Which of these tribal festivals will you be a part of in 2020?

Post 8872

Which of these tribal festivals will you be a part of in 2020?

| Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Many of Sarawak’s indigenous communities have called the state home for thousands of years. All these communities contribute to Sarawak’s unique culture and colour.

With so many different communities, it is no surprise then that the state is home to a wide variety of cultural festivals. These festivals ensure the remembrance of their cultures and heritage stays alive amidst the relentless onset of modernisation. While Sarawakians generally welcome everyone to join in their festivities with open arms, there are certain traditional festivals which require an invitation because of its prestige within the particular community.

Here is a list of some of the prominent cultural festivals that Sarawak’s indigenous communities celebrate, two of which are open to anyone, wherever in the world you may come from!

Gawai Dayak

Gawai means ‘festival’ in Iban while the word Dayak is to represent that this is a festival celebrated by the Sea Dayak and Land Dayak, who are respectively known as the Iban and the Bidayuh.

The Gawai Dayak is a festival celebrated by the Iban and Bidayuh to mark the end of the harvesting season. It also celebrates the beginning of the planting season.

The official date of the harvest festival is between 1st and 2nd June. However, different villages may have different dates depending on the decision of their Ketua Adat (Custom Chief). What is consistent is that it is important for those living away from the village to try and come home to help bring in the harvest and celebrate afterwards!

In 1957, Tan Kingsley and Owen Liang, two local radio programmers, first brought up the idea of Gawai Dayak. The British colonial government initially refused to recognise Dayak Day, calling it Sarawak Day instead. It was only in 1962 that Gawai Dayak was officially recognised.

On Gawai eve, the Tuai Rumah conducts miring (blessings and thanksgiving ceremonies). They do this by making offerings to departed ancestors, deities, and spirits. This ritual is to cast away the spirit of bad luck.

Gawai Dayak is a lively festival of traditional music, good food, and games. It does not only preserve the important heritage of the Dayaks, but it also celebrates unity, aspiration and hope for the community.

Of course, Gawai Dayak wouldn’t be complete without (way too) many servings of tuak, a locally-brewed rice wine. Tuak is also an essential part of many other indigenous festivals as well. A stronger alcoholic beverage made by the Iban by distilling tuak over a fire is called “langkau“, or arak tonok by the Bidayuh.

Iban and Bidayuh homes are also open during this festive day to allow visitors a glimpse into their lives. Be sure to come wearing colourful traditional costumes. Don’t be shy to participate in their activities and try their amazing food and tuak!

Pesta Kaul

A prominent festival celebrated by the Melanau is Pesta Kaul. This festival is an annual “cleansing” of uninvited spirits and bad influences. Kaul means ‘coming together’ in the Melanau language.

The Melanau celebrate Pesta Kaul to thank the Ipok (spirits/guardians) for a bountiful harvest. They also pray for the Ipok to protect them and bless them with a better crop the coming year.

Pesta Kaul is celebrated during bulan Pengejin (the month of the spirits), which is the first month of the Melanau calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, bulan Pengejin normally falls between March or April.

This year, the official dates for Pesta Kaul are April 18th and 19th at Taman Kala Dana Mukah in Sarawak however the festival runs for a whole week! If you book now, flights are still good value but will undoubtedly go up nearer the festival!

During Kaul, the Bapa Kaul (Father of the Kaul) officiates the festival by singing mantras. Over the course of the week, people will bring traditional food to the river mouth to share and eat together. Villagers build huge swings, called “tibou”, for them to play with and entertain the spirits. There will be stalls selling different foods and many traditional games.

The highlight of the festival is the ceremonial offerings of food, cigarettes and betel nut sent in the form of Seraheng, an arrangement created by leaves of the sago palm. This procession is led by the Melanau elders.

In up-river Melanau towns such as Dalat and Medong, they celebrate Pesta Kaul by participating in traditional canoe races and other river sports. However, in more modern times, they can often be seen racing power boats instead.

As bulan Pengejin is the first month of the Melanau calendar, it is also the celebration of the Melanau New Year.

Gawai Antu

One of the famous traditional festivals of Sarawak is Gawai Antu, celebrated by the Iban. The name Gawai Antu means “Festival for the Departed Souls”. It is an occasion to honour those who have passed away since the previous Gawai Antu.

Gawai Antu is a rare event, held only once every generation for any longhouse. As Gawai Antu is held in extremely high prestige by the Iban community, it is a festival that people cannot partake in without an invitation. So if you get invited, be sure you don’t miss the chance to attend!

There is no fixed date for the celebration, and due to its expensive nature, it takes at least one to two years to prepare for the ceremony. However, due to the time pressures of the modern age, it is usually held in December to coincide with the longest Malaysian school holidays.

The origins of Gawai Antu are linked to the Iban legend and hero Sarapoh. He was the first to propagate the traditional rites of death and mourning. The spirit Puntang Raga reached out to Sarapoh after the death of his parents to teach him how to prepare their bodies for burial and the proper mourning rituals. These rituals continue to this day.

They begin with the longhouse chief holding a meeting to inform the other occupants of his intention to hold the Gawai Antu. The festival will only happen if everyone in the longhouse agrees. The chief descendant of the eldest deceased person is appointed as Feast Chief. He will then delegate work to different households to do before, during, and after the festival.

During Gawai Antu, the Iban celebrate the dead through significant memorialisation rituals. It is a day of traditional dance, song, feasts, and cockfighting. Many rituals involve the drinking of tuak and are led by the longhouse elders. The festival ends with the erection of the sungkup (memorial hut) on every grave.

The Iban celebrate Gawai Antu to complete the final transformation of the dead into merantu (spirits). This festival also establishes the dead in a longhouse of their own. It provides them with the means for a self-sufficient existence, independent from the world of the living.

Gawai Antu is a festival that all Iban people must celebrate at least once in their lives. Failure to do so may deem them as disloyal to their people.

Pesta Nukenen


Pesta Nukenen is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the Bario Highlands region of central Sarawak that is home to the Kelabit. Not only is getting to Bario Highlands an experience on its own but if you make the effort at this time, you will also be joining one of the best food festivals that Sarawak and probably the world offers!

The dates differ from year to year, so be sure to keep an eye out for when Pesta Nukenen will be held in 2020. Visit sarawaktourism.com/events for more information.


Pesta Nukenen

For several years now, the Kelabits have been organising Pesta Nukenen to showcase their tradition and culture. There are dances, singing, traditional games, plenty of activities, and as you’d expect, a wide array of good food. The people of Bario hold this festival so the world can experience their culture and get to know them and their customs. The best part is that it is all free.

The hiking trails and rainforests in the Bario Highlands mean you have plenty of organic activities to get involved in and work off all that good food. You can trek up the highest national park in Sarawak at Pulong Tau, or even stargaze at night and marvel at how little light pollution there is. But as progress finds its way to every corner of the globe, who knows how long it’ll stay so special?

Pesta Nukenen helps preserve the heritage of Bario Highlands as one of the last traditionally farmed and forested highlands in Sarawak. It also shows the world the beautiful and colourful culture of the Dayak Kelabits.

Borneo Cultural Festival

Last but not least, there is the Borneo Cultural Festival held in Sibu, a short flight from Kuching. BCF, as it is commonly known, is celebrated by Sarawakians from all walks of life. It is a celebration filled with traditional food, and multicultural dance and music. BCF happens every year sometime between July to August, and it is open to anyone.

The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) first organised BCF in 2005. Besides food, dance, and music, there are also contests, beauty pageants, food stalls, funfairs, and product exhibitions. This colourful and vibrant festival draws a crowd of approximately 20,000 every year.

BCF is a one-week long festival highlighting the diverse cultural backgrounds of Sibu, which has become a cultural melting pot for many Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Malay, Melanau, and Chinese. It is celebrated to promote the “Beauty in Ethnic Diversity” within Borneo and to the world.

Known as one of the biggest festivals in Sarawak, this is definitely one festival that you wouldn’t want to miss! It is the perfect opportunity to experience the diverse culture of Sarawakians firsthand.

Unless you live in Sarawak, it may be difficult to attend all of these amazing festivals but at least one should be on everyone’s bucket list for 2020.

Orangutans and otters strike up darling friendship at Belgium zoo

Post 8863

Orangutans and otters strike up darling friendship at Belgium zoo

Just Another Normal Day on The Train: The Weird & Hilarious Things Happening On The Subway

Post 8804

Just Another Normal Day on The Train: The Weird & Hilarious Things Happening On The Subway

Miri http://misterstocks.com/trending/subway-photos
Dec 08, 2019

Scratch My Back?

