Modern family: Greece with grown-up kids

A decade after a first family holiday in Greece, Martin Love heads to Paxos and finds it wonderfully unchanged

The five of us stretched out on yoga mats with our toes pointing towards the sea. Above us the breeze stirred the leaves of the ancient olive trees. Emai ed, intoned Sophie. In Greek that means, I am here. She continued in her gentle voice. I am here in Paxos. I have arrived. I have moored on this rock surrounded by sea

Sophie was training to be a mindfulness teacher. When we lay down Id have bet my favourite Speedos that wed soon be in fits of laughter, but not one of us so much as sniggered. We lay in still, neat rows, like sardines, as her soothing words washed over us. After a while, Sophie brought us up from the depths. I hope you are now at one with this island, she said. Wed been on Paxos for less than half a day yet I had the giddy sensation I might just chuck it all in and stay here forever.

Paxos map.

Thats what happened to Sophie. She has now been here for 30 years, moored in Paxos. Back then, she said, there was only one road and just three cars. There dont seem to be many more than that now. Aside from being a mindfulness teacher she is also the owner of Villa Zoe, the house we were staying in. It sits on a cliff overlooking the sea and was built by a captain more than 200 years ago. Today its all wooden shutters, high ceilings and shady terraces, with plenty of quirky features, like an outdoor kitchen and an open-air shower. Its greatest asset, however, is the astounding view an immense sweep of sea and sky. I must have spent half our week gazing towards the glittering horizon.

Greece holds a special place in the list of our favourite family holidays. More than 10 years ago we went there on our first proper trip. We rented a house in Lefkada with a cool pool and drove around in a knackered old car. The kids were 12, 10 and five. Every night we dined in a different taverna. With burnt shoulders and washed hair, wed sit at pretty tables, ordering grown-up food and then, when the children didnt like it, feed it to the stray cats. And here we were again a decade later, with the kids on the cusp of adulthood and almost off our hands. Wed bookended their childhood with holidays in Greece. Would this be the last time it would be just the five of us? Their boyfriends and girlfriends are waiting in the wings.

The
The indoor kitchen at Villa Zoe

But what a bookend Paxos is. Its a craggy idyll garlanded with the bluest water youve ever seen. After much discussion we decided it was the exact aquamarine shade of Listerine. Its the smallest of the seven Ionian islands, 10km long and 4km wide. You cant fly there, you catch a ferry from Corfu, which takes about an hour. Its this last hop which has preserved Paxos from the excesses of mass tourism and, despite a few flash new villas erupting down its eastern flank, you get a sense that not much has changed in years, probably even decades.

To say the pace is unhurried would be an exaggeration even a gang of lethargic sloths would get fidgety here. But you soon adapt to the relaxed starts, long lunches and afternoon snoozes. Whats the rush, anyway? Other than the dazzling blue sea, the first thing that strikes you about the island are the olive trees. They are everywhere. The Venetians first planted them in the 13th century as a source of lamp oil, and now the trees cover 80% of the island. At the last count there were an estimated 250,000 thats about 100 trees for every member of the population.

Terrace
The villas terrace

Most people live in one of three small towns. Gaios is the capital a hilarious notion considering you can walk from one side of it to the other in five minutes. It unfurls itself along a natural anchorage with two tiny islands guarding the entrance, each with its own church. We strolled the length of the quay, ogled the posh yachts and ate ice creams (a fantastic peanut-butter flavour for one child and a disastrous lemon and chocolate combo for me). If you are into people watching this is the place to be. My daughter kept telling me to stop staring. The other two towns are Lakka, built around a horseshoe cove on the islands northern tip, and Loggos the smallest and, everyone agreed, prettiest. All three have quays bustling with traditional tavernas.

The towns are on the sheltered eastern side of the island. Villa Zoe, where we stayed, was on the more rugged west, near a beach called Erimitis. After our mindfulness session, the thing at the front of our minds was to have a first swim. There is little sand on Paxos most beaches are made up of sun-bleached pebbles and the effect, combined with the milky-blue water, is like swimming in a huge aquarium. We dived into the waves as the sun turned the cathedral-like cliffs of Erimitis a delicate pink. We bobbed about in the clear sea, marvelling that wed flown out of Gatwick that morning.

Cocktail
Cocktail hour Martin and daughter Liberty at Bens Bar. Photograph: Martin Love

The best way to take in Paxos is to hire your own speedboat. All three town harbours offer boats, which cost from 35 (30) for the day (plus petrol). It takes about 90 minutes to blast round the island, but youll definitely want to take all day as there are so many coves, cliffs and beaches to explore. We bought a picnic from the bakery in Loggos, packed sun hats and goggles and headed out. The children took turns at the wheel, carving white wakes across the azure surface. We nudged the boat into a huge cave, scared ourselves by swimming through a dark rocky cleft, and finally anchored in our own cove for lunch. It was a perfect day despite the fact ice leaked over the spanakopita and we had to dry the soggy spinach pie on the deck before we could eat it.

Also be sure to head to Antipaxos, a smaller and even more idyllic island a mile south of Paxos. Its home to a few sheep, and two of the most beautiful beaches this side of the Caribbean Vrika and Voutoumi. Its also quite funny to say: Actually, Im quite Anti Paxos!

