Woman Cancels Wedding, Her Parents Decide to Hold It Anyway to Feed the Homeless

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After their daughter cancelled her nuptials just 40 days before the big event, Carol and Willie Fowler decided not to let the upscale meal they had planned for her wedding go to waste, so they went ahead with it, albeit with a new list of guests. On September 15, two hundred of Atlanta’s homeless were invited to enjoy a four-course meal at one of the city’s upscale restaurants.

When the people at the Hosea Feed the Hungry charity in Atlanta got a call from someone offering to donate a lavish meal at the upmarket Villa Christina restaurant to the needy, they thought it was a prank. But Carol and Willie Fowler were dead serious. Their daughter Tamara had just cancelled her big weeding, but they weren’t about to let all the food they had ordered for the big event go to waste. ”It was my husband’s idea,” Mrs. Fowler told WBUR. ”We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, he said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.” They set the whole thing up with the help Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry, and on September 15, 200 of Atlanta’s less fortunate were treated to fine dishes and drinks in an event dubbed ”The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love”. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade, right?

Fowler Family Celebration of Love

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Real-Life Escape-the-Room Games Gaining Popularity in China

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Have you ever fantasized about starring in a real-life Saw-like scenario where you’re forced to look for clues in order to escape a locked windowless room before time runs out? Apparently many Chinese have, as more and more of them flock to various real-life room-escape game locations across the country.

Inspired by a computer game called “Takagism”, in which players had to find a way out of virtual locked room by searching their surroundings and manipulate objects in search for clues, real-life escape-the-room games have rally taken off in China during the last few months. A team of players is locked in a maze of dark, eerie rooms and have to work together in order to find clues to help them escape before the allotted times runs out. They are not allowed to use smartphones or any kind of gadgets or books to solve the rooms’ puzzles and must rely solely on their knowledge and skills to beat all challenges. Real Takagism club operators say teamwork, a good leader and the ability to keep calm and focused under pressure are key to escaping the locked rooms within the time limit, but the puzzles can be really tough and only the best succeed. For example, at Freeing Hong Kong, an escape game location in Hong Kong, only one in five teams make it out of the rooms before their time runs out.

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Man Swims over 2 Kilometers All Tied Up in a Bag

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Jane Petkov, a 59-year-old Bulgarian man, tried to set a new Guinness record by swimming across a lake while wrapped in a bag with his arms and legs tied up. Known as “amphibian man” in his native country, Petkov says he relies on concentration and a special breathing technique to pull off the amazing feat.

The record-breaking attempt took place on September 10, on Lake Orhid, in Macedonia, and had Jane Petkov jumping out of a boat in the middle of the water trying to somehow make his way to shore. His arms and legs were tied once before putting on the thick bag, and again over the bag, to make sure he couldn’t use them during his death-defying feat. What’s even more astonishing is doctors who examined him before the challenge found he was severely anemic, which, given his age, made the task even more dangerous. Nevertheless, on the morning of September 10, the amphibian man jumped in the cold water of Lake Orhid and began to swim on his back like a dolphin.

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Photo of Heavily Pregnant Woman Weightlifting Sparks Online Controversy

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35-year-old Lea-Ann Ellison, from Los Angeles, has managed to start an online storm after a photo showing the eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman lifting what seem like heavy weights was posted on Facebook.

Heavily pregnant Lea-Ann Ellison doesn’t believe in taking it easy ahead of the big day. Instead she is following an intense fitness regime designed for professional athletes and members of the police and military. ”I have been CrossFitting for 2½ years,” the woman posted on Facebook. ”and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.” The photo of her preparing to lift a weight bar this far into her pregnancy prompted a series of comments, both positive and negative. Some Facebook users accused Lea-Ann of risking her baby’s well-being just to stay in shape and described the photo as “shocking”, while others showed their admiration for the weightlifter’s decision, calling her “amazing” and “an inspiration”. One person wrote: ”I think that we should all be more concerned about a mom who eats McDonalds everyday of her pregnancy, and doesn’t exercise one bit. This woman is not just concerned about herself, she is concerned about her child future and the example she sets for her other children about overcoming adversity.”