In 2016, about 5.7 million people rode the New York City subway. Add in the number of subway commuters in the U.S. in general and we can conclude that it’s a popular mode of transportation. The subway is also where a sense of normalcy seems to stop.

People can be strange, and that statement isn’t truer than when talking about the folks you meet on a subway ride. Fortunately, a few of the peculiar antics of some subway commuters have been caught on camera. We compiled a list of weird, mind-blowing, and hilarious things that happen on the subway.

Inner Peace While Commuting

We’ve seen a contortionist, a hanging man, and now, there’s the yogist. We have to admit that this isn’t the first of subway yoga snaps we’ve come across but this lady is completely in the zone which makes the photo even more intriguing.
Leave alone the fact that she set up her exercise mat on the subway and started channeling her inner yogi, but we can’t fail to mention that she is quite limber. If she runs a yoga studio and was using this public display to drum up business, she definitely caught the attention of the man standing nearby.

What Can You Do While Waiting For The Subway? Shave Your Legs!

Life gets crazy, particularly if you have a 9 to 5 job that keeps you constantly on the move. Understandably, we might let ourselves go at times because we simply don’t have the time to perform some grooming needs.
On the other hand, the lady above proves that you can always squeeze in time to get some grooming done—like shaving your legs. A video of this woman shaving her legs, oblivious to her surroundings, was taken in 2018 at the subway stop in Times Square. The video and photos went viral because it isn’t something you see every day.

An Unusual Coffin Procession Straight To The Rails

The subway systems across the globe are popular modes of transportation, and they serve a wide range of commuters. Most people simply use this public means of transportation because it’s affordable. Plus, it often helps forego traffic. Also, some people prefer the subway because it allows them to ferry a diverse range of items at no extra cost.
Above, we see a group of men carrying a coffin to the subway. From what we gather, it isn’t empty. The photo is a still taken from a video that captured the extraordinary event. The gentlemen even managed to get the coffin past the turnstiles!

An Encounter With Some Subway Furries

What in the fur is going on above? We are still trying to wrap our heads around it, and we conclude that the gentleman above might be wearing some form of costume. The cosplay scene has expanded, and we won’t put it past the man above to have thrown on something for an impromptu convention.
The only shortcoming we see with his costume is the fact that it makes sitting rather difficult. We also can’t miss the furry set of ears! We imagine the tail kept the man on his toes the entire time.

This Man Is Not Amused With The Toenail Clipping Action That’s Going On

We’ve seen the woman who decided to shave her legs while waiting for the subway. Now, meet the woman who chose to clip her toenails in the subway. She’s keen on the task at hand and not bothered by her surroundings. However, the look on the man next to her spells out the disapproval we all feel.
Similar photos of subway commuters who clip their nails on the subway sparked numerous open letters shared online. One published on Mic.com back in 2013 sums what we would all like to tell the lady that her action is “disgusting and inhospitable.”

It’s A Good Day To Make A Fashion Statement By Matching Outfits With The Train Seat

There are self-proclaimed subway spotters who love to use the rapid transit system to pick up on new trends. It’s the place to see people step out in unique and fashionable clothes. On some occasions, you guys might even bump into someone wearing a similar outfit. However, it isn’t every day that you end up wearing something that matches something on the subway.
Call it sheer coincidence, but we believe there’s a reason why the man above ended up sitting on a subway seat with a pattern that matched the one on his shirt. The man looks quite happy with the accidental camouflage.

We Are Cordially Invited To An Artistic Snooze Session

It isn’t uncommon for subway commuters to take a snooze, particularly on long rides. After all, some of them travel very early in the morning to start off their day. On the other hand, others travel in the evening when going back home. One scene you don’t see often is a mass snooze session, like the one above.
Honestly, the image looks like it’s taken right out of a renaissance painting! The lot seems to have taken a train home from a party, which could explain why they were extremely fatigued. It seems to be alcohol-induced, and the poor guys couldn’t help but fall asleep in this artistic position.

Butcher Shop On The Go

We can now say we’ve seen it all after seeing what looks like a butcher shop inside the subway. The photo even sparked debate online concerning its authenticity. Have you ever come across a subway with a butcher stand selling diverse meat cuts?
As it turns out, there is a Chinese commuter train that does have a butcher stand inside the subway. In fact, it opens three days a week. The subway from the Cheongdam Station and a few others started operations in 2008, selling diverse agricultural products. Best yet, the products are apparently 30% cheaper compared to market prices!

The Curious Case Of The Great Dane

As long as they don’t appear dangerous, you can take your pooch along with you on the subway in London. It’s also required that the canines should remain leashed or within a crate. Also, they are not allowed on the seats. However, the Great Dane above broke all the rules.
The dog was spotted comfortably perched on a seat in the Underground Central line in London. The image first appeared on Reddit. Someone even commented that they saw the dog’s owner carrying the pooch in the escalator! According to the subway rules, this is to prevent them from hurting their paws while getting on and off.

TBH, We’re More Concerned About The Guy On The Bottom Right…

Halloween is that day of the year that brings out all the crazies, and a ride on the subway is quite something on this occasion. However, when it isn’t Halloween or a day close to the spook-tacular holiday, anyone wearing a costume on the subway raises curiosity.
There isn’t an occasion when seeing anyone dressed up as The Nun would be less scary. The photo above doesn’t help things. It’s even creepier when you look at the man sitting on the bottom left side of the photo. This is one train we are happy to have missed.

There’s A Glitch In The Matrix 

When you enter the subway, you should open your mind to witnessing the unconventional. It can sometimes be like watching an episode of The Twighlight Zone. You might be traveling with regular folk, and the trip might start normally before something unusual catches your attention.
It looks like a scene right out of the Matrix, and we’re left wondering if what we’re seeing is some form of a glitch. Perhaps the bald gentlemen were from a Mr. Clean convention, or—as we have come to realize about all things that happen on the subway—it’s just a coincidence.

The Aftermath Of A Hair Raising Fight

All sorts of people use the subway, and there are bound to be a couple of misunderstandings. We’ve seen videos of subway arguments sparked by small things. There’s that one commuter who accidentally stepped on toes or that person hogging a seat.
Most of these brawls usually start at the subway stop, and the photo above seems to capture the aftermath of one. It seems like some hair extensions were lost, a couple of toupees, and handfuls of strands. If anything, this is a fight we would have wanted to witness in video form because it looks like it would snatch our wigs off.

Pest Control Services Required

You never know what kind of pests and critters are drudged into the subway daily. Fortunately, subway trains run a lot of advertisements. Actually, we bet one of them is about pest control services that can greatly benefit the transit service providers.
The photo above is one of those perfectly timed pictures, which gives a subliminal message. Below, we can see a bunch of crabs congregated, which leaves us with more questions unanswered. Above, we see an advertisement. Combined with all the crabs below, it provides an entirely different message.

We Feel Sorry For The Owner Of This Missing Lunch

The subway also provides an opportunity to meet new people and strike up interesting conversations. However, most people often prefer to keep to themselves, and the best way to create that shield is by staying glued to your phone.
Perhaps, on this particular day, the sandwich stuck on the subway’s doors would have been a great conversation starter. Most couldn’t even resist taking a photo of it! Our guess is that the sandwich owner was getting off the train just when the doors were about to close. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get their lunch out on time.

It Never Hurts To Smile

Continuing with the subject about meeting new people on the subway, if you are one of those people who set out to make new friends, it all starts with a smile. Before you even say a word to anyone, your body language will make them decide whether or not they want to engage with you.
The guy above with his permanently plastered creepy face mask might not make you warm up to them. In fact, you might want to move a few seats away from him because you can’t tell what’s going on underneath the mask.

A Good Night’s Rest

Going back to sleeping on the subway, if you’ve ever caught a good rest on the train you know that it’s quite possible and refreshing. Not everyone can get a good rest with the motions of the train and they might need a little help to enjoy some shut-eye.
Case in point is the guy above who decided to make the most out of his commute by getting as comfortable as he could. He set up a hammock and didn’t have any trouble catching some much-needed sleep on his way to wherever he was headed.

Before And After?

This picture sums up what New York City is all about – diversity. NYC is the hub of various ideas and art movements, and it’s also a melting pot of different cultures. Ethnic diversity is often a controversial subject but we choose to focus on the positives.
That’s why we can’t help but break into a smile seeing this picture because if anything it reminds us of the bigger picture. It sends an even stronger message about what NYC represents. It’s the city that gave a home to everyone who needed it and amongst the few places where you can snap such a photo.

