Review: Veer Cruiser

Academics and researchers in relationships often face what is known as “the two-body problem,” in which they struggle to find positions for both people at either the same institution, or institutions that are close to each other. I also have a two-body problem, except neither of the bodies is mine. The bodies belong to my toddler and my infant, and the options for transporting both at the same time, as well as all of their ever-multiplying stuff, are limited.

Most double strollers are big. And expensive, and heavy, and hard to maneuver. And they have so many different variations, based on the ages and presumed activity level of your kids. Do you get a sit-and-stand? A tandem, a side-by-side, or hook on a running board?

When you have your first kid, you can spend hours researching and purchasing magical strollers that car seats click into, that snap open at a touch of a hand and weigh less than a candy bar. But when you have your second, it’s hard to not just give up and tie your kid on you with a piece of fabric. I wouldn’t be surprised to find two-timer parents hauling the baby around in leftover bookstore tote bags.

Veer Cruiser

The Veer Cruiser solves the two-body problem so handily that when I posted a picture to a private Instagram account, nearly every parent and grandparent texted to ask where they could get one. Over the course of several days, I hauled a five-month-old and an almost three-year-old over a variety of terrain, from paved trails to unpaved mud trails, gravel, wet grass, wet and dry sand, and a little unintended backcountry bushwhacking.

Ridin' Sturdy

This robust hybrid stroller-wagon is made from black matte airplane-grade aluminum frame with airless polyurethane wheels. It comes with a telescoping handle that also locks into place so you can both pull and push it. You also get a footbrake, cupholders, and a detachable snack and drink tray. For testing, Veer sent an infant car seat attachment and the retractable sun and rain shade, which can be purchased separately.

The cruiser is narrow enough to easily fit through front doors and gates—an issue with side-by-side strollers—and small enough to fit, fully assembled, into the trunk of a Honda Element. The infant car seat attachment meant that we could take the napping baby directly out of the car and click him into the wagon without unbuckling or disturbing him. Veer also sells a soft seat insert, but blankets and old sleeping bags worked just as well.

The toddler fit in the front seat, the infant clicked onto the attachment, and underneath the car seat was plenty of room to fit a diaper bag, jackets, dog leashes, and all of the other paraphernalia necessary for a winter day at the park.

Totin' Tots

Whether we pushed or pulled it, the wagon was surprisingly maneuverable and easy to steer. We found that pushing it as a stroller worked well on paved paths, and unlocking the handle to serve as a wagon made it easy to pull the cruiser up unpaved hills and trails. On nearly every surface, the stroller glided easily and smoothly. The only surface on which we missed inflatable air tires were on damp and dry sand, but it still rolled smoothly enough for both the toddler and the infant to fall asleep while moving.

When we encountered obstacles such as small drop-offs or fallen logs, locking the handle kept it out of the way. The cruiser is 32.5 pounds, which is not precisely light but is comparable to other products. For example, the popular double BOB Revolution Duallie stroller weighs 33.1 pounds and a plastic Radio Flyer Pathfinder wagon weighs 22.4 pounds. It was light enough for my male tester (i.e. Dad) to lift the whole thing, including kids, over obstacles in the trail.

We bumped into tree trunks and bushes without a scratch. Veer says each seat can accommodate weights of up to 55 pounds, and we were able to fit a small adult in the cruiser with two kids, a car seat, a diaper bag and snacks, for a combined weight of 170 pounds.

Yes, $599 is pricey for a child-toting vehicle, but it may seem less so when you consider that many families have a quiver of these things—jogging strollers, lightweight umbrella strollers for traveling, or the iconic Radio Flyer wagons that can do double-duty of hauling garden plants or injured dogs once the tykes are grown. The Veer is adaptable for a range of ages, stages, and number of kids. You can accessorize with a mattress insert for napping or a travel bag for gate-checking, and it is also within the specified dimensions for theme parks like Disneyworld.

After just a few days, we found ourselves taking it out multiple times every day—for trips to the playground or the corner market for groceries, for winter hikes at the beach or walking the dogs. We’re already anticipating how the cruiser will make summer camping trips so much easier. The only things the cruiser does not do for the kids is bathe them, feed them, or entertain them on long car rides. Maybe a few accessories will come out later to help with that stuff.

Read more: http://www.wired.com/

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It took the internet coming together to figure out this bizarre optical illusion dog

The eye can often be fooled by simple things like the manipulation of light, a change of angles, or a beloved pet.  

Even a photo of what looks like a wildly-deformed dog can mess with your mind.  

And it can also send the web into a frenzy. 

Reddit user, chadwalk posted a photo last week with the title, “Optical Illusion Dog”.  

Image: via Reddit user Chadwalk

At first its hard to decipher what exactly you’re supposed to be looking at. There’s a dog at the front of the picture and the dog in the back looks like its in position that couldn’t possibly make any sense. 

