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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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Artists Build House Out of Recycled Egg Cartons

Goldenhen, and Australian art studio, used hundreds of recycled egg cartons to build a colorful house called ” The Original Dream”.

If you liked Eggcubism and are looking for other cool ways of recycling egg cartons, you’re going to love Goldenhen’s project. They built a simple wooden frame, painted the egg cartons in different colors and then simply stacked them in the shape of a house. But it’s not just any house, it’s modeled after Howard Arkley’s famous painting, “Family Home Suburban Exterior 1993” – a symbol of the Australian dream of suburban living.

Apart from the actual house, Goldenhen also built a brick yard fence, an outdoor clothes drying rack and lots of grass, all made of egg trays.

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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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M. Lavinashree – World’s Youngest Computer Wiz

After passing the Microsoft Certified Professional test, when she was just eight years old, young M. Lavinashree has now become the world’s youngest Red Hat Certified Engineer.

M. Lavinashree was born in rural Tamilnadu, India, but her parents noticed her incredible mind, when she was just a baby. At just 1 and a half, her mother taught her the English alphabet by playing with colored letters. She would dictate the alphabet letters and Lavinashree pointed at them accurately. Then she began learning national symbols, songs, Indian personalities, shapes, fruits, and many other things. When her older sister started studying Thirukural (a Tamil poem written by a sage, over 2,000 years ago), Lavinashree begged her mother to teach her the kurals, and at the tender age of three, she won her place in the Limca Book of Records (Indian equivalent to the Guinness Book of Records) for her photographic memory. She managed to recite 1,330 couplets of Thirukural…

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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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French Aristocrats Launch Luxury Condoms

The ingenious idea of creating luxury condoms belongs to French aristocrats Prince Charles Emmanuel de Burbon Parme and Count Gil de Bizmont.

Inspired by a trip through the French town of Condom the pair decided to create a sophisticated, chic, useful and  eco-friendly product that wouldn’t make its users embarrassed to carry it around or leave it on the nightstand. Considering the success of luxury brands in our society, luxury condoms might just be the next big thing.

Count Gil de Bizmont says: “There [is] always a need for quality, good taste and beautiful objects. It is sexy to care about yourself and to want to pamper and provide yourself with the very best.”

While the condoms themselves are said to be more upscale than the competition, it’s the packaging that makes them special, as they have replaced the ordinary foil paper with an elegant little black box, similar to those used for jewelry. Count de Bizmont explains: “The luxurious presentation of our product removes any negative stigma associated with a woman who cares enough about herself to be sure to carry along an Original Condom box in her purse, or for a male to leave it on the nightstand without perceptions shifting about expectations, as they definitely should not nowadays.” I must say the that the price tag reflects all this, as a box with three prophylactics costs $13,50, one with six $20, and refills can be bought for  $2 a piece.

Part of the earning will be shared with non-profits that fight AIDS and HIV and their commitment to an eco-friendly environment was demonstrated through the development of new rubber tree forests and the placement of their condom factories on a plantation to reduce carbon emissions.

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At 94, Indian Ramjit Raghav Is World’s Oldest Father

94-year-old Ramajit Raghav proudly claims the title of world’s oldest father, after his 54-year-old wife Shakuntala Devi gave birth to their first baby.

Both Ramajit and Shakuntala are equally happy and excited, considering baby Vikaramjeet as “God’s gift” and planning a second child for next year, although their ages are  past the normal fertility period.

Former wrestler, Ramajit strongly believes that he’s health will keep him around for many years, to see his soon grow up: “I will die only if a black snake bites me and that is very unlikely. Visit me after ten years and you will find me in the same appearance. My daily diet comprises three litres of milk, half a kilo of almonds and half a kilo of ghee [clarified butter].”

Mr. Raghav actually claims he is over 100 years old, but pension records state he is “only” 94. Still, doctors say that, although it can’t be ruled out, having a baby at this age is a very remote possibility. 

The former record holder was also an Indian man, Nanu Ram Jogi, who became a father for his 21st soon at the age of 90 in 2007.

