The deceptions of the honey industry

Sometimes, honey bear wears a black hat.

Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener, an article (about 2,300 words) on the global honey conspiracy, from Canada's Globe and Mail.
"What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste.

None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry."
- Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener, The Globe and Mail>>
- Article as ONE PAGE>>

Would it have been better if this ad was faked? (The firefighter who was a real firefighter.)

"I was there." 
"No I wasn't!"

The reality of advertising clashes with the reality of the real world.

An advertising agency in New York created an ad for a local law firm to advertise attorneys who represent those harmed by illnesses related to the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. As is customary for such ads, they bought a stock photo image. The ad said:
"I was there. And now Worby Groner Edelman and Napoli Bern is there for me."
Unfortunately, the model they used in the photo was a real New York City firefighter. The model was Robert Keiley, who joined the FDNY in 2004 and was not at the World Trade Center during the disaster. Mr. Keiley's image was photoshopped to show him holding a photo of one of the twin towers. Said Mr. Keiley:
"I had friends who died on 9/11... How can I look their families in the eye if they see this picture, thinking I'm trying to make money on their [loved ones'] deaths? They'd probably think I'm a scumbag."
Barker/DZP, the advertising agency, responded:
"When creating the ad, we purchased stock photography of an actor dressed as a firefighter, and we obtained all required model releases and real property owner releases, specifically including use for any purpose (such as advertising) as well all rights regarding the manipulation and/or alteration of the image. This is standard procedure for advertising agencies."
However, the agency also apologized to everyone involved, reaffirmed their respect for firefighters, and withdrew from the assignment.

- Firefighter in 9/11 law-firm ad wasn't at 9/11, Adfreak>>
- Law firm's ad trick a 9/11 'insult'- New York Daily News>>

A strange, deceptive river

This is a real photo of a murky river, 
but all is not what it seems. 
Can you tell what's going on?
(Click to enlarge)

Another photo of the same river, 
this time with leaves on the shore.
A vertical black bar covers a clue.
(Click to enlarge)

Scroll down for the answer.

Here is your clue.

The river is underneath the water.

The river is an underwater river, 
and is composed of hydrogen sulfide.
(Click to enlarge)

The photos were taken by diver Anatoly Beloshchin in a cave at Cenote Angelita, Mexico.

A video of the underwater river explored by divers

3 magical photos, 79 years apart

Playing cards in Poland, 1930.
By Henri Cartier-Bresson
(Click to enlarge)

Guatemala City, Guatemala - A child is 
used on the street as a fortune teller to 
solicit money from passers-by, 1988. 
By Larry Towell 
(Click to enlarge)

Tskhinvalli South Ossetia Georgia - 
A circus show, 2009.
By Alex Majoli
(Click to enlarge)

I like these photos about magic from a collection (with more examples) showcased at Slate for magician Harry Houdini's birthday>>

The photos are from Magnum Photos>>

The giant baboon optical illusion

 Is a huge baboon about to crush the car?

The clues to the deception are at the edges of the photo.

Why are optical illusions like this interesting? With all the image editing that can be done easily with digital photography, why do we care about a photo that's taken at just the right moment and gives the illusion of a close object being large in relation to an object farther away?

I think there are three reasons. One, the photo does fool us at first: why is there a large baboon that looks like it's attacking a car? Two, the photo is cool because it's "real" and not manipulated (that is, if we can trust the photographer.) If we trust, the photo reflects the reality of what the family in the car actually saw. And three, we can imagine how great it would be if we were the ones taking the photo and then fooling ourselves when we saw the image for the first time.

King Kong! Photographer's optical illusion captures gigantic baboon crushing a car, Daily Mail>>

The sax sound pranks of a saxophone Saxomaniac

"Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose this crowd."

A saxophone dude, a true Saxomaniac, plays the sexy sax solo from the song Careless Whisper by George Michael in various less-than-appropriate locations. It does go on a bit too long, but the video conditions you to laugh every time you hear that crazy sax sound.

(Note to other pranksters: this formula for a prank requires doing something incongruous in a location with a crowd to react, a camera to record, and authorities ill-equipped to handle the strangeness.)

Sexy Sax Man

- See the oddest album covers on Coverbrowser>>
- Careless Whisper at Wikipedia>>

The man with two wives

The happy couple - John and Lynn France
were married in Italy.

John and Lynn France were married in Italy and moved to Ohio.

