TIME weird

This Superfan Spent $10,000 to Cover His Back with Simpsons Tattoos

His favorite character is Homer.

Some people show their fandom by buying a box set or putting posters on their walls. For Michael Baxter, a prison officer from Australia, these empty tributes wouldn’t suffice. The 52-year-old says he has spent $10,000 and 130 hours to cover his back with 203 Simpsons characters.

According to the Daily Mail, Baxter hopes to snag the Guinness World Record for most having the most tattooed cartoon characters on his body. He’ll need to unseat Lee Weir of New Zealand, whose left arm is adorned with 41 tattoos of Homer Simpson. Baxter is grateful to his tattoo artist, Jade Baxter Smith, whose tattoo art also includes pop culture icons like Bill Murray and a Kill Bill-era Uma Thurman. “I’m happy for Jade to use me to promote her work,” he says, noting that he doesn’t mind if people photograph her masterpiece.

Baxter hopes for world record recognition on Dec. 17, which also happens to be the 25th anniversary of the premiere of The Simpsons.

More colour

A photo posted by Jade Baxter-Smith (@jade_baxtersmith_art) on

TIME Bizarre

Man Finds Out Wife Is Pregnant After Using Her Urine for His Drug Test

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Pregnancy Test Positive Getty Images

Surprise!

An Egyptian bus driver found out that his wife was two months pregnant, after submitting her urine in place of his own for a mandatory drug test, the BBC reports. After he assured officials that the sample was his own, he was reportedly told, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant.”

While more details were sparse, the BBC reported that some officials didn’t see this incident merely as a lighthearted prank, given that drug use is on the rise.

[BBC]

TIME halloween

This Is the Best Post-Halloween Police Recap We’ve Seen

City of Santa Cruz

Fox News and a real life Edward Scissorhands and that’s not the end of it

Halloween is a night to get weird, and nowhere did weirdos celebrate the fact with more dedication this year than in Santa Cruz, California, according to a post-Halloween recap released by police.

In addition to what we assume are fairly typical shenanigans—the suspect in a one-car DUI crash throwing punches in the air as paramedics arrived on the scene, a drunk “prowler” found wandering in random backyards as he tried to find his way home—there were some particularly outstanding moments.

Sean Kory, 29, is alleged to have attacked a man dressed as a Fox News reporter, shouting as he did that he “hates Fox News.” What follows is the police release reprinted verbatim, because some things are not meant to be paraphrased.

“The suspect grabbed the victim’s microphone and placed [sic] down the front of his pants and proceeded to rub the microphone on his crotch. The suspect then attacked the victim with an aluminum tennis racquet.”

The victim was not injured. Sean Kory fled after the incident was reported but was apprehended by police. He has since found a small bit of Internet fame after being compared to the Hot Mugshot Guy.

In sadder news, a 12-year-old was “contacted” by police—the cops do not specify why—and found to be carrying a concealed hammer. Police say the kid already sports numerous gang tattoos and was already on probation and when he was arrested for possession of a weapon.

And finally, some glorious moron was issued a citation for “mutilation” of city property. He was dressed as Edward Scissor Hands and busted, police say, “doing some unauthorized trimming of the city trees.”

Stay weird, Santa Cruz.

MONEY Bill Gross

Here’s the Weirdest Economic Commentary You’ll Read Today

141104_INV_BillGrossWeirdThing
Jim Young—Reuters

Bond guru Bill Gross is famous for his wacky but insightful market analyses, and this one is exemplary -- in both regards.

Janus Capital fund manager Bill Gross—most recently in the news for leaving PIMCO, the bond fund giant he co-founded—today published commentary on the global economy and financial markets in his typically quirky style.

Before turning to some important points on inflation, Gross spends a couple paragraphs waxing Yoda-like about humanity… and how he’s made of sand:

I am a philosophical nomad disguised in Western clothing, a wondering drifter, masquerading in a suit near a California beach. Sand forms the foundation of my being and its porosity is at once my greatest strength and deepest wound. I have become after 70 years, a man who believes that no belief is sacred. I have ideals and moral standards, but I believe them specific to me. Had I inherited your body and ego, “I” could just as clearly have assumed “yours.” If so, I wonder, if values are relative, then what are mortals to make of them, and what would a judging God make of us? If a collective humanity is to be rooted in sandy loam, spreading its ideological seeds through howling winds only to root in mutant form at different places and different times, can we judge an individual life?