Everyone you meet on Paxos asks which is your favourite beach as if your choice will give them some vital clue to your personality. There are dozens to choose from. For us it was a toss up between Mamari, which is lined by olive trees, and the stunning half-crescent of Kipiadi.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/aug/13/modern-family-paxos-with-the-grown-up-kids

Former Chilean military official found liable for killing of Victor Jara

Florida jury awards $28m in verdict that could lead to Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuezs extradition to face criminal charges over 1973 killing of folk singer

A Florida jury on Monday found a former Chilean army officer liable for the 1973 torture and murder of the folk singer and political activist Victor Jara, awarding $28m in damages to his widow and daughters in one of the biggest and most significant legal human rights victories against a foreign war criminal in a US courtroom.

The verdict against Pedro Pablo Barrientos Nuez after a two-week civil trial in Orlandos federal court could now also pave the way for his extradition to face criminal murder charges in Chile related to his conduct during a CIA-backed coup that led to Augusto Pinochets 17-year military dictatorship and the deaths of almost 3,100 people.

Accusers said Barrientos, 67, who now lives in Deltona, Florida, shot dead Jara, 40, in September 1973 after three days of beatings while the socialist-leaning theatre director and university lecturer was among thousands of suspected communists and subversives detained in Santiagos soccer stadium.

Barrientos, who fled Chile in 1989 and became a US citizen through marriage, was one of nine retired army officers indicted for murder in his homeland four years ago but the US Department of Justice has not responded to a request by the Chilean government for his return.

Kathy Roberts, legal director of the Center for Justice and Accountability, the California-based human rights group that brought the civil action on behalf of Jaras British-born widow, Joan Turner Jara, and daughters Amanda Turner Jara and Manuela Bunster, believes the Florida jurys ruling could now increase the pressure on the DoJ.

Its a step on the path towards justice for our clients and for Victor but also for the many other families who lost someone at Chile Stadium so many years ago, she said after the verdict.

We presented evidence that started to shed light on what happened there, and we hope that process will continue in Chile and we hope that the United States will extradite Mr Barrientos to face justice in the country where he committed these crimes.

Joan Jara Turner, 88, testified during the trial that her husbands death in a stadium locker room had cut my life in two, and has previously spoken of the horror of having to identify his tortured and mutilated body in a morgue after he was dumped outside the stadium with 44 bullet wounds.

[Im] happy in a sense that what we were trying to do for more than 40 years, for Victor, has today come true, she said through tears on the steps if the Orlando courthouse.

Its the beginning of justice for all those people, those relatives in Chile who are waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, who have been for years and years, just like us, seeking justice [and] knowledge.

Its been a long journey. For Victor, art and social justice were one and the same. His songs continue to be sung today and inspire both artists and those who seek social justice.

Daughter Amanda Turner Jara, who thanked lawyers from the CJA and pro bono counsel from New York legal firm Chadbourne & Parke, said it was crucial that Barrientos was extradited.

He ran away. Hes been hiding here for so long, and its time he faces that now in Chile, she said.

The jury of five women and one man deliberated for nine hours before determining that Barrientos, a Pinochet loyalist who commanded the Chilean armys notorious Tejas Verde brigade, should pay $6m in compensatory damages and a further $22m in punitive damages. The jury found him liable on both counts of the civil indictment, for torture and extrajudicial killing.

The Jara family, however, are unlikely to see any payment. Barrientos lawyer Luis Calderon painted a picture during the trial of a poor retiree who lives in a modest two-bedroom house and drives around in a decade-old car, and who was forced to work as a cook at a fast-food restaurant for years just to make ends meet.

Barrientos, who remained impassive as the verdicts were read, did not comment afterwards but Calderon said he was disappointed. We will explore all our options regarding an appeal, he said.

Dixon Osburn, executive director of the CJA, told the Guardian that one of the biggest challenges was proving that Barrientos, who also worked for a time as a landscaper during almost three decades in the US, was the same violent army officer who beat, tortured and shot Jara.

These cases are always difficult because a lot of time has passed and because of the silence that has encased this matter for so long, he said. Trying to break through that silence and lift the veil on what happened in those days was enormously difficult.

One of the things the Jara family has been pursuing for 43 years is just the truth. Barrientos said in deposition he knew nothing of Chile Stadium, he knew nothing of Victor Jara, but we had conscript after conscript saying he was there and he was responsible for what took place.

One of the conscripts, Jose Navarette Barra, said during the trial in video testimony from Chile that Barrientos boasted of what he had done. He said many times that he killed Victor Jara, Barra said. He talked about killing a communist, and he didnt want a communist in Chile.

The ruling marks the latest victory in the CJAs pursuit of overseas war criminals and human rights abusers living in Florida. In August 2015, El Salvadors former defence minister Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova was extradited to El Salvador after a lengthy legal battle. Vides, an army general in the country during the bloody civil war in the 1980s, was accused of covering up a number of atrocities, including the rape and murder of four American churchwomen.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/27/victor-jara-pedro-pablo-barrientos-nunez-killing-chile

What fireworks? 12 wacky American festivals to celebrate Independence Day | Fox News

(Boston Harborfest)

Ready to eat a big slice of pie?  Maybe youd rather march in a paradewith your pooch–or time travel back to join the Continental Army.