What… Can’t A Girl Just Hang Around?

Here is yet another case of a subway commuter just hanging around. There’s possibly sitting space around and therefore, we must assume that this lady took the subway to put on a show. For some reason, other travelers have steered clear of the area.
We’ll give it to her for having the courage and flexibility to perform such moves in public. She clearly set out to entertain and that’s what she’s achieved. We still feel antsy about subway hangers because they heighten their chances of a slip and fall incident.

Keep Cool And Stay Still

Let’s start by giving it to the lady sitting next to the covertly dressed creature. She might as well have a Ph.D. in minding her own business because if it were anyone else they would probably break out in laughter or possibly run away.
But who’s the fella who looks like they rolled in the meadow only to catch the subway to wherever? Could it be a sniper or soldier in training on their way to a covert training session? We’ll never know but this photo serves to remind us that you have to be ready for anything when you take a subway ride.

Hold On To Your Nostrils!

It gets tiring keeping a 9 to 5 and relying on public transportation to get you between work and home. It doesn’t help if the distance traveled is far and the best of us have found ourselves catching some shut-eye on the subway.
The lady above must have been extremely exhausted to go into what we can best describe as a catatonic state of sleep in an equally peculiar position. We can’t imagine how she felt when she woke up because it might have felt like she had been punched in the face. If anything, we hope that she didn’t miss her stop.

Can It Get Any Darker?

In our opinion, two things are ruining this girl’s style. One is the fact that she’s riding the subway instead of flying away in a witches’ broom. The other is the color of her bag, which is not black.
But don’t get us wrong. We’re not criticizing this young woman’s style; on the contrary; we’re admirers of her commitment to her unique look. We cannot believe she went as far as getting a pet raven to complete it! Let’s hope she’s heading out to a beautiful Metal concert and not to a Salem-styled ritual fest where that well-behaved raven will most likely end up sacrificed.

Always Protect the Endangered Species

The problem with getting out of the house dressed as a giant panda is that society is not fully ready to accommodate you. The metro doors, for instance, were designed for people who are not dressed as a giant panda. For that reason, this lovely creature is making a fuss in the subway after getting stuck in the door.
Trying to help the endangered bamboo-loving species, these three subway officers are doing their best to push our giant panda inside the carriage. Let’s hope the man/woman wearing the suit will not be late for his/her panda-related appointment.

The Perfect Timing

When we first glanced at this picture, we felt very disturbed and creeped out. But after taking a closer look, we have realized this man’s head isn’t yellow. This funny and perfectly-timed snap is the work of a talented subway photographer who knows all there is to know about pressing ‘shoot’ in the best possible moment.
The nails in the subway’s yellow holding bar are an excellent replacement for the human eyes. Its circular shape kind of looks like a sort of head when seen from the right perspective.

She Comes In Peace

A lot of people just wear simple clothes when they ride the subway and it looks like everyone just wants to be left in peace and unbothered. For the woman in the photo above, it looks like she was in the mood to turn heads on the subway that.
She wore what looks likes a knitted alien mask. It’s either she was sleeping under the mask and didn’t want to mind the world around her or she wanted to entertain people. Either way, we’re sure it was a great story she told her friends and family.

Time Stands Still

The types of subway snoozers are diverse and we have the standing sleepers like the woman above. Sometimes you simply can’t fight off the heavy eyes, and the motions of the subway can lull the best of us into a state of slumber.
This lady must have had a super early morning and she couldn’t resist catching a few minutes of sleep. Fortunately, she has a metal aid with her that’s providing chin support and possibly keeping her standing even with the bumps experienced during a subway ride. For her sake, we hope the ride wasn’t too short so that she can rejuvenate.

Cool Outfit, Bro

We all know that it’s best to mind your own business and avoid eye contact when riding the subway. That’s unless you enjoy small talk or even ride the subway as a way of meeting new people or making friends.
However, we would break this rule if we were in the same subway as the man in the dress holding what seems like a duck-shaped mini boat. He went all out and paired his grey dress with white stockings and we can’t help but wonder the story behind it all. The lady sitting nearby seems to be following her gut and decided to mind her own business.

Happy Feet Live At The London Underground

If you watched the movie called Happy Feet, then there’s a chance that you want to see a penguin in real life. For people in the London Underground, there was a day where the subway station was infested with penguins. Well, people in penguin costumes who didn’t have anything better to do that day.
It looks like all the people here were willing to spend money on this penguin train invasion because all their costumes are identical. They also completed the whole look by putting on face paint. The guy wearing the glasses on the right looked like he could care le

No, It’s Not A Tarantino Movie

Kids are adorably cute and when we come across them on the subway most of us can’t help making faces at them. This toddler, however, was out to leave other commuters in awe, showing off his flexible moves in sync with his mom.
Talk of a massive overdose of cuteness in one photo! It takes us back to when we were super flexible and can’t even recall it. The mom also gets points for going along with the picture-perfect move. We are sure this was a fun trip for the little one and also a memorable one.

Wow, Has Traffic Gotten That Bad?

Going back to the things that people bring on the subway ride along with them we wouldn’t have ever imagined seeing a car as one of them. The two conflicting modes of transportation barely makes sense, right? But we are once again proven wrong, and we have to wonder, was the traffic too much?
Also, how did he manage to get the automobile past the turnstiles? Maybe it’s a form of mobility support vehicle we don’t know about. Either way, he gets to enjoy the best of both worlds with his personalized choice of music, air conditioning, and comfortable seats.

Knitting Your Way To The Top

If you add up all the time we spend on the subway you’ll realize that it’s more than enough and also the best opportunity to pick up a new skill. You could polish your language skills by taking along books or audiotapes for the ride.
The man above decided to use the time to get some knitting done. He also seems to have gotten good at it because he’s donning a knitted ensemble which he probably worked on himself. He’s possibly an up and coming NYC designer who is ready to take the subway by storm.

It’s Always Training Time

Anna McNulty is a popular young YouTuber who is known for her series of flexibility videos and the photos she posts on her social media accounts. She’s even spawned several challenges with multiple people trying to achieve the ultra-flexible poses she does.
Above, she showed us how she passes the time when she’s waiting for the subway. We tip our hats at how she makes posing for the move look like she’s almost limbless. Great thing is that she offers flexibility tutorials on her YouTube channel and perhaps some of us who would like to learn a thing or two have hope.