Then, against all odds, he steers these elaborate metaphors into a commentary on U.S. fiscal and monetary policy—and it turns out he has some important points to make.

Here are the four of them, roughly translated:

  1. Young people should (and do) fear inflation because it means their retirement portfolios will be cut in half or more.
  2. But these days, deflation is just as dangerous a threat as inflation, because the economy has become dependent on inflation to shrink our debt.
  3. The problem is that the monetary policy approach that would ordinarily prevent deflation—printing more money—is not helping to create true growth. “Prices go up, but not the right prices. Alibaba’s stock goes from $68 on opening day to $92 in the first minute, but wages simply sit there for years on end,” Gross writes.
  4. The solution Gross suggests for making the “right prices” go up is government fiscal stimulus — a surprising policy suggestion from a bond fund manager. But he also points out that government spending is a tough sell, thanks to fears about the very debt that makes us dependent on inflation.

These are some wise insights, despite the strange introduction. Actually, there’s evidence that Gross may be in on the joke when it comes to purple prose, or at least that he’s actively cultivating his reputation as an eccentric genius. In any case, today’s commentary wasn’t necessarily Gross’s strangest. He has in the past mused about his dead cat, Cracker Jacks, crows, and, as in the following passage, sneezing:

There’s nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no – nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo! The air, along with 100,000 germs, comes shooting out of your nose faster than a race car at the Indy 500. It feels sooooo good that people used to sneeze on purpose. They’d use snuff and stick it up their nose; the tobacco high and the resultant nasal explosion being the fashion of the times. Healthier than some of the stuff people stick up their nose these days I suppose, but then that’s a generational thing. My generation is closer to the snuff than that other stuff.

The latter commentary, titled “Achoo!”, goes on for another two paragraphs about sneezing before turning to neutral policy rates.

TIME History

Archaeologists Believe They Found Dracula’s Dungeon

Circa 1450, Portrait of Vlad Tepes 'Vlad the Impaler'(c 1431-1476), from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol.
Circa 1450, portrait of Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler, from a painting in Castle Ambras in the Tyrol Stock Montage/Getty Images

The dungeon believed to have held Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for the blood-thirsty character, was recently discovered in Turkey

Archeologists in Turkey have reportedly made a spooky discovery, just in time for the start of Halloween season: the dungeon where the real-life basis for Count Dracula was held.

The cell where history’s Dracula, the Romanian prince Vlad III (nicknamed Vlad the Impaler for his gruesome tendency to impale his foes), was recently discovered during a restoration project, the Turkey-based Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Researchers are reportedly restoring the ancient Tokat Castle, where the Ottomans imprisoned the infamously cruel figure, in the mid 1400s. The team there evidently discovered a tunnel leading to two dungeons — one of which is likely to have housed Bad Old Vlad.

TIME health

The Weirdest Stuff We All Do at the Gym

strongman-lifting.
Getty Images

This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

A few years ago the media was obsessed with talking about the weird habits of people who live alone. The uninhibited freedom of not cohabitating gives you a free pass to walk around naked, sing to yourself, and leave the bathroom door open 24/7. And, while I currently live with a roommate, I don’t curb any of my quirkiness — except maybe the bathroom-door thing.

But, since the gym is my second home, it’s only natural that I have a second set of weird quirks specific to the sweat-friendly atmosphere. They may be a bit unconventional, but they’re never annoying or disrespectful — no loud conversations or equipment hogging. I proudly display my eccentric gym habits as any true local would — like a badge of honor. From treadmill racing to yawning while exercising to giving my muscles a mental “pat on the back,” here are some oddities I’m definitely guilty of doing.

(MORE: How to Actually Enjoy Your Workout)

1. I maximize viewings of my gym clothes by saving my favorite apparel for Monday workouts — as that is when the gym is always the most crowded. I realize occupying a treadmill in the front row of Equinox isn’t the same as sitting front row during Fashion Week, I just happen to love my spandex and want to show it off. And, when you’re in the front, there’s no room for slacking, so it helps me push harder, even if no one is actually paying any attention.