If you think Independence Day (and weekend) celebrations are just about fireworks and beer, think again.  All around the country, youll find quirky and fun celebrations in big cities and small communities. Here are 12 that fans love:   

1.Dress your pet in her patriotic best for the Visionary Pets on Parade annual pet parade at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, MD.  Maybe youll win the prize for the owner and pet look alike.  Also check out Fort McHenry National Monument  on July 2 for the concert by the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and Continental Color Guard dressed in the uniforms of the Continental Army. On July 4, Frederick Douglas will deliver his famous The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro. Fort McHenry is where Francis Scott Key famously was inspired by the 1814 Battle of Baltimore to pen the Star Spangled Banner.

2. Watch lobsters race, a highpoint of Bar Harbor, MEs all-day festivities July 4  that include a July 4 parade,  a  big Seafood Festival starting at 11 a.m celebrating some of Maines freshest seafood ,  free evening concert with amateur musicians from around the region and of course, fireworks.

3. Join the Underwater Bike Race in Beaufort, SC that traditionally is held on July 4.  After a Bike-Decorating Bonanza, divers race bikes along the starboard side of the USS Indra, sunk in 1992 as an artificial reef. The race benefits pediatric cancer research.  Later,  listen to the Marine Band play at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island  nearby.

4. Boston Harborfest is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year with a four-day party  July 1-4 that is said to be the countrys largest Fourth of July celebration with hundreds of  activitieseverything from Freedom Trail walks to live entertainment, historical reenactments and even 18th century chocolate making.

5. Dust off your cowboy boots for Cody Wyomings five-day Cody Stampede  July 1st-4th where nearly every event celebrates horses. The nearly century-old event in a gateway town to Yellowstone National Park has it allbull riding, pro rodeo events, a  patriotic parade,  kids parade that celebrates Star Spangled Adventures ,  local musical performers, storytellers and more.

6. Celebrate everything peach and patriotic at the Lexington County Peach Festival   in Gilbert SC on July 4  with a peach pageant, peach recipe contest, peach delights (think peach cobbler and peach slushies) as well as a special reading of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic Peach Parade,   and an antique car and tractor show.

7. Sample extreme key lime pies at the Key West FL Key Lime Festival July 2-4 with a key lime pie eating contest, culinary tasting stroll, samplings of key lime rum, beer and specialty  cocktails, even a tour of the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. Floridas official pie, Key Lime Pie is believed to have originated in Key West in the late 19th Century. The festival ends with a 4th of July Picnic & Fireworks  with live music, games and a Family Fun Zone.

8. Take in some speed-tree climbing, ax-throwing and log rolling contests at the Estacada Timber Festival July 3-4 in Estacada,  a historic logging town,30 miles outside of Portland, OR in the Mount Hood Territory where theres plenty of music and a carnival.     After the awards ceremony on July 4, stick around for live music and the Big Bang Fireworks Sky Show that celebrates Independence Day. 

9. Wawa Welcomes America in Philadelphia, PA with a festival that starts on June 27 and lasts through July 4  with free concerts, historical ceremonies, parades and the Historic Philadelphia Block Party that fills the streets around Independence Hall with live entertainment, including a performance by the U.S. Army Band and a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Leslie Odom, Jr. Philadelphia native and star of the Broadway blockbuster”Hamilton.”

10. Cheer on the racers in Seward, Alaska July 4  for the Mount Marathon Race. Its only 3.5 miles but has an elevation gain of 3,000 feet through cliffs, steep inclines and rocks and is one of the countrys oldest trail running events. You can also cheer on the racers from around the world along with thousands of others.  All are welcome to run  in  the event that is just one part of  festivities that include a parade and fireworks. 

11.  Climb up a greased pole at Tuolume County Californias  Gold Country Glorious July 4th Celebration  in Columbia State Park where the day starts with a black powder musket salute and  parade (a tradition since 1852) and continues with  1850s games, contests (want to pound a nail or join a tug of war?), street dance and pulled pork BBQ lunch.  While youre there, pan for gold!

12. Learn a secret military code at the re-created Continental Army encampment at Yorktown Victory Center in Virginia which tells the stories, including those of  local farmers and enslaved people, who sacrificed much for independence. Nearby at Colonial Williamsburg, experience  hearing the news of the Declaration of Independence and prepare to March to Victory, along with  the special July 4th events.

So where are you going to celebrate the Fourth? 

Eileen Ogintz is a nationally syndicated columnist and creator of TakingtheKids.com. Her new  Kids Guide to Boston is available online and from major booksellers, along with the Kids Guides to NYC, Washington, DC, Orlando,  LA and Chicago. Coming  later this year: San Diego, San Francisco and Denver.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2016/06/29/what-fireworks-12-wacky-american-festivals-to-celebrate-independence-day.html

Shannen Doherty Shares Pic From Heathers Reboot Set After ‘Rough Two Years’ Of Battling Cancer!

Yesss!

Heathers is like our religion, so to see

The star shared a pic from set late Tuesday night in which she compared her return to acting to bringing an old car out of the garage. It’s… more tasteful than it sounds.

See the inspirational post (below)!

BTW, we don’t officially know what part Shannen is playing in the reboot, but that red scrunchie is a dead giveaway, right?