They had two sons.

Six years later, John seemed distant and often disappeared for days at a time. Lynn got suspicious. In one incident, John told Lynn he was traveling in China, but she found his passport at home.

Lynn suspected he was cheating on her. She followed him to a hotel and discovered John and the other woman, named Amanda. Amanda responded by saying that she was engaged to John.

When Lynn looked up Amanda on Facebook she was shocked. She discovered that John was not having an affair with Amanda. She found out that John had married Amanda two years earlier at Disney World in Florida.

The happy couple - John and Amanda France
were married at Walt Disney World.

John left Ohio and took the two kids with him to Florida. He's suing her for full custody. And since there's no court order preventing him from taking the children, she cannot get them back. Lynn wants her sons back, and has charged her husband with bigamy.

John's defense? He says he was never married to Lynn to begin with, because their marriage in Italy was not valid due to a clerical error. Said his attorney, Gary Williams:
"The fact of the matter is that their marriage was never legally proper and therefore it does not actually exist."
Lynn went on TV and told her story on Today. She said John and Amanda taunt her through a Facebook account, presenting themselves as a loving family, only with John and Lynn's children.

Days after Lynn's Today appearance, John France appeared on the show with his wife Amanda. He said that Lynn knew that he and Amanda were getting married, and she's free to visit the kids at any time but refuses. The couple said that Lynn hasn't been telling the truth.

To further counteract the publicity showing John in a negative light, an anonymous group "run by activists supporting paternal rights" set up a web page supporting him called Facebook bigamist fabrication.

A Facebook page telling Lynn's side of the story is called Support Lynn France.

My opinion?

John wanted to trade in old wife for new wife.

Kids caught in the middle.

Lawyers involved.

First wife Lynn France

Put someone you don't love on a urinal cake

You can buy them custom made.
(This one is Mr. Bernie Madoff)

In Bonita Springs, Florida, a local fire commissioner candidate had his face appear in the restrooms of local bars and restaurants - printed on urinal cakes. One restaurant manager said: "As fast as we find them, we take them out... They're being replaced in a matter of hours." A resident said: "It's nasty... But they'll remember his face." Mr. McCourt lost to incumbent candidate Frank Liles Jr. I don't know if the cakes influenced the election.

Want your own? Toilet tricksters can try these two sources (although technically the faces are on the screens, not the cakes themselves.)
- Pee On: Customizable urinal cake kit, Prankplace>>
- Urinal screens at PeePeeFace>>
-Urinal Cakes Feature Politician's Face,>>

North Korean propaganda

A North Korean man being burnt alive

These paintings from a North Korean museum can provoke us to think many things. Are they based on real or imagined truths of war? Are they ridiculous, cliched over-exaggerations? Do they provide an insight into the way North Koreans look at the West?

Are they "true"?

U.S. crimes are on display at the 
Sinchon-Ri Museum in North Korea.

 A doctor and a priest torture a young boy.

 Four soldiers torture a North Korean man.

A U. S. soldier murders a child.

U. S. soldiers round up North Koreans.

Notice that the above painting loosely borrows elements from a famous work by Francisco Goya called The Third of May 1808.

"The Third of May 1808" by Francisco Goya, 1814.

- More images at US Crimes Sinchon-Ri Museum>>
- No Gun Ri Massacre, Wikipedia>>

The letterbomb Facebook prank

"Letterbombing is a subversive way to deliver 
a message anywhere on Facebook."


The customer and the pillows

Some retail employees are not happy.

Me: “Your total is $42.98.”

Customer: “Wait, that can’t be right. Those pillows are on sale.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We just got these pillows in today. They won’t be on sale for at least a few more weeks.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous! They say they’re on sale! You have to give me the sale price.”

Me: “Well, I’ll double-check for you, but I already sold a few others today and no one else paid a sale price for them.”

Customer: “Are you calling me a liar? Because I already checked! They all say they’re on sale!”

(She points to the price tags on the pillows that have been haphazardly covered up by sale stickers.)

Me: “Yes, and those sale stickers also say that these pillows are napkins.”

From the website Not Always Right, about customers who are...>>

"The truth isn't the truth until people believe you, and they can't believe you if..."

