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Perfect Ways to Fake Your Travels this Year

Kelly Taylor

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There are millions of people that are planning to take to the skies this year. They will end up traveling all over the world to exotic places that seem too good to visit. But did you know that there are people that are faking their travel experiences and posting the stories online for the world to see. And they are using some of the most hilarious ways to make it all happen. The reason so many people are faking their own plane ride is because of the “fake plane ride challenge.” This challenge is taking social media by storm and the people involved in it are actually having fun imagining ways to make people think they are traveling the world.

The way the challenge works out is that a person engaging in the challenge is to take video of themselves flying on a jetliner through the air. They are supposed to use ordinary objects and use them to make people believe that they are in fact on a jet flying thousand of feet through the air to their next exotic destination. As the person’s video plays out the picture slowly pulls back revealing the truth behind the images being shared on social media. In a world of smartphones and social media it is easy to create many such images with just a few of the following household items.

·         The toilet seat. The toilet seat is more than just a place to sit when in the hands of an imaginative social media expert playing the “fake plane ride challenge.” The person holds the toilet seat up in the air while filming it from up close. The seat is usually held at a slight angle to capture the clouds and the sky so it seems like the person in flying through the air. Of course, when the video is pulled back away from the seat, the truth is revealed.

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·         The simple tea cup. It is possible that only an imaginative person would ever sea a tea cups handle as an airplane window. Much like the toilet seat the handle of the cup is positioned at an angle so the sky is all a person sees. But after the video is taken and the truth is revealed only the cup is seen against the backdrop of the sky.

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·         The step stool. This prop allows a person to get a little more creative with the challenge as it provides more space for the camera to work with. Some individuals have taken a map and placed it under the prop to catch a famous location just under the aircraft. Well, when truth is told the prop and map has fooled a bunch of people believe the person has visited the famous sites.

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·         Use the handle of a bottle. This prop has the shape of a window at the right angle. Simply place an image under it to capture the next great attraction for people to believe you have been too.

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The human imagination has a lot of great ideas still to come. One can only stand to wonder what is next? Is it going to be the “Great Under Water Challenge?” As one would expect to portray some of the most surreal underwater environments. Time will only tell. For now, we will have to wait and see what imaginative minds create for the “fake plane ride challenge.”

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Amazing

The Champion Taco-Eating Pit Bull

Kelly Taylor

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My neighbor Jose had just adopted a special pit bull from the local rescue shelter. It had been the faithful companion for five years of Jose’s elderly friend who had passed away a few months earlier. Because pit bulls have a bad rap, nobody wanted the dog, so the shelter planned to put it to sleep. When my neighbor learned that his friend’s faithful companion was about to be killed, he immediately adopted the dog. I don’t know about cats having nine lives, but that dog definitely got a second life.

That dog went everywhere with Jose. The dog’s name was Lucky, but Jose made a point of calling him something like “Lu-key.” Jose even got that large pooch service-dog certified, which meant he could take that dog into the supermarkets and even into the county fair.

Last July, I was assigned to judge the taco eating contest. A few months later the county fair started. Somehow Jose managed to get Lucky into the fair on my judgment day. According to him, the ticket office at first refused to let Lucky the service dog go in, because of all the other animals there. So Jose was sent to the exhibitor’s entrance, where the fair’s president was. After the president argued with Jose a bit, he was left at the gate with Lucky while the fair officials argued about what to do. During that time, exhibitors with other dogs, cats, pigs, and birds of all kinds, came into the fair through that same gate. Lucky looked at those other animals but did not budge from Jose’s side. Not a sound came from him, though other animals sometimes made a racket. The president noticed that and then decided to let Jose and Lucky conditionally come in; Lucky was in no way to disturb the other animals, children, or people.

A local guy named Walt came to the taco eating contest as a participant, not letting his wife know. We had TV-like tables set up with fifteen Mama Juanita’s Taqueria soft-shelled chicken tacos on each one, the best tacos for hundreds of miles. The contestant who at them the fastest won the contest. It happened that Jose and Lucky were the closest to Walt’s table.

