Category Archive 'Amusement'
14 Jun 2018

Low Bridge

14 May 2018

Potential Next Coen Brothers Movie

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Luke “Milky” Moore

Esquire has a real life story out of Oz that could have been written by O. Henry.

The greatest adventures happen when you least expect them. And on July 15, 2010, Luke “Milky” Moore never thought one of the greatest in recent memory was about to start for him. …

Though he grew up comfortably—his father, Brett, was a bank executive, and his mother, Annette, a child-care supervisor—he’d been employed since thirteen, bagging groceries, mowing lawns, selling insurance. He was a bright student, but he opted to forgo college for work. “I always thought I’d be a millionaire one day,” he says in his thick Australian accent. While his mates were out drunkenly hunting wild boar, Milky was investing in hedge funds, and at nineteen he bought his own home, for himself and his high school sweetheart, Megan.

But then, in the fall of 2008, the life he’d worked so hard to achieve took a series of tragic turns. It started with the stock-market crash, which depleted his $50,000 life savings. With Goulburn’s economy in turmoil, he lost his job as a forklift driver. A few months later, he was driving in the early-morning darkness to paint happy birthday on a boulder near town to surprise Megan when he fell asleep at the wheel of his white Mitsubishi pickup—and drifted right into the path of an 18-wheeler, which plowed over his truck.

He awoke hanging out his shattered window covered in purple and black paint—but, miraculously, alive. “It was incredible that he survived,” recalls his father. Milky had a broken collarbone, arm, and ribs, and a ruptured spleen—but the scars ran deeper. He fell into a crippling depression, barely able to drag himself from bed or hold on to the job his father had helped him get as a teller at his bank. Adding to the pressure, his mother was suffering from a debilitating degenerative back disease, sometimes unable to get out of bed herself—leaving Milky to care for his year-old brother, Noah. It wasn’t long before his relationship with Megan ended under the strain, and Milky assumed the blame. By mid-2010, he was broke, alone, unemployed, and on the brink of foreclosure.

And that’s just when life suddenly gave him the equivalent of a royal flush on the pokies. It happened on July 15, the day his biweekly mortgage payment was due. With no money in the bank, Milky was bracing himself for the beginning of the end. But then something strange happened. The automatic debit—500 Australian dollars—went from his savings account at his bank, St. George, into his mortgage account. Two weeks later, it happened again. When he checked his balance, he could see that he had racked up the corresponding debt, and interest, under his name. Once he hit the limit, he assumed, the overdrafts would surely stop.

But they didn’t. Fortnight after fortnight, his mortgage got paid. Thinking this crazy, he put in a request for $5,000 to be transferred to his mortgage account. A couple days later, he called his bank to check on the transfer—figuring, at worst, he had reached his limit. “Did that go through?” he asked the teller, who told him casually, “Yes, that’s all paid.” A few days after that, on a lark, he called St. George and asked the bank to transfer $50,000 to his mortgage account. “I was literally thinking that I’ll just wing it and see if it works,” he recalls. And sure enough, it did. The $50,000 deficit was charged on his savings account, but the bank didn’t seem to notice, or, if it did, it didn’t care. It was like getting a free, unlimited loan. “I probably had a bit of a smile on my face then,” he says. “Not smiling because I was thinking I was scamming the bank, but smiling because I was like, ‘This is my fresh start.’”

By the time he sold his home a year later, he’d paid down his mortgage so much from the overdrafts that he cleared $150,000 (US$115,000).

Though he’d been quiet about this so far, he finally confided in a friend. “What do you reckon I do?” Milky asked him. What do you do, in other words, when you’re single, twenty-four, and just got a pile of free money from the bank? No-brainer, his friend replied. “Let’s party!”

Milky was going to Paradise. …

Milky’s rock-star lifestyle became routine. Sleep late, hit the gym, buy memorabilia online, slap the pokies, cocktails at the strip joint, then dancing all night in the clubs. On the nights he didn’t pick up, he sought the ready alternative: the many legal brothels in town. “Especially with girls,” he says bashfully, “you’ve got to make the most of every opportunity, because you might turn around and that’ll be gone.” One week, he threw down $40,000 and rented out an entire brothel to himself for four days. And so it was that, one day in November 2012, he barely registered what happened when he went to pay for repairs on his Alfa Romeo. He was standing there in the car shop, hungover and bronzed, when he saw a message he’d never seen before come up on the credit-card machine. “Call bank security,” it read.

Milky blinked a few times, trying to digest the moment he’d feared for the past two years. Fuck, he thought. Well, that’s done. He went back to his apartment in a daze. How could this just end? There was no old life. There was only this one, and the hole he had dug for himself. So he did the only thing he could think to do. He grabbed as many stacks of cash as he could find around his penthouse, drove to the airport, and booked the next flight to Phuket.

RTWT for the happy ending.

14 May 2018

Small, Wet Farm

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Hallig Habel, a farm in northern Germany on the North Sea, an area of low flatlands and mudflats. This photo was taken during an extreme high tide. Photo by Hans Joachim Kürtz.