Animals up-close

Post 8572

Animals up-close

Photographers allow us to get up-close and personal with animals all around the world.
A rhino baby, not named yet, walks outside for the first time with her mother Naima at Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Jan. 4. The rhinoceros baby was born on Dec. 28. (Remko de Waalde Waal/EPA/Shutterstock)
Cub panda Yuan Meng plays with its mother Huan Huan inside its new enclosure at The Beauval Zoo in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, central France on Jan 12.. The female panda gave birth to twins on Aug. 4, 2017, but one died soon afterwards. Nine-year-old Huan Huan and her male partner Yuan Zi arrived at Beauval zoo in January 2012 on a 10-year loan from China after intense, high-level negotiations between Paris and Beijing. Huan Huan (meaning “happy”) and Yuan Zi (”chubby”) are the only giant pandas living in France. Breeding pandas is notoriously difficult and this is the first time a cub has been born in France. (GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
A sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) hunts at a bird feeder near Pomaz, 23 kms north of Budapest, Hungary, Jan. 2. (ATTILA KOVACS/EPA/Shutterstock)
An Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) at the zoo in Heidelberg, Germany, Jan. 9. (RONALD WITTEK/EPA/Shutterstock)
A submerged Hippo is seen at the Joburg Zoo in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jan.11. The Joburg Zoo is an 55-hectare (140-acre) zoo established in 1904 and houses about 2000 animals of 320 species. (KIM LUDBROO/EPA/Shutterstock)
Khansa, an eight-month-old critically endangered Bornean orangutan shows off it’s two front-teeth, at the Singapore Zoo on Jan. 11 in Singapore. The Singapore Zoo is active with its breeding programs as part of its wildlife preservation efforts. (Wong Maye-E/Associated Press)
Pama, a female elephant, eats at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, southern Germany. (SEBASTIAN GOLLNOW/AFP/Getty Images)
Lion cubs are presented in the zoo in Gdansk, Poland, Jan. 4. Three males and one female were born at the end of the Dec. 2017. Currently, the lion family in Gdansk’s zoo have five males and five females. Lion cubs in zoo in Gdansk, Poland. (Adam Warzawa/EPA/Shutterstock)
The eyes of a Siberian Husky dog in Sokolniki Park in Moscow on Jan. 13. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A tolypeutes rolls itself up in the hands of a keeper at a zoo in Muenster, western Germany on Jan. 5. Tolypeutes are the only armadillos which can roll themselves up in case of danger. (BERND THISSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Templeton the pig roams at Cozy Critters Farm near Sour Lake, Texas. Rural animals continue to face issues of parasites, bacteria and trauma from Hurricane Harvey. (Guiseppe Barranco/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)
A great tit bird flaps its wings in the village of Troitskoye, outside Moscow, on Jan. 14. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in its enclosure at a wildlife park in Frankfurt, Germany. (PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
An Asian small-clawed otter, the smallest otter species in the world, feeds on fish in its enclosure at the Singapore Zoo on Jan. 11 in Singapore. (Wong Maye-E/Associated Press)
A Rosy Pelican allopreens at Alipoor zoo enclosure in Calcutta, India. (PIYAL ADHIKAR/EPA/Shutterstock)
Villagers (unseen) bring a buffalo for a fight on the occasion of the Magh Bihu festival in Morigaon district of Assam state, India, Jan. 15. Although the Supreme Court has banned animal fights in some parts of the country, yet the restriction has seemingly no takers in Assam. People of Assam have organized the popular buffalo fights on the occasion of the Annual Magh Bhihu festival throughout the state. According to media reports, many of the organizers of such buffalo fights insisted that they cannot forego the age-old traditions of the Bihu Festival and they always ensure no animals are injured. (EPA/Shutterstock)
Dog “Neske” has snow in its face on Nov. 26, near Hofsgrund on the Schauinsland mountain in the Black Forest, southwestern Germany. (PATRICK SEEGER/AFP/Getty Images)
A wild animal, locally known as Binturung (Arctictis binturong) in a cage at Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency office at Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Jan. 12. (HOLIT SIMANJU/EPA/Shutterstock)
An injured female Long-eared owl, who likely suffered a concussion after striking a window and was rescued from the 14th story of a midtown Manhattan building Friday, is shown after being treated at the Wild Bird Fund, a New York city-based wildlife rehabilitation center. The owl, who spent the weekend recovering from her collision, was treated with anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotic eye drops by the rehabilitation center and recovered. She was released in New York’s Central Park on New Years’ Day under a supermoon. (Andrew Garn/Associated Press)
Alice Shull and her dog Oliver show their support for Framingham mayoral candidate. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)
An Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) spreads her wings at the zoo in Heidelberg, Germany, Jan. 9. (WITTEK/EPA/Shutterstock)
False gharial “De Gaulle” swims in its basin during the annual inventory of the zoo in Dresden, eastern Germany, on January 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Sebastian Kahnert / Germany OUTSEBASTIAN KAHNERT/AFP/Getty Images (SEBASTIAN KAHNERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Shown is Motuba, a male Western lowland gorilla, at the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Jan. 11. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)
An osprey poses in front of the camera at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Motion-detecting wildlife cameras are yielding serious science as well as amusing photos. From ocelots in the desert to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies, remote cameras are exposing elusive creatures like never before. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)
Female Gelada baboons, also known as bleeding-heart baboons, cuddle with their youngs in order to keep warm at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany. (Sebastian Gollnow/dpa via AP)
With her breath frosting up in the sub freezing temperatures, one of the Memphis Zoo’s African lions chills out morning, Jan. 2, in Memphis, Tenn. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal via AP)
A man feeds a seagull flying behind a ferry on The Bosphorus as the sun shines in Istanbul on Jan. 4. (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A freshwater stingray (Potamotrygonidae) enjoys a fish as it is being measured during the annual inventory at the Sea Life aquarium in Hanover, northern Germany, on Jan.11. (Holger Hollemann/AFP/Getty Images)
A white Indian goose splashes in the waters of a pond of a public garden during a sunny but a cold day in New Delhi, India, Jan. 10. (HARISH TYAGI/EPA/Shutterstock)
Two Adelie penguins swim in the Guadalajara Zoo, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jan. 13. The Guadalajara Zoo celebrated the arrival of three Adelie penguin pups, which will help the conservation of this threatened species. (ULISES RUIZ BASURTO/EPA/Shutterstock)
Ice bear Tonja swims in the water tank of her enclosure at the zoo in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Maurizio Gambarini/dpa via AP) (Maurizio Gambarini/dpa via AP)
A greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) housed in the basement vault of a brewery in Frankfurt/Oder in eastern Germany. (PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)

10 Times People Put Their Differences Aside And Helped One Another

Post 8394

10 Times People Put Their Differences Aside And Helped One Another



“I disapprove of what you say,” Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said (wrongly attributed to Voltaire), “but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It is a motto many people aspire to live up to—but it is not always easy. We tend to hold our opinions so tightly that we treat them as a part of who we are, and when someone disagrees, we often feel like it’s an attack.

Some people, though, have gone beyond what could possibly be expected of them. A handful of people have reached across the divide and risked everything to save the absolute last person they would ever be expected to help.

10A Rabbi Invited a KKK Grand Dragon to Live in His Home

A few days after Rabbi Michael Weisser moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, he got a phone call. The voice on the other end called him a “Jew Boy.” Weisser would be sorry, he said, that he had ever moved to his town. Two days later, a package of anti-Semitic pamphlets showed up on his door with a card that read, “The KKK is watching you, scum.”

Weisser soon realized he was being antagonized by Larry Trapp, the Grand Dragon of the KKK in Nebraska. Trapp, he found out, was a blind man who had lost both legs to diabetes. Instead of being angry, though, Weisser decided to reach out to him.

He started calling Trapp once a week and leaving messages offering to help him out. Eventually, Trapp picked up, and Weisser greeted him by saying, “I heard you’re disabled. I thought you might need a ride to the grocery.”

Trapp hung up, but he called back a few days later, shaken. He told Weisser, “I want to get out of what I’m doing and I don’t know how.”

Weisser visited Trapp and befriended him, and after a while even invited Trapp to move into his home. There, Weisser and his wife took care of the blind and disabled man. It worked. Trapp did not just quit the KKK—he ended up converting to Judaism.

9The First Black Mayor of Washington Calmed a Race Riot

When Martin Luther King Jr. died, people were angry. Across America, people started to riot. They smashed windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and even bottled the firefighters who tried to put the flames out. And in Washington, D.C, the man in charge of calming them down was Walter Washington: the man who, shortly after, would become the city’s first black mayor.

Washington was as angry as anybody else, but he didn’t think rioting would fix anything. “What’s new about it? Martin being shot?” Washington later questioned. A black man getting killed, he said, “isn’t new.” And burning down a city would not bring him back to life.

So, he walked down the streets of D.C., trying to calm people down. Instead of just ordering them to stop, he asked them to help the people whose homes had been destroyed. Of everyone he asked, Washington claims, only one person said no.

He was not able to completely stop the riot, but he calmed it down. One witness would later say, “Mayor Washington probably saved hundreds of lives.”

8Prison Inmates Save a Guard’s Life

Prison guard Kenneth Moon was sitting at his desk quietly when a prisoner decided to make a jailbreak. He rushed behind the unsuspecting Moon, wrapped his arm around his windpipe and tried to choke him to death.

Other inmates saw what was happening—and instead of taking the chance, they rushed to the rescue. Three men rushed over within seconds, knocked the attacker to the ground and started prying him off of Moon.

One, David Schofield, called the other guards for help—but before they even made it, a crowd of more than a dozen other inmates had rushed onto the scene to help Moon get back onto his feet.

“I was thinking about this is somebody’s father and somebody’s son,”Terry Carswell, one of the men who helped, said afterward when asked why he did it, “Nobody deserves to die like that.”

7A Man Got the Lynch Mob Trying to Kill Him to Donate to His School

Laurence Jones was nearly killed by a mob in 1918. Rumors had been going around that the black Americans in Mississippi were planning a rebellion, and when a white crowd heard Jones tell his congregation to “fight to survive and succeed,” they figured he must be the one behind it. He would have to die.

The mob dragged Jones out of the pines, where they put a rope around his neck and kindling under his feet. Then they gave him a chance to say his last words before he was hung and burned alive.

Jones told them about the school he had opened to educate black children who did not have the same chances as everyone else. He listed off the white men who had helped him get it off the ground, trying to call for unity. He must have been incredibly eloquent because it actually worked.

An old Civil War veteran recognized the names and realized Jones was telling the truth. “We have made a mistake,” the old white man told the mob. “We ought to help him instead of hang him.”

The mob pulled him down and even passed around a hat. They raised $52.40 for his school. Jones did not hold any grudges over it. “I have no time to quarrel,” he said, “and no man can force me to stoop low enough to hate him.”

