Joe Black’s Amazing Badge Mosaics

We’ve featured some pretty awesome mosaics here on Oddity Central, from Oksana Mas’ wooden egg mosaics, to the sweet jelly bean mosaics of Peter and Roger Rocha. But there are plenty of other incredibly talented artists out there who use the most unusual materials to create their art. Joe Black is one of them.

Using thousands of handmade badges depicting various images and icons, from the Vietnam War to Elvis Presley, Black manages to piece together amazingly detailed portraits. And if having the patience to create such wonderful mosaics wan’t impressive enough, nearly every one of the badges used is made by Joe Black himself, and relates to the artwork in some way. For example, the portrait of Superman is made up of corporate and fast food logos to depict the notion of goodness defeated by our ever-growing need to consume. A mixed media artist by definition, Black also makes use of oil paints, acrylics and other mediums to complete his modern masterpieces.

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Mom Uses Year-Old Cheeseburger to Keep Kids Away from McDonalds

We’ve read several myths on the internet about the very questionable quality of food served at fast-food restaurants. A Canadian mom has actually gone on to prove some of these myths, in an attempt to discourage her teenage children from consuming ‘junk’ food.

Melanie Hesketh, from Windsor, Ontario, has a McDonald’s cheeseburger sitting on her kitchen counter. It looks as good as new, except that it’s been there for a year. That’s right, a whole year. Nope, no mould, no fungi, no maggots. Apparently, even bacteria won’t eat the food that millions of people around the world queue up for, each day. According to Melanie, who is a professional nutritionist at Windsor’s Lifetime Wellness Center, the meat patty has just shrunk a little but otherwise looks edible. It has a faint but lingering greasy, leathery odor, and still smells slightly like a burger. Her trick has worked pretty well. The sight of the burger in their kitchen every single day has helped her kids cut back on their intake of fast food. In fact, her oldest son has visited McDonald’s maybe only twice in the past year, in spite of growing peer pressure.

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Professional Wingman Services Help You Get a Date

Remember Will Smith as Hitch, the guy who helps men woo women, for a living? Well, you can actually hire a similar service in real life. What’s even better is that your coach goes out with you, giving you practical advice and tips on dating.

“The Professional Wingman” is one such service run by Thomas Edwards. For $125  a night, you can get Edwards to go with you to social gatherings, posing as a friend of yours. He’ll then coach you through the evening, pointing out the flirtatious women, and also women who might be more compatible with your personality. In a prior meeting, you would establish with him exactly what kind of women you’re interested in, and also what stops you from approaching them with ease.

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Reverend Opens Tattoo Parlor inside Church to Attract Parishioners

If this doesn’t bring people to Church, what will? A Church in Michigan has opened a built-in tattoo parlor, and the Reverend himself sports two tattoos.

Rev. Steve Bentley opened a small place called “Serenity Tattoo” in “The Bridge”, a church located inside a shopping center in Flint Township. The move was made in an effort to reach out to people who are uncomfortable with traditional places of worship. According to Bentley, mainstream religion is now irrelevant to most people and has actually become ineffective. So he came up with this unique solution to reach out to a few people who would otherwise never step into  a church.

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Bamboo Drift Racing – A Combination of Speed and Balance

I couldn’t stand still on a cane of bamboo even if it was on land. To think that there are people who can balance themselves on a bamboo pole floating in water! It’s probably the world’s thinnest boat.

Bamboo Drift Racing is actually a sport in Southwest China’s Guizhou province. Competitors stand on a bamboo pole and paddle using a thin stick of bamboo. Considered an exotic minority sport in China, the rules have changed over the years. In fact, although the tradition is to use bamboo, competitors now use a similar-looking strip made from green fiberglass. This offers better buoyancy and makes the boat more durable . The fiberglass sticks also help increase speed, and can be taken apart with ease later on. Still wondering how in the world it’s possible to row while standing on a stick? The trick, apparently, lies in the waist. All the balancing is done by controlling the bamboo using your waistline.

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China’s Magical City of Ice

Ice sculptures are common in wedding parties and other occasions, but nothing you’ve seen before can compare to the ones displayed every year in the city of Harbin in China. While the place is cursed with terrible winters, the tough locals have managed to make the most of it.

A typical winter in Harbin, northern China, would see temperatures go as low as 2°F (that’s –19°C). Strong, cold winds blow in from Siberia, making almost everything freeze over. But the residents of the city keep themselves busy for several weeks during the winter season, hosting the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. The sculptures made as a part of this festival aren’t anything like your typical faries and unicorns. Artists and engineers get together to build massive structures out of ice – a small town if you will, consisting of churches, pyramids, pagodas and palaces. The structures are filled with modern amenities like elevators and escalators. Multicolored lights are installed inside the sculptures, making them look very beautiful in the dark, after sunset.

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Amazing Packaging Tape Portraits by Max Zorn

Ever been frustrated by sticky packing tape getting all over the place? I’ve been there. So when I learned about this artist who uses brown packing tape to create detailed works of art, I was seriously impressed.

Artist Max Zorn creates street art consisting mainly of portraits. His only tools are rolls of packing tape and a scalpel, but the results are astounding. The translucent portraits are hung over street lamps for the final effect, with multiple shades created through layers of tape strips. What is really impressive is that Zorn essentially works with just a single colored tape, creating several shades as he goes along. The sepia-toned art pieces have an incredible detailing, and are a delight to look at.

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File Sharing Becomes Official Religion in Sweden

Kopimism – a belief in the sacred right to share files – has been recognized as an official religion in Sweden, at the end of last year.