04 May 2018

And, Just Like That, He Was Gone!

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27 Jan 2018

Seems Kind of Sudden

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250 million year old salt expires next year.

20 Jan 2018

Dealing With Road Rage Russian-Style

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22 Nov 2017

Behind You

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06 Nov 2017

“Hold My Beer!”

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NYT: “Male Mammoths Died in ‘Silly Ways’ More Often Than Females, Study Finds.”

Swallowed by a sinkhole. Washed away by a mudflow. Drowned after falling through thin ice.

These are the fates that many unlucky mammoths suffered in Siberia thousands of years ago. Their well-preserved fossils have provided paleobiologists with insight into their prehistoric lives. Now, after performing a genetic analysis on the remains from the furry victims of natural traps, a team of scientists made a striking discovery: Most were male.

“In many species, males tend to do somewhat stupid things that end up getting them killed in silly ways, and it appears that may have been true for mammoths also,” said Love Dalén, an evolutionary biologist from the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, he and his colleagues analyzed DNA from nearly 100 mammoth bones, teeth and tusks, and found that about two-thirds came from males. They speculate the reason for the skewed sex-ratio may have to do with the risky behavior that young males take after leaving the protection of their mothers to live on their own.

RTWT

10 Oct 2017

Headstone Puzzles

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Amusing Planet

When Canadian doctor Samuel Bean lost his first two wives, Henrietta and Susanna, within 20 months of each other, he decided that the best way to honor them would be to create a tombstone dedicated to a hobby they both enjoyed —solving puzzles. The doctor had them buried side by side in Rushes Cemetery near Crosshill, Wellesley Township, Ontario, and a single gravestone was placed over their graves. The gravestone bore a puzzle, one that kept historians stumped and amateur cryptologists busy for the next eighty years.

A replica of the gravestone can still be seen in Rushes Cemetery. The original stone was badly weathered and was replaced with this durable granite replica in 1982. The stone is about 3 feet high, and features a finger pointed skyward with the words “Gone Home” above the two women’s names. Underneath the names is a grid carved with 225 seemingly random numbers and letters.

Without doubt, Dr. Samuel Bean must have received many requests to reveal the meaning of the cryptic message, but he would have none.

RTWT

10 Sep 2017

Fantasy Animal Maps

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05 Aug 2017

When You Finally Meet the One

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When you finally find the one

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Wikipedia article

HT: Steve Bodio

24 Apr 2017

Vanity Fair on Chelsea Clinton

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T.A. Frank, in Vanity Fair, totally demolishes the third member of the Clinton Dynasty.

Like tribesmen laying out a sacrifice to placate King Kong, news outlets continue to make offerings to the Clinton gods. In The New York Times alone, Chelsea has starred in multiple features over the past few months: for her tweeting (it’s become “feisty”), for her upcoming book (to be titled She Persisted), and her reading habits (she says she has an “embarrassingly large” collection of books on her Kindle). With Chelsea’s 2015 book, It’s Your World, now out in paperback, the puff pieces in other outlets—Elle, People, etc.—are too numerous to count.

One wishes to calm these publications: You can stop this now. Haven’t you heard that the great Kong is no more? Nevertheless, they’ve persisted. At great cost: increased Chelsea exposure is tied closely to political despair and, in especially intense cases, the bulk purchasing of MAGA hats. So let’s review: How did Chelsea become such a threat?

Perhaps the best way to start is by revisiting some of Chelsea’s major post-2008 forays into the public eye. Starting in 2012, she began to allow glossy magazines to profile her, and she picked up speed in the years that followed. The results were all friendly in aim, and yet the picture that kept emerging from the growing pile of Chelsea quotations was that of a person accustomed to courtiers nodding their heads raptly. Here are Chelsea’s thoughts on returning to red meat in her diet: “I’m a big believer in listening to my body’s cravings.” On her time in the “fiercely meritocratic” workplace of Wall Street: “I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t.” On her precocity: “They told me that my father had learned to read when he was three. So, of course, I thought I had to too. The first thing I learned to read was the newspaper.” Take that, Click, Clack, Moo.

Chelsea, people were quietly starting to observe, had a tendency to talk a lot, and at length, not least about Chelsea. But you couldn’t interrupt, not even if you’re on TV at NBC, where she was earning $600,000 a year at the time. “When you are with Chelsea, you really need to allow her to finish,” Jay Kernis, one of Clinton’s segment producers at NBC, told Vogue. “She’s not used to being interrupted that way.”

Sounds perfect for a dating profile: I speak at length, and you really need to let me finish. I’m not used to interruptions.

What comes across with Chelsea, for lack of a gentler word, is self-regard of an unusual intensity. And the effect is stronger on paper. Unkind as it is to say, reading anything by Chelsea Clinton—tweets, interviews, books—is best compared to taking in spoonfuls of plain oatmeal that, periodically, conceal a toenail clipping.

RTWT

02 Apr 2017

The Meme Started March 3rd

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Laidlaw’s tweet inspired others:

And still others:

More here.

Via The Passive Voice.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Mar 2017

Russian Boy Demos Building With a Brick

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