Towards the end of April 2021, an odd thing happened in the town of Listowel, Canada. Two businesses decided to get snarky with each other in a public manner. On the one side of the street was a Speedy Glass venue, a small business firm that serviced the locals with glass and vehicle window repair. On the other side of the street was the local Dairy Queen, a fast-food chain venue for burgers, fries and milkshakes.
Big Things Come in Small Packages
The sign battle started off simple enough. Both businesses had a typical elevated advertising sign in front of their venue visible from the street which could utilize letters to customize messages. Speedy Glass decided to use theirs to goad the Dairy Queen in a word battle. It started off as a copycat. Trevor Cork had seen a similar little tiff in Virginia that went bonkers on the Internet, so he decided to try the same in his own town. Gathering the staff, Cork had their Speedy Glass street sign modified to send the invite, basically asking the Dairy Queen if they wanted to have a sign war. It took off from there like wildfire. Trevor had no idea where the reaction was going to end up going, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Dairy Queen sassed back pretty quick and put Speedy Glass on the spot. From there, both double entendres and outright one-up’s started flying back and forth, much to the amusement of the locals driving by and living in the area. Interestingly, both stores have kept their cool and not gone below the belt with their snips, but they have been pretty funny and challenging as the signs keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
Of course, anytime someone is having fun, others want in on it too. The local casket store got in on the mix pretty quick and started their own shots. However, they didn’t have a big road sign and had to settle for a street-level A-sign instead. The locals loved it so much they started telling their friends and contacts outside of town, and Listowel started attracting tourists for the same as well.
A War is a Good Thing These Days
The timing of the sign war couldn’t have been better. The Covid pandemic was just depressing people something fierce, and the lack of social connection was making things worse. Suddenly, having a bit of humor and a good laugh with many of the business signs and their message conflict got everyone laughing their heads off driving by. It also amazingly brought the whole together as a community again when it needed that feeling the most. As some folks reflected on social media, the Listowel sign war was the best thing that could happen to them right there and then. Even now, folks still keep driving through town just to see the latest zingers and zaps on the local signs.
Will Listowel sign war eventually end and become a memory? Who knows? Even the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud finally died out at some point. In the meantime, Listowel business owners like Trevor Cork are just enjoying the attention and the visitors, even in a pandemic.
One Attendees Santa Pen-pal That She Met At Burning Man
There are a lot of odd characters at Burning Man, the annual Labor Day Weekend celebration in the western desert, but the last one folks usually expect to see there is Santa Claus. However, as it turned out in 2017, that’s exactly who one attendee met, and she struck up a penpal relationship with the character ever since.
The idea of penpals came from the 1970s with kids’ programs intended to help them learn more about the greater world and to make connections with similar kids in other countries. TV programs, schools, kids’ after-school care programs and similar all ran some kind of version of penpals. The benefits were multiple. Kids learned to read and write faster, they built relationships with other kids internationally, and they learned more about other communities just on the natural talking to their connections. So, while the idea of writing a paper letter today seems like a memory of yesteryear, the term of “penpal” is still alive and well, referring to long-distance connections that start out of the blue.
Back to the Burning Man, Rudie met Santa Claus, or a fellow dressed up like him in 2017 at the desert festival, complete in costume and carrying a large sack. Of course, Santa Claus wasn’t the only out of the norm character there; Burning Man is famous for all sorts of outlandish costumes, constructs, bike-related vehicles, and lots of partying. Santa was in full character mode, handing out gifts from a large bag he was carrying, while enjoying the crowd at the Jazz Café.
Rudie ended up chatting with Santa quite a bit, but never exchanged anything more in the way of contact information to followup. So she pretty much chalked up the experience to the festival and forgot about it. However, in 2018, Santa Claus was there again at the next Burning Man. And he recognized Rudie from the previous year. They chatted up a storm again, and this time the Man of the North Pole brought a saxophone and started in impromptu gig on the stage. It went well with the name of the café. And, at the end of it all, Rudie was able to get an email address in 2018. She didn’t send an email right away; Rudie waited until Christmas itself that year, and then sent a long email explaining how special the Santa Claus theme was to her and thanking him for spreading the cheer at the festival.
She wasn’t expecting a response, but “Santa” did write Rudie back on Christmas Day the same year. That started an international tradition, and the following 2019 Burning Man, Rudie, Santa and a few other characters participated in the whole Christmas gig at Burning Man, much to everyone’s amusement. Unfortunately, 2020 and 2021 were fouled up by COVID, but Rudie and Santa stayed connected online anyways.