2. There is such a thing as a “better” treadmill, StairMaster, or [insert equipment of choice]. Perhaps it’s the one positioned directly under the AC or away from the mirror so I don’t have to stare at myself for the duration of my three-mile run. Whatever the reason, once I find my favorite, I’ll forever try exercise on that same piece of equipment anytime I’m at that gym.

3. During lunges, I rest my hands on my butt (as discreetly as possible). It’s a reminder to push through my heels, so that I engage my glute muscles, instead of relying on my quads, to return to standing. Plus, when you feel your muscles working, it’s definitely a “go me” moment.

4. I won’t seek you out, but if you choose the treadmill next to me (when there are a few open), I will assume you want to race. And, we will — game on.

(MORE: 5 Reasons to Skip Your Workout)

5. Even when I’m totally pumped up and not remotely tired, sometimes I’ll yawn at the gym. There are a lot of different theories why this happens (one is that yawning helps cool the brain), and I used to be embarrassed, thinking that everyone around me would assume I wasn’t working hard enough. But, then I stopped caring what other people thought and used my yawns to see if anyone was staring — because we all know that yawning is contagious.

6. I pee no less than three times before my CrossFit workout. Whenever I know that I have a tough training session ahead, my bladder goes into overdrive. It’s annoying, but I’ve learned to deal with it and plan for multiple bathroom breaks.

7. I don’t put makeup on, specifically for the purpose of going to the gym, but, if I train after work, I don’t necessarily put any effort into taking it off. I do plan my lip color around my workout schedule though as I have one red lip stain that I love. But, I have to avoid wearing it on days that I plan to train since it’s impossible to remove.

8. When I forget to toss my armband in my gym bag, I’ll attempt to store my phone in weird places (including in my sports bra, tucked under the strap of my tank top, and in a legging pocket that wasn’t meant to hold anything larger than a key), so I can listen to my jams uninterrupted while exercising. It almost never works, but I keep trying.

(MORE: How I Balance Drinking and Exercise)

TIME Canada

Rob Ford Withdraws From Toronto Mayor’s Race

Toronto Mayor Ford participates in a mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress in Scarborough in this file photo
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford participates in a mayoral debate in Scarborough, Ontario, on July 15, 2014 Fred Thornhill—Reuters

His brother Doug Ford is taking his place on the ballot

Embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford has ended his bid for re-election after doctors found a tumor in his abdomen.

“I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor,” Ford said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “With the advice of my doctors I know I need to focus on getting better.”

“People know me as a guy who faces things head on and never gives up, and as your Mayor I have done just that. I derailed the gravy train, cut unnecessary spending and made government more accountable. I did this by facing these challenges head on,” Ford added. “Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime.”

Ford family representatives rushed to file papers ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline Friday to allow Rob’s brother, City Councillor Doug Ford, replace him on the ballot, the Toronto Star reports. Doug Ford will now run for mayor of the city in Rob Ford’s stead. Rob Ford will, in turn, run for Doug Ford’s Ward 2 City Council seat, a seat Rob held until Doug’s election in 2010. The Fords’ nephew Michael, who had been in contention to fill the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Doug, is expected to pull his name from consideration.

Ford was admitted to a hospital Wednesday after complaining of stomach pains. Doctors found a “fair size” tumor in his abdomen but can’t know for sure if it is cancerous for at least a week.

The news marks a dramatic watershed in Ford’s tumultuous and scandal-plagued term in office during which he was censured by the City Council after revelations of drug use followed by repeated instances in which he made graphic and off color remarks in public.

TIME Bizarre

5-Year-Old Girl Was Locked in Washing Machine on High Speed

Texas girl was hospitalized after spending several minutes inside machine

A Texas girl was hospitalized Tuesday after she was locked in a washing machine on high speed for several minutes.

Police in Pasadena, Tex. told local news outlet KHOU that a woman had tried to use the machine but told the manager it wasn’t working properly, then moved to a different machine. The girl was in the machine for several minutes before anyone noticed and opened the machine.