[Image via Instagram/Paramount Pictures.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-08-09-shannen-doherty-beat-cancer-heathers-reboot-set-instagram

My $50,000 medical debt was like a hydra-headed monster that ate my life | Maggie Ethridge

During my life I had zero credit card debt. I never owned anything extravagant or spent extravagantly. So why did illness drown me financially?

When I became so ill that my job was in jeopardy, my husband and I consoled ourselves with my health insurance. But that didnt last long. When I was finally diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, we started receiving weekly rejection slips in the mail. Not rejections from a credit card or loan application, but from my own insurance provider. Despite the fact that I had paid, every month, a fee so that they would provide me with coverage, the insurance company didnt feel obligated to actually pay for that coverage. MRI: denied. CT scan: denied. Specialist: denied.

I took the denials to my various doctors, asked them to write on my behalf, scan and forward my medical records. Sometimes this worked and the claim denial was reversed, sometimes it didnt work. Meanwhile, I was extremely ill after a failed first abdominal surgery, and my husband was working overtime, covering all the household duties I could no longer perform, and doing more than his fair share of caring for our three young children.

My disease was taking such an enormous toll on me by then; I could barely function. I had used all my sick and vacation days at work, and by the time I arrived home I was often unable do anything other than lie on the couch. I began to fall behind fighting the insurance company.

After spending months in research, it became clear that I needed a specialist for my next surgery. There wasnt one in San Diego where we live, so we found a specialist on the west coast, the closest we could find. My husband and I flew in and I had the surgery. A day later, I had another surgery.

Arriving home, my health despite the general pain of surgical recovery was clearly, immediately better. Many of the worst symptoms that had plagued me for years were already gone or seriously reduced, and my disease was put into remission but we paid an enormous price.

The years after my surgery have been plagued with more financial stress than I ever thought Id experience in my life. During almost all of 14 years of our marriage both my husband and I have worked. We have zero credit card debt. Weve never owned anything extravagant or spent extravagantly. Yet we ended up over $50,000 debt thanks to medical bill copays.

The IRS put a lein on us, and began taking our tax return every year, which up until that point had been a major and important source of income for our family. We would use our tax return to make major car repairs, pay for dental work, and if we had enough left, do something fun for our children.

Our credit score was annihilated, and with it our ability to get a credit card or take out a loan, right at the first time we needed to do either of those things in any real way. When we had to move, finding a renter who would work with us despite the horror-show of our credit score was humiliating and exhausting. We couldnt save money for our children. The credit checks that employers run made me ill with worry when I was looking for a better-paying job. We couldnt buy a new used car when our old car broke down. And until Obamacare, after my job ended I couldnt get new coverage because of my pre-existing conditions.

The IRS required that every year we again prove what our income was and why we could not pay off the debt, or make substantial payments instead of the very small ones we could afford. The paperwork and back-and-forth was time-consuming and intimidating. Despite the fact that we either had a deferral or made payments, we werent even touching the interest, and so the debt continued to grow. It was like this hydra-headed monster that ate our lives.

With my mothers help, we paid a lawyer and filed with the IRS for an Offer In Compromise a year and half ago. Just a few weeks ago we got notice that it was accepted. This means that the IRS has agreed to take one very reduced payment toward our debt, and in return we are finished with it. This is a huge, important step for our family in recovering from this financial ruin.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/11/medical-debt-ruined-my-life

9 Everyday Household Items (Only Rich Idiots Would Buy)

Let’s face it — there’s a certain appeal to buying stupid things just because you can. Who among us hasn’t vacantly flipped through a SkyMall catalog and imagined a life where buying something out of a SkyMall catalog was a reasonable decision? However, once we land back on planet Earth and get back to our real lives where we have to decide whether to pay the electric bill or the phone bill this month, we know bullshit overpriced junk when we see it. The following expensive, goofy-ass products are made for people who only know “paying bills” as the time they hired two guys named William to install a floating bar in their swimming pool.

9

A $100 Tube Of Toothpaste

Those who’ve wondered what it’s like to actually pour money down the drain can now experience the sensation right from the comfort of their bathrooms. The good people at Theodent have created a “luxury” toothpaste that, at $100 for a 3.4 ounce tube, lets you scrub your teeth with ten thousand pennies. Called “Theodent 300” and offering vague “clinical strength,” we’re guessing it’s perfect for those nights you dine in Hell.

Like most activities involving $100 and putting stuff in your mouth, brushing with Theodent is a little dodgy. Instead of fluoride, Theodent contains a proprietary substance called “Rennou,” which is derived from cocoa plants and will — allegedly — keep your teeth from rotting and help get Kool-Aid stains off your tongue.

If you’re not up for diving head first into the world of luxury toothpaste, you can play in the shallow end with the Classic or Kids versions of Theodent, which are available on Amazon for a more comfortable $12 or $13. The kids’ stuff tastes like chocolate, so good luck teaching them not to eat it.

8

A $250 Jump Rope

Learning to jump rope was a childhood rite of passage, as was finding “jumpable” stuff, like garden hoses, shoe laces, your mom’s good towels, death shrouds, etc. Apparently, someone didn’t get that jumping random stuff was the whole point, and created a $250 jump rope because … actually, we’re not sure why.

A company called Hock decided they could improve upon the classic version of a rope that you jump over by combining “minimalist style with innovative technology.” Those willing to forego groceries in favor of walnut handles and anodized aluminum parts can launch their upper-class asses over nine (adjustable) feet of natural leather rope.

