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A Farewell to the Nevada Shoe Tree

One of Nevada’s most popular roadside attractions, the Old Shoe Tree, near Middlegate has been cut down by vandals.

The Old Shoe Tree on highway 50 (known as the loneliest road in America) was one of the quirkiest tourist spots in Nevada, featuring hundreds of old shoes hanging from its branches. Its origins aren’t exactly clear, but locals say people started throwing their shoes in it, in the early 1990s.

According to a local legend, the first people ti throw their shoes in the Nevada Shoe Tree were a couple of newlyweds passing through the desert on their way to California. They began to argue, so the groom pulled over near a big cottontree and left his wife there to cool down, and he went to the Middlegate Station Bar, to get a beer. When he came back, his bride was still in a fighting mood, so he took her shoes and tossed them into the tree, than left t get another beer. This time, when he returned, they were able to patch things up, but the shoes remained stuck in the tree, so they just left them there.  Over time, people who stopped to cool off under the cotton tree saw the shoes and threw their own, thus transforming it into a roadside tourist attraction.

Unfortunately, no one will have the opportunity to throw shoes in the Nevada Shoe Tree, or even take photos of it, as it was cut down by vandals, right on New Year’s Eve 2011. Locals are outraged, since the 70-foot cottonwood wasn’t just a symbol of the area, but a big help for local businesses which relied on the tourists it brought in.

The Churchill County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the matter, but sadly, nothing is going to bring back the Old Shoe Tree of Nevada. Check out the photos below, if you’ve never seen it before.

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Federer and Nadal Face Off on Floating Tennis Court

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the two top seated tennis players in the world, kicked off the tournament in Doha with an exhibition match on a floating tennis court. I never thought I’d get the chance to write a post about my favorite athlete of all times, Roger Federer, on a blog about oddities, but I guess you really never can say never.

Usually, there’s nothing a tennis player hates more than a flooded court, but in this case both Nadal and Federer were more than happy to get their feet wet, in order to promote the upcoming ATP Tour. They were brought in by boat, to a tennis court floating in a lagoon, on the coast of Doha, Qatar. The two exchanged a few friendly balls, but avoided sprints, as neither seemed to fancy a bath.

Nadal said: “For the past three years we have done a few different things, and this one was a very nice experience.” and Federer added “”It was good fun. It was so different. You’re always excited and nervous to see how it will turn out. It is always nice promoting an event and an entire tour with Rafa.”

What’s even more impressive is how these two tennis legends leave their rivalry on the court, where it belongs, and works so well on promoting different events, and tennis itself.

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Python Wedding Held in Cambodian Village

Over 1,000 people gathered in the Cambodian village of Sit Bow, to witness the wedding of two pythons, believed to bring prosperity and good fortune to the settlement.

Early 2008, I wrote a post about a Cambodian boy who had an unusually friendly relationship with a full grown python. Villagers believed he was the son of a dragon, and had supernatural powers. Fast forward to present day, Chamerun, the boy’s female pet snake is getting married to male Krong Pich, and the whole village has gathered for the big ceremony.

While most Camodians are Buddhists, they also believe in animism – a belief that spirits inhabit the bodies of animals – so whenever a bizarre animal makes an appearance, there are always speculations about it being housing some important spirit. Fortunetellers told the two snake owner their reptiles were soul mates blessed by the gods, and that they needed to be married and live together, otherwise the village will be struck by bad luck.

The marriage ceremony lasted two hours and was attended by people from all around the village area. Two Buddhist monks  blessed the snake couple, while villagers showered them with flowers and sang traditional wedding music. It must have been pretty creepy, for the pythons, of course.

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Chinese Icemen Take World’s Longest Ice Bath

Jin Songhao and Chen Kecai, two of China’s most seasoned icemen, managed to beat the previous world record for the longest ice bath.

Wim Hof, the Dutch known as “Ice-Man” spent New-Year’s Eve covered with ice cubes, and claimed the title of the longest ice bath, with 115 minutes. But the previous record holder, Chen Kecai, wasn’t about to just sit by and watch his title get snatched right from under him. Together with fellow iceman Jin Songhao, they staged their own cold-enduring event, on January 3rd, in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province.

The two daredevils immersed themselves in plastic boxes and were covered with ice cubes, up to their necks. Kecai started shivering after “just” 40 minutes, but he insisted the doctors let him see his challenge through to the end. Eventually, he managed to stay in the box for 118 minutes, thus beating his Dutch rival’s record. Unfortunately for him, Jin Songhao lasted 120 minutes and is the new holder of the record for the world’s longest ice bath. Well, at least Chen Kecai can take comfort in the fact that he lost to a fellow Chinaman.

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Store Tells Its Clients “Come in Underwear, Leave Dressed”

Spanish clothing brand Desigual kicked off its sales season in a truly original way  that made people show up at its store in nothing but their underwear.

