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After Mailing Himself Home In A Crate From Australia, British Man Looks to Reconnect With Conspirators

When was the last time that you received an important package more than a day late? Waiting for the mail is never an exciting experience, but one British man was determined to see if he could change that concept all on his own. Brian Robson was just a teenager of 19-years-old when he became homesick while working for the Victorian Railways back in 1965. Unfortunately for Brian, he couldn’t afford to buy a plane ticket back home which would leave the youngster looking for alternative solutions. An answer would come in the form of a crate and one of the most audacious shipping decisions in recent memory.

Let’s take a moment to explore one of the zaniest stories to resurface in recent years!

One Wooden Crate, Two Irishmen, 0 Plane Tickets.

At the age of 19, Brian Robson wanted to leave home behind to find a career abroad. Taking a job with the Victorian Railways in 1965 would leave Brian flying to Australia to begin work. At the time, a plane ticket home cost roughly £700, or more than 17x Brian’s total monthly salary. So to say that a plane ticket was more than cost-prohibitive would be to put it lightly.

Still, Brian knew that he wanted to get home and that meant going the extra mile to make it happen, not that we’d recommend following in his footsteps. Rather than waiting 17 months to potentially purchase a plane ticket, Brian decided that he would take matters into his own hands. His home was back in Cardiff, Wales, and Brian was determined to make it back there in one piece.

So his planning began.

Robison quickly realized that he could afford to mail a crate back to Cardiff, but he couldn’t afford to get a plane ticket. Working backward from there, Brian would acquire a box roughly the size of a mini-fridge before stuffing it with a pillow, a suitcase, and a book filled with the latest Beatles songs. Understanding that he would be in a crate for upwards of 36 hours, Brian had to prepare. This was going to be a journey to remember.

Brian had found himself in Melbourne on an assisted immigration program. His expenses had been covered by the Australian government and Robinson would agree to sign a two-year contract with Victorian Railways in exchange. Robson would regret signing the contract almost immediately, but by then he would be stuck in Australia, a long ways from home, with no money to speak of.

A Trip to Remember (But Not to the Right Place!)

After having filled his box with the tools he’d need to survive his journey, Robson understood that he’d have to prepare himself physically for the quest. This meant that Robson would end up consuming laxatives for three days leading up to his departure to ensure his ability to survive inside the box. Outside his book, he had a bottle of water for drinking and another for urination.

Upon finishing construction of his ‘box’ and preparing the appropriate freight paperwork, Robson would hire two of his friends, a pair of Irishmen by the name of Paul and John, to help get him home. They would be responsible for nailing the lid closed on Brian while also marking the box ‘Fragile’. Delivered to the airport, Brian was ready for 36 hours of discomfort.

But the trip would turn into a disaster as Brian would get shipped to Los Angeles, landing four days later as a bleak and battered piece of cargo. At the time, Brian was assisted by the CIA, FBIA, and the American government. Brian said the police treated him like ‘a silly kid getting himself into trouble.’

Brian is still trying to reconnect with the men who helped facilitate his escape, however he has been incapable of remembering or discovering their surnames.

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Culture

A Unique Graduation Picture Set

Renee Yates

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High school graduations are occasions that get people thinking about both the past and the future. Many people become nostalgic when they graduate from high school. They think about their first school days. Dylan Bliss took this a step further.

He and his dog Ruger took an adorable picture together when he first started school more than a decade ago. Dylan Bliss’s mother Corie had a clever suggestion. She knew that the two of them had posed for a picture together when Dylan Bliss became a first grader. They could take a similar picture again, and this one would demonstrate the passage of time in a unique way. 

Ruger is a much older dog now, but he’s alive and well. He was able to take a picture with Dylan Bliss to celebrate his graduation day. The family got Ruger when he was still a little puppy. Dylan Bliss and Ruger genuinely grew up together.

In both pictures, Ruger is wearing a collar and leash. Both of the collar and leash sets in the pictures match quite well, which helps to make the pictures look more similar and establish continuity. Dylan Bliss is holding onto the leash this time. 