Sadly there’s no quantity discount, so if you’re planning to Double Dutch, be prepared to cough up the full $500 for a pair of these bad boys.

7

A Plain, Ordinary Candle That’s $470

If you literally have money to burn, then we’ve got the product for you. Thanks to Jo Malone London, you can watch your money go up in smoke while enjoying the “compelling” scents of “Lime Basil And Mandarin” or “Pomegranate Noir,” the latter of which you may recognize as a phrase that is fucking meaningless. Should you choose to indulge, each candle will set you back one (or two, or three) month’s car payment of $470.

Jo Malone
Featuring the exhilarating aroma of flaming money and bad decisions.

If you’re trying to rationalize this particular waste of money, let’s be clear on what you’re not buying. It doesn’t contain any expensive essential oils, it’s not used for “aromatherapy,” and it’s not some long-lasting, slow-burning piece of survival gear that will provide illumination in the event of a zombie apocalypse. It’s just a candle. And a damn expensive one.

It does include “complimentary” matches, so … there’s that. Although at that price point, the matches should be doing your tax return.

6

A Leather-Wrapped Plastic Igloo Cooler For $1800

You may not be familiar with the adage “Leather and water go great together,” possibly because nobody has ever said it ever. That small fact didn’t dampen the spirits of the Lappas company, who decided a leather-wrapped cooler was just the thing for rich people needing to terrify party guests and keep their drinks cold at the same time.

Neiman Marcus
“You remember my old business partner? Let’s just say I finally found a use for him.”

There is just one tiny detail: the thing costs $1800, which is the price of several mini-fridges and perhaps an old car. But hey — shipping is free!

We’re guessing that the people responsible for this abomination are counting on the leather wrapping to distract potential buyers from realizing that what’s inside this stamped-leather eyesore is a plain old plastic Igloo cooler, which you can buy at Walmart for $15.

Neiman Marcus
Though if you own this you probably own Walmart.

5

$1220 For A Regulation Football Made Of Python

Fortunately for pigs, they don’t make footballs like they used to. While no one is throwing around literal pigskin anymore, the options available for football material have never been more diverse. In fact, if you’re itching to impress your friends with a super-deluxe session of catch, you can even toss a ball made out of python.

If you’re prepared to pony up $1220 for a fucking football, the folks at Bergdorf Goodman are standing by to help swankify your life’s football-related moments. The ball comes in black and natural (read: snakeflesh), and has absolutely no special powers or features. It’s just an ordinary (and very, very expensive) football that won’t transform you into a snake or Brett Favre. That said, it might produce a Tim Tebow moment or two when it’s time to pay your credit card bill.

4

14k Gold Staples For $118

When you are genuinely out of ideas and at a loss for what to spend money on, you can always spring for some solid gold staples. Sold by Garmentory, you can get 24 gold staples — plus a nifty box — for $118. While that seems pretty steep, it works out to just $4.92 per staple, which is perfect for those really special moments when a stack of papers needs just a little bit extra to keep them together.

Unfortunately, they are just staples after all, so to use them, you still have to put them in your $8 Swingline stapler and hope it doesn’t jam. You should also really, really try not to forget a page.

The folks at Garmentory would like to remind you that there are all sorts of uses for $118 gold staples, such as haphazardly punching them into your clothing for a look that screams, “I have lost all concept of value and social convention”:

We guess they figure if you can fork over that much cash for gold staples, then you shouldn’t mind tearing a bunch of tiny holes in your clothes to show them off. However, since you could just spend $5.50 on some identical-looking yellow (or blue or pink or green) staples on Amazon, this probably isn’t the best way to get a big bang for your bougie buck.

3

A $100,000 Wet Razor

If you have a hundred large lying around, or if your facial hair is the consistency of Kevlar, you might be in the market for the world’s most expensive razor. It’s made out of iridium, a substance that comes from meteorites and is so incredibly hard it’s mostly used to make rocket engines. Obviously, the next best use for this material, right after propelling things into orbit, is removing hair from your body.

It’s manufactured by Zafirro, who says their facial hedge clipper “pushes the boundaries of technology while creating an aesthetic that could be the centerpiece of a gallery collection.” In other words, it’s needlessly high-tech, but it’s also kinda pretty. It’s available only in limited quantities, probably because iridium is only available in limited quantities. If you’re overburdened by a hundred grand and have questionable judgment, you can pre-order it on their website, and the purchase does include free service on the sapphire blades and pure platinum screws for 20 years. We assume the only shaving cream worthy of this little gem is made of jellied pearls stripped from the ocean’s rarest clams, but Zafirro’s website neither confirms nor denies this.

2

A Designer Toothpaste Squeezer for $195

For those days when your own fist simply won’t do, you can eke out a perfect glob of toothpaste with this designer toothpaste squeezer. According to theline.com, “This chrome-plated brass device affords a precise start and end to each day by ensuring you get the most out of every tube of toothpaste.” It’s the perfect thing for anyone looking for completely unnecessary items to fill up counter space in an overly large bathroom.

For the bargain price of $195, you can have the satisfaction of wringing the last fraction of a cent of toothpaste out of each tube, and rest in the knowledge that if you live to see 150 years you might eventually break even (please note this does not apply if you are using Theodent 300).