Well, no sooner had I blown the start whistle than Walt’s wife screamed out his name, “Walter Higgins! Get over here!” At that shout, he jumped up and bumped over his table filled with tacos, in front of Lucky. Walt then bolted away from that area as fast as a rooster with its tail feathers aflame. Well, Lucky apparently felt lucky, so he jumped the few feet needed to get at all those tacos on the ground in front of him and started gobbling them down. It wasn’t long before all the contest spectators were watching Lucky, some aiming their Instagram-linked iPhone cameras at him. It was only later we discovered that CNN also had a cameraman at that event. Not only did Lucky eat all the tacos, but he was also the first to finish them as well!

Since the top two human taco eating contest champions were state-level champs, it didn’t take the local folk much time to declare, over the protest of those two guys, Lucky the 2015 taco eating contest winner. CNN national news and its website showed scenes of Lucky gobbling up the last of the tacos. The fair’s Facebook page ended up with the greatest number of views in local history. The social media sensation Lucky would become the “picture boy” for the next state fair.

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Amazing

The Day I Met a Baby Gray Whale

Kevin Wells

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In addition to being one of the most curious and intelligent creatures in Earth’s oceans, due to their great size and the fact that they travel vast distances, gray whales are also host to a wealth of scientific data about the health of our oceans. Gray whales have a long history of unique interactions with humans. Most of the time they appear indifferent to us. Sometimes they behave in a friendly way. But during a few points in history, in a small number of locations, legends of gray whales flipping small boats and dragging men beneath the waves have cropped up.

But gray whales can even be dangerous when they do not mean to be. Weighing in at nearly 40 tons, with massive flippers and a huge, powerful tail, gray whales have downed many small boats either accidentally or otherwise. But these fascinating creatures still have a powerful draw for us. They are mysterious, massive, and have eyes which reflect a strangely familiar intelligence.

So when Cheryl and David Kipling set out in hopes of meetings these creatures face to face, it was no small task overcoming their trepidation. Cheryl and David are biologists and run a lab where they study the remains of whales that have been killed prematurely by the actions of humans.

Cheryl explained, “I’ve autopsied the brains of half a dozen gray whales and the one thing that stands out is the size and sophistication of their limbic brain.”

We asked for more clarification on why having a big limbic brain is such a big deal.

She replied, “The limbic brain, in mammals, is the part of the brain that renders emotions. It’s sandwiched between the fore-brain- which is big in humans, and the hindbrain- which controls all of our cravings and reflex instincts. The limbic brain motivates us with feelings. When you look at a puppy and say ‘ahh’ at his big brown eyes, or when you miss a loved one and want to see them, that’s the limbic brain. Judging by the size of their’s, these animals are deeply emotional. They are primarily emotional, in fact- whereas people might be said to be primarily intellect oriented. That’s why it’s such a crime to keep orcas in captivity, separate them from their pods- their families. They suffer intensely.”

Equipped with this new and strange knowledge, going out with Dave and Cheryl to meet the whales felt all the more momentous. Getting out on the water to the right spot where the whale sightings were happening took most of the day. But the weather was beautiful, the water was calm, and we would have been happy even if no whales had shown up. But they did.

The couple spotted a mother and calf breaching the surface some distance off. They were headed in our direction. For several minutes, wonder, anticipation, and- we’ll admit, a little bit of dread were palpable. All I could think about is what I would do if one of these animals accidentally flipped our boat.

But eventually, the mother and calf reached us. They were careening off to the south. But then the baby spotted us and approached our boat. It came right up to the boat and held its long snout out of the water right next to the boat. It just sort of “stood” there. Cheryl and David reached out and stroked the animal’s nose while the mother looked on.

The baby whale turned and looked us over with its oddly small eye, calmly, almost serenely as Cheryl and David stroked her. Then the whales passed as quietly as they came. I’ll never forget the lucidity and the depth of feeling in the eye of that baby whale.

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Entertainment

World’s Smallest McDonald’s Restaurant Draws Attention to Important Issue

Kelly Taylor

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McDonald’s is one of the world’s leading fast food restaurant chains, with Statista noting that they had as many as 37,855 restaurants open across the globe as of the end of last year. Given the sheer number of McDonald’s restaurants currently operation, one would think that the opening of another one would barely register on an international level, but that was not the case.