This "We try harder" ad for Avis was 
developed by Doyle, Dane & Bernbach 
and is considered part of one of the  
"The truth isn't the truth until people believe you, and they can't believe you if they don't know what you're saying, and they can't know what you're saying if they don't listen to you, and they won't listen to you if you're not interesting, and you won't be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly." 
 - William Bernbach, advertising man

Quote is found in "Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This" by Luke Sullivan>>

Cisco and the Thief - a morality play

This manager of network services wanted 
to make more money, so he took a role in...

Cisco and the Thief
Scene 1

Philip Webb, manager of network services: Hey, Cisco, this part is defective. Can I return it?

Cisco Systems: Yes, here's the procedure...

(Repeat this many times)

Scene 2

Philip Webb, online seller of Cisco parts: Hey, I have this Cisco equipment for sale. Want to buy it?

Online buyer looking for a deal: What a good deal! I'll buy it...

(Repeat this many times)

Scene 3

Cisco Systems fraud manager 1: Hey, this guy seems to be returning a lot more of our equipment than normal.

Cisco Systems fraud manager 2:
And hey, this guy online seems to be selling used parts that match the equipment that the other guy's returning...

Cisco Systems fraud manager 1: Let's look again at the part numbers of his returns...

Mr. Philip Webb, the manager of network services for a Postal Credit Union in Minnesota, was arrested and sentenced to 15 months in prison for mail fraud. He cheated Cisco Systems out of about $388,000 by returning cheap secondhand parts to Cisco as the defective parts, and selling the new Cisco equipment online.

Minn. man sentenced for cheating Cisco Systems, Bloomberg Businessweek>>

Is it graffiti if you use soap?

 No tagging here, just selective cleaning.

Paul "Moose" Curtis is a graffiti artist from the UK who for years has been creating art by removing dirt from city surfaces. So is it vandalism if your weapon is not a can of spray paint, but soap?

The first video shows him creating an advertisement for Green Plantswork cleaner on the Broadway tunnel in San Francisco.

How best to advertise an environmentally 
friendly soap than by cleaning up some public 
grime and making images of plants?

The Reverse Graffiti Project

Mr Curtis, "Professor of Dirt" and "grime writer," lectures about his work as a clean tagger who uses negative space in a Big Ideas video from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. Curtis talks about writing in dirt

Watch more Mr. Curtis at FORA.TV>>

9 amusingly violent street artworks (or cartoon optical illusions) by French artist OakOak

Monsier Hurleur

I'm being unfair to the French street artist known as OakOak by showcasing only some of his deathly pieces, but I thought I needed a theme, and there were too many good ones to choose from.

You can call some of these optical illusions, if you define them as figure/ground optical illusions that have cartoon reality as the "figure," and reality as the "ground."

Who is this trickster OakOak? As he says:
"OakOak is a French artist who likes to play with urban elements."
Any budding practical jokers should look at his stuff to see how to do great visual pranks. Explore his site to see more: OakOak>>

a poings ferm├ęs

 bouches incendie

 but why


 guet apen

 life is a game

 Monsieur biscuit - Copie


And I'm cheating, because this is ten pictures, but I had to include this stylish guy:


Is this Mayan statue fake? (Or is the story fake?)

A news story said that this stone statue 
of a Mayan warrior goddess was fake.

A Paris auction house handled the sale of this pre-Columbian stone statue for $4.1 million.

However, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said it's a fake.

They said the height, boot straps, and posture of its legs were all wrong, and it was made recently, not between 550 to 950 A.D. as claimed. They also said that 66 other pieces of art in the auction were also fakes.

This makes a great story - some idiot buys an old statue for a crazy amount of money and it turns out he was defrauded.

But the French art auction house said their experts authenticated the art, and that past specialists never challenged it, and that anyway the Mexican experts only saw high-resolution images of the statue.

And the buyer who spent that crazy amount of money is not concerned.

So is there more to the story?

It could be that the Mexican government does not want Europeans trading in art it considers to be part of its cultural heritage, so they're crying "Fake," which makes a better story than crying "Foul."

(There's also a bit of diplomatic politics behind it, because of a feud over this French citizen jailed in Morocco...)

But that back-story is not as sexy and easy to understand as "Fake!"

- Mayan relic sold for $4 million is a fake? Yahoo News>>
- False God?: Mexico Says That a French Auction House's Record-Setting Mayan Statue Is a Fake, Art News>>

It's all fun and games until someone gets a pencil impaled in their buttocks

"Hey mom, look what I got at school!"