1

A $100-A-Month Toilet Paper Subscription

If you thought toilet paper was the great equalizer, and that rich people wipe their asses with the same paper squares as the rest of us plebes, think again. There is, in fact, toilet paper for the astoundingly wealthy. And it isn’t just dollar bills.

Zurich-based Joseph’s Toiletries offers a monthly toilet paper subscription for the bargain price of $100. Per person. Calling itself “toilet paper reinvented,” the natural “tissue pads” come with a bottom wash infused with vitamin B5 and zinc, which gets your asshole all those vitamins it’s no doubt been missing.

Among our many questions is what metric they used to determine an appropriate monthly ration of toilet paper. Did they make allowances for taco truck days and bad sushi? And how did they settle on a size for the pre-cut pieces, which could be extremely wasteful or woefully inadequate, depending on factors such as poo consistency and splash radius? Even more importantly, what happens if you exhaust your monthly allocation of butt wipers early? Can you get more, or are you left kissing your bunghole with common tissue like the poors?

For more really bad financial decisions, read 7 Real Fast Food Items Only Insanely Rich People Can Buy and 7 Great Products For Telling The World You’re A Rich Dick.

And be sure to check out 9 Types Of Coworkers To Make You Want Your Head To Explode, and let us know about other headsplosion-worthy employees we may have missed.

Follow us on Facebook, and we’ll follow you everywhere.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24691_9-idiotically-expensive-versions-everyday-products.html

One careful owner: tennis star Nick Kyrgios uses Facebook to sell his old car

Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has taken a back-to-basics approach to monetising his social media putting his BMW up for sale to 250,000 Facebook followers.

Nick Kyrgios latest effort to monetise his social media profile putting his BMW up for sale to his 250,000 Facebook followers has caused a mixed reaction online.

The 21-year-old Australian, whose on-court behaviour has led to a series of difficult PR moments, posted a photo of the car on his official account, asking fans to message him offers.

He wrote: Alright I dont usually post stuff like this on social media but special exception this time this was my first car I ever bought, owned from new. The time has come to let it go.

Nick
Nick Kyrgios negotiates with potential car buyers on Facebook. Photograph: Nick Kyrgios/Facebook

Among the cars qualities listed with the advert: 1 owner meticulously cared for, regularly serviced, paint protect, only 16,000km, near new tyres, immaculate car, bone leather interior.

Kyrgios gave short shrift to followers bemused by the informal use of his official account, replying to one who told him to concentrate on tennis only by saying: Thanks Dad. Another who said: Someone needs money for the clay seasons travel was told: Semis of Miami paid 280k US probably not mate.

He refused to make his asking price public but told one follower who offered him $6,000: Ill send you the petrol tank lid.

The world No16 is currently preparing to lead Australia in their Davis Cup quarter-final tie against the US in Brisbane on Friday, amid what he describes as one of the best spells of his career.

He said: Where Im at mentally, Im just competing for every point and playing hard and I havent really had that mindset before. Im feeling motivated and I want to get out there more. Im probably in the best place Ive ever been in.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/05/one-careful-owner-nick-kyrgios-facebook-sell-old-car-tennis

Is the humble Lada now a classic car? – BBC News

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Media captionThe Lada owner who’d turn down a Ferrari

The classic car speeds through the English countryside, a lovingly-maintained example of motoring heritage.

It rounds a left-hand bend, negotiates a tight right corner, and gracefully dips out of view, a petrol-fuelled gazelle.

This is a collectable automobile that has seen its value soar in recent years. Proud owner Ed Hughes is a very happy man.

Yet the 45-year-old’s set of wheels isn’t what most people would imagine when they think of a classic car. It isn’t a vintage Ferrari, Lamborghini or Jaguar, for example.

Instead, it’s a 1994 Lada Riva, the boxy, four-door Russian runabout that regularly features in “worst cars of all time” lists.

Mr Hughes’ example has a 1.5 litre engine, 80,000 miles on the clock, and a top speed of 95mph (153 km/h). And he loves Ladas so much that he owns five of them.

Image caption Ed Hughes owns a collection of “Eastern European motoring delicacies”

While some might scoff at the suggestion that a Lada Riva is a classic car, it does in fact meet the generally agreed criteria – it is an old car that is no longer in production, and there is enough interest in the vehicle for it now to be collectable rather than scrapped.

And like any classic car worth its salt, there is money to be made, although not Ferrari-style tens of millions. Mr Hughes bought his red Riva 14 years ago for 50. It’s now worth 2,000.

As the global classic car industry continues to grow strongly, an increasing number of previously unheralded cars are now being avidly collected. But why the Lada Riva?

‘Fashion statement’

Mr Hughes, who gave up a career in teaching to write full-time for Practical Classics magazine, admits that Ladas were “deeply unfashionable” for years. But as his father had owned a few of the Soviet cars when he was growing up, Mr Hughes says “he’d always liked them”.

So in the late 1990s he started buying Ladas, including the Riva, which was available in the UK from 1983 to 1997.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption When most people think of classic cars, they imagine Ferraris not Ladas

“As happens with old cars, people were throwing them away as their value decreased, and I started rescuing some of the nicer models,” says Mr Hughes.

“What they lack in fit and finish they make up for in being quite well built mechanically.”

Mr Hughes says there are two main reasons for the big rise in the value of Ladas in the UK in recent years.