6Muslims in Pakistan Built a Christian Church

The people in the Pakistani village of Khaksabad got worried when they heard about violence in the nearby town of Gojra. A Muslim mob had attacked a Christian community, and it had torn the whole town into a mess of violence and hatred. They did not want that happening in their town.

When their local Christian church was swept away in a monsoon, they got the chance to do something about it. The Muslims of the town started a fundraiser to help the Christians out, partly just out of sympathy and partly as a way to bring two split sides of the community together.

Muslims helped out eagerly, donating every penny they could, and they raised enough to build a brand new church for their Christian neighbors.

“A church is also a house of Allah,” one Muslim shopkeeper said about it. “We worship the same God.”

5A KKK Member Saved the Life of a NAACP Member

When John Brown was stationed in Vietnam, he found himself in command of a man named Rayford—in his words, “a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.” And Rayford was not about to take orders from a black man.

John Brown was, himself, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and having to deal with a racist like Rayford made him angry. Rayford would flat out refuse to follow Brown’s orders, and Brown would get extra hard on him in response, one time even slapping him in the face with his NAACP membership card.

When Brown’s life was on the line, though, he was saved by the last person he would have expected. His fingers had been shot off, he was under fire, and he thought he was going to die. Rayford, though, ran through a hail ofmachine gun fire to rescue him.

Despite their differences, Rayford got Brown to safety. Brown never saw Rayford again. The experience, though, changed his life. He would later say, “I learned that two people, no matter what their differences are, or races, can come together on one accord.”

4A Criminal Saved the Life of the Cop Who Was Booking Him

When Jamal Rutledge was dragged into the police station for violating his probation, it was hardly the first time his hands had been in chains.

He was locked in a room with Franklin Foulks, the officer who was booking him, when Foulks had a stroke. The officer collapsed to the ground, and Jamal was the only person who could see it happen.

Jamal tried to help him, but with his hands cuffed behind his back, he could not do much. So instead, he started kicking on the door and calling for help. Officers rushed in and gave Foulks CPR, saving his life.

The officer hailed Jamal as a hero and held a convention in honor of the man they had arrested. There, Jamal told the crowd his life would be different now; “People do bad things,” he said, “but they can change their life around.” From that day forward, Jamal promised, he would be an upstanding citizen.

It didn’t happen. Jamal has been in and out of jail since he was eight years old—it is hard to change what life has shaped you into. Jamal was arrested again before long, and is currently in prison. He is still a lifelong criminal—but, as he proved by saving Foulks life, he is also a human being.

3Larry Flynt Tried to Save the Man Who Shot Him

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt was shot and paralyzed by a white supremacist on a rampage. His attacker was Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer who added Flynt to his list for creating a photo shoot that put a black man and a white woman together.

Franklin was caught, and years later, he found himself on death row, waiting for a lethal injection. Only one person fought to save his life—and to his surprise, it was Larry Flynt.

He had confined Flynt to a wheelchair for life, but Flynt still didn’t want him to die. Killing Franklin, he believed, was an act of revenge that solved nothing. He teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed lawsuits to try to get Franklin off of death row, saying, “I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.”

It didn’t work, and Franklin ended up getting a lethal injection. Before he died, though, Franklin had a change of heart. He had to live alongside other races in prison, and it affected how he saw the word. He said, “I saw they were people just like us.”

2An Israeli and a Muslim Saved a Palestinian Terrorist

Ahmed Mansara was only 13 years old when he and his cousin ran through East Jerusalem with knives, stabbing innocent people.They were Palestinians, and they were ready to give their lives to send a message of terror to Israel.

The attack stopped when his cousin was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer. Mansara, panicking, ran for his life, but was hit by a car. A whole mob of people swarmed him, some yelling, “Die!” Some were calling him a “son of a whore,” and some called for the police to shoot him in the head.

Mansara, though, was taken to a hospital jointly run by a Jewish doctor and Muslim. Mansara was a murderer, but he was just a boy—and it was their job to save him. They treated his injuries, giving him priority over some innocent people on the argument that his wounds were the worst, and they saved the life of a terrorist.

“We don’t ask who you are,” Ahmed Eid, a Muslim doctor at the Israeli hospital, said when asked why he didn’t leave Mansara to die. “We treat the terrorist the same as we treat the victim.”

1The Civil Liberties Union Stood up for the KKK’s Rights

When the KKK adopted a part of the highway in Missouri, the state could not stop them from doing it. They had the same rights as everyone else, the Supreme Court ruled, and so if the KKK wanted their name on a highway clean-up sign, they had the right to do it.

Missouri, though, got the KKK back. They changed the name of the highway to “Rosa Parks Highway.” Infuriated, the KKK refused to clean it. Once they were derelict in their duties, the state could legally ban them from adopting a highway—and they did.

Since then, though, the KKK has been fighting for the right to adopt a highway, saying, “We just want to clean up the doggone road. We’re not going to be out there in robes.” And they have gotten support from the last group you would expect: the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU defended civil rights activists in the past, but they felt they needed to support the KKK this time. If the KKK lost the right to fight this in court, they argued, it would let the courts refuse to hear any group they wanted.

They defend equality and free speech, the ACLU argued, even if that means equality and free speech for the Ku Klux Klan.

This Crazy Person Loves to Cover His Hand With the World’s Grossest Bugs

Post 8354

This Crazy Person Loves to Cover His Hand With the World’s Grossest Bugs

Today 11:14am

GIF: YouTube / InsecthausTV

Do you have hobbies? Maybe cycling or carpentry or something low key? Well, this guy has a cooler hobby than you.

Adrian Kozakiewicz loves to cover his hand with gnarly bugs, film it, and then put the videos on YouTube. His channel, InsecthausTV, is one of the most fucked up and fascinating things you’ll see on the internet this week. There are also videos of insects crawling around on the counter, but the bugs-on-hand videos really are the best.

The young, Germany-based entomology enthusiast claims to be “one of the largest insect breeders in Europe,” and his social media game is strong. Not only is there the nasty YouTube channel, but the 20-year-old also keeps a well-stocked Facebook page, an Instagram account with over 160,000 followers, and a Snapchat. Now for some highlights from all of the above.

First, we’ve got the descriptively titled “INSECTS ON MY HAND !” It’s just all kinds of sinister little shits crawling on Kozakiewicz’s hand:

Now here’s “Biggest Snail in the World !” If you know the species, let us know in the comments.

Still not gnarly enough? Check out “Giant Fighter Crickets.”

Still not impressed? How about Idolomantis diabolica?

Now, let’s tone it down with some living leaves known as Phylllium giganteum.

My personal favorite, however, is Eurycantha calcarata, a species that resembles a spiky turd with thick legs.

Adam Clark Estes

Senior editor at Gizmodo.


Along the frozen trail

Post 8335

Along the frozen trail


For 25 years, intrepid mushers and their teams have completed the more than 200-mile icy loop that makes up the annual Can-Am Crown 250 sled dog race. On March 5, a Quebec competitor beat the field to the finish in Fort Kent, Maine, for an eighth title, a record. The Can-Am includes three races: typically 30, 100, and 250 miles. But it’s the longest race that you’ll hear about on the car radio, with updates slipped between songs as the race unfolds almost entirely out of public view. Spectators catch a glimpse of racers at the start, cheering the teams as they run through downtown Fort Kent before disappearing into the woods. The teams won’t reemerge for hours, miles away at Portage Lake, the first checkpoint, where they’ll stop to feed their dogs, bed them down on hay, and wrap them in blankets for a rest. Warm winter weather wreaked havoc on the usual course this year with ice starting to run on some rivers that racers usually cross, and some trails being rendered impassable. Officials rerouted the checkpoints, trimming the 250-mile race to 209. Even with the shorter haul, it still takes days to complete the race, with mushers resting at mandatory intervals and then heading back into the bitter cold to harness their dogs. Sleep takes place in spurts and many legs are run in the dead of night with only a headlamp to illuminate the narrow trail.–By Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
A team belonging to Gilles Harnois of Quebec waits patiently for the start of the 209-mile race. There are three Can-Am Crown races: 30, 100, and 250 miles, but some of the usual trails were impassable this year because of the thaw, and the longest race had to be shortened by 41 miles. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Dogs on Mainer Ashley Patterson’s team take off. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Brian J. Theriault, a master snowshoe maker from Fort Kent, Maine, watches the start. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
As the first racer pulls into Portage Lake after the initial 69.1-mile leg, two men hop off their snowmobiles to plant American and Canadian flags in a snowbank overlooking the area where the dogs must rest. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Salt coats a vehicle used to transport a team of dogs to the start of the 2017 Can-Am Crown. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Ice covers Maxime Leclerc-Gingras’s beard as the Quebec contestant crosses the finish line of the 30-mile race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Around dawn, a dog still covered by a wool blanket looks around the Lake Portage checkpoint. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Sled dogs hit the snow in Fort Kent, Maine, at the start of the Can-Am Crown, where spectators brave near-zero temperatures. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
A musher mixes hot water with food for her dogs at the Portage Lake stop. Mushers are required to carry everything they need for their own and their dogs’ safety. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Dogs begin to howl as they are strapped into their racing harnesses before being led to the starting line of the 2017 Can-Am Crown Race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
With temperatures near zero, bait fish left outside of a bob house are frozen to the ice near where mushers in the 209-mile race will cross. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Martin Massicotte of Quebec and his team cross Portage Lake at sunrise on the second day of the Can-Am Crown 250 (shortened to 209 miles this year because of an early thaw). From here, they will run the 54.5 miles to the Allagash checkpoint, then rest for four hours before the 45.5-mile leg back to the finish line in Fort Kent. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
A musher applies balm to his dog’s paw pads before the start of the race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Carl Routhier, of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, rests with his dogs at the Allagash checkpoint on the second day of the race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
A musher rests his hand on one of his sled dogs at the finish line of the 30-mile race. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
After their four-hour rest, Ashley Patterson and her team take off in the dark from the Allagash checkpoint. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Spring blossoms