Comment from discussion Optical Illusion Dog.

Comment from discussion Optical Illusion Dog.

The folks over at Reddit decided to dive deep into the rabbit hole that is the, optical illusion dog.

What the people eventually discovered was the pup actually had its head tilted. One user uploaded a photo diagram to try and make sense of the illusion.

Comment from discussion Optical Illusion Dog.

Someone also made a gif to try and help people who might have still been a bit confused. 

The people came together to finally figure out the dog illusion. We can now rest.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

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If Your Child Uses This Soap, Beware. It Just Landed One Baby In The ICU.

If you’re the parent of a small child ages 10 and under and haven’t heard of the Nickelodeon animated series “PAW Patrol,” I have one question for you. Have you been living under a rock?

After bursting onto the scene during the summer of 2013, “PAW Patrol” has quickly moved through the ranks to become one of the most popular kids’ programs out there. To put things in perspective, it’s like the “Blues Clues” or “Dora the Explorer” of the next generation. The basis of the show centers around a young boy named Ryder, who is the leader of a pack of rescue dogs, each of which is equipped with its own job. Everyone from firefighters to construction workers is represented by the adorable gang!

And like other successful TV shows, the marketing team behind “PAW Patrol” has taken the show and created a whole line of products, ranging from school supplies to bath products.

But if your kids use the branded bath foam, you should consider taking it out of your bathroom right this second. Unfortunately, a 3-year-old boy in the U.K. was hospitalized after a dispenser of “PAW Patrol” soap exploded while he was using the bathtub.

Following the incident, his aunt took to social media to want other parents about the potential horrors associated with the product. In her post on Facebook, the aunt wrote, “Our nephew was in the bath tonight with this ‘PAW Patrol’ foam soap and it exploded. He’s been rushed to the hospital.”

The boy is said to be undergoing treatment and is recovering under the care of the staff at Belfasts Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where his condition is listed as being critical.

Former Derry Mayor Pat Ramsey is speaking out and urging stores that currently sell the soap dispensers to remove them from store shelves.

According to Nickelodeon, the creators of the show, an investigation is underway and they are actively seeking information on the licensed products involved in the horrific bathroom incident.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com

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Charles Manson, cult leader and convicted murderer, dies aged 83

Manson and his family became notorious for the murder of Sharon Tate and six others during the summer of 1969

Charles Manson, the pseudo-satanic sociopath behind a string of killings that shocked California out of its late 1960s cultural reverie, died on Sunday after almost a half century in prison.

The 83-year-old, who died of natural causes, had been serving multiple life sentences in state prison in Corcoran, California, for orchestrating the violence in 1969 that claimed the lives of Sharon Tate, the heavily pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski, and six others.

While his death prompted the inevitable and renewed questioning around why his grim notoriety had been so enduring, Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, said: Today, Mansons victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.

She went on to quote the late Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who put Manson behind bars, who had said: Manson was an evil, sophisticated conman with twisted and warped moral values.

Quick Guide

A quick guide to Charles Manson

Who was Charles Manson?

Charles Mansonwasone of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century. Heleda cult known as the Manson Family in California, most of whom were disaffected young women. Some became killers under his messianic influence.

Murder from afar

Despite spending more than 40 years in prison for the murders of seven people in 1969,Manson did not carry out the killings.Insteadhe convincedmembers of his familyto murder. One of their victims was the actor Sharon Tate, who was married to Roman Polanski and was more than eight months’ pregnant when she was killed.

Celebrity friends

By the time of histrial in 1971, Manson hadspent half of his life in correctional institutions forvarious crimes. He became a singer-songwriter before the Tate murders andgot a break in the music industry when he metBeach Boys’ Dennis Wilson,who let him crash at his home.

Helter Skelter

It is believed that Manson intended using the murders to incite an apocalyptic race war he called Helter Skelter, taking the name from the Beatles song.

Notorious by name

Thekillings and the seven-month trial that followed were the subjects of fevered news coveragein the US.Manson occupieda dark, persistent place in American culture, inspiring music, T-shirts and half the stage name of musicianMarilyn Manson.

Photograph: Los Angeles Times

As the leader of a cult known as the Manson Family, Manson had instructed his followers, made up mostly of disaffected young women, to carry out the killings. The brutality of the murders set Los Angeles on edge, and ended the sunny optimism of the 60s counterculture and its aspirations to a new society built on peace and love. Manson presented himself as a demonic force: at trial, he carved a Nazi swastika into his forehead.

The five received the death penalty but were spared when capital punishment was temporarily abolished following a ruling by the supreme court in 1972.

Manson and three female followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were convicted of murder and conspiracy to murder. Another defendant, Charles Tex Watson, was convicted later.