The expressions of both individuals have also changed. Ruger has his mouth closed in the first picture, but his mouth is slightly ajar in the second. Dylan appears to be more guarded in the first picture, since he’s barely smiling. He seems much more relaxed and confident in the second picture, as an accomplished high school graduate. 

It’s also interesting to look at the changes in the quality of the pictures over the course of more than a full decade. The new picture is much clearer and brighter. It’s easier to see lots of fine details in the picture. Technology has changed over the course of Dylan’s life and Ruger’s life. Both pictures manage to make this clear, and both of them are capturing historical moments. 

The backgrounds for both pictures are also different, and there’s something symbolic about that. In the first picture, the background is simple and fairly empty. In the second picture, there’s a stone wall in the background, as well as lots of green plants. Ruger has lived a very full life since the first picture was taken, and Dylan has become an adult. The new background of the picture helps to demonstrate that both of them have richer lives and histories now than they did in the past. It’s a complex set of pictures that communicates a lot at once. 

People often purchase middle school, high school, and college yearbooks. They’ll remember those parts of their lives more effectively as a result. Taking professional senior class pictures is also popular. However, the pictures that people take at home can be just as special, especially because they’ll have plenty of chances to be creative. 

Online, it’s popular for people to take pictures of themselves periodically and use those pictures to show how they have progressed over time. At the end of each decade, there are frequently viral trends where people compare photographs of themselves that were taken at the end and the beginning of the decade. Dylan Bliss’s picture with Ruger is similar, at least in a way. However, it’s much more personal.

The end of a decade is significant for everyone. However, people’s high school or college graduation years can all vary. A random year in any given decade could be particularly important to a person who graduated from school in that year. Dylan Bliss will probably remember 2020 in a relatively unique way for that reason.

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Entertainment

2 Months Later, a Lost Chihuahua Finally Returns Home

Shannon Jackson

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Pets are not just animals who live with us. They are considered family members.

Many of us celebrate the birthdays of our pets, take them on vacations, and mourn their passing. They are not just the family pet. They are simply family.

For all those reasons, even just pondering the possibility of your beloved pet going missing must strike fear into the hearts of many families. Unfortunately, that was the reality that Debra Niska and her family had to live with not too long ago.

Pumpkin Goes Missing

Trouble started for Niska and her family when their pet Chihuahua named Pumpkin suddenly went missing. The exact explanation for how Pumpkin somehow escaped from went home and got so far away remains unclear, but Niska knew right away that they were going to have a tough time bringing their pet back.

Aside from the difficulty of trying to find a small dog in a big city, Pumpkin was also lacking a microchip. The lack of a microchip meant that even if someone did find Pumpkin, they would not be able to know right away where she lived and the identity of her owner.

The missing microchip was a huge obstacle to Niska and her family finding their pet, but they would not allow that to keep them from trying.

Bringing Pumpkin Home

Debra and her family knew that it would be incredibly difficult to somehow find and bring Pumpkin back home when there was no microchip for her potential rescuers to scan. Understanding that, Pumpkin’s family went all out in their efforts to bring their pet home so that they could overcome the challenge.

According to this article from Little Things, Niska and her family went about looking for Pumpkin by implementing a multi-pronged approach.

They searched for Pumpkin in their neighborhood, scouring all the possible places where she could have gone. They also made use of social media to inform their friends and other people in their neighborhood that their dog had gone missing.

Lastly, Niska and her family also took the time out to contact rescue organizations in the hopes that maybe one of them somehow found a wandering Pumpkin on the streets.

Days and weeks passed without them knowing exactly where Pumpkin had wandered off to. At long last though, their wishes were finally granted following a two-month wait.

Pumpkin Returns Home

As it turns out, Pumpkin didn’t just stray away from her California home and wander to a different city nearby. She was apparently quite the traveler.

Somehow, Pumpkin managed to go all the way to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s unclear exactly how the miniature dog got that far from home, but it turned out to be a stroke of luck that she ended up in Phoenix as that was where she was found by rescuers.