Post 8334

Spring blossoms


Bleak winter landscapes transform into splendors of color all over the world.–By Leanne Burden Seidel
A visitor walks below cherry blossoms in Wuhan University, in central China’s Hubei province on March 14. (AFP/Getty Images)
A visitor takes a picture of blooming cherry blossoms at Ueno Park in Tokyo, Saturday, March 25. Cherry blossom season has officially kicked off in Tokyo, marking the beginning of spring for the Japanese. (Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press)
People visit an area with rapeseed blossoms in full bloom in front of Mount Fuji at Azumayama Park in Ninomiya, suburb of Tokyo, on Feb. 13. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
Almond trees in full blossom stand in a field near the West Bank city of Nablus, Feb, 21 (ALAA BADARNEH/EPA)
Crocuses and spring snowflakes blossom three weeks ahead the beginning of spring on March 3, in Cologne, Germany. (FEDERICO GAMBARINIAFP/Getty Images)
Eve Chick, 3 years old, runs under cherry blossoms at the Moomin Adventures at Kew Gardens Easter Festival at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, March 30. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)
The Eiffel Tower rises from behind blossoming flowers and trees, in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 14. (Christophe Ena/Associated Press)
Tourists take photos of the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, USA, March 25. Despite the late season freeze that damaged half of the cherry blossoms people are out in the warm weather to see the annual bloom. (SHAWN THEW/EPA)
Visitors enjoy the cherry blossoms at the Yuyuantan Park during spring festival in Beijing, Wednesday, March 29. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)
A bird flies by flowers of an orange silk cotton tree, which is popular in central Myanmar for its edible flowers, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Myanmar’s summer season starts in March and ends in early June. (Aung Shine Oo/Associated Press)
A visitor takes photos as cherry trees around Tidal Basin are in peak bloom March 27 in Washington, DC. The blossoms survived after a late winter ice and snowstorm freezed and killed more than 50% of the developed Yoshino cherry blossoms two weeks ago. (Alex Wong/Getty Image)
A bee lands on a crocus blossom in the Old Southern Cemetery in Munich, Germany, March 5. Weather forecasts predict changeable weather for Germany during the next few days. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)
A man passes beneath a blossoming tree as he walks near a bed of daffodils in St. James’s Park in central London on March 16. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Cactus flowers blossom during the superbloom of wildflowers at the Anza-Borrego desert in Borrego Springs, California, USA, March 16. The once-in-a-decade event resulted from a winter of heavy rains soaking Southern California after years of drought. (EUGENE GARCIA/EPA)
A view of flowering Magnolias at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany, March 29. (RONALD WITTEK/EPA)
Visitors pick tulip flowers in the first Italian tulip field, planted by a Dutch couple to recreate the tradition in the Netherlands where you can pick your own tulip, in Cornaredo, near Milan, Italy, , March 29. (Antonio Calanni/Associated Pres)
Sleet falls on tree blossoms on Capitol Hill in Washington, early March, 14. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Flowers blossom on the Spree river shore in Berlin, Germany, March 24. (FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA)
A doll is placed in a cherry blossom tree while onlookers take pictures with their smartphones in the Gucun Park in Shanghai, March 4. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
A sea of blossoming crocuses covers the castle grounds in Husum, Germany, March 16. (Carsten Rehder/dpa via AP)
An almond tree blossoms as the snow covers Avila, Spain, on March 23. (RAUL SANCHIDRIAN/EPA)
A blossoming tree is pictured on March 10 in Herdecke, Germany. (BERND THISSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Rosegold pussy willow emerges at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston on March 13. (Lane Turner/Globe Staff)
Blossoming almond trees on a property in the town of Librilla in Murcia, Spain, Feb. 16. (MARCIAL GUILLEN/EPA)
A bee hovering over crocus flowers looking for food on one of the first sunny, spring-weather days this year in Warsaw, Poland, March 27. (Czarek Sokolowski/Associated Press)
Flowering almond trees on display in a street in Gimmeldingen near Neustadt, Germany, March 20. (RONALD WITTEK/EPA)
A couple walk past spring flowers at the end of a clear spring day, in Pamplona, Spain, March 28. (Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press)