Tate, the wife of Polanski, who was out of the country the night of her murder, was eight and a half months pregnant when Mansons followers broke into her home in Los Angeles. They stabbed and shot Tate and her visitors, Jay Sebring, Voytek Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and Steven Parent.The word Pig was written in blood on the front door. Tate, who had starred in The Valley of the Dolls, was stabbed 16 times, and an X was carved into her stomach.

The next night, his followers murdered couple Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Although the followers committed the murders, Manson had ordered them. At the LaBianca home, he tied up the couple before leaving others to carry out the killings.

After his death on Sunday night, Tates sister Debra told NBC: One could say Ive forgiven them, which is quite different than forgetting what they are capable of. It is for this reason I fight so hard to make sure that each of these individuals stays in prison until the end of their natural days.

In the 2004 book Sharon Tate Recollection, Polanski wrote: Even after so many years, I find myself unable to watch a spectacular sunset or visit a lovely old house or experience visual pleasure of any kind without instinctively telling myself how much she would have loved it all.

Prosecutors at the time said Manson and his cult were trying to spark a race war that he believed was foretold in the Beatles song Helter Skelter, and hoped the Black Panthers would be blamed for the killings.

Before the murders, Manson spent most of his teens and 20s in and out of prison, and he later became a singer-songwriter. He got a break in the music industry when he met the Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson. The group later recorded Never Learn Not to Love, which Manson had written.

Manson in a 2017 California department of corrections photo. Photograph: Reuters

He became friends with the Byrds producer Terry Melcher (the son of Doris Day) and even recorded 13 folksy songs for an album that eventually was titled Lie: The Love and Terror Cult; it was released in March 1970 to help pay for his defense.

Manson had established himself as a would-be cult leader in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. He took a handful of followers, some of whom would later be convicted in the killings, to the old Spahn Movie Ranch north of LA and turned it into a hedonistic commune.

Van Houten, the youngest member of the original Manson Family, later said that Manson had used sex, LSD, Bible readings, repeated playing of the Beatles White Album and rambling lectures about triggering a revolution to brainwash her.

Van Houten, 68, was convicted of the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. She was recommended for parole in September but Californias governor, Jerry Brown, has yet to approve the recommendation. He rejected an earlier decision, concluding that Van Houten posed an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.

In June, officials denied a parole request by Krenwinkel, the states longest-serving female prisoner, after her attorney said she had been abused by Manson or another person. She has been denied parole multiple times in the past.

Mansons lawyer, Irving Kanarek, claimed his client was innocent during a 2014 interview with the Guardian. No question he was legally innocent. And, more than that, he was actually innocent, Kanarek said, arguing that there was no evidence connecting him to the case.

At a 2012 parole hearing, which was denied, Manson was quoted as having said to one of his prison psychologists: Im special. Im not like the average inmate. I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.

According to the LA Times, Manson committed hundreds of rules violations while being held at the Corcoran state prison, including assault, repeated possession of a weapon and threatening staff. Officials said he has spat in guards faces, started fights, tried to cause a flood and set his mattress ablaze.

In 2014, Manson and Afton Elaine Burton, a 26-year-old Manson devotee, were granted a marriage license, but it expired before the two could marry. She had faithfully visited him in prison for seven years. Manson had been denied parole 12 times, with his next hearing set for 2027.

His death is unlikely to end interest in his crimes. Quentin Tarantino is believed to be preparing a film that uses the murders as a backdrop for its main plot, and an adaptation of Emma Clines bestselling 2016 novel, The Girls, is on the way.

Writer Joan Didion interviewed Linda Kasabian, the Manson family member who acted as a lookout in the Tate and LaBianca killings and later gave evidence at the trial, and described the atmosphere in Hollywood in an essay from her collection The White Album (1979).

Everything was unmentionable but nothing was unimaginable Didion wrote. A demented and seductive vortical tension was building in the community. The jitters were setting in. I recall a time when the dogs barked every night and the moon was always full.

I remember that no one was surprised.

Reached at home in Manhattan, Didion, 82, told the Guardian: Mansons legacy was never obvious to me. It wasnt obvious when I went to talk with Linda Kasabian, and it isnt obvious to me now. But I do find it easy to put him from my mind.

In 2008, California officials ordered the search of a deserted ranch in Death Valley where Manson and his family briefly resided. The search turned up no evidence of human remains.

Manson may be gone but the persistence of his dark vision endures. I am crime, he proclaimed in a telephone call to the New York Post from prison in the mid-2000s.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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Silicon Valley’s ‘car people’ push homeless crisis to the brink

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In the same affluent, suburban city where Google built its headquarters, Tes Saldana lives in a crowded but tidy camper that she parks on the street.

She concedes it’s “not a very nice living situation,” but it also is not unusual. Until authorities told them to move, more than a dozen other RVs filled with people who can’t afford rent joined Saldana on a tree-lined street in Mountain View, parked between a Target and a luxury apartment complex.

