Balancing Stone Artist

This guy is talented.  And he must have the patience of a tree sloth.

Colorado artist Mike Grab creates astonishing towers of balanced stones using nothing but gravity, and his uncanny ability to find the natural balance of the stones. Grab says the art of stone balancing has been practiced by various cultures around the world for centuries evolving from simple curiosity “into therapeutic ritual, ultimately nurturing meditative presence, mental well-being, and artistry of design”.

 

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The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching.

 

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Achieving a challenging balance requires contemplation of both mental and physical elements simultaneously. You must “get to know” the rocks you are working with. Some rock characters will coordinate better with other characters of rocks and vice versa back and forth right, left, up, or down. The trick I’ve found is to play and experiment. If you keep at it, a balance will be inevitable if you make yourself present in that moment of balance. The closer you get to achieving balance, the more weightless the rock seems to feel, since the majority of the work is applied upward on the rock you are trying to balance. Another tip I would suggest is try balancing larger rocks. using larger rocks only magnifies the feeling of the “clicks”. Also, more weight will usually have more stability in wind or other erosive forces.

 

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When crossing railroad tracks, look both ways and scamper across fast

BBC

At least 37 people have died after being hit by an express train while crossing the tracks at a remote train station in the Indian state of Bihar, local officials say.

The passengers, mostly Hindu pilgrims, had just alighted from a local train at Dhamara Ghat station and were on their way to a temple in Saharsa district.

An angry crowd is said to have beaten the driver and set two coaches on fire.

Rescue operations are under way and police reinforcements have been sent.

Senior state police officer SK Bhardwaj said it was difficult to say how many people had died as many bodies had been dismembered.

 

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The incident took place at 08:40 India time [03:10 GMT]. The pilgrims were hit by the Rajya Rani Express travelling on the opposite track.

Railway officials said the express train was travelling at high speed as it was not expected to stop at Dhamara Ghat station.

But after the accident, it stopped a few hundred metres away. An angry mob then pulled out the driver and severely assaulted him.

More police have been sent to the area but the region is extremely remote and inaccessible by road.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the incident and ordered district officials to the scene.

India’s state-owned railway network is vast – it operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

A government-appointed safety panel in its report last year said about 15,000 people were killed each year crossing train tracks in what officials describe as “unlawful trespassing”.

Crazy Stories From 2020

Monkeys Steal Covid-19 Samples from Lab Worker in India

May 19, 2020

Reminiscent of the beginnings of an apocalyptic science fiction film, a troop of monkeys in India attacked a lab worker and made off with blood samples from COVID-19 patients. The very strange incident reportedly occurred at a medical college in the city of Meerut on Thursday when a lab technician was walking outside the facility and encountered the troublesome creatures. Presumably suspecting that he was carrying something that they could eat, the monkeys descended upon the unfortunate individual and snatched three samples containing the virus.

The fantastic nature of the caper captured the imagination of people online, many of whom likened it to the eerily similar opening scene of the zombie film 28 Days Later. However, not everyone found the monkey’s antics amusing as residents of the area were understandably concerned about the prospect of the creatures spreading the virus in their community. In response to those fears, an official with the college assured the public that, to date, no evidence has emerged to indicate that monkeys can get the coronavirus.

Fortunately this became something of a moot point when the samples were recovered shortly after the animals had stolen them. It would appear that the monkeys, who had scrambled up trees to examine the pilfered material, eventually tossed the blood samples to the ground once they realized that the packets could not be eaten. Nonetheless, authorities have pledged to investigate the incident and take steps to prevent any similar incidents in the future.

‘Wish-Granting’ Cat for Sale in Russia

An odd online classified ad in Russia is selling what is described as a wish-granting cat and, by virtue of its purported ability, the feline’s owner is asking for big bucks in return for the allegedly magical animal. The strange posting reportedly appeared on the Russian equivalent of Craigslist late last month and showcased a Scottish Fold, dubbed Visik. In the listing, the seller asserts that the cat can grant wishes and names the selling price at a whopping 10 million rubles, which translates to roughly $127,000.

As one might imagine, the curious ad caught the attention of a Russian media outlet, who managed to track down Visik’s owner, a woman named Elena, in the city of Novosibirsk to get to the bottom of the very weird claim. According to her, the cat’s ability to grant wishes was discovered accidentally when she was in need of an apartment. Turning to Visik, Elena lamented her plight and asked for the animal to “fulfill my wish” for a new place to live.

“Literally the next day I realized that everything would come true,” she marveled, “you immediately feel that events are starting to take shape as they should. And a month later, I already had an apartment.” Elena says that she subsequently put Visik’s wish-granting abilities to the test and her family members received a new apartment and a new car. Alas, in a tale as old as time, it would seem that the feline’s magical powers were limited to only three instances, presumably per owner, which is why Elena has now decided to sell the cat.

