mercy I need to visit this place.

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Just about perfect.

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This video is of a University of Michigan student harassing an Uber driver. My favorite part is when he yells what he thinks is an insult, when in reality he’s insulting himself:

 “You’re working all day. Guess what? I’m gonna sit on my ass and watch TV!”

Yeah, way to tell him dumbass.

PS – This is pretty much how everyone acts at the University of Michigan. That’s just science.

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The countries are resized according to their nuclear weapon arsenal.

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That’s about the coolest bar I’ve ever seen.

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We’ve all had teachers that have had significant impacts on our lives, haven’t we? The best teachers are the ones that really care about their students. Not just certain students, but all of them. And kids can tell if a teacher doesn’t like their job, right? Students can see right through a phony teacher in a heartbeat.

That said, a few teachers in my life have had a tremendous impact on me in more ways than one. After a lot of thought, here are the teachers that have meant the most to me . . .

My MotherMom

My mom, Kathryn Shoemaker, was one of the best teachers I’ve ever known. There are many, many people who will tell you how she changed their lives. Mom was an old school disciplinarian who was the epitome of “tough love.” I remember the summer before my 5th grade year when mom took me aside to tell me she was going to be my teacher. I was thrilled! Mom was going to be my teacher! I’d have it made! She paddled me the third week of school. In retrospect, I now know why she did it. She wanted to show the rest of the class that there would be no favorites. And oh, by the way? I deserved it. From my mother I learned to treat every kid in my class equally. Family background, previous history, none of that mattered. Because of Mom I always judged kids from the moment they set foot in my class. Everything that had happened before was erased and everyone got a fresh start. If my mother hadn’t been a teacher there’s slim chance I would have ever had the desire to teach, simple as that. I’ve written a lot about Mom on this site, but only because she deserves it. She was an incredible teacher.

My Sister Karen

My sister Karen was an amazing teacher as well. I don’t think I’ve ever told her this, but I learned a very important lesson from her. That lesson was this – my sister never talked down to her students. Ever. She could be teaching a group of 3rd graders and it was as if she was talking to a group of her peers. And you know what? Students respond to that, especially hers. Nothing makes a kid shut down quicker than an adult treating them like they’re a kid. Sounds funny but it’s true. Every good teacher I’ve ever known has that same quality. And my sister truly cared about her students and was genuine with them as well. Kids can see right through a phony, and Sis was never, ever that, believe me. Oh, and by the way, students always loved my sister and her class.

Mrs. Arrington

I had Mrs. A as a 1st grade teacher and again as a high school English teacher, which I would guess is pretty rare. Mrs. A always and unequivocally believed in me. When I was being an idiot in high school (which was often) it was always she who took me aside and told me I was better than I was acting. She always saw something that a lot of others didn’t seem to see. Somehow, she saw the potential in me and pointed it out to me many, many times. She had every right to give up on me but she refused to do so. In turn, as a teacher I’ve tried to carry on that philosophy – stick with every kid no matter how badly they’re behaving or how poorly they’re doing in the classroom. Mrs. A also pretty much helped me graduate, which I chronicled here. Mrs. A passed away a couple years ago, but her influence lives on.

Mrs. Ritchie

Mrs. Ritchie taught me, among other things, to look at life’s Big Picture. She always spoke of living in the moment, to not let life pass you by. Sort of a precursor to Lennon’s “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans” quote. And her classes were fun. Hey, you can learn and have fun at the same time! It was something I never forgot and did my best to emulate throughout my career. I already told you the story of “A Clap in the Face” and that illustrates Mrs. Ritchie perfectly. I was asked to read that story at her funeral, and I was very touched and honored to be asked to do it. Mrs. Ritchie’s class was one of the highlights of my school experience, and it was because she taught me things way beyond the course of study.

Mrs. Rannells

Mrs. Rannells was my mentor during my first year of teaching. As you might expect I was nervous, anxious, and had a lot of questions. Mrs. Rannells was always there for me with patience, advice and a kind word of encouragement. I think she was a little bemused at my teaching style, but she was always there with a positive word. She probably doesn’t even remember this, but she once told me this: “The kids like you. You’ve already won half the battle.” That gave me confidence to be myself in my classroom. I also watched as she calmly dealt with problems and never got too excited or upset with her students. I don’t know if a kid ever got to her or under her skin, but if they did she sure didn’t show it. Mrs. Rannells had a similar demeanor and style to to mom, and she was the perfect mentor for me that first year. She set a tone for the rest of my teaching career, and I’ve never forgotten that.

There’s another common denominator among the five teachers I just wrote about, and that is that every one of them had complete control of their classrooms. They rarely, if ever, sent a kid to the office. They handled their own problems without giving up and sending a kid to the principal. That’s classroom management folks, and believe me when I say it’s the mark of a great teacher. Because of these teachers you could count the number of students I sent to the office on one hand over a 30-year period.