Homeless advocates and city officials say it’s outrageous that in the shadow of a booming tech economy — where young millionaires dine on $15 wood-grilled avocado and think nothing of paying $1,000 for an iPhone X — thousands of families can’t afford a home. Many of the homeless work regular jobs, in some cases serving the very people whose sky-high net worth is the reason housing has become unaffordable for so many.

Across the street from Saldana’s camper, for example, two-bedroom units in the apartment complex start at $3,840, including concierge service. That’s more than she brings home, even in a good month.

Saldana and her three adult sons, who live with her, have looked for less rustic accommodations, but rents are $3,000 a month or more, and most of the available housing is distant. She said it makes more sense to stay in the camper near their jobs and try to save for a brighter future, even if a recent city crackdown chased them from their parking spot.

“We still need to eat,” said Saldana, 51. “I still want to bring my kids, once in a while, to a movie, to eat out.”

She cooks and serves food at two hotels in nearby Palo Alto, jobs that keep her going most days from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. Two of her sons, all in their 20s, work at a bakery and pay $700 toward the RV each month. They’re all very much aware of the economic disparity in Silicon Valley.

“How about for us people who are serving these tech people?” Saldana said. “We don’t get the same paycheck that they do.”

It’s all part of a growing crisis along the West Coast, where many cities and counties have seen a surge in the number of people living on the streets over the past two years. Counts taken earlier this year show 168,000 homeless people in California, Oregon and Washington — 20,000 more than were counted just two years ago.

The booming economy, fueled by the tech sector, and decades of under-building have led to a historic shortage of affordable housing. It has upended the stereotypical view of people out on the streets as unemployed: They are retail clerks, plumbers, janitors — even teachers — who go to work, sleep where they can and buy gym memberships for a place to shower.

The surge in homelessness has prompted at least 10 local governments along the West Coast to declare states of emergency, and cities from San Diego to Seattle are struggling to come up with immediate and long-range solutions.

San Francisco is well-known for homeless tent encampments. But the homeless problem has now spread throughout Silicon Valley, where the disparity between the rich and everyone else is glaring.

There is no firm estimate on the number of people who live in vehicles in Silicon Valley, but the problem is pervasive and apparent to anyone who sees RVs lining thoroughfares; not as visible are the cars tucked away at night in parking lots. Advocates for the homeless say it will only get worse unless more affordable housing is built.

The median rent in the San Jose metro area is $3,500 a month, yet the median wage is $12 an hour in food service and $19 an hour in health care support, an amount that won’t even cover housing costs. The minimum annual salary needed to live comfortably in San Jose is $87,000, according to a study by personal finance website GoBankingRates.

So dilapidated RVs line the eastern edge of Stanford University in Palo Alto, and officials in neighboring Mountain View have mapped out more than a dozen areas where campers tend to cluster, some of them about a mile from Google headquarters.

On a recent evening, Benito Hernandez returned to a crammed RV in Mountain View after laying flagstones for a home in Atherton, where Zillow pegs the median value of a house at $6.5 million. He rents the RV for $1,000 a month and lives there with his pregnant wife and children.

The family was evicted two years ago from an apartment where the rent kept going up, nearing $3,000 a month.

“After that, I lost everything,” said Hernandez, 33, who works as a landscaper and roofer.

He says his wife “is a little bit sad because she says, ‘You’re working very hard but don’t have credit to get an apartment.’ I tell her, ‘Just wait, maybe a half-year more, and I’ll get my credit back.’”

The plight of the Hernandez family points out one of the confounding problems of the homeless surge along the West Coast.

“This is not a crisis of unemployment that’s leading to poverty around here,” said Tom Myers, executive director of Community Services Agency, a nonprofit based in Mountain View. “People are working.”

Mountain View, a city of 80,000 which also is home to Mozilla and 23andMe, has committed more than $1 million over two years for homeless services, including money for an outreach case manager and a police officer to help people who live in vehicles. At last count, there were people living in more than 330 vehicles throughout the city.

Mayor Ken Rosenberg is proud of the city’s response to the crisis — focusing not on penalties but on providing services. Yet he’s also worried that the peace won’t last as RVs crowd into bike lanes and over-taxed streets.

Last week, Mountain View officials posted signs banning vehicles more than 6 feet high on some parts of the street where Saldana, Hernandez and others living in RVs were parked, saying they were creating a traffic hazard. The average RV is well over that height.

That follows similar moves over the summer by Palo Alto, which started cracking down on RVs and other vehicles that exceed the 72-hour limit on a busy stretch of El Camino Real.

In San Jose, officials recently approved an ordinance pushed by an interfaith group called the Winter Faith Collaborative to allow places of assembly — including gyms and churches — to shelter homeless people year-round.