In light of the untold riches that the wish-granting creature can presumably bestow upon its future owners, Elena is asking for the relatively meager sum of $127,000 for the fantastic animal. Strangely enough, Visik is not the first magical feline to go up for sale in Russia as an allegedly psychic cat appeared in a similar ad last year asking for $75,000 and, in what was undoubtedly the inspiration for the two listings, another clairvoyant tabby actually sold for $83,000 back in 2017.

 ‘Giant Rat’ Pulled from Mexico City Drainage System

A drainage cleaning project in Mexico City took a bizarre turn when workers unearthed a giant rat costume that was unsettlingly similar to a real rodent. The nightmarish piece of debris was reportedly part of a massive haul of 22 tons of garbage that had been fished out of the city’s drainage system in an effort to alleviate a flooding problem which has plagued the community over the last few weeks due to heavy rain. As one might imagine, the enormous ‘rat’ constituted quite the clog and spawned something of a mystery as far as where it came from and how it got in the drain.

A resident named Evelin Lopez eventually came forward to claim ownership of the oddity and explained that it is a human-sized rat costume that she acquired as a Halloween decoration but subsequently lost when it was swept away by floodwaters long ago. How such a huge object could wind up in Mexico City’s drainage system remains unanswered as does what Lopez plans to do with the ‘rodent’ now that it’s back in her possession. Alas, given its current condition after sitting in the drain for so long, one assumes that she does not plan to don the costume anytime soon.

Detroit Driver Arrested After Successfully Jumping Over Drawbridge

A foolhardy motorist in Detroit is in hot water with the law after he channeled his inner action hero and jumped over a drawbridge in his car. According to a local media report, the jaw-dropping incident occurred on Wednesday evening when the unnamed man was cruising along a bridge that spans the Rouge River. At the moment he arrived, the bridge had begun raising which, under normal circumstances, would be a cue for him to stop. The driver, however, had a rather ill-conceived alternative approach and opted to floor it towards the growing opening.

Drawbridge operator Andre Locke, who watched the wild scene unfold, recalled that “I looked, I said, ‘no, he ain’t.'” His disbelief quickly giving way to the realization that the man was, indeed, trying to jump the bridge, the worker hit an emergency stop button, but it was too late. “Over he went, blew out all four of his tires,” Locke said, “and then he crashed into the other gate.” While successfully completing such a jump may be cause for celebration in the movies, in this instance it led to the man being arrested since, with his car badly damaged, he was unable to flee the scene.

Fox found with impressive shoe collection in Berlin

A fox in a leafy suburb of Berlin has been getting into the spirit of summer – by collecting flip flops.

For weeks residents of Zehlendorf were baffled that a thief was stealing their flip flops and sports shoes from their gardens at night.

Finally a man spotted the culprit on a patch of wasteland, “in flagrante, carrying two blue flip flops in its mouth”, the daily Tagesspiegel reports.

The fox had a hoard of over 100 shoes, but not the man’s missing running shoe.

The man had suspected it might be a fox after raising the matter on a neighbourhood watch website and getting complaints from other locals about a missing pair of shoes, or one missing shoe.

Tagesspiegel editor Felix Hackenbruch posted photos of the evidence on Twitter.

The Crazed Father of Psychobilly Rock, the unparalleled Hasil Adkins

Hasil Adkins (April 29, 1937 – April 26, 2005) was an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His genres include rock and roll, country, blues and more commonly rockabill. He generally performed as a one-man band, playing guitar and drums at the same time.

Adkins grew up in poverty in the midst of the Depression, and his spirited lifestyle is reflected in his music. His songs explored an affinity for chicken, sexual intercourse and decapitation, and were isolated in obscurity until being unearthed in the 1980s. The newfound success secured him a cult following, spawned the Norton Records label, and helped usher in the genre known as Psychobilly.

 

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Adkins was born in Boone County, West Virginia on April 29, 1937, where he spent his entire life. He was the youngest of ten children of Wid Adkins, a coal miner, and Alice Adkins, raised in a tarpaper shack on property rented from a local coal company. Born at the time of the Great Depression, Adkins’ early life was stricken by poverty. His parents were unable to provide him shoes until he was four or five years old. Some reports say he attended school for a very brief time, as few as two days of first grade.

Adkins’ given name, Hasil, pronounced “Hassel”, was often mispronounced. One of his brothers was named Basil, similarly pronounced “Bassel”. Hasil dated a girl named Hazel, and was later given the nickname The Haze. As he explained it, the nickname came about “’cause Starlight records wanted something catchy and I didn’t have no middle name.”