Plans are on though for everyone to reconnect in person again at Burning Man 2022. And Rudie, currently living in Spain and with a full name of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a character, is looking forward to the desert party with the Old Man from the North all over again. No pandemic is going to keep them down for long!
A Creative Father Solves the Dog Stick Problem
For a human, a dog may be a great companion. However, when a good throwing stick is flying through the air, a human might as well be a pile of old deer poop. That’s because dogs love good sticks. Once they figure out there are three good aspects to a stick being thrown: something moving fast, a hunting feature, and if it gets returned the stick gets thrown again, the dog is all over it. Lots of folks today settle for a tennis ball or similar. However, let’s think about it; if you were a dog, which one would you want in your mouth, a jaw-stretching tennis ball or an easy to chew stick? There’s dog logic at work here.
Andrew Taylor, age 59, had always been a dog lover. And he never failed to take a moment to get a good toy for his dogs when they needed some exercise and to hone their hunting instincts a bit. That sort of thinking triggered a need to solve a problem when Taylor was visiting a local park one day. He realized that there wasn’t much in the way of toys for dogs. So, Taylor decided to start making some.
Finding a number of branches that made suitable material, Taylor went to work at dog-stick manufacturing. Soon enough, Taylor installed a handmade stick box complete with a dogstick library, including instructions that the stick were free to use but folks were responsible for returning them for the next user and pup to enjoy. The addition was a hit. And, just to make sure everybody locally understood what the stick library was for, Taylor and family had a little neighborhood party to inaugurate the stick library, including an attendance of 50 local dogs and a whole lot of fetching going on.
The most common question about the event was, naturally, why nobody thought of the idea sooner. The stick library was a big success, and everybody enjoyed being able to give their dogs something to chase as well as the tools being easily available and free to use. The dogs, of course, were all in for the party as well. Not only did they get to run their legs off a bit, the canines also got to frolic with a large number of the same, which was not a frequent event in the dog world, usually.
For Taylor and his daughter, the idea was simple but powerful. More importantly, it brought local dog owners together as well.
A Marriage Made at Subway, Hold the Onions
When people talk about where they met for the first time and realized it mean something serious, not many will say it was at a fast food restaurant, much less admit it. However, for Julie and Zack Williams, that’s exactly what they are proud of the most. In fact, it mean so much to them, the couple decided to also get married at the same Subway sandwich shop as well.
Both of the couple were running around on a cold December 8 back in 2017 just trying to get things done and grab lunch. As it turned out, the Julie and Zack both independently decided a Subway sandwich was just the thing for the lunchtime hunger pangs. So, Zack decided to drive out of his normal local dining spots and ended up at a Subway out of the normal locale. Getting there, he ended up getting in line ahead of Julie and her mother, also at the same Subway at the same time.
Julie remembers at the time thinking that the guy in front of them was a bit cute. Julie’s mother, on t he other hand, had other ideas. The maternal figure started haranguing Julie to do something about it and make a connection. Julie on the other hand, was suddenly very shy. As her mother kept insisting she give the guy her phone number, Julie trying to eat her sandwich at the table finally put her foot down and told her mother to do it. As Zack got up to leave, Julie’s mother might have likely put Olympian 100 yard champions to shame with how fast she moved. Julie’s mom was able to catch Zack in the parking lot, transferred the note, and Zack called Julie about 30 minutes later.
The two got to talking and soon enough the sparks start to fly that set off catalyst for a first date. From there, Julie and Zack’s relationship became history started at a Subway’s sandwich shop of all places.
Of course, things take time to get serious. The couple dated and kept their relationship going for about four years before deciding to make the big leap into getting married. While there was a Subway visit here and there in different locations, nothing was quite the same as that first diner the couple met in on their fateful day of happiness. And, while making things official in Plymouth, MI, Julie and Zack also made a point of going back to the very same Subway to have their wedding photos taken.
However, no turkey avocado footlongs or BMT sandwiches were ordered. This time the visit was all about memorializing Julie and Zack’s special day, courtesy of Subway then and the day of their wedding. The pepperocinis were extra.
Geese Showing Off By Flying Upside Down
Amateur photographers love to get great shots, especially given that sometimes they seem random, and the trick to reaching professional status is to produce great shots consistently versus every once in a while. So, for photographers in Holland watching geese fly near Arnhem, the opportunity to catch a goose flying upside down was a bit out of the norm and eye-catching. As it turned out, the goose was showing off.