Ellen Tara James-Penney, a 54-year-old lecturer at San Jose State University, parks her old Volvo at one of those safe-haven churches, Grace Baptist Church, and eats in its dining hall. She is paid $28,000 a year to teach four English classes and is carrying $143,000 in student debt after earning two degrees.

She grades papers and prepares lessons in the Volvo. At night, she leans back the driver’s seat and prepares for sleep, one of two dogs, Hank, by her side. Her husband, Jim, who is too tall for the car, sleeps outside in a tent cot with their other dog, Buddy.

The Bay Area native remembers the time a class was studying John Steinbeck, when another student said that she was sick of hearing about the homeless.

“And I said, ‘Watch your mouth. You’re looking at one.’ Then you could have heard a pin drop,” she said. “It’s quite easy to judge when you have a house to live in or you have meds when you’re depressed and health care.”

In response to growing wealth inequities, unions, civil rights groups and community organizations formed Silicon Valley Rising about three years ago. They demand better pay and benefits for the low-income earners who make the region run.

SEIU United Service Workers West, for example, organized roughly 3,000 security guards who work for companies that contract with Facebook, Google and Caltrain, the mass transit system that connects Silicon Valley with San Francisco.

One of those workers is Albert Brown III, a 46-year-old security officer who recently signed a lease for half of a $3,400 two-bedroom unit in Half Moon Bay, about 13 miles from his job.

He can barely afford the rent on his $16-an-hour salary, even with overtime, but the car that doubled as his home needed a pricey repair and he found a landlord willing to overlook his lousy credit. Still, Brown worries he won’t be able to keep up with his payments.

His feet have been hurting. What if a doctor tells him to rest for a few days or a week?

“I can’t miss a minute. If I miss a minute or a shift? No way, man. A week? Forget it, it’s over. It’s all downhill from there,” he said.

“It’s a sad choice. I have to decide whether to be homeless or penniless, right?”

This story originally appeared in the Associated Press.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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They Thought They Could Fool Their Pup But She’s Way Too Smart

It’s often said that dogs are man’s best friend, but if this little nugget is anything to go by, they might be man’s smartest friend, too.

Ripley is a rescue animal that loves to put her mind to the test. Using her deductive reasoning skills this adorable mix of chihuahua, pug, and dachshund quickly completes whatever puzzles or tricks her owner thinks up for her. But Ripley’s talents don’t go unrewarded. For every doggy puzzle or unique challenge she completes, she gets a treat.

Ripley loves to test herself with unique puzzles that help stimulate her mind.

Ripley’s owner thought he could trick his pup by putting her ball under the rug, but such a simple task was no match for this pup.

She also rescues a tennis ball from a seesaw with ease.

And after every doggy puzzle she completes, there’s a snack waiting for her.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com

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How Well Do You Know The 6 Parts Of A Dog?

There are six scientific parts of the dogs. How well do you know them? Take the quiz to find out!

  1. 1. Let’s begin with the basics. What is this part of the dog called? Here’s a hint: Of the six parts of a dog, it’s the part that is used the most during the dog’s feeding process.

  2. 2. Many dog owners observe that their dog may quiver, shake, or even bark while having a vivid dream. Which of the six parts of the dog is responsible for creating dreams?

  3. 3. Identify this dog part. (Hint: It is one of the six parts of a dog).

  4. 4. And identify this dog part. (Hint: It can be found upon a dog.)

  5. 5. While it slightly differs from dog to dog and breed to breed, all canines store the potential for massive amounts of energy. In which part of the dog is energy created and stored?

  6. 6. And now at last we have reached the final question about the sixth part of a dog. Here it is: Dogs can give birth to upwards of 10 puppies at once. Which part of the dog is responsible for reproduction and birthing?

  • Results for How Well Do You Know The 6 Parts Of A Dog?

    You Have An Expert’s Knowledge Of The 6 Parts Of The Dog!

    Congratulations! You really know your stuff about the six parts of the dog. You know better than anyone that the six parts of the dog are “The Snout,” “The Insanity Sac,” “The Ground Penis,” “The Bad Palm,” “The Meats,” and “The Gape,” and you have an expert’s understanding of all of their functions. You should become either a dog scientist or a dog farmer, because you really know a lot about dogs!

  • Results for How Well Do You Know The 6 Parts Of A Dog?

    You Have Confused The 6 Parts Of The Dog With The Parts Of The Horse

    Hey, don’t beat yourself up too much on this one. Horses and dogs are the most closely related animals in nature, so it’s easy to mix them up. With a little more studying, you’ll have everything cleared up and be an expert on the six parts of a dog in no time!

  • Results for How Well Do You Know The 6 Parts Of A Dog?