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Robinson Crusoe 2.0: French Entrepreneur to Run Business from Uninhabited Island for 40 Days

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French businessman Gauthier Toulemonde plans to isolate himself on an uninhabited island in Indonesia for 40 days and run his company via solar and wind-powered computers and satellite phones.

Fascinated by the novels of Jules Verne and the expeditions of famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, during his childhood days, Gauthier Toulemonde always dreamed of going on his own little adventure in an exotic paradise. He’s definitely not the only person in the world to have such a dream, but while others would consider the experience a break from their everyday lives and, more importantly, their jobs, Toulemonde plans to work a full 8 hours a day, managing his company 10,000 km away. On October 8, the 54-year-old French entrepreneur, who runs Paris-based philatelic publication services company Timbopress, will be transported to a 700 meters long, 500 meters wide island somewhere in Indonesia, where he will spend the following 40 days alone, keeping in touch with the world via the internet and a satellite phone. For safety purposes, the modern-day Robinson Crusoe has decided not to reveal the exact location of his temporary home.

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Modern-Day Pharaoh: Brazilian Businessman Wants to Take Prized Bentley with Him to the Grave

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They say you can’t take your worldly possessions with you when you die, but a Brazilian businessman is going to try. Following the example of Egyptian pharaohs, Count Chiquinho Scarpa decided to bury his prizes Bentley Continental in his back yard, so he can enjoy driving it in the afterlife.

62-year-old Count Scarpa, a quirky millionaire from Sao Paolo, Brazil, announced he has decided to do like the pharaohs and entomb his $500,000 Bentley Continental Flying Spur in his back garden, on Monday, via Facebook. The message came with a photo of the successful businessman holding a cockatoo on one arm while resting the other on his luxurious limousine. To assure those who doubted him that his claim was sincere, the following day Scarpa posted another photo of him holding a shovel next to a big hole in his garden, with the car parked behind him, adding that he was going to put in the ground by the end of the week. His bizarre messages got thousands of “likes”and “shares”on Facebook, and eventually got the attention of the media. Count Scarpa was invited on the “Agora É Tarde” TV show where he told host Danilo Gentili he got the idea after watching a documentary on Sunday. ’I was watching a documentary about the pharaohs of Egypt, very interesting. They buried their entire fortune to have a comfortable life on “the other side”!’ he said.

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Japanese 88-Member Pop Group Selects Lead Singers in Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament

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Japanese music group AKB48 currently holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest pop group, with an impressive 88 female members split into various teams. But fitting all the girls on a single stage is tricky, so every time they launch a new single, AKB48 members hold a knockout rock-paper-scissors tournament to select a limited number of singers.

AKB48 is the brainchild of producer Yasushi Akimoto, who wanted to create a girl band that, unlike other pop groups who are mostly seen on TV and hold concerts sporadically, could perform for its fans live, every day, at their own theater. The band debuted in 2005 with 20 members chosen from almost 8,000 girls. In April of 2006, another group of 18 girls were chosen to form Team B of AKB48, and there are currently four different teams making up the 88-strong all-female idol group, as well as various sister groups Japan and various Asian countries. The team concept of AKB48 was meant to take load off of its members, since daily concerts at the group’s theater in Akibahara, Tokyo, are performed by only one of the teams, and also allow the others to make appearances at different locations around the world. In the eight years since its inception, AKB48 has become a social phenomenon, with record sales of $226 million in Japan alone. The girls have become so popular that tickets for their daily performances are not even sold anymore, but distributed by lottery. Even their unique rock-paper-scissors tournament to select lead singers for each new single is a sold-out event held at the giant Nippon Budokan arena.

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Meet Conchita Wurst, Austria’s Controversial Choice for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

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The annual Eurovision song competition has had its share of controversial contestants over the years, like transgender singer Dana International, or monstrous-looking heavy metal band Lordi, but the Austrian Television’s decision to nominate Conchita Wurst, a bearded transvestite artist, as the country’s official contestant for next year’s event has caused more public outrage than ever before, in Austria.

