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Austin Restaurant Turns to Witty Pandemic Signs for Laughs

Jolie

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When the United States shut itself down under the auspices of the coronavirus pandemic in early March 2020, few people realized what was going to happen. Now almost a year later, the coronavirus pandemic has continued to rage on and people are growing increasingly frustrated, scared, and restless. When will quarantine measures be allowed to go away? When will a vaccine appear?

With so many tough questions hanging over the heads of not just everyday citizens, but also business owners. More than 100k restaurants in the city of Chicago have closed down on a long-term basis since the beginning of March and the city of Austin, TX, is probably not far behind. This is where our story takes place, at the front door of the El Arroyo, a popular restaurant located in downtown Austin.

The El Arroyo was established in the 80s and they’ve retained their sense of wonder and edgy comedy ever since. Laura Schulte works as the social media manager for El Arroyo and she has been a major player in the production of their comical signs. Schulte says, “The signs bring a lot of laughter”. While previous signs had made jokes based on pop-culture references, the team at El Arroyo has been focusing more on bringing laughs through their pandemic references this time around.

If you have been an active internet user for the past eight months, which you probably have, you’ve likely seen some of the signs that El Arroyo has been placing up over the past several months. While these signs are largely for laughs, they also play an important role in reducing stress levels and preventing anxiety from becoming an overloading burden.

One sign was put up that read, “I Never imagined I’d go up to the bank teller with a mask on and ask for money.” That is the kind of sign that we can all look at, agree with, and share with friends for a laugh. It is true! How dramatically has our world changed in the better part of the past eight months? A year ago if we told you that you had to go to the bank with a mask over your face, you’d be blown away by the mere suggestion.

While some signs are focused on the pandemic, other signs take larger jabs at 2020 as a whole. One El Arroyo sign read, “Have we tried putting 2020 in rice” which is a joking reference to what individuals do when their phones get wet. Another sign read, “Just remember, someone out there is quarantined with your ex.”

What do you think of signs like the ones being posted at El Arroyo? Are you a fan of sharing a few laughs at the expense of the pandemic? Do you think that these signs go too far or are you down with a few fun laughs?

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Halifax Retiree Finds Her Old Rollerskates Online  

Sarrah M

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The trend of people wanting to relive their memories as kids and teens through physical things they used to have earlier in life isn’t fading. In fact, even as people get older and many are positively in retirement, the trend has grown exponentially. The proof is easily seen in how expansive sites like eBay, for example, have grown in the last two decades, becoming global markets for used items that people want to own again. However, it’s one thing to buy a replacement for what one had earlier in life. It’s quite another to actually buy the same item decades later!

Halifax native Renee Forrestall decided at the active age of 60 that she wanted to get back on roller-skates again. It’s a common situation; people have more time on their hands after the kids have moved out and possibly are retired from work, and activity is promoted by everyone as a great way to keep the pounds off as well as keep the brain sharp. Roller-skating seemed to make sense for Renee, and it would give her a way to exercise that she remembered enjoying.

So, off Renee went to the store, and she quickly had a brand new set under her feet. However, old memories are hard to shake, and the new skates just didn’t feel like the old ones she used to have. Something about the fit with the old skating style made a big difference to her. So, knowing the Internet auction sites and similar were a great place to find old stuff, she started searching. Soon enough, Renee found a set that looked an awful lot like the rollerskates she remembered having four decades earlier. They were old, needed cleaning and laces, but they seemed to fit the bill.

Renee could have been completely wasting her time. The online ad didn’t even have the foot size listed, but she took a gamble and connected with the ad owner about the skates listed. In fact, Renee even traveled in person to the owner to try the skates on and buy them there if they fit. Once at the seller’s residence, she put her foot in the first skate and was shocked. The rollerskate not only fit, it matched her foot correctly!

Renee was a bit flabbergasted by what was going on and started to lace up the rollerskate. To do so, she had to move the tongue of the shoe part, and the writing on it caught her eye. Renee was literally looking at the name of a previous owner, and that name was hers. At that moment, the rollerskate fit and the name seemed to all make sense. She was buying back her old roller skates from almost half a century earlier.

Like most kids, Renee had written her name on the shoe tongue in case the skates got lost. The pair were originally sold by Renee when she was at university, and she forgot about them. To get them back was not only the thrill of finding something old for memory’s sake again, she had found literally her own rollerskates!