That’s due in large part to this particular restaurant being dedicated to serving customers of a different species.

The Remarkable McHive

In partnership with the advertising agency NORD DDB, McDonald’s created a miniature replica of one of their restaurants. The small restaurant, known as the McHive, features many of the same elements that people will see if they visit one of the McDonald’s branches in their area.

There are drive-thru windows present on the McHive, large windows, and outdoor seating for guests who may prefer to dine in an open-air environment. One can even see some posters advertising the restaurant chain’s offerings plastered on the walls of the “World’s Smallest McDonald’s.”

Of course, it cannot be called a McDonald’s restaurant without those iconic golden arches serving as its crowning glory.

This restaurant isn’t designed for people to dine in though. Instead, the McHive, as its name already hints at, is meant to house bees.

The Meaning behind the McHive

The McHive is actually a nod to a movement initiated by branches of the fast food chain in Sweden. Some of the McDonald’s restaurants in the aforementioned country have started to house beehives on their rooftops.

Also of note, the McHive features beehives on top of its roof and inside of it as well.

Via AdWeek, McDonald’s Sweden marketing director Christoffer Rönnblad said that the restaurant chain is happy to spread the message of sustainability. McDonald’s has gotten behind the practice of hosting beehives on the rooftops of their restaurants.

Set designer Nicklas Nilsson was responsible for the creation of the McHive. Since the release of the video showing off the McHive, the gorgeous structure has been auctioned off and the proceeds from it have gone to Ronald McDonald House charities.

While McDonald’s efforts to promote sustainable and to help the bee population are laudable, they will need more help to succeed.

The Concerning Status of the Bee Population

According to a recent report from ABC News, the bee population is continuing to decrease at an alarming rate. Research notes that 37.7 percent of the managed bee population declined from Oct. 1, 2018 to April 1 of this year.

That’s a noticeable decline in the managed bee population and it represents the largest winter losses since surveys were first conducted back in 2006. Accounting for a larger of window of time that goes from April 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019, the reported losses in the managed bee population totaled 40.7 percent.

Scott McArt, the assistant professor of pollinator health at Cornell University, described the aforementioned losses in the managed bee population as “unsustainably high.” McArt also mentioned that the losses can be explained in part by the presence of the varroa mite parasite that has been known to carry and spread diseases inside beehives.

According to EarthDay.org, other factors contributing to the decline of the bee population include climate change, habitat fragmentation, and the use of certain pesticides.

The decline of the population is not something to be taken lightly. Bees play an important role in the world’s ecosystem as they are excellent pollinators. Plants pollinated by bees are said to make up 35 percent of the world’s food production.

Furthermore, the loss of bees could indirectly affect other animals that sustain themselves on the products that come about as a result of pollination.

Should the bee population continue to drop at an unsustainable rate, the effects on food production for all creatures that inhabit the Earth could be quite severe.

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Amazing

Your Older Brother Meets You Everday After School …In a Different Costume.

Kelly Taylor

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Siblings have been well known for doing weird things to each other. It’s the kind of experience that can shape memories and their opinions of each other for a lifetime and be brought up well into their senior years with either laughter, anger or both. So, it’s no surprise that Noah Tingle, as an older brother, would likely leave an impression on his younger sibling. However, it’s the way that Noah went about this time-honored behavior between brothers that stands out as so different.

The fact is, Noah is a persistent fellow. And he wanted to make an impression on his younger brother, Max, that would last a lifetime. This intentional act took planning, and a lot of different resources. Because, as Noah figured out, it takes a lot of creativity to stay with the program that he came up with.

The first day Noah’s plan went into effect, his younger brother had no idea what was in store for him. It was a normal day of going to school, getting on the bus, sitting all day in class, yearning for those midday breaks, and then the bus ride home. Except that’s where things went different. When Max got off the schoolbus at his stop only to find his older brother standing at the stop waiting for him, in a full costume, his senses went into def-con 5 mode.  The 12-year-old didn’t know whether to laugh or get back on the bus. Worse, the costumed goof came running at him with arms wide open for a big hug. Scary!