“She was tumbling pretty fast in there,” Vance Mitchell with Pasadena Police. “One person walked by and said they saw something flopping around in there. They thought it was just a dress or something because it was moving pretty fast.”

Police did not say where the girl’s parents or caregivers were, but some police on the scene told KHOU that the child was unsupervised. Paramedics expect her to survive.

[KHOU]

 

TIME

These Are Some of the Weirdest FOIA Requests Fielded This Year in the UK

What's your dragon attack plan?

Freedom of Information Acts are a powerful transparency tool between governments and constituents. But they can also yield to some pretty freaky inquiries–as we found out Saturday when an organization of local governments representing more than 350 councils in England and Wales released a list of the most unusual requests they had received so far this year

Of that list, we present here–David Letterman style–the Top 10 Weirdest Petitions English Councils Have Had to Field in 2014, along with some snarky answer suggestions for the council-members:

1. “What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack?” (Wigan Council)

Our answer: We haven’t gotten that far in A Song of Fire and Ice yet, sorry.

2. “Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal.” (Cambridge City Council)

Our answer: We can only account for the types of animals we have subjected to repeated screenings of Disney’s “Frozen.” The results may be disturbing.

3. “How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building?” (Rossendale Council)

Our answer: Well, we’ve never *paid* for it.

4. “Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries.” (Leicestershire County Council)

Our answer: That’s what she said.

5. “What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in the case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields?” (Worthing Borough Council)

Our answer: Just a sec. Gotta watch “Deep Impact” again.

6. “How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years?” (Rossendale Council)

Our answer: Not knowing where the peepholes are is part of the fun!

7. “How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for 10 years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people?” (Richmond Council)

Our answer: This is the last time we’re gonna ask you to stop writing to us, Dr. Lecter.

8. “How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet?” (Scarborough Council)

Our answer: John “Cougar” Mellencamp.

9. “How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of ‘ghost investigators’ into the building?” (Birmingham Council)

Our answer: Are you the key master?

10. “How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped?” (Southend Council)

Our answer: 0011000111100010100

TIME animals

Aspen Art Museum Facing Backlash for Exhibit Featuring Tortoises Wearing iPads

A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014.
A Seychelles giant tortoise walks through its enclosure at the zoo in Duisburg, Germany, on March 31, 2014. Roland Weihrauch—AFP/Getty Images

“Since when is animal abuse art?” reads an online petition to stop the exhibit

The Aspen Art Museum in Colorado plans to celebrate the grand opening of its newest building on Saturday with an exhibit featuring tortoises with iPads strapped to their backs, but an online petition hopes to stop the installation in its tracks.

At the time of this post’s publication 1,181 people had signed the petition calling New York-based artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Moving Ghost Town” exhibit “animal abuse.”

“Since when is animal abuse art?” the Change.org petition reads. “We must all rise and stop this now!! There is no excuse for this!”

In the exhibit, three African Tortoises (who go by the names Big Bertha, Gracie Pink Star, and Whale Wanderer), wear iPads strapped to their shells, which flash images of Colorado “ghost towns.” The Denver Post, which reported this story earlier on Wednesday, says the animals are set to roam throughout a part of the museum during a 24-hour event on Saturday. The petition’s authors say the tortoises’ shells are sensitive to impact and they should not be forced to carry the weight of two iPads for entertainment’s sake.

The petitioners also worry the conditions of the turtles’ habitat aren’t comfortable for the animals.

“Please stop this unnecessary exploitation of animals now and do the right thing by getting these iPad of the Tortoises’ backs,” the authors write.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page, the museum argued that the exhibit was constructed with the help of a local veterinarian and the Turtle Conservancy. The use of the iPads was also cleared with the Conservancy, the museum said.

“I have worked with the staff from the Aspen Art Museum since the initial planning phase of the Cai Guo-Qiang project. Without question, the welfare of the tortoises has taken the highest priority in every stage of this exhibition,” veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Kremzier said in a statement. “In my professional opinion, the tortoises have adapted well to their new habitat, and the iPads have not interfered in any way with their natural behavior.”

The museum’s Facebook fans, however, aren’t buying it. “We don’t like this artwork… and to support keeping it is really bad taste,” reads one comment.

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