At Sailorway Middle School in Vermilion Ohio, one 12-year old tried pull a prank on another while they were in choir class. The prankster held a pencil underneath the kid in front of him as he began to sit down. Unfortunately, the pencil impaled itself 4 inches into the kid's buttocks, and he had to have emergency surgery to remove it.


The kid is okay and back in school and is mostly upset because he can't play baseball.

Although the "perp" has never been in trouble before, now he is.

Said a police detective:
"He thought it would be harmless. He thought it'd break and they'd get a good laugh, but that's not what happened at all."
As I always tell my kids when something bad happens when they do something wrong:
"Don't do that."
- Student Charged in Pencil Prank That Impaled Victim, Fox 8 Cleveland>>
- The giant pencil can be found at GreatBigStuff>>

A sitcom scam - "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Playbook" episode

Barney reveals his masterpiece of seduction 
techniques: "The Playbook."

One episode of the TV situation comedy How I Met Your Mother concerned "The Playbook." The character of Barney Stinson is a supremely self-confident playboy. After a relationship ends, he decides to return to his seductively sleazy ways by using his playbook, which details the many types of ridiculous con games he tries to get women to have sex with him, including:
  1. Don't Drink That - Barney warns a girl not to sip her drink because it's been spiked.
  2. The Mrs. Stinsfire - Barney dresses as a female maid to spy on girls (an allusion to the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, where Robin Williams dressed as an older female housekeeper.) 
  3. The Lorenzo Von Matterhorn - Barney creates fake websites on the Internet saying Mr. Matterhorn is a billionaire explorer. Then he introduces himself to a girl as Mr Matterhorn, knowing she will google him and be suitable impressed. 
  4. The SNASA - Barney pretends to be an astronaut of Secret NASA (SNASA) 
  5. The Cheap Trick - Barney pretends to be in the band Cheap Trick. 
  6. He's Not Coming - The observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building is where girls wait for their lover's promised arrival. Barney tells each girl: "He's not coming" with the hopes that she will console herself by sleeping with him instead. 
  7. The Ted Mosby - Barney says he got left at the altar to gain sympathy. (This refers to the main character Ted, who was left at the altar.) 
  8. My Penis Grants Wishes - Barney hopes she will rub it and let the genii out.
  9. And finally, The Scuba Diver, an elaborate "long con" con game which is not revealed until the end of the episode.
All these exploits are even funnier when you realize that Barney is played by Neil Patrick Harris, an openly gay actor.

There's also a humor book based on the episode, called The Playbook: Suit up. Score chicks. Be awesome>> This spoof of pickup artist books contains even more "plays" for guys to get girls into bed.

You can watch the entire "The Playbook" episode here, but realize that you will likely be viewing a pirate video, since the entire site is in Russian.>>>>

Or you can watch portions of the strange Russian 
doppelganger version of How I Met Your Mother

The Playbook (How I Met Your Mother) at Wikipedia>>

The weird photography of Pedro Campos

A photograph of an untitled work 
of lemons in aluminum foil

All of these are photographs of Pedro Campos' work. There is something strange about these photographs. For instance, why are lemons being posed inside an aluminum foil basket? Are the lemons about to be baked? I get the feeling that there's more going on here. Has he added some subliminal message in the foil?

 Triumph by Pedro Campos

Mr. Campos calls this Triumph, because of the Triumph motorcycle, of course. But what's going on with that out-of-focus woman in the back? Isn't she on the cover of a magazine? And if so, then isn't the motorcycle a small toy?

Untitled by Pedro Campos

Are all of the apples above actually apples? The green apple in front seems too big compared to the yellow one behind it. And I think I see some other object underneath the plastic wrap. (In the back, left. Is it a spoon?)

Untitled by Pedro Campos

It's difficult to get glass to look right. And has something else been captured in the reflection of the glass goblet?

 Untitled by Pedro Campos

I included this one because Mr. Campos does not usually include people, or any parts of people, in what he does. I suppose it's possible that these are the feet of Mr Campos, but they look more like a younger person's feet, or maybe a woman's feet. At first I was bored by this one because it looks just like many other snapshots taken at the beach. But there's something unsettling about it.

I could find no biographical details about Mr. Campos, although you can buy his work at the Plus One Gallery, or go to his website and see more. All I really know of him is that he is a painter who paints in the style of hyperrealism.

Pedro Campos>>
Plus One Gallery>>