“Firstly, a new generation of people in their 20s and 30s like the car’s shape – there is nothing like it on the road. They’ve now become a fashion statement.”

Image caption Dave Richards says it is vital to seek help before buying a classic car

Secondly, they are being snapped up to be exported back to Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Mr Hughes explains: “There’s a small but avid market for Ladas in Eastern Europe, specifically for nice right-hand drive models made for export to Britain.

“Hungarians go berserk for them [in particular] because they think it’s utterly amazing they were built for sale to the ‘capitalist West’ as it were.”

In addition to his five Ladas, Mr Hughes’ collection of “Eastern European motoring delicacies” includes three Wartburgs and a Trabant from former East Germany; a Moskvich from Russia; and a Zaporozhets and a Tavria from Ukraine. He also has “a half-share” in a Izh Oda, also from Russia.

Mr Hughes says he wouldn’t swap his collection for a Ferrari, because he argues that anyone with a “big enough chequebook” can pick up an old example of the Italian sports car, while it “requires a bit more skill, care, and so on, to own a fleet of motoring’s less-loved specimens”.

‘Limited supply’

Motoring journalist Dave Richards says that the big increase in the number of formerly “prosaic” or ordinary cars now considered to be classics certainly isn’t limited to former Soviet vehicles.

Instead, he says that cars such as old Ford Cortinas and Capris, the original Mini, and even the Austin Maxi, are in big demand. Plus the Citroen 2CV and the original VW Beetle.

Image caption Older VW Beetles have long been coveted

“Many of these cars are practically extinct now, you hardly ever see them on the road, but there is a real demand for those that are still out there… this limited supply means that prices are being driven ever upwards,” says Mr Richards, who is also co-owner of car restoration business Project Shop, based near the Oxfordshire town of Bicester.

The company makes a good living restoring classic cars to their former glory.

At the UK branch of US car giant Ford, it celebrates its old cars in a quiet corner of its factory in Dagenham, east London.

Its Ford Heritage Collection is an Aladdin’s Cave of more than 100 Ford cars from the past 80-plus years.

The jewel in the crown is a Ford Escort 1850GT, which won the first London-to-Mexico rally in 1970.

Ivan Bartholomeusz, who helps to look after the collection, estimates that this car is worth at least 500,000.

Yet the museum of cars is also home to Ford Fiestas from the 1990s.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ford Capris are now much in demand

Mr Bartholomeusz says that the best Ford Cortinas made in the first half of the 1970s can now sell for 18,000, but back in the 1980s were worth as little as 100.

However, Mr Richards cautions that there is still some risk to buying a classic car, be it a Lada, Ford or Ferrari.

“Don’t trust your own judgement,” he says. “Instead, elicit the help of a car club who might know the vehicle in question, or take someone from that club with you to look at that car.

“This is better than saddling yourself with a car that could cost you a packet.”

Of course, owning a classic car isn’t just about money; some people do it for the sheer fun.

Bronwyn Burrell was 25 when she took part in the same 1970 London-to-Mexico rally as the feted Escort, co-piloting an Austin Maxi.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bronwyn Burrell, pictured here in 1964, took up motorsport in the 1960s

After a 47-year hiatus she’s now taking the very same Maxi racing again, and is due to take part in the London-to-Lisbon classic car rally later this month.

Ms Burrell says: “It’s such good fun, a really exhilarating drive. It’s just like I’m 25 again, reliving my youth.

“I wouldn’t sell the Maxi unless I had to. As far as I’m concerned she’s priceless.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39489527

Stanley Cup to go on display next to Stanley family car

 (AP)

The most popular trophy in sports won’t be the only historical artifact on display next week when Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen shows it off in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, metropolitan area.

The Stanley Cup will be next to a Stanley car.

A West Fargo antique car museum is tuning up a 1936 Rolls-Royce that belonged to Edward Stanley, himself a hockey player and son of the man who founded the trophy that goes to the NHL champion. His father, Frederick Stanley, was the Governor General of Canada and became interested in hockey because Edward and his siblings played the game.

The car has been at the Bonanzaville museum since the early 1970s, when Marv Koeplin loaned it to the museum. Koeplin died in 2002. His daughter, Mary Dickinson, said her father had an “extreme interest in education” and would have loved having it as part of the Stanley Cup event.

“My goodness, it is just a wonderful connection with the Stanley family,” Dickinson said. “I’m very happy that a piece of history, a historical artifact, can rise again like the Phoenix to go next to the Stanley Cup.”

The antique car display at the West Fargo museum includes more than 50 vehicles. Brenda Warren, executive director of the historical society and museum, said the Stanley Cup and Stanley car are a perfect pairing.

“I think it’s a great association,” Warren said. “It’s a beautiful luxury car that has great historical significance behind it.”

Cullen, a 20-year NHL veteran who grew up in Moorhead and lives in the area with his wife and three kids, will pose for pictures with the cup and the car on July 30. All players on the cup-winning team get the trophy for 24 hours.

The 3-foot high, 35-pound trophy is the oldest professional team sports trophy in North America. Frederick Stanley bought the cup from a London silversmith and donated it to Canada’s top amateur team in 1892. In 1910, it was given to the champion of a professional competition and remained that way until it became the property of the NHL in 1917.