Animal expressions

Post 8331

Animal expressions


A look at the interesting faces of all kinds of creatures and different forms of communication among the species.–By Leanne Burden Seidel
Almost two-year-old baby orangutan Dalai looks on in the zoo in Dresden, Germany, March 30. Dalai was born to mother Daisy in June 2015. (FILIP SINGER/EPA)
The 14-week-old polar bear winks at the zoo Hellabrunn in Munich, Germany on Feb. 24. (GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
A lamb jumps around while frolicking in a pasture at Scandia Creek Farm in Poulsbo, Wash., on March 8. Vehicle traffic on Scandia Road often comes to a complete stop with those passing by taking a moment to watch the antics of the lambs, which are a sure sign of spring. (Meegan Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP)
Orangutan keeper Devi Sumantri (L) holds Vena, a seven-month-old baby orangutan at the Air Hitam Besar village. Villagers on the Indonesian part of jungle-clad Borneo island often keep the critically endangered apes as pets even though the practice is illegal. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
A dophin during the Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue event at Brookfield Zoo on April 2, Brookfield, Illinois. (Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images)
Cows frolick around as they enter a meadow of a farm in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, The Netherlands, March 20. The cows were released back to the open range after spending the winter indoors. (OLAF KRAAK/EPA)
Amarok, a wolf of the species ‘canis lupus’ in the Santa Fe Zoological Park in Medellin, Colombia, April 6.. The wolf was found in the Colombian municipality of La Estrella (northwest) and will be transferred in the next few days to a sanctuary in the United States, where he will continue his recovery process and will be intoduced into the wild. Amarok will join a pack at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, in Denver, a center dedicated to the rescue of this species. (LUIS EDUARDO NORIEGA A./EPA)
A Siamang swings on ropes at the Pittsburgh Zoo in Pittsburgh, March 28. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
A white lion cub yawns on the back of the mother ‘ Kiara’ in their enclosure in the zoo in Magdeburg, Germany. Four white lion cubs were born in the zoo on Dec. 25, 2016. (Peter Gercke/dpa via AP)
Whooper swans fight for food at Lake Tysslingen, near Orebro, Sweden, March 20. Hundreds of migrating swans descended these days on the lake on their journey north to breed. (JANERIK HENRIKSSON/EPA)
Malaysian tiger cubs play in a nursery at the Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Gardens, March 29, in Cincinnati. Three cubs were born on Feb. 3 to 3-year-old Cinta, a first-time mother, in the zoo’s captive breeding program who rejected her offspring prompting zookeepers to intervene. (John Minchillo/Associated Press)
A young Chinese crocodile lizard sits on the hand of an employee of the Dresden Zoo. in Dresden, eastern Germany, March 30. (Sebastian Kahnert/dpa via AP)
Viatu, a gorilla at the Frankfurt zoo, Germany, appears to be eyeing the photographer while at the gorilla enclosure, March, 22. (ARMANDO BABANI/EPA)
A baby Nile hippopotamus born prematurely , and named Fiona rests her chin on the rim of a tub in her enclosure at the zoo in Cincinnati on March 23. The zoo says the hippo, which weighed 29 pounds at birth and is the first Nile hippo born at the zoo in 75 years, is getting more independent and now tops 100 pounds (45.36 kilograms), meaning her days of napping on her human caretakers’ laps are dwindling. (Angela Hatke/Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Garden via AP)
A Weimaraner is judged on the third day of Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Arena on March 11, in Birmingham, England. First held in 1891, Crufts is said to be the largest show of its kind in the world, the annual four-day event, features thousands of dogs. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Visitors look at a walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) on March 6, in a zoo Hamburg. (AXEL HEIMKEN/AFP/Getty Images)
A ‘Scottish Fold’ cat presented during a cat exhibition in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, March 19. Cats breeders and owners from Kyrgyzstan gathered in Bishkek to present their feline pets. (IGOR KOVALENKO/EPA)
George Lewys, age 5, poses with two Forest Giant Owl butterflies (Caligo eurilochus) that sat on slices of oranges at the Natural History Museum on March 30, in London, England. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Lupita, a Cotton-top tamarin baby is carried by her mother at Franklin Park Zoo on March 3. These small primates can be found in the understory and canopy of the tropical forest in northwestern Colombia. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
A Sloth bear cub (Melursus ursinus) in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 24. The bear cub was born Christmas Eve. (FREDERIC SCHWEIZER/ZOO BERLIN/EPA)
Dogs at the Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Arena on March 10 in Birmingham, England. (Top row L-R) Freddie, a two-year-old French bulldog dog, Danny, a 3-year-old Japanese Chin dog, Prince, a 18-month-old Coton de Tulear dog, Nancy, a 18-month-old Lowchen or Little Lion Dog bitch, (Middle row L-R) Louis, a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier dog, Bentley, a three-year-old Bolognese dog, Mork, a 9-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog, Jackson, a 2-year-old Toy poodle dog, (Bottom row L-R) Oki, a Japanese Shiba Inu dog, Lamby, a 18-month-old Chihuahua bitch, Abfab, a two-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, and Agnes, a Pug bitch, (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
A green iguana sits at the zoo of San Salvador, El Salvador, March 3. (OSCAR RIVERA/EPA)
Orangutan mother Raja sits with her cub in their compound at the zoo in Leipzig, eastern Germany, April 3. The baby orangutan was born on March 25. (Jan Woitas/dpa via AP)
A baby pygmy hippo (R) in the water with her mother ‘Kambiri’ at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Zoo-goers in Australia were introduced to a rare baby pygmy hippo, the first of its kind born at Taronga Zoo in seven years. (PAUL FAHY/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost two years old male baby orang-utan Dalai rests to his mother Daisy in the zoo in Dresden, Germany, March 30. (FILIP SINGER/EPA)
A brown bear reacts to a quadrocopter drone launched by a visitor in a shelter for bears rescued from circuses and private restaurants of Ukraine, near Zhytomyr on March 24. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A 12-day old impala calf stands with its mother (2-R) and fellow impalas in their enclosure in Veszprem Zoo in Veszprem, Hungary, March 22. (Boglarka Bodnar/EPA)
A squirrel climbs a tree on March 14 in a park in Cologne. (HENNING KAISER/AFP/Getty Images)
Elderly Egyptian man, Naguib, and a stray dog and cat look out from the window of his burnt-out room where he lives along with stray dogs and cats at in Cairo, Egypt, March 11. (MOHAMED HOSSAM/EPA)
Lemurs play inside their enclosure at Tbilisi Zoo, in Tbilisi, Georgia, April 4. (ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE/EPA)
A pigeon eats a piece of bread in Moscow on April 6. (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
A toad tries to escape a bucket of voluntary frog rescuers near a main road near Hont, Budapest, Hungary, March 11. (Peter Komka/EPA)
Siberian tigers, who were donated by Riga Zoo in Latvia, rest in Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia on April 3. (Shakh Aivazov/Associated Press)
A healer feeds a cheetah cub born on Feb. 1, at the Safari Beekse Bergen, in Hilvarenbeek, on Feb. 21. (REMKO DE WAAL/AFP/Getty Images)
A gray goose (Anser anser) gives one of its chicks a bite to stop it from moving away from the group as the goose family swims in the nature reserve Wagbachniederung near Karlsruhe, Germany, April 6. (RONALD WITTEK/EPA)
A newborn male elephant-calf (C) walks with its mother and another herd member as it appears in their enclosure in the Cologne Zoo, in Cologne, Germany, March 20. The elephant baby was born the night before. (FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/EPA)
The club emblem peacock spreads his feathers as a female walks by near the fourth tee during the third round of the HSBC Women’s Champions at Sentosa Golf Club on March 4 in Singapore. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
An abandoned bear stands in its cage before receiving treatment from members of the international animal welfare charity “Four Paws” at the Mumtaz al-Nour zoo in eastern Mosul on Feb. 21. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Top 10 Celebrities Who Lived Double Lives

Post 8283

Top 10 Celebrities Who Lived Double Lives



Celebrities are a lot like us. They have secrets, and sometimes they even have aspects of their lives that, for one reason of another, they keep hidden for years. But, in Hollywood, your secrets can only stay hidden for so long.


10Joaquin Phoenix


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Joaquin Phoenix gained critical success for his role as rockabilly legend Johnny Cash in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line. Phoenix shined as the “Man in Black,” even learning to play the guitar and mimic Cash’s dulcet vocals. In the process, Phoenix gained a reputation for his extreme commitment to character, to the point that his roles often spilled into the actor’s personal life.

In 2012, Phoenix again garnered praise for his role in The Master. In the film, Phoenix portrayed a war veteran lured into a cult by its charismatic leader, played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. In preparation for the role, Phoenix drew from experience with a cult that he knew well—the one he lived with for many years.

As a child, Joaquin, along with his brother River, grew up in the controversial religious group called the Children of God. Phoenix’s family joined the group in the early 1970s and, during Joaquin’s formative years, traveled throughout South America with the church.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Phoenix explained his family’s infatuation with the group: “I think my parents thought they’d found a community that shared their ideals. Cults rarely advertise themselves as such.”

Ultimately, the family left the Children of God after becoming disenchanted, and Joaquin has put the whole experience behind him in pursuit of his prolific acting career.

9Dolph Lundgren


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Dolph Lundgren, a Swedish-born male model, made a name for himself, early, as a hypermasculine ’80s action star. With a black belt in karate, Lundgren began his career as a competitive martial artist while moonlighting as a club bouncer. It was at a club that Lundgren met, and began a relationship with, model-actress Grace Jones. His tryst with Jones would lead to a chance encounter with writer-director Sylvester Stallone and to Lundgren’s breakout role as Ivan Drago, the Soviet-bred antagonist of Rocky IV. The rest is Hollywood history, but acting marked a sharp turn away from Lundgren’s first career choice: chemical engineer.

Despite his macho persona onscreen, Lundgren possesses a genius-level intellect, and before he ever stepped foot in the ring with the “Italian Stallion,” Lundgren was a promising and sought-after academic star.

The actor excelled at science from an early age and was even offered a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lundgren describes the day he rode his motorcycle to meet with university staff: “The professors are waiting for the star student from Sweden and then they see me ride past outside all decked out in leather. They probably didn’t know what was going on.” Thankfully, Lundgren abandoned his career in academia, and we can all enjoy his talents in not one, but three installments of The Expendables.


8Rock Hudson


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Rock Hudson came to fame in the 1956 classic Giant, starring alongside heavyweights Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Hudson’s looks coupled with his boundless charm made him an instant celebrity.

Actors with Hudson’s talent rarely stay single long, and in 1955, Hudson married actress Phyllis Gates. However, unknown to Gates, the marriage was arranged by her employer and Hudson’s agent Henry Wilson. The coupling was meant to keep up appearances as Hudson, the man coveted by women around the world, was gay.

Predictably, Hudson and Gate’s marriage ended quickly, but due to societal pressure, Hudson would remain in the closet for several more decades. In 1984, Hudson defied years of suppression to publicize his sexuality, becoming one of the first openly gay stars in Hollywood and a model for generations to come.

A year later, Hudson also revealed his diagnosis with AIDS. Hudson used his image and fame to bring public attention to the disease and helped spread awareness of its dangers. Sadly, Hudson died in October 1985. He was 59. As one of the first openly gay men in Hollywood, and an early advocate for AIDS victims, Hudson’s legacy lives on to this day.