This wonderful, crazy, insane, scary, funny experience continued every school day. And while Noah’s younger brother got used to the idea of his older sibling waiting for him, each day was a new costume. From the obvious and easy ones like Santa Claus, a football player and a dinosaur to the more complicated ones like Star Wars’ Chewbacca, Noah was diligently at the bus stop to make his brother’s day.

Not only did Noah completely make his brother embarrassed by the whole affair, he also made Max the talk of his own school. The younger brother wasn’t the only kid on the bus every afternoon, after all. So Along with Max, every other kid on the bus got to see the costumes as well, something the younger brother wasn’t going to live down anytime soon. And, over time, Max started looking forward to the surprise each day and what new costume Noah could come up with a day’s time.

Their mom got in on the act and began posting photos of the outfits on social media. No surprise, it gained a quick audience and big following, making Max’s “ordeal” now a bit of a national even and story of life on the Internet. Folks even got in on the act helping Noah out by sending him costumes they came up with or procured, so the older brother would haven’t to be entirely on his own keeping the gig going. There have been some real knock-outs as a result, enough to be contenders for a future Burning Man trip probably.

Once Noah goes away to college the costume parade will end, but Max’s memory of the entire affair won’t. It’s the kind of thing siblings talk about for decades to come. And that’s what Noah wanted for his brother to remember him by.

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Cute

Service Dogs Receive Valuable Training During Recently Held Theater Performance

Jess

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A typical audience for the performance of a popular musical tends to feature young and old people alike with varying levels of experience with the medium. Some may know lyrics to all the songs while others may just be trying to keep up with the happenings.

Bored Panda

Still, you don’t usually expect to see dogs taking part in the festivities, but for one recently held show, that turned out to be the case.

Via Little Things, a performance of the acclaimed musical “Billy Elliot” at the Festival Theatre in Ontario, Canada was attended by numerous dogs. It was a unique audience to say the least, but there was a good reason behind why the dogs were asked to be present for the performance.

These were not ordinary dogs catching a show. They are from K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs.

The performance itself was not of the usual variety. On the aforementioned occasion, the theater company put on a “relaxed performance.”

Per the Stratford Festival’s website, relaxed performances differ from the regular performances in that they are meant for attendees who will feel more comfortable being a part of a “less restricted audience environment.”

To further differentiate the relaxed performances from their more conventional counterparts and to also make them more accommodating, they also feature reduced lighting and sounds so as to prevent any audience members from being startled during the performance itself.

The relaxed performance of “Billy Elliot” was not just for the sake of entertaining the service dogs as it was also intended more to provide training for the hounds. The dogs who were present for the show were asked to sit along theater seats and they were taught how to properly behave as the show progressed.

Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Laura Mackenzie, the owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, said that the training was “important” for the dogs as it can prepare them to act accordingly in the future when the time comes for their handler to attend their preferred activities.

Mackenzie also pointed out that the dogs being at the performance was beneficial because it gave them an opportunity to be exposed to different kinds of lights and noises.

The theater company was also complimentary of the service dogs who were on hand for the relaxed performance of “Billy Elliot.” Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager said that the dogs were “extremely well-behaved” during the performance. Swerdfager also highlighted the way in which the dogs moved about the theater, saying that they acted just like people would for a performance.

It’s not just the service dogs and their potential future handlers who benefited from the recent relaxed performance. Swerdfager said that the dogs being in the audience also helped the performers. Thanks to the experience, the performers were able to get a sense of what it’s like to put on a show for an audience made up of people as well as some service dogs.

The hope here is that the training will make it possible for more people to attend theater shows.

More service dogs could also be heading to the theater sometime soon. Mackenzie already has plans to bring new service dogs to future performances.

While nothing is set in stone just yet, it’s possible that more service dogs could get a taste of the theater when a relaxed performance of “The Neverending Story” takes place in October. To be more specific, a relaxed performance of “The Neverending Story” is expected to take place on Oct. 2 at the Avon Theatre.

For those eager to see the service dogs as they were attending the show, K-9 Country Inn Service Dogs has an Instagram account featuring them.

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