Oh, there were other educators who had a great impact on me, teachers like Beverly Gray and principals like John Miller, Bob Sigler, and of course the greatest of all, Jigger. But as far as classroom teachers go, those five meant the most to me.

I’m not sure a lot of young teachers understand how powerful an impact they’re having on their students. A simple statement that might be inconsequential to you might become imbedded in a kid’s head forever. Trust me, I’ve had former students repeat something I said 20-years ago that I’d long forgotten about. It’s amazing really.

Historian Henry Adams may have said it best:

“A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops.”

And that, my friends, is a fact.

So I posted an article earlier today about an Easter Egg Hunt in California parentsbeing ruined by a bunch of parents. Well, it seems helicopter parenting isn’t confined to the left coast. Here’s what happened when the PEZ Headquarters attempted to host a free Easter Egg Hunt in Orange, Connecticut – once again parents stormed the field, knocking kids down so their precious children wouldn’t get left out. And again I say this – if kids are taught to be self-reliant, rather than be dependent on mommy and daddy, they’d go out there and get their own damn eggs. And the wussification continues . . .

No, this is not an early April Fool’s Day joke. It’s actually a proposal that was awarded first place in eVolo’s annual skyscraper competition.

The idea is to create a 1000-feet tall, 100-feet deep mega structure that provides a total floor area of 7-square miles, which is about 80 times greater than the Empire State Building.

The ambition is to reverse the traditional relationship between landscape and architecture, in a way that every occupiable space has direct connection to the nature,say designers Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu. “With its highly reflective glass cover on all sides, the landscape inside the new park can reach beyond physical boundaries, creating an illusion of infinity. In the heart of New York City, a New Horizon is born.”

That’s just wild, man. I’m sure the close-minded powers that be will assure it’ll never happen, but how cool would it be? Think of the homeless folks who could camp out down there. Plus the gangs would have a place for shooting practice and whatnot. Seriously, though, this should happen.

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Keeping with a Shoe: Untied holiday tradition, my crack staff has compiled a group of Easter photos for your horror enjoyment. Happy Easter!

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Because nothing says “risen from the dead” like a Zombie Bunny. On a related note, I’m going to hell now.

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I have no idea what’s happening here, but these Rabbits from Hell are the perfect gift for children who’ve been misbehaving. Happy Easter, kids!

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The kid on the right seems oblivious to the fact that she’s about to have a vein ripped out of her neck, leading to instant death. The kid on the left? She knows.

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People can be really, really mean. That is all.

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Faced with inevitable death by yellow ribbon, little Laqueta nevertheless kept up a brave face.

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Fortunately little Hunter had received his rabies shots 2-months prior.

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All I can say is, I have never seen a more evil-looking giant fake rabbit in my life. Chills, man.

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If you look in the lower left-hand corner, you’ll notice that this 1933 Easter Bunny was keeping a tally of his victims. Numbers 160 & 161 are pictured.

Well, that’s all I got. Have a great Easter, peeps!

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And the amazing restaurants continue . . .

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CBS Sacramento: A massive Easter egg hunt at California’s state Capitol was intended to set a 1world record but turned chaotic as combative parents stepped in to snatch eggs themselves, leaving crying children in their wake, according to participants.

Organizers had set out more than 500,000 plastic, multicolored eggs on the Capitol grounds Saturday with the goal of breaking the Guinness record for the world’s largest egg hunt.

The joyous event quickly turned ugly.

Some parents shoved their way into the hunt and scooped up all the eggs they could get their hands on. Arguments broke out over whether adults should be permitted to help their children, the Sacramento Bee reported. The frenzy prompted organizers to make an announcement urging parents to stay out of the hunt.

Although I wasn’t there, I can tell you exactly how this went down. A bunch of parents, the type who always jump in to save their kids at the slightest hint of adversity, saw their precious little children getting out-hustled by a few hard-nosed go-getters who’d been raised by parents who let them fend for themselves from time-to-time. The result? The spoiled, helpless kids were getting demolished so mommy and daddy jumped in to help. Because of this stupidity a fracas ensued.

Good God, man. Disgusting. Get it together, people!

And the Wussification of America continues.

Note: I bet the kids who were getting the least amount of eggs have never played dodgeball in their lives. Sad, really.

My dad, circa 1972.

My dad, circa 1972.

As many of you know, I have a pretty extensive music collection. I recently did a rough count and when you include albums, 45s, cassette tapes, CDs, and downloads I have over half a million songs in my collection. Yeah, I know. Hard to believe but it’s true. That’s a lot.

I have the complete works of several artists, including The Beatles, R.E.M., Eels, Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Chi-Lites, Bob Dylan and many others. My collection is very eclectic, from The Osmonds to Frank Sinatra to Tchaikovsky to Hank Williams to . . . you get the idea.

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Apparently these are called the Nike KD 8 Elite Highs, but I shall refer to them as the Ugly Ass Big Bird Shoes. On a related note, are they serious with these things? Good God they’re nasty looking.

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Amirite?

Dinner in the Sky restaurants are at several locations around the world. Could I eat there? I could not.

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