Hasil Adkins loved to eat meat, specifically poultry, the subject of many of his songs. Following the release of 2000’s Poultry in Motion, Adkins toured with “dancing go-go chicken” dancers. His diet also reportedly consisted in as much as two gallons of coffee a day, and copious amounts of liquor and cigarettes.

 

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Adkins was said to have suffered from manic depression and insomnia among other mental illnesses. He never married.

On April 15, 2005, Adkins was deliberately run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV. Ten days later, on April 26, Adkins was found dead in his home.

Nicknamed “The Haze”, Adkins career began in the mid 1950s in an improvised studio in his home near Madison, West Virginia. There he put his vibrant Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis influences to work by recording scores of songs, beginning with the track “I’m Happy”. In a later interview he exclaimed “I couldn’t afford no drums so I just stomped my feet.” He eventually learned to use percussive instruments to accompany his guitar and vocals, which would become his hallmark sound.

Adkins is often cited as an important precursor to the Psychobilly genre. New York City’s The Cramps attribute much of their punk-psychobilly traits to Adkins, and covered “She Said” on their live album Smell of Female (1983). This helped usher Adkins into cult status as an underground musician, and inspired Cramps’ drummer Miriam Linna and her husband Billy Miller to found the Norton Records label. North Carolina psychobilly group Flat Duo Jets also covered Adkins with “Let Me Come In” on the 1993 lo-fi compilation Safari, which was released on Norton Records.

While music was his true passion, Adkins enjoyed a career in the film and television industry. He played himself as a street musician in 2004’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, partially narrated The Red’s Breakfast Experience and starred in a comedic horror film entitled Die You Zombie Bastards!. As a composer he helped score Hair High in 2004. Adkins was also the subject of the Julien Nitzberg documentary The Wild World of Hasil Adkins, distributed by Appalshop.

 

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The craziest song in his repertoire was ‘She Said’. The song tells the tale of the frightening aftermath of a drunken one-night stand:

Why’s don’t I tell you what it is?
I wen’ out last nigh’ and I got messed up
When I woke up this mornin’
Shoulda seen what I had inna bed wi’ me
She comes up at me outta the bed
Pull her hair down the eye
Looks to me like a dyin’ can of that commodity meat
And says
And says
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Wooooeeeeahhh!

So this time we got waay over here
(Where?! Where?!)
I don’t know, since it was early dawn’s light
She jumped up outta the car
She pulled her hair down her eye
She looked to me like a dinosaur ’bout to jump outta that seat
She said
She said
She said
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Wooooeeeeyahhhh!

So this time we got waaay over here
And then we went waay down here
We got all the way over
‘n that lady sound like this:
Oooooo! Oooooo!
She said
She said
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Yoo ee ah ah!
Wooooaaahhyahh!

So this time we went waaay over there
Now things was really gettin’ goin’
Boilin’ up with the blisters
She sound like this:
Ooooo! Ooooo!
She jumped up outta the car
Pulled her hair down her eye
And do you know what she tol’ me?
Do you know what she try to tell me?
She said
Ooooo! It feel so goood!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo woo eeeeeyahhhh!
Yah yah yah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!
Woo ee ah ah!

The Cramps version:

Willie Nelson Smoked a Joint on the Roof of the White House

Jimmy Carter Confirms Willie Nelson Smoked Out His Son on the White House Roof

It’s one of the most enduring legends in music history — and it turns out it’s all true. In his 1988 autobiography, Willie Nelson wrote that he once smoked a joint on the roof of the White House with one of President Jimmy Carter’s sons. Now, the former president himself has confirmed the country icon’s story.

Carter shares the anecdote in the newly released documentary Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President. Directed and produced by Mary Wharton, the film examines how Carter embraced music alongside his politics. (Gosh, remember when that was something fun and not cause for legal action?). It highlights his friendships with the likes of Bob Dylan and Nelson, and when asked about the latter, Carter admits Nelson’s tale is true.

“[Nelson] says that his companion was one of the servants at the White House,” Carter says in the doc. “Actually, it was one of my sons.”

Chip Carter, the accomplice in question, also confirmed the story to the Los Angeles Times, saying he went to the roof with Nelson on September 13th, 1980. During a break in Nelson’s performance at the White House that day, Chip offered to take the singer upstairs:

“We just kept going up ’til we got to the roof, where we leaned against the flagpole at the top of the place and lit one up.’ If you know Washington, the White House is the hub of the spokes — the way it was designed. Most of the avenues run into the White House. You could sit up and could see all the traffic coming right at you. It’s a nice place up there.”

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U.S. Secret Service countersniper team members stand on the roof of the White House on Monday.

Icelandic Police

About 20% of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police’s force are women – almost twice the percentage of U.S. police, and a higher percentage than in many EU countries.

I wonder what percentage are blonde? Some statistics report that 70% of Icelanders are blonde and 90% have blue eyes. Pic above seems to confirm the blonde stats.