Would you brave the cold weather for the chance to pick out top and lower garments, free of charge? Well, thousands of people around the world did just that – they spent hours outside Desigual stores, hoping to be among he 100 lucky ones that would enjoy the brand’s offer. Featuring the slogan “Come in underwear, leave dressed”, Desigual challenged its customers to show up outside its branch stores, and leave with whatever items they wanted, for free. Unfortunately, only the first 100 people got to enjoy this ridiculous sale…

Some people actually showed up outside the stores at 3 pm the previous day, to make sure they are among the chosen few, but those that didn’t make the cut also had something to be cheerful about. Desigual decided to give them half-price discounts on all the items in the shop.

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6-Year-Old Girl Is World’s Youngest Yoga Instructor

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and the benefits it has for the mind and body are unquestionable, so its ever-growing popularity is not surprising . But what is very surprising is  6-year-old Shruti Pandey, who has been a successful Yoga teacher for two years now.

Interestingly enough, she is not the only “miracle” in her family, as her older brother, Harsh Kumar, mastered all 84 yoga positions by the age of five, making it into the Limca Book of Records and becoming a source of inspiration and motivation for Shruti. But he has never been interested in becoming a teacher.

67 year-old Hari Chetan, Shruti’s instructor, who set up the Swami Brahmachand Saraswati Kaivalya Dham Ashram 35 years ago, is simply amazed not only with her flexibility, which many may find normal for a child this age, but also with her talent and determination. She proved to be e vary quick learner and as she mastered this art for herself, it didn’t come as a surprise when she started teaching others, in classes of around 30 adults that start at 5:30am. Everyone is amazed with her talent and the patience she puts in for everything and every one.

“The best thing about Shruti is she tries to provide an alternative position for the complicated ones that are difficult for an older person like me to do. She’s very patient,” says 90-year-old retired teacher Swami Bhanu.

After only three months of attending Shruti’s classes, 48-year-old businessman Lokendra Pal Singh says: “I have noticed a positive change in my life. I used to be short-tempered, but now I’m able to control my anger to quite an extent and it’s all thanks to a little six-year old.”

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El Chupacabra Found in Kentucky?

It happened in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, where this strange looking creature appeared in Mark Cothren’s yard and got itself shot Now, all over the internet, people are wondering if this is just an animal suffering from a skin disease or the fabled chupacabra.

The legend of “el chupacabra” (Spanish word for “goat sucker”) began back in the 1990s, when when more and more stories told by people claiming they had seen this creature started circulating in Puerto Rico and rapidly spread throughout the Americas.

“I was like ‘every animal has hair, especially this time of year!’. What puzzled me is how something like that could survive through a winter with no hair. Everybody is getting very curious, you know. The phone is ringing off the hook. It’s kind of a mystery right now,” said Mark Cothren.

Opinions differ from one person to another, as some assume it is a cat, maybe a dog or a raccoon, but if it’s one thing they all agree on, it’s that it’s really strange looking. “It’s hard to tell what an animal is from just a photograph. This is an animal that’s native to our area, most likely that is suffering from some type of disease,” said Sam Clites from the Louisville Zoo.

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Border Collie Chaser Learns the Names of 1,022 Toys

This news probably wouldn’t be that impressive if it was about a parrot, although I’ve never heard of  one that knew the names of over 1,000 toys. And as smart as some people would like to think their dogs are, no one would expect a canine to know this much.

Chaser, a 6-year-old border collie, managed to learn the names of 1,022 different toys, which is more than any other animal has ever learned and around as much as a child around the age of three would be capable of learning.

Interested in how much of a vocabulary the dog would be able to develop, psychologists Allison Reid and John Pilley have worked intensively with Chaser for about three years. And their hard work certainly paid off, as they have proved that talking t your dog is not a waste of time.

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Mister Christmas Makes Plans to Marry His Christmas Tree

Andy Park, also known as “Mr. Christmas” recently stated he wants to marry his beloved Christmas tree and is currently looking for a priest wiling to perform the ceremony.

47-year-old Andy Park loves Christmas more than anyone else in the world, and has proven it every day for the last 17 years. Starting in 1993, he has has celebrated Christmas every day, and I’m not talking about putting on a Santa hat and singing Christmas carols. No, Andy pops champagne bottles, buys himself gifts that he, in turn, opens, decorates the entire house and enjoys a traditional Christmas dinner.

Now, the wacky divorcee says he’s determined to marry his Christmas tree.He’s only had the plastic tree for the last two years, but they’ve become pretty close in this short period of time, and Andy thinks of it as “his best friend”. He never gets tired of looking at it and since other people have married their pets, and even their pillows, marrying a Christmas tree doesn’t seem that strange to him, anymore.

Mr. Christmas has already bought a beautiful ring for his Christmas tree, but has yet to decide on which branch to place it on. An even more serious problem is finding a minister willing to join them in holy matrimony.

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“Punch Me Panda” Is a Modern Day Solution To Stress

“I knew people were angry. I knew people want to punch things, because I want to punch things,” that is how Nate Hill, 33, explains his crazy idea of dressing up as a panda and encouraging passers-by to hit him.

Believe it or not, Hill actually thought of becoming a human punching bag as a community service. He’ll just visit busy thoroughfares, businesses expecting layoffs and he’ll even make house calls, and have people punch him to lighten their day. No matter how big your problem is, a few punches and a shoulder charge will make anybody feel a lot better.