Conchita Wurst sets herself apart from other other artists not only through her voice, but also by wearing women’s clothing, makeup and a full beard. The thick facial hair is the artist’s way of drawing attention to herself, because, well, the world responds to a woman with hair on her face. The beard of this “racy Colombian” is very real, for it belongs to the man behind the mask, 24-year-old Tom Neuwirth. He first appeared in the spotlight in 2006, when he came second in a televised talent show called Star Mania, but completely disappeared from the public life after that, until 2011 when he returned with a whole new look, under the name Conchita Wurst. She has become Tom’s alter-ego and he says there are now two hearts beating in his chest, one of an Austrian man and the other of a hot-blooded Colombian performer. After he puts on the makeup and women’s clothes, Tom really becomes Conchita and demands that he be addressed as such. He acts like a woman and even uses the ladies’ room, but once the performance is over, he goes back to being Tom. Asked if it’s not too confusing splitting his life in two, the artist said he actually recommends having an alter-ego because it’s great fun and it allows you to live out every fantasy you ever wanted.

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Interstate Dating – Single Entrepreneur Uses Highway Billboard to Find Love

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Finding true love can be really hard, but a young entrepreneur is hoping the giant billboard he recently put up in the Chicago area will make things a lot easier. It cost “a few thousand dollars”, but the man says finding his significant other is worth every penny.

“…I’m Gordon! Let’s have dinner!” is the simple message displayed on a new billboard overlooking the Stevenson Expressway, near Chicago, that Gordon Engle, a 40-something successful businessman hopes will help him find love. After becoming frustrated with online dating, Gordon decided to spend some real coin on the large advertisement that directs interested women to his website, where they have to answer a short questionnaire to qualify for an outing with the bachelor.  ”You’ll spend several thousand on education, a quarter-million on a house, money on a car, but what’s your most important thing?” he asked during a WGNTV interview. ”Your significant other. You’re going to go cheap on that? You can drop $19.95 for Match.com or drop some real coin for a billboard.” Although the billboard has only been up for a few weeks, Gordon says he already has about 15-20 “solid” applicants, with many other women getting in touch just to wish him well, even if they are not interested in a date.

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Cabinet Maker Spends 13 Years Building a Boat in His Backyard

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Mike Stock had always wanted to own a boat, but could never afford to buy one. 13 years ago he decided to build his own in the comfort of his backyard, using the skills he had acquired working as a cabinet maker in West Bountiful, Utah.

It was supposed to be a five-year project, but building the 35-foot-long boat took Mike longer than he anticipated. Part of the reason it took him so long was because he couldn’t heat the parts in order to apply glue and paint, so he didn’t work on it during the winter. The experienced cabinet maker says he built most of the vessel all by himself, at least all the wooden parts anyway, starting with the frame. That was his first task, and by far the most time consuming. Stock spent around 10 years building the frame upside down, and brought in a crane to flip it over when it was completed. He spent the last three years working on the topside, building the cabin and all the other rooms, and figures the boat will finally be ready for its maiden voyage by November. Believe it or not, Mike Stock didn’t have any kind of boat building experience, and built his massive three-floor boat by following a step-by-step plan he found online.

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Japanese Guy Earns $10,000 for Three Months of Gaming, Playing for 12 Hours a Day

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They say the secret to a successful career is doing what you love, but paying monthly bills when the thing you love most is playing video games all day has got to be pretty darn hard. Not for Moru-chan, a Japanese gamer who is currently earning  a decent $10,000 for basically spending three months of his life playing a video game and broadcasting his experience online.

If you enjoy spending your free time playing massive multiplayer online games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft of Guild Wars, Moru-chan’s arrangement must seem like a dream job. Truth be told, there are probably thousands of gamers out there who do the same thing for free, but he is one of the lucky few who are able to support their livelihood by killing monsters, upgrading their virtual character and performing quests in a fantasy online universe. A long-time fan of online role-playing games, Moru Chans was chosen by the development team of Japanese MMO ArchAge to be the recipient of a ¥1 million ($10,000) check for spending three whole months cooped up in a one-room apartment provided by the company playing the video game and streaming it to Japanese video-sharing site Niconico. He spends all night in front of the computer, playing the game, and his days sleeping on a mattress on the floor, cooking in his very small kitchenette and doing the laundry.