    You Have The 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser On Your Mind Too Much To Focus On The Parts Of The Dog

    Most of your answers got mixed up with parts of the 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser, which means that your heart wasn’t really in this from the start. Just feels like you were mashing up stuff about the Land Cruiser with the dog’s bodily functions. You might want to go get your Land Cruiser obsession totally out of your system before you circle back to take this quiz again.

  • Results for How Well Do You Know The 6 Parts Of A Dog?

    You Know Nothing About The 6 Parts Of The Dog

    You’ve displayed a really off-base knowledge of the six parts of the dog, and your over-confidence and pompous attitude make your terrible performance seem that much worse. While it’s definitely in your best interest to study up about the six parts of the dog just so you’re not running around and spewing inaccurate nonsense about it into the world, please don’t feel like you need to circle back and take this quiz again. We could do without your whole deal.

Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/features/news/

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California hands out millions of dollars in tax credits to filmmakers. Can the rest of us get some too?

I think Quentin Tarantino is a fine filmmaker. From “Reservoir Dogs” to “Jackie Brown” to “Inglourious Basterds,” he delivers. ”Pulp Fiction” may just be the greatest movie of its era.

But, as a resident of California, I’ve got a problem. Not with him personally, but with the financing of his latest film.

He recently had to drop his longstanding business relationship with Harvey Weinstein (for obvious reasons) and shop his ninth feature, a story related to the Charles Manson murders, to the major studios.

Sony got the project. But, in addition, his film will receive an $18 million production tax credit from the California Film Commission, for which it will be shot in-state.

Tarantino’s project is only one of several films getting a big break. They’re all part of a tax credit program created by the California Legislature that, over the years, will offer hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits.

The Film Commission justifies its actions by claiming California needs the program to compete for projects.

Really? Then how does the state justify hitting up its taxpayers for so much? We residents do even more business in the state than film companies, but we’re not getting any breaks.

Quite the opposite. California has the highest income tax rate in the nation. The state’s top rate is 13.3 percent. Some dismiss it, saying that’s just for millionaires, but if you make just $43,000 the rate is 8 percent, and if you make $54,000 it’s 9.3 percent.

California also has a huge gasoline tax and the highest state-level sales tax in the nation. Overall, Californians shoulder one of the largest tax burdens in our country. And while we’re at it, the state also ranks high in the burden it places on businesses.

So I have to ask: If Golden State leaders believe giving a tax break to filmmakers is good for the local economy, why don’t they want to give a break in general to all residents? Sauce for the goose and all that.

My guess is that Tarantino was going to film in-state anyway. The Manson murders took place here, and when he’s got a story set in California, he shoots here.

But even if he might have gone elsewhere for a better deal, guess what? It’s not that hard for an individual citizen to pack up and leave a state if another one offers a better deal. That goes double for businesses.

On top of which, high taxes can discourage people from moving here, and from locating their business here. (The numbers seem to bear this out. In recent years, the rate of population growth has been cut to less than half of what it was.)

So if the state wants to make it easier on Tarantino, can’t they also try to take it easier on me, and tens of millions of my fellow Californians?

In effect, my tax money is going to subsidize Tarantino’s film. I’ll be the first in line to buy a ticket when it opens, but don’t make me an unwilling investor. Not unless I get to own a piece of it.

Steve Kurtz is a producer for the Fox News Channel, and author of “Steve’s America (the perfect gift for people named Steve)”.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

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When is it not OK to pet a stranger’s dog?

Image copyright Carol Willacy
Image caption Carol Willacy says even working dogs like Charlie, left, get “horrendous” attention from strangers

“I’m working” or “do not disturb” are messages usually worn by a guide or assistant dog.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People says petting a working dog risks “distracting the dog from its work” and “could put its owner at risk of danger”.

But some pet owners are also saying they don’t like strangers stroking their non-working dog.

Contact can also be a problem for owners of shy dogs, deaf dogs and puppies prone to bite or growl. Here’s why some people are saying: “Please don’t pet my dog.”

1) ‘My dog’s deaf’

Image copyright Debra Dorrans

Debra Dorrans’ black labrador-staffie Benny is 14 and has lost his hearing – so she worries “he might get a fright” if people come up to him and stroke him.

She also recently adopted seven-year-old Sam, a white westie who gets nervous around other dogs and children.

“I have heard of dogs biting children that have then had to be put down,” she says.

“I’ve never been in that position, but I’m always aware.”

Debra, a retired nurse, is one of 12,000 members of Facebook group Reactive Dogs, which brings together owners of dogs who show excessive fear or aggression around strangers.

“I always put my dogs first,” says Debra.

“I don’t want them to get into any trouble or bite someone.”

She says she’s not afraid to say no to people who want to pet her dogs, but warns that “you have to keep your wits about you”.

“One day a small child ran up to Benny and wrapped his arms around him. I told the parents they shouldn’t do that, but they didn’t really seem to understand.”