7Chuck Barris


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Barris came to prominence in the 1960s working as an assistant to Dick Clark. With a loan of $20,000, from his father-in-law, Barris was able to develop his first television show The Dating Game, which became a huge success. Later, Barris created The Gong Show, an instant classic, that showcased contestants performing wacky talents.

For most people, the life of a successful TV producer would be enough, but not for Barris. He liked to keep busy, and while working on various projects, the producer claimed to have been very busy operating covertly as a spy for the United States government.

In his 1984 autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Barris alleges to have been an assassin for the CIA during the ’60s and ’70s. While the claims of the book are dubious, and Barris offers no evidence to back them up, his story was interesting enough for George Clooney to make a movie out of it in 2002. Barris has gone on to write many more books, including Della: a Memoir of My Daughter, in which he recounts the tragic loss of his only daughter to drug abuse.

The CIA officially denies all of Barris’s claims about his time as a spy—but then they would, wouldn’t they?

6Caitlyn Jenner


Photo credit: US Mission to the UN

Bruce Jenner was born in 1949 in Mt. Kisco, New York. In high school, Jenner proved to be a gifted athlete, lettering in football as well as basketball. He once took up water skiing as a hobby and went on to become the East Coast All-Over Champion in 1966, 1969, and 1971.

After high school, Jenner attended Graceland College on a football scholarship, but he was sidelined by a knee injury that left him limited to basketball and track.

In 1971, Jenner participated in his first decathlon, and by 1972, Jenner was competing in the decathlon at the Munich Olympics, where he finished 10th overall in the event. In 1976, Jenner won the gold in the Men’s Decathlon at the Montreal Olympics and was declared, by the media, to be the “world’s greatest athlete.” Jenner accomplished all of this while living with a deep personal secret that wouldn’t emerge for another 40 years.

In 2014, Jenner announced his divorce from his longtime wife, Kris Jenner. A year later Jenner shocked the world when he revealed that he had undergone gender reassignment surgery. At the age of 65, Caitlyn Jenner, introduced herself to the world. In 2015, ESPN awarded Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and to this day, Caitlyn is one of the most prominent public figures to come out as transgender.



5Sam Hurd


Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Sam Hurd was once a talented college football star at Northern Illinois who was known not only for his skills on the field but also for his friendly personality and devout Christian faith. In 2006, Hurd’s hard work paid off when he signed a contract to play for his favorite childhood team, the Dallas Cowboys. Hurd was handed a chance at NFL fame, but Sam had other ambitions in mind.

It was a mere five years later, in 2011, that Hurd was arrested outside of a Chicago steakhouse. Like so many others in the NFL, this arrest was drug-related, but Hurd wasn’t interested in scoring a few ounces of weed on a Saturday night. No, he was busted while trying to purchase a kilogram of cocaine from an undercover cop.

Hurd, allegedly, told the officer that he wanted to purchase an additional 5–10 kilos of coke a week, as well as 1,000 pounds of marijuana. He planned to distribute the drugs throughout Chicago in an operation that would have given Walter White a run for his money. On top of this, Hurd told the cop he was already selling 4 kilos of coke per week.

As if these confessions weren’t proof enough of Hurd’s poor judgment, consider that, at the time of his arrest, he had just signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Bears reported to be worth $5 million. Rather than collect his massive paycheck, Hurd found himself in a courtroom in November 2013, where he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on the charge of drug trafficking. Let Hurd’s story be a lesson for all: Sometimes people can really screw up a good thing. Don’t believe it? Just google Aaron Hernandez sometime.

4Coco Chanel


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Coco Chanel, a legendary Parisian designer, was born in Saumur, France in 1883. By the age of 27, Chanel owned a successful clothing shop, and within a decade, she had launched her first perfume line and introduced the world to her “little black dress,” revolutionizing the fashion industry.

Unfortunately, by the 1930s, Chanel witnessed her native France invaded by Hitler’s army. Although France was quickly overwhelmed by the scourge of Nazis, many French citizens chose to resist the Germans at every turn. Chanel, however, was less than resistant. During the war, Chanel began dating a Nazi officer named Hans Gunther von Dincklage. This relationship might have been written off as a harmless, if not regretful, tryst, but renowned journalist Hal Vaughan claims otherwise.

In his book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War, Vaughan asserts that Chanel did not object to the Nazi occupation because she, herself, was an anti-Semite. Vaughan goes even further to claim that Chanel acted as a Nazi Intelligence operative. The journalist pens an intrigue-fueled story in which Chanel is portrayed as jet-setting across Europe, her Nazi boyfriend in tow, and acting as a celebrity ambassador for the Nazi regime.

After the war, Chanel absconded to Switzerland (not a suspicious move at all), but in later years, she was able to reestablish herself in France with the backing of the wealthy Wertheimer family. The Wertheimers still hold majority control the Chanel brand to this day but are reluctant to speak on Chanel’s wartime activities.

3Alice Cooper


Photo credit: Kreepin Deth

Heavy Metal frontman Alice Cooper always had a flair for the dramatic. Performing with his band of the same name, Cooper pioneered the art of Shock Rock, a stage performance that drew its style from the macabre and horror genres. He developed a stage-persona that capitalized on the band’s outlandish music, makeup, and behavior. In one of his more bizarre stunts, Cooper once threw a live chicken off stage, not knowing that the bird couldn’t fly. Cooper watched in horror as a rabid crowd tore the animal apart. With that stunt, Cooper may have cornered the market on shock, but few fans know his most shocking persona—that of a self-described “prodigal son.”

Cooper grew up in a strictly religious house, and both his father and grandfather preached the gospel as Evangelical pastors. After living for decades as a typical hard-drinking rock star, Cooper had a change of heart. The rock star finally saw the light, and for the past several years, he has lived as a devout Born-again Christian. Cooper hasn’t quit rocking, though, and he hasn’t completely abandoned his onstage antics, but now he views himself more as an actor playing a character when onstage. He has, however, removed the live poultry from his act.

2Patty Hearst


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Patty Hearst was born lucky. As the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst—think the 19th-century Rupert Murdoch—she was the heir to the fortune her family built through a media empire that thrives to this day. Yet, by the age of 19, it seemed that Hearst’s luck may have finally run out.

The world was shocked when, as a freshman at Berkeley University, Hearst was kidnapped from her dorm room by members of a homegrown terrorist group calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. The urban terrorists abducted Hearst with the goal of extorting a ransom from Heart’s wealthy family. The plan may have worked too, but sometimes plans, and allegiances, can change.

Two months into her abduction, Hearst again shocked everyone by announcing her full-fledged allegiance to her captors via released audiotapes. Some believed that Hearst was pressured into supporting the group, but all myths were dispelled when Hearst was caught, on camera, taking part in a bank robbery along with the SLA. Hearst was also culpable in extorting an estimated $2 million from her father, during her abduction.

In 1975 Hearst was arrested by the FBI, convicted of bank robbery, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Her sentence was subsequently commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and Hearst was released in 1979. Many have questioned Hearst’s actions during her abduction, and some have chalked up her behavior to Stockholm Syndrome, where a victim begins to identify with their captors overtime. Maybe Hearst, scared and young, was desperate to cope with her circumstances in any way possible. We may never know. As for her part, Hearst has remained tight-lipped about her time with the SLA.

1Vin Diesel


Photo credit: Wikimedia

Vin Diesel is known as a tough guy, and his roles in movies like The Fast and the Furious, Pitch Black, and xXx have done little to dispel that macho persona. But this tough guy might have the darkest secret of all. A secret so dark, so cloaked in mystery that Diesel has kept it locked away in the dungeon of his past for years. Until, during promotion for his movie The Last Witch Hunter, Diesel was forced to reveal his long-hidden truth.

Vin Diesel is . . . a closet Dungeons and Dragons player.

Actually, maybe not quite closeted. Diesel has given plenty of hints to his love for the role playing game throughout his career. Take, for instance, his role of Xander Cage in xXx. Diesel insisted that the character of Cage have the name “Melkor” tattooed on his chest. Melkor just so happens to be the name of Diesel’s real-life Dungeons and Dragons character.

Another nod to Diesel’s fandom came in 2004 when he wrote the foreword to 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons and Dragons. And then there was the time that Diesel posted a video, on his own YouTube channel, that featured him, and others, playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons that ended with Diesel declaring, “I just played a game of Dungeons and Dragons . . . and I had so much fun!”

Kerr lives in Texas, where he works as a high school English teacher by day and a freelance writer by night. He recently had his short story “Prospectors” published inHelios Quarterly.