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Georgian Woman Takes Care of Son Who Died 18 Years Ago

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Joni Bakaradze died 18 years ago, at the age of 22, but instead of burying him in a cemetery, his family decided to keep his body preserved so that his son, who was just two at the time of his death, could see his father’s face.

For the first four years after Joni died, his mother, Tsiuri Kvaratskhelia, used embalming fluid to preserve his body, but after having a dream on night in which someone told her to use vodka instead, the woman from Bashi village, Georgia, switched to spirit liquid poultices. She has to use them every night, or the corpse will turn black. During the first ten years, Tsiuri changed her dead son’s clothes on his birthdays, but as she got older her illnesses prevented her from taking care of Joni the way she used too. She says the lack of care quickly becomes visible on his body, but as soon as she uses her alcohol-based embalming formula, his face turns white again.

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Controversial Artificial Iris Implant Surgery to Permanently Change Eye Color

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People unhappy with the way they look have been using plastic surgery to change their appearance for years, but now they can take their obsession to a whole new level by changing the color of their eyes through a controversial procedure known as artificial iris implant.

Pioneered by Dr. Kenneth Rosenthal, as a way to correct various eye defects (heterochromia, ocular albinism, etc.), the artificial iris implant procedure is now also being advertised as cosmetic surgery for people who want to permanently change the color of their eyes. The artificial iris is a thin, non-toxic prosthesis made of the same ophthalmic grade silicone used in intraocular lenses. Since the fake iris is very flexible, it can be folded and inserted into the eye through a peripheral corneal surgical incision about 2.8 mm long, and unfolded over the natural iris. According to the website of BrightOcular, the company behind the increasingly popular cosmetic eye surgery, the procedure is “short, safe, and painless”, taking about 15 minutes for each eye. The surgery has a purely cosmetic purpose, it does not fix vision defects, so patients will still need to wear refractive instruments to correct their vision. Unlike other laser-based procedures that remove a layer of melanin from the iris in order to permanently change its color, BrightOcular claims their iris implant can easily be removed in case of complications or if the patient so desires.

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Lonely Bachelor Wanders around Manhattan Looking for a Rich Wife

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For the past 12 years, Robert Darling, a 58-year old unemployed man from New jersey, has been traveling to Manhattan in search of a life companion. To make it easier for women to notice him, he carries a sandwich board which reads “Looking for a rich lady to be my wife”, along with his phone number and email.

Robert Darling has never had much luck with the ladies. He has never been in a serious relationship, and never realized he wanted someone to spend the rest of his life with until his middle age. And because he got such a late start in his quest for love, he decided extreme measures were necessary to find a suitable companion. Ever since 2001, Robert has been traveling to Manhattan twice a week to advertise himself to potential wives using a sandwich board. It might sound like a joke o a lot of people, but the lonely bachelor says that every time he leaves home he tells himself that could be the day he finally meets the woman he will settle down with. The sign is pretty clear about his intentions, but so far it hasn’t worked quite as well as he would have hoped. Many women have stopped to have a talk with Darling or have their picture taken with him, but he has been on a single date, and that was with a woman who actually wanted him to marry a friend of hers so she could get a green card.

Robert-Darling

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No Internet, No Cable, No Problem – Canadian Family Lives Like It’s 1986

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Most people couldn’t imagine a day without their fancy smartphones, but a family in Guelph, Canada has decided to shun all post-1986 technology from their lives for a whole year, as part of a social experiment.

It all started last year when Blair McMillan asked his five-year old son if he wanted to come outside and play, only to realize that even on a perfect summer day the child preferred to stay indoors and play video games on an iPad. He started thinking about his own childhood and how today’s youth have become so dependent on modern technology like computers, mobile phones and the internet. The 26-year-old father-of-two talked to teens and young people in their 20′s, most of which confessed they couldn’t even picture their lives without all their different gadgets, and began questioning contemporary public service announcements that encourage parents to get their kids active outdoors for at least 30 minutes a day. He remembered that when he was a child, it was nearly impossible to keep kids siting quietly indoors for half an hour. And that’s when it hit him – what if he could go back in time and give his own children a taste of how life was back then? Since April, the McMillans have given up all modern-day technology, and went back to living in 1986 (the year Blair and his wife were born) with its bad hair, cassette tapes and most importantly, real social interaction.

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