And, as an aside, the seller’s real name, no kidding, was James Bond. Talk about coincidences.

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A Grade School, a Crow and a Foul Vocabulary

Amanda J

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What do you do with crow with a foul mouth, and it wants to be your friend? That was the dilemma for one class at Allen Dale Elementary in Grants Pass. Normally, birds stay clear of humans, using their ability to fly to stay out of reach, unless doing an occasional drop or dive bomb to chase folks away from a nest. However, in the case of one particular crow, she wanted interaction. The particular bird made it pretty clear it wanted inside a school, pecking on windows and doors until she finally found a way into a 5th grade room for a few snacks.

The crow didn’t behave like a wild bird at all, being extremely friendly and landing on the kids. What was really noticeable, however, was that the bird could make sounds that imitated human phrases. And in that collection of verbal enunciations, the bird was apparently taught how to swear. Just like a like a pirate’s parrot, the crow was barking up a storm, completely flavored with salty language. When the local animal officers showed up to deal with the bird, they took one look at the fiasco and culprit and decided it wasn’t their type of case to deal with. The folks backed up and refused to do anything further. Eventually, however, the bird was in deep doo-doo. The Oregon State Police wildlife officer showed up instead. This time, the law was going to be applied, even if the bird didn’t have a clue what that meant.

The first question with the officer’s presence was exactly how to catch the crow. No one really wanted to use a net in case it traumatized what was clearly a friendly animal. However, every time the officer tried to get control, the crow would show around or next to one of the kids and hide. As it turned out, the government had to give up, and the bird spent the night on the school roof or nearby when the kids went home.

The avian culprit had clearly learned a wide vocabulary. By local count, it had something near 40 different words it could use, and the bird mental dictionary apparently got bigger with more interaction with the school kids. As it turned out, the bird had a name and was indeed cared for by humans earlier in its life. Cosmo was a recovered baby crow at the time who was cared for by Daphnie Colpron’s mother years earlier. Cosmo took quite a liking to the family and the farm they lived on as it grew to adulthood, chasing the family dogs and raising a ruckus during the day.

As it turned out, Cosmo, in her older age, decided to broaden interaction with humans, and started targeting local schools for more talking and play with human children. The bird began to learn the arrival schedule and made itself a regular at a local preschool before showing up at Allan Dale Elementary. Daphnie thought Cosmos had disappeared at one point after coming back from a holiday when they found out Cosmo had been captured and turned over to a bird sanctuary. However, Cosmo didn’t mingle well with other birds, and the sanctuary released her. Back she went to humans and daily chattering with local kids in Grants Pass. Daphnie and family eventually picked up Cosmo and took her home again, and the bird is doing just fine.

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The Giant Garbage Monster in the Baltimore Harbor

Danielle S

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If you happen to be in Baltimore and looking out on the water, don’t be surprised if you see a gigantic contraption with cartoon eyeballs chugging along in the water. You have been blessed with being witness to the Mr. Trash Wheel doing its job.

Trash interception, or the process of diverting pollution and garbage from ending up in natural locations or general landfill, has been a fundamental function of cities for decades. In particular, big cities have been challenged with improving their garbage removal as well as finding ways to recycle better. The Mr. Trash Wheel is one of the latest, more creative approaches developed in Baltimore, Maryland, particularly targeting the waterfront area that is seen by thousands every month. And, it’s also quite popular. When not gobbling up trash on the waterways, the Mr. Trash Wheel has become a popular target for social media selfies.

Design-wise, Mr. Trash Wheel operates as a floating garbage interceptor catching floating debris and consumer trash in the Jones Fall water path, a part of the Baltimore Inner Harbor water system. With an over-emphasized mouth and goofy eyes, the interceptor already has a fan club among locals in Maryland, and the city management is quite pleased with its actual garbage removal performance as well. Had it not been for this particular interceptor, thousands of pounds of floating trash would simply make its way out to the Atlantic Ocean affecting coastlines up and down Maryland state and further.

John Kellet can take credit for the Mr. Trash Wheel. A local business founder of Clearwater Mills, he began to become personally irritated by the amount of trash Kellet would witness after every storm, with the new drainwater pushing trash through the Harbor to the ocean. So, he decided to do something about it. With a bit of thinking and creativity, Kellet realized the market was entirely missing a viable tool for job. So, his entrepreneurial side kicked in, and Kellet took on the job of creating a solution.