Not long after she was found by the rescue organization in Phoenix, Pumpkin was put on a plane so that she could travel back to Pasadena, California and be with the family that had been missing her badly for two long months.

The reunion between Pumpkin and her family proved to be a joyful one.

This video shared by Inside Edition shows just how happy Pumpkin and her family were upon seeing one another. Pumpkin simply could not contain her excitement as she ran over to her family and threw her little body at them, with her tail wagging wildly as it all happened. She was also met with smiles by a family that had clearly missed her company.

Few things are worse than not knowing what happened to your missing family member. Thankfully for the Niska family, their adorable little Pumpkin managed to make her way back home.

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Culture

Stunning Snow Art Created By 60-Year-Old During Nature Walks.

Renee Yates

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Looking at the world from an aerial view can unveil some amazing scenery. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it is possible to get a birds-eye view of just about everything in life. So when 60-year-old Simon Beck began performing as a snowshoe artist, the world began to take notice. Now, we know what you are probably thinking. What in the heck is a snowshoe artist? Who is Simon Beck? How can any of this actually be any cooler? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to all of your questions.

Simon Beck hadn’t dreamed of becoming a snowshoe artist when he was a child, it was just something that happened. Beck is actually a former cartographer, a profession dedicated to drawing and producing maps. Beck had earned his degree in the field while attending Oxford for engineering. Working as a cartographer would give Beck the training and attention to detail that he would need to shock the world as a snowshoe artist. 

For the better part of the past decade, Beck has been using his elaborate technical skills to create mind-blowing snowshoe art.  These images can be seen from the air, as well as all over the internet, and Beck’s results are simply staggering. To accomplish some of the more intricate patterns that he develops, Beck can spend up to 12 hours carefully walking through the snow. Beck will end up taking nearly 40,000 steps to create the perfect piece of snowshoe artwork.  The job is as intense as it sounds, and we have to imagine that Beck is physically exhausted by the time that he is done working on his art. While the output speaks for itself, we have to imagine that there is something bittersweet about watching the wind blow it away.

There are many challenges that Beck has to overcome while attending to his snowshoe art. For starters, the elements are always a factor for the duration of the project. As snow and sand can blow away at the slightest breeze, Beck spends much of his time re-working older segments of his art. Other obstacles include the grueling physical work, the massive time sink, and even destruction caused by visitors who don’t realize that Beck is working on something.

Even though Beck has been making a name for himself for years, his work is finally getting even more exposure. Beck as interviewed for a column on Artsy, and he was able to unveil some of his thoughts regarding the art form. Beck admitted during the interview that his work was fleeting, but he countered the idea by pointing to the longevity of a photograph. Beck made the insightful point that the vast majority of people will never see the Mona Lisa in person, but almost everyone has seen a photograph. Beck says, “Most people will only ever see (…) artwork as photographs.” For Beck, the fame is clearly not what he is after. Instead, it seems like Beck just wants to share his passion with the world.

Simon Beck has created more than 300 drawings across Europe. He has used his special shoes to craft artwork in the sand, in the snow, and in countries throughout the world. Each piece of artwork presents a unique challenge to Beck, thus always keeping his craft fresh.

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Living

One Person’s Love of Street Art Changes Cleveland Forever Through Non-Profit and Advocacy Work.

Shannon Jackson

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Have you ever been walking down the street when you noticed a bit of graffiti? Graffiti is a form of art that has been ingrained into our society since it first began. With that being said, our concept of modern graffiti can probably be traced back to a young student from Philadelphia named nicknamed Cornbread, way back in 1967. Even though graffiti can be used to wreck public spaces and cause business owners serious headaches, the art can also be used for good. Stamy Paul is a citizen of Cleveland, OH, who fell in love with graffiti. Wanting to have a custom mural painted for her home, Stamy began to reach out to graffiti artists in the city. Despite having a town covered in the art, she couldn’t find anyone to take up her commission. This is what led Stamy to establish the nonprofit foundation, Graffiti HeArt.