2) ‘Quite alarming’

Image copyright Dale McLelland

“I’m not embarrassed to say to someone – please don’t pet my dog,” says Dale McLelland, from Ayrshire, owner of two-year-old Hattie.

She says people “absolutely make a beeline” for the old English sheepdog.

“It’s hairy dog syndrome. She looks so cute.”

But she explains it can be “quite alarming for her” if too many people approach Hattie during her walks.

Dale, who has worked as a dog behaviourist for 10 years, says dogs can find strangers’ hugging and petting intrusive.

“Can you imagine if you were on a train and every second person came over and touched you, how uncomfortable that would make you feel?”

Dog person? The correct way to pet a stranger’s pooch

  1. Never leave your child alone with a stranger’s dog
  2. And don’t approach a dog without an owner around
  3. Only stroke the a dog if the owner says, “Yes, you can”
  4. Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
  5. If a strange dog approaches you – stand still, look away and cross your arms

Source: Dogs Trust

Dale avoids busy places, and volunteers for Yellow Dog, a US-based project that advocates putting a yellow ribbon on a dog to show that they need space.

“The problem is, not many people know what the ribbon means – and those that do are normally clued up.”

She adds: “I had rottweilers for 20 years – and only people who probably knew the breed came over and touched them.”

3) ‘My dog IS working’

Image copyright Carol Willacy

But even working dogs get disturbed, according to those who rely on them.

Carol Willacy says her assistance dog Charlie, a golden labrador, is “my life, everything” – but that the attention he gets from strangers can be “horrendous”.

She says about 50 people will approach her on a trip to the supermarket, even if he is wearing his harness.

“The ‘do not distract’ message doesn’t make a difference,” she says.

“There’s a saying at least half of people come out with, ‘I know I’m not supposed to touch your dog, but…'”

Carol, 48, suffered a spinal injury as a teenager and also has functional neurological disorder (FND), meaning she uses a wheelchair and had to give up her job as a pharmaceuticals account manager.

Three-year-old Charlie helps Carol by passing her things and, crucially, detects and warns her if she is unwell.

“If your dog is going to tell you you’re not feeling well, you want that dog to be focused and not stroked and stopped,” she says.

“My previous assistance dog was a little Jack Russell and we had the same problem. He had to retire as he got grumpy with people,” she says.

4) ‘I’m training my puppy’

Image copyright Luke Balsam

Dog trainer Luke Balsam, who runs a school in London, says puppies in particular should be left alone – as they are still getting used to walks and being around strangers.

“People are drawn to puppies,” says Luke, who owns a cocker spaniel, Indie.

“But some don’t think it’s necessary to ask the owner’s permission.”

In London, where lots of people live in flats and might not own a pet, seeing dogs on the Tube or in cafes can be a novelty.

Luke says public-shy owners should go “off the beaten track”, like a wooded area, until they have trained a puppy or dog to walk around in busy places.

But he says anyone worried their dog might bite or nip a person should use a muzzle.

“It’s definitely recommended,” he says.

“The muzzle should be an essential part of training your dog, and they can be taught to enjoy wearing it.”

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5 Famous Movie Scenes Every Single Person Gets Wrong

Certain groups, whose names we shall not mention (*cough*), have made careers out of pointing out the ridiculous shit pulled by Hollywood screenwriters who don’t want to put in the time or effort to produce a credible scene. But once again, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, it turns out that we might be the assholes here. Some of the most butt-stupid scenes in movie history make a whole lot of sense if you simply look at them a bit closer. For example …


Superman Didn’t Rewind Time By Reversing The Earth’s Rotation

In the climactic scene of 1978’s Superman, Supes is far too busy saving the entire West Coast from a nuclear missile attack to notice the ground swallowing up Lois Lane’s candy red Ford Custom. What follows is one of the most lambasted movie scenes in superhero history.

After briefly grieving over the dead yet remarkably unsquished Lois, Superman blasts off into the atmosphere and does laps around the world until he reverses the planet’s rotation. Rather than causing every last living human to take simultaneous pratfalls, this somehow manages to rewind time itself. And if you can watch that scene without making a wanking gesture so hard it sprains your wrist, you should be rewarded for your fortitude.

But Actually …

Superman didn’t reverse time by causing the world to spin backward, but by flying faster than light — a power he’s canonically had ever since he was a wee Superboy, when he sent Ma and Pa Kent back in time to do some 18th-century swashbuckling.

DC Comics
And swinging …

Audiences have been misinterpreting the scene. The Earth spinning backward isn’t the cause of time moving in reverse; it’s just another effect, like the falling rocks flying back upward and the crumbling dam sucking its water back in.

Now, is it still dumb that Superman can basically yank a brand-new superpower out of his super-shorts whenever the plot demands it? Well, you can take that up with nearly a century’s worth of comic book writers, not us.