Plastic has been the biggest factor of the problem. It doesn’t degrade, it floats, and it’s poisonous to wildlife. So, Kellet targeted that part of the trash environment first. Since that first development, the Mr. Trash Wheel, has since diverted well over 3 million pounds of plastic garbage, as well as other floating material picked up in the Harbor. The tool has been so effective, three more units were created to help keep the Harbor clean as well.

Interestingly, the Trash Wheel design is not very high tech. It incorporates a simple water paddle that utilizes the water’s own motion and power to work. As the water pushes against the mill paddles, it powers the unit’s operation (or with solar power), which scoops out track and floating material from the water and puts in on a conveyer track. This in turn pulls the trash up and out of the water and into a catch container for removal. The feed occurs via bouy net that traps the debris as it floats in the water towards the Trash Wheel. The trash container then just gets periodically emptied while the Trash Wheel works 24/7. Even more noticeable, the units can be managed remotely, increasing the pump function to turn the wheel as needed.

The benefits of the Trash Wheel in Baltimore’s Harbor have been immediate and noticeable. The device was extremely effective, and the floating trash levels dropped significantly after just the first few weeks. With the results so obvious, the additional three Trash Wheels were ordered by the municipality and put into action elsewhere in Baltimore’s waterways.

The story just goes to show as bad as consumerism and trash can get, people can be just as creative and effective in cleaning pollution up if they put their mind to it.

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BackHoes coordinated to “Dance” to Metallica

Amanda J

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Dance is an art of meaningful selected sequences of human movements performed rhythmically. Due to the change in industrialization, today, dance is practiced by many machines such as robots, which imitate human moves.

Aside from imitating human rhythmic movements, dance bears some profound message, including expressing an idea or emotion and realizing thoughts or feelings.

This art of actual dance has existed in India for more than 6200 years B.C, and while studying the first dynasty of Egypt, it has been there since 3000 B.C.

Much archaeological evidence gives relief showing a kind of dance or body language as Egypt’s culture advanced. Also, some paintings were made depicting musicians and dancers.

In the early days, Americans, Australians, and Africans originally danced for spiritual entertainment reasons. People will dance at funerals weddings after a harvest. However, some of these reasons still influence dance to date.

Today most people dance for entertainment purposes, keep the body fit, celebrating something significant like a wedding, winning, or birthday while others use dance as a source of income.

Recently a Quebec firm has taken dance to a whole new level with its fleet of construction vehicles performing a synchronized dance to a classical version song.

This construction firm gave a new purpose to the words ‘heavy metal’ by performing a dance routine using backhoes, something we have never seen before.

Montreal heavy metals and backhoes make an excellent natural combination. This is after all the is equipment heavy and made from metal. Recently a Quebec construction firm has decided to take the pairing a step further.

According to the video published on Youtube, workers of Bertrand Ostiguy Inc., a Sheffield based excavation firm, decided to take their excavating trucks through some unusual dance

Moves, which were all strategically planned and written for an orchestra play version of Metallica’s classic ‘Nothing Else Matters.’ By Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica.

Imagine the excavators’ dip, spin, bow, and pivot in concert, displaying a rare epic show at either construction sites or Metallica moshpits. The video on Youtube was shot by a young 14-year-old teenager Julien ARES whose uncle owns the company.

“For a very long time, my uncle had this idea. At a glance, we did a zoom for Christmas, and the idea popped out about doing the dancing excavators; we all laughed hilariously at the concept but honestly, we were thinking about it all night.” said Julien.

At a glance, I wanted to do something slow and rhythmic since the excavators are gigantic, and they are annoying slow, and because of this, I wanted a slow song. Unfortunately, the initial songs had too many high notes, and I wanted something with more bass. That’s when my uncle suggested he look up at the legendary hard rockers.

Surprisingly at this young age, Ares has been making and shooting videos for his older brother’s company. Julien Ares’s ambition is larger than a few dancing backhoes.

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Real Life Dopplegangers of Cartoon Characters

Liz L

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Have you ever met someone you thought you knew? What if that person turned out to be a dead-on ringer for a cartoon character? What would you do? Would you say something to the person about it? Don’t be surprised if someone beat you to it. There are dozens of folks walking around in real life that have a surprisingly accurate resemblance to cartoon characters, both classic as well as modern. Here are some examples.

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