It is the second Stanley Cup for the 39-year-old Cullen, who won his first with Carolina and also has played for Anaheim, Florida, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Minnesota and Nashville.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/07/22/stanley-cup-to-go-on-display-next-to-stanley-family-car/

The secret life of an organiser: I clear my clients physical and emotional clutter | Anonymous

Many of them are so overwhelmed with belongings that theyre on the verge of a breakdown. I advise them to simplify and let go. Its transformative

My day is busy from dawn until dawn, installing pretty containers, colour-blocking books within designer spaces and folding socks, Marie Kondo style. I wish. Professional organising is in actual fact dirty, physical and disappointingly almost never involves styling.

I might organise the removal of an old car or a pile of excess bricks. I sometimes declutter a paper-filled office or pack up a deceased persons estate. I could even track spending and create a budget for someone whose poor organisation tumbles out of their wallet.

I have always been highly organised, even as a child. I heard about organising as a career in a magazine and pursued it, not knowing how to translate my skill set into consulting with clients. I had worked for nearly 20 years as a nurse, but felt organising was my calling and it has not disappointed since I took it up in 2000.

Im self-employed and make a good hourly rate which I discount if I get a lot of work from a client. I dont turn down any jobs, unless the person involved is showing signs of hoarding behaviour; I have no mental health training, so I dont really feel I can help.

I love big jobs when I can transform an entire home or workspace, but thats a big commitment from a client and they must trust and like you for it to work.

Most people outside of the organising industry think we tidy up, but tidying is only a visual thing. What a good organiser does is help with the functionality of a space for example, making sure that frequently used items are in prime storage areas. Or maybe having a system in place to manage bills that arrive on email. Whatever it is I am helping with, I also want to teach my client how to tackle other areas of their space or life when Im not there.

About 90% of my work is hands on going through what is owned, reordering what is kept, and taking away items for charity or recycling. If I had once piece of advice for people it would be that 80% of the items you think you need are only fit for the tip, recycling or donation. Want to save some time? Use the bin, my friend.

Sometimes prospective clients break down on the phone before Ive even met them. They are so overwhelmed with stuff, so overcome with shame at the mess they have created. For them I have nothing but compassion. There are so many factors that can impact a clients ability to stay on top of things: illness, change in circumstances, relationship troubles, relocation to a new home, poor time management. Most often its washing dishes and doing the laundry that people struggle with. I dont mind mucking in to get a backlog under control, and advise clients of methods to stay in control, particularly getting all members of the household to contribute.

Clients often cry with gratitude at my results. I often cry, too. Its thoroughly rewarding to help people on such a practical and emotional level. To take an unusable space and make it usable again, or to empower someone to take charge of an aspect of their life that is not working for them is incredibly satisfying.

I encourage clients to make sound choices about what to do with their overwhelming belongings: the things weighing them down that are not contributing in a positive way. But Ill never to force them to discard even the smallest item; the choice always needs to be theirs. Some people are very easily lost in the minutiae of their possessions and cant see the forest for the trees. I bring perspective.

What makes my job so satisfying is hearing peoples stories. Am I a voyeur? Perhaps a little, but I have had ample opportunities to read things like personal letters and Ive always turned my head. Discretion is very important and I have never taken advantage of the trust placed in me.

Surprisingly Ive had very few clients I didnt warm to, but the rude ones stand out. One in particular springs to mind because she didnt want to get her hands dirty and sadly you cant make decisions about the many things in someones domain without their input. At times like these I try not to judge. I didnt know her full story and what caused her discomfort with me trying to help her.

On the flipside, a good number of clients have become close friends. I am lucky that Im able to separate the people I enjoy working for from their sometimes unsettling behaviour. A family I adored had cats and dogs that they allowed to go to the toilet inside and no one would attend to it promptly. Urine would soak into the floorboards and faeces got mushed into whatever was left on the floor. When you are constantly in an environment that is chaotic and smells, you become desensitised. So while it may seem extreme to you or I, the owner of the clutter barely notices it.

Of course you see all sorts of things and luckily it doesnt bother me in the slightest. I thought it was funny when a client saw me spot lube in her bathroom and she said: Oh, Im sorry you had to see that. Do they think I dont have lube at my house?

Being at the coalface of unwanted belongings has changed my relationship with stuff. I rarely shop, I encourage friends and family not to give me gifts and I easily discard unwanted items. Im a sucker, however, for saving things from clients like plastic bags they put in the bin, which I find wasteful.

I often come home from work and feel that my small apartment is like a five-star hotel: clean lines, most of the washing put away, and I know exactly what is in the fridge. I highly value that my down time is truly my own with nothing to do after hours. So many clients I see are playing catch up, with paper, belongings, information. When you simplify and let go, life has so much more grace.

Organising is very physical work, mentally demanding at times as you are constantly problem solving and sometimes an emotional journey when the client is struggling. The hardest is when a client has a difficult life or if they are in denial about the cluttered and unhealthy environment they are forcing their family to live in. But despite the dirt, the emotions, and the overwhelming stuff, I really wouldnt change my job for the world. Well, maybe just a bit more colour-coding would be nice.

Are you a flight attendant, a firefighter or an anaesthetist? We want to hear your candid accounts of what work is really like. Find full details on submitting your story anonymously here

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/15/secret-life-of-an-organiser-clearing-clutter