Geese in the region have regularly been seen flying upside down, which might seem somewhat odd to the bystander seeing the behavior for the first time. Locally referred to as “whiffling,” upside-down geese flying occurs on a regular basis when the bird manages to twist its belly up in the air and keep flying while the head is also twisted right side up. No one is quite sure why geese do this, but some guesses are it helps distract would-be predator birds from attacking when something looks odd, or it slows the goose’s flight to the ground. Geese are not the only birds to perform whiffling either; lapwings and godwits have been seen doing the same in flight.
Vincent Cornelissen was the lucky photographer who was able to snap a wonderfully clear shot of a goose near Arnhem, and it was his image that ended up triggering the latest online debate and interest in geese whiffling. Cornelissen had posted the image to his Facebook page to show off the photograph, and it ended up expanding his audience to some 10,000 different followers as a result. One particular fellow in Turkey turned out to be an aerodynamics professor at Istanbul University and used Cornelissen’s image as an example for students studying flight capabilities.
The upside-down goose was not Cornelissen’s first bird shot either. The photographer has been watching and catching images of birds since childhood, and his library of photographs over the years has grown expansive. However, the odd goose flight could arguably be Cornelissen’s most famous photograph by far. It was pure accident that he even got the shot, simply noticing that one of the birds was flying weirdly at the time. The odd flight approach wasn’t fully noticed until Cornelissen was working on post-processing of his images when he realized what the bird was doing.
At first, Cornelissen thought his audience would accuse the amateur of photoshopping the image, the practice of making a fake image with Adobe Photoshop, a highly powerful post-processing image editing program. However, Cornelissen was soon buffered by those in other countries who confirmed the behavior as being real and accurate.
As it turns out, when young geese become accomplished in flight, they do dumb stuff, most notably, flying upside down to apparently “show off.” It works great until the goose runs into trouble and then has to adjust for a potential flight mishap and crash on the ground. The whiffling has been confirmed by other photographers after Cornelissen’s image was produced, but his image remains the greatest clarity so far of the goose’s flight behavior.
Man Sets Guinness World Record For TALLEST Stack of M&M’s — EVER!
Where were you when you had your first bite of M&Ms? These multi-colored chocolate buttons were first introduced to the world by Mars, Incorporated on September 10, 1941 – more than 79 years ago! Sold around the planet, M&Ms have become one of the most popular sugary candies on the planet, gaining ground with its catchy slogan, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
More than just a sweet treat for chocolate lovers everywhere, one man turned to his favorite candy to land within the Guinness Book of World Records. That man, named Will Cutbill of the U.K., would do so by managing to balance five M&M sweets atop one another, bursting through the record of four held by Brendan Kelbie of Australia and Silvio Sabba of Italy.
Snacking and World Records
When we think of accomplishing a world record, most of us probably consider all of the work that likely goes into the equation. We certainly don’t anticipate beating a world record while relaxing in front of the television with our favorite snack. For Will and his bag of M&Ms, it turned out that sitting around was the EXACT recipe for success that would push him to victory. Will said, “One day in lockdown I was mixing up my confectionary choice (…) and this time the bag of M&Ms called me, and boy am I glad they did!”
Will had been sitting on his couch with his snacks when he felt possessed to try and stack them atop one another. At the time, Will thought that he was just killing time with his candies. He didn’t realize that he was practicing and preparing to break a world record! After seeing how good he was at stacking the M&Ms initially, he decided to go for as many as possible.
Will said before breaking his record, “One day I thought, right, let’s crack this. So I sat down determined to complete it.”
The future M&Ms world record holder would film his attempts to stack five M&Ms atop one another and in doing so, Will would capture his success as it happened. Will said, “I’ve had a lifelong ambition to break a world title. I’ve always wanted one.” Will would go on to admit that he had been purchasing the Guinness books every single year, hoping one day to add his name to its pages.
After breaking the record from the comfort of his living room, Will would submit the recording for review. Claiming that the moment felt ‘absolutely amazing’, Will would wait until the video was verified to actually celebrate. “It’s madness. I can now say I’m a Guinness World Records title holder!”
Despite earning the record for his ability to balance chocolate candies, Will admits that he himself isn’t very athletic. “I can barely stand on one leg, but I have a talent for chocolate!”
While he is happy to hold onto his record, for now, the U.K. native admitted that he’s already planning on future challenges. Will said that he was inspired and that his “creative juices” were flowing.
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