At first, everyone thought he was just part of some advertising campaign, others just didn’t understand why he was asking them to hit him, but as soon as one person starts to hit him, all of them become intrigued and want to show off their own boxing skills. Whether their dealing with relationship issues, work-related stress or just boredom, hitting a panda makes all their faces glow.

When he’s not wearing his funny panda suit, Nate Hill works in a laboratory,m where he cares for fruit flies used in experiments. You might not guess by looking at him, but this man is a veteran when it comes to helping Americans deal with their anger. So far he also has dressed up as Death Bear, and Mr Dropout, two fictional characters imagined by Nate himself, as a way of relieving some of the pain on the street.

Although he uses a breastplate and cushion to protect himself against the flurry of blows he receives every day, the man behind Punch Me Panda admits people sometimes cross the line and him in the face. The panda head offers little protection, so he just takes it off, so the person hitting him knows they have to stop. Most of them offer apologies, and Nate always accepts them.

So if you feel the need to hit someone, remember to call Punch Me Panda Nate Hill. You can probably find him wondering the streets of New York, but you can contact him on his official website, as well.

 

 

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Christmas Tree Made Out Of 80,000 Plastic Spoons

A team of young Taiwanese students as created an impressive Christmas tree out of 80,000 plastic spoons, in Taichung city.

In their quest to deliver a message about the environment, this Christmas, a team of six students from Taiwan’s Transworld University have created a unique Christmas tree out of 80,000 plastic spoons. The young environmentalists entered a competition for the best Christmas tree made of recyclable materials, and their original idea came up on top.

The 80,000 plastic spoons used in the making of the tree were provided by the Taiwanese branch of KFC, who was probably looking for a way of improving its overall image. After the holiday season, the spoons will be taken to a recycling facility and used to create something useful. Impressed by the feat of these young students, mayor Jason Hu felt the need to send an environmental message of his own: “”Christmas must be celebrated in an eco-friendly way, and it is the same when we choose clothing or when we take a shower.”

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Rare Brain Disease Makes Woman Fearless

Haunted houses, cockroaches or any kind of bugs for that matter, snakes, you name it, there’s nothing in this world that will freak this woman out.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to never experience fear, but there is someone out there who really is fearless, due to a rare disorder, called the Urbach-Wiethe disease, which destroyed a part of her brain called the amygdala, where researchers believe the feeling of fear is born. A 44-year-old woman, whose identity hasn’t been revealed for reasons of confidentiality, suffering from this rare disease, has become a case study for researchers at the University of Iowa.

Scientists have tried everything to provoke her fear – spiders, live snakes, tours of haunted houses – but nothing seems to work. As a matter of fact, she has been exposed to very dangerous and scary situations in her day to day life, for example being held at gun point or knife point, or even life threatening domestic violence, but none of it caused her to be afraid. While it may sound like some cool superpower, her lack of fear and response can also be very dangerous for her as it comes with a lack of preservation instinct.

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India Displays Most Impressive Cake Ever, in Bangalore

I’ve always been a big fan of cool cakes, but the one Indian chefs have just created, in Bangalore city, really takes the cake.

Showcased during the 36th Annual Cake Exhibition, the sweet replica of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is definitely this year’s star of the show. It’s made out of approximately five tons of sugar, and at 22 feet long and 14 feet wide, it’s about to enter the record books as the biggest cake ever made in India. A team of chefs and food artists have been working around the clock to get this perfect replica of the iconic Mumbai hotel ready in time for Christmas, as a tribute to the landmark attacked by terrorists, in 2008.

The impressive-looking cake can be admired between December 17 – 27, during the cake show, in Bangalore.

 

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Urine Injections Are The Latest In Weight Loss Diets

If you thought you knew everything there is to know about weight loss, think again. The latest news state that urine injections are bound to get you fit, in no time.

It’s a very controversial matter that has been around for years, frequently used by MD allergists, because of it’s allergenic content, even before before the pharmaceutical industry started preparing allergens. “Reinvented”, this urine treatment has come back to life. Sheryl Paloni started using this strange diet in June and already lost 43 pounds and around 30 inches. Paloni says “Physically I feel better. I feel light on my feet.”

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Dolls Compete in Miss Barbie Beauty Pageant

Do you remember how much you loved giving your dolls make-overs, when you were a little girl? Well, that wasn’t as childish an activity as you might have  thought – doll-obsessed grown-ups compete during Miss Barbie beauty pageants, every year.

This one’s no joke, folks, people actually go out of their way to come up with trendy outfits and makeup for their dolls, in the hope of winning a doll beauty pageant. And in order to qualify for the global contest – Miss Barbie Universe – first they have to win national events, like the one recently hosted in Venezuela. Before entering the stage and facing the judges, dolls go through the same preparations as real models: they have their hair brushed, get original hair-dos, try out their dresses and go through make-up sessions.

Contestants in the Miss Barbie beauty pageants have their own names, body measurements and even made-up professions that help impress the judges. I’m not sure what the actual prize is for winning this offbeat beauty contest, but I’m sure it doesn’t even begin to compare to the pride of the doll’s owner.

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