“Information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organisation and its members.” This is how Kopimism is described on the official website of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. Apparently, ever since 2010, a groups of self-confessed file-sharing pirates have been trying to get file sharing recognized as an official religion. After having their claim denied several times, they’ve finally seen their dream fulfilled in late December 2011, when Kompimism was officially acknowledged as a legal religion. The Church hopes its new sacred status will remove the legal stigma  associated with file sharing.

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Ball Cutter Fish Kills Fishermen by Biting off Their Testicles

Man-eating predators have always been part of legend and folk-lore. But here we have news of a real-life monster, interested in only one part of the human anatomy – the testicles.

The monster in question is in fact a 40lb fish called Pacu, found in the waters of Papua New Guinea. The Pacu are notorious for having eaten up the testicles of swimmers and anglers caught unawares, leaving them to bleed to death. This has led to the creatures being nicknamed ‘Ball Cutter’ fish. Initially, the villagers could only describe the monster-fish as something mysterious, like a ‘human in the water’. They finally got to see the predator up-close when a Pacu fish was recently caught by Jeremy Wade, a 53-year old British Fisherman, as a part of his TV series called River Monsters. The muscular fish was hard to catch, but Wade managed to track it down, reel it into his boat and wrestle it into submition. When he opened its jaws up with his hands, the teeth of the Pacu were found to be quite similar to human ones.

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Man Would Turn to Rehab to Shake Diet Coke Drinking Habit

Most people check into rehab to get rid of alcohol problems. But here’s someone who wishes for rehab to kick his Diet Coke addiction of over 20 years.

Darren Jones, 38, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, easily consumes 42 liters of  Diet Coke a week. His fizzy addiction costs him around £100 ($155) every week. He first started to drink Cola when he was 13. When the sugary version started to make his teeth ‘furry’, he switched to Diet. He says that in the beginning it wasn’t much of a problem, except that he gained a lot of weight. Things got worse as years went by. Jones was eventually diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and his weight made it difficult for him to move around. Soon he lost his taxi driver job.

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Taiwan’s Musical Garbage Trucks

Taiwan is a small and densely populated island. Many years ago, their waste disposal system was faced with a huge issue – the public garbage collection spots were overflowing, smelly and infested with rats and insects. The Taiwanese government rose to the occasion, coming up with a unique solution – musical garbage trucks.

Instead of having people dump their household waste at designated spots, a policy was created so garbage never touched the ground. In the new system, garbage trucks would pass through every street and people had to bring out their trash bags personally, to dump into the trucks. How would they know when the trucks arrived? Through music of course. For several years, the trucks have played the tune of “Für Elise” by Beethoven and “A Maiden’s Prayer” by Polish composer Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska. The sound of these tunes had city-dwellers emerge from their homes almost every night, with blue plastic bags filled with trash and another bag of recyclable waste, to dump into the truck.

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Top 10 Most Unusual Christmas Trees of 2011

Every December, we hear reports of bizarre Christmas trees in the making, and on display. We bring you a roundup of 10 of the most unusual trees that caught our attention in the Christmas season of 2011.

The Japanese Gold Tree

We’ve previously featured this tree made completely of pure Gold, here on OC. A creation of Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka, the tree is worth $2 million and unusual enough to make it to our top 10. It weighs 12 kg, is 2.4 m high, and is decorated with plates, ornaments and ribbons – all made of gold. Talk about a golden Christmas!

Researcher Proves You’re Washing Your Clothes More Often than You Should

Would you dare to sniff a pair of jeans that haven’t been washed in three months? If the very thought of it seems disgusting, wait till you hear this. This March, there’s going to be an exhibition of thirty such pairs at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

The unusual collection of dirty jeans is the result of an experiment conducted by Tullia Jack, a researcher from Melbourne. In an effort to prove that people wash their clothes way too often, she recruited thirty volunteers to wear their jeans unwashed, five days a week, for three months. Ms. Jack is a student at the Melbourne University and a fashion lecturer at RMIT. “Not washing your jeans isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds,” she says. The experiment is a part of her Master of Philosophy thesis and she wants to use the findings to challenge our ‘extreme clean’ culture.

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Creative Artist Makes Artworks with GPS Maps

For Michael Wallace, the streets are his drawing board and maps, his canvas. For a paintbrush? He uses his bicycle! GPX Riding is what he calls his art. Confused? So was I, at first.

When I got a hang of what he’s been doing, I was simply amazed. He explains his artwork on his website in simple terms, “GPX Riding is my general term for using a GPS device to track and record my location while riding my bicycle. In short, I use GPS technology to record where I go in a planned effort to create massive images.” Massive images indeed, his gallery of artwork displays pictures of guns, hammers, snails, monsters, scorpions and more. Pretty basic stuff if you were drawing on paper, but very complex if you are tracing it out with your bike.

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Juhyou – The Beautiful Snow Monsters of Japan

The words “beautiful” and “monster” don’t usually go well together, but when talking about a breathtaking natural wonder like the snow-and-ice-covered trees known as juhyou in Japan, we thought we’d make an exception.

Every year, during the cold winter months, snow monsters make their appearance on the snow covered slopes of Japan’s northern prefectures. But instead of running out of their way, tourists flock to these places to admire their natural beauty. Every one of these juhyou monsters is uniquely shaped by Mother Nature, who uses strong winds as her tools and thick layers of snow and ice as art mediums. Juhyou translates as “frost-covered trees” and is a popular phenomenon that takes place in many of Japan’s northern ski resorts.

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