Nobody Ever Said The White Guy Was The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai has to be one of the most oblivious pieces of cultural insensitivity Hollywood ever produced. If assigning the role of the titular last samurai to a diminutive Scientologist was somehow making a statement, we’re fairly certain we don’t want to hear what exactly the filmmakers were stating.

But Actually …

Whoever said Tom Cruise was the last samurai? It may have been his rugged visage next to the title on the movie posters …

Warner Bros. Pictures

… but the true last samurai (plural) were the group of warriors with whom his character trained and fought. He may have learned from them and even taught them a thing or two about Americans (read: guns), but he could never truly hope to be one of them, if only because of the height requirement.

The last samurai (singular) was the final survivor of that group, Katsumoto. Based upon Saigo Takamori, who is considered to be the bona fide last samurai, Katsumoto meets his end the same way his real-world counterpart did: by following the samurai code and committing ritual seppuku. Unlike his real-world counterpart, he does so with assistance from Cruise’s character — who, in true American fashion, completely fucks it all up.

Warner Bros. Pictures
To be clear, Cruise’s real role here would have been to behead Katsumoto to end his suffering.

The ending narration even makes a point of explicitly differentiating between the two — the “American captain” who lives to fade into obscurity, and the samurai, whose days had come to an end. Really, the film is another victim of our tendency to associate the lead character with the title. Like how Die Hard is the harrowing tale of Mr. Jonathan Diehard.


The Silly Dinner Scene From Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Was An Elaborate Clue

Indy and friends’ arrive at Pankot Palace in India, where they’re invited to come slurp on a variety of dishes, each more horrifying than the last. Like live snakes which slither out of another, bigger snake …

… chilled monkey brains served straight from the cranium …

… and soup that wishes it only had flies in it:

Obviously, this is all nothing more than a throwaway bit of gross-out humor. Let’s all laugh at the backwards savages, with their brown skin and repulsive eating habits! And how ’bout them funny hats, huh? Huh?

But Actually …

The whole scene was a stomach-turning hint that something was amiss in Pankot Palace. See, the people putting on this feast were purportedly Hindus. And as Indy remarks to Captain Blumburtt in the original script, “Even if they were trying to scare us away, a devout Hindu would never touch meat. Makes you wonder what these people are …”

As we find out a few minutes later, that’s because they are in truth members of the heart-yanking Thuggee cult. Of course, we could’ve known that right away, if only we’d been paying attention to how the vegetarian palace’s inhabitants retained fucking Clive Barker as their personal chef.


Princess Leia’s Inexplicable British Accent Was Pretty Explicable

Listen, Star Wars is great, but continuity has never been its strong suit. Take this scene, for instance.

One minute, Princess Leia is speaking to Grand Moff Tarkin as if the two are about to have tea, the next she’s berating Chewie in an accent best described as “cabbie.”

But Actually …

By her own admission, Carrie Fisher was approximately 78 percent cocaine while filming Star Wars. But Claudia Grey, author of Star Wars: Bloodline, has an official canonical explanation for the linguistic slip-up: Leia was merely being her usual, wisecracking self: “[Leia is] actually making fun of Tarkin. She’s mocking his accent in that moment.”

That’s believable, considering the very first words out of her mouth are informing Tarkin that he smells like the polite equivalent of a Taco Bell dumpster.


Independence Day‘s Groan-Inducing “Virus” Solution Might Make Sense

Quick refresher for those of you who have rage-repressed the memory: At the climax of Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith fly into an invading alien mother ship, where Goldblum whips out his trusty MacBook (circa 1996) and hacks the script into letting the good guys win. Of course, as everybody knows, Apple and the aliens’ operating systems would not be compatible.

But Actually …

According to the film, humanity has had an alien fighter collecting dust in Area 51 since 1947. That’s plenty of time for the world’s brightest minds to reverse-engineer some alien tech. In fact, since the discovery of the ship predates modern computers, our own technology might even be derived from the ship’s system. So connecting a MacBook to the ship isn’t so far-fetched, seeing as how we had decades to design an interface, and it might have even been developed from the same starting point in the first place. If we’re calling bullshit on anything, it should be that the aliens made it to Earth at all, since they’re essentially using Apple Maps.

Saikat Bhowmik is a kid who has grown a beard to look like a grown-up. You can follow him at Twitter, and visit his channels Amuzic and Amuzic II. Quinn “Yes, It’s Pronounced ‘Kenobi'” Knobbe is a child who never grew up. For more of his idiotic musings, follow his Facebook here. Mike Garowee works a dairy farm in New Hampshire. Jordan Breeding has a blog, a Twitter, and is the world’s premier Gerard Butler apologist.

All dogs look great in a Superman costume, it’s scientifically proven! Not to mention Batman and Wonder Woman.

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