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New Yorkers Celebrate “Good Riddance Day”

A giant paper shredder set up in Time Square was responsible with getting rid of all the bad bits of 2010.

This Tuesday, on the fourth annual “Good Riddance Day” held by the Times Square Alliance, people had the chance to free themselves from all the unpleasant memories of 2010, by writing them down and “feeding” them to the paper shredder. There to help were also a sledgehammer and a dumpster. Everything from ex-es, bills, eviction notices to political statements will be destroyed and recycled into toilet paper. And, even though weather conditions weren’t exactly ideal, there were plenty of participants and more are to be expected until Friday night. People who want to shred their bad memories of 2010, but cant make it to Time Square, can just send an online message and the staff will dump it into the shredder, for them.

Organizer Lori Raimondo says: “You can trust me: none of these memories will ever be seen again once they enter this truck.” Although their reasons to be there differs, one thing is certain – every one of the participants had something to get rid of before new year’s eve:

“I’m getting rid of my new job. I got rid of it in February, but I got a new one last month, so I can finally say ‘good riddance’ to it.”

“I said ‘good riddance’ to all negative energies in my life. All negative friends, all negative exes, all vices, anything that was negative in 2010. Out with that, in with the new.”

“It’s about turning your back on those bad things that you want to get rid of from the last year, either personally or in terms of the world, because the world is always a little bit crazy. Life is always a little bit crazy.”

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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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World’s Smallest Christmas Card

I know it’s a few days past Christmas but I couldn’t pas by this news.

Nanotechnologists at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, Produced what they believe to be the world’s smallest Christmas card, the image of a Christmas Tree engraved on a piece of glass, a very small piece of glass, invisible to the naked eye.

“The card is 200 micro-meters wide by 290 micro-meters tall. To put that into some sort of perspective, a micro-meter is a millionth of a meter; the width of a human hair is about 100 micro-meters,” explains David Cumming, professor at the University of Glasgow.

To make it easier for you to imagine its real dimensions I should tell you that on an area the size of a postage stamp you could fit around 8,276 of these cards. Color was also added using a process called plasmon resonance.

Scientists had the sole purpose of explaining what nano-technology is capable of and say that, while the card is just a demonstration, domains like the electronics industry find this technology very useful.

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Triplets Born 11 Years Apart

It’s really hard to believe that the two to 11-year-old girls and the 3-month-old baby in the picture are triplets, but Bethony, Megand and Ryleigh actually are.

Although the three of them were conceived on the same day, Ryleigh came 11 years after her twin sisters. This was possible because, while the first two fertilized embryos were implanted back in 1998, this third one has been frozen up until recently. This is a rather unusual situation for both parents and doctors as neither of them have knowledge of other cases of siblings conceived at the same date but born with such an age gap.

Health problems, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovaries, reduced Mrs. Shepherd’s chances of becoming pregnant and determined her and husband Adrian to undergo treatment. Out of 24 eggs collected by doctors, 14 were successfully fertilized, 2 were implanted and the other 12 were frozen. The pregnancy went smoothly and, although 6 weeks early, Bethony and Megan were born healthy and brought joy to their family.

After about 9 years, when the Shepherds decided they wanted another baby, they went to the same clinic and used one of the embryos stored years before.

It seemed strange to think that we were using embryos that we had stored all those years ago, that were conceived at the same time as the girls. We knew that if we had another baby it would in effect be the girls’ triplet as they were all conceived at the same time. We didn’t  know if it would work, and we agreed that we would just have one go with one embryo and if it didn’t work we wouldn’t try again. It was one last chance, and if it was meant to be, then it would happen,” Mrs Shepherd explains.

The doctors warned the parents there was the possibility the body would reject the frozen embryo, but fortunately this didn’t happen and Ryleigh was born healthy, although 11 years later than her twin sisters.

“The girls are thrilled to have a sister – and they know that she was conceived at the same time that they were, but has been in the freezer. She’s a really happy baby and has got a really good appetite – it’s as though she’s making up for lost time,” says Mrs. Shepherd.

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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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