As a fan of graffiti, Stamy wanted to create a situation where these street artists could flourish without fear of repercussions. Stamy decided to establish Graffiti HeArt in 2013 with the goal of helping to revitalize Cleveland and the surrounding areas. Stamy’s work with Graffiti HeArt has helped to put a spotlight on the hard work of talented artists in the area. The funds gained through the nonprofit are given to children from underserved communities who have had an interest in graffiti. Stamy, like many others, believes that graffiti can translate to a real-world career with a variety of similar professional tracks available. Through Graffiti HeArt, Stamy is able to give these talented artists an outlet and a road map to future opportunities. 

Along with her work on the streets, the team at Graffiti HeArt has partnered with the Cleveland Institute of Art and their pre-college program. The course lasts for two weeks and is designed around helping the aforementioned underserved artists to improve their skills while establishing a professional portfolio. Rather than simply allowing these children to get punished for their love of art, they now have a safe and legal place to practice it with a potential career just around the corner. Graffiti HeArt is also accepting of interns through their volunteer internship program. Through this program, chosen artists get the opportunity to create murals that will be promoted and elevated by the city as well as the Graffiti HeArt non-profit. One example of such a mural is the Welcome to Cleveland piece that was created by Victor Ving, an artist from Brooklyn. 

Thanks to Stamy’s continued efforts with the non-profit, more people than ever are being introduced to graffiti as a valid art form rather than a public nuisance. The kids practicing the art are being afforded new opportunities while Stamy helps the city of Cleveland to nurture and reinvigorate aspects of the urban area. All told, Stamy Paul is doing her best to bring Cleveland together through art and communal collaboration. We could always use more stories like this!

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Culture

The World’s First Female African American Airline Pilots Make History

Kevin Wells

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The friendly skies just got friendlier as the world’s first black female pilot team took a plane full of passengers from San Francisco, California to Portland, Oregon on a history making a flight that had all of the passengers cheering.

On setting the plane down in Portland, the two tweeted out the following message which went viral.

“History has been made for Alaska Airlines this morning! First Officer Mallory Cave and I serve became the first 100% female African-American crew on Alaska Flt #362, San Francisco to Portland, OR.”

Everything seemed to be run of the mill and ordinary that morning when the 32 passengers boarded their seemingly routine flight. The pilots didn’t want to announce their history making trip until the wheels came down safely in Oregon. It wasn’t that they were unsure about their ability to fly the plane safely. After all, they had each logged several hundred hours in simulators and in practical training.

But when the plane came to a stop, the two emerged from the pilot’s cabin to announce to the passengers that they had just participated in the world’s first flight conducted by an all-woman, African American crew. Then, Captain Tara Dillon made the following announcement.

“Finally, we’re pleased to announce that you’re sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines history this morning. You have been piloted by two female African-American pilots for the first time in history.”

At this, the passengers unanimously exploded into uproarious applause and cheers. The First Officer made a video of the event which went super-viral on Twitter and YouTube, taking in several thousand views in the first hour.

The event proved that not only are black women able to complete a task that has long been the sole purview of white men, and proved that they too had the ability to perform a highly technical, and inherently risky endeavor- taking several dozen human beings through the air on a high-powered multi-million dollar aircraft.

Today, white male airline pilots still make up very nearly 98% of this professional demographic.

It’s worth pointing out that no one doubted the ability of the two to complete their first unsupervised flight. After all, their teachers and trainers had invested hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars training them. The scholarship they were able to obtain to earn their pilots’ licenses stand as evidence that an entire institution had every confidence in their ability to fulfill the role of major commercial airline pilot.

But, it’s still nice to see that at the end of the day, no one stood in the way of these two in their successful efforts to realize their dream of becoming full-fledged airline pilots.

Finally, earning the privilege of flying a large passenger plane is nothing to be sneezed at. It is among the most prestigious of all the accomplishments of licensed pilots. This is because managing the controls of such a large and powerful aircraft is widely recognized as a significant technical achievement.

So, this truly is a moment worth celebrating both for its historical significance, and in order to congratulate these two young pilots on their first major commercial flight. May their careers be long and distinguished.

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