Tag Archives: featured

Museum Of Rocks That Look Like Faces

There’s a very interesting museum in Chichibu, Japan, filled with rocks that look like faces. It is currently owned by Yoshiko Hayama, the wife of the original owner who passed away in 2010. Shozo Hayama spent 50 years collecting rocks that looked like faces. The museum has over 1,700 rocks that resemble human faces. A lot of the rocks have names, but many still remain unnamed so Yoshiko occasionally invites visitors to name the rocks.

The museum houses all kinds of jinmenseki, or rock with a human face, including celebrity lookalikes like Elvis Presley. And according to a 2013 post on Kotaku, there are also movie and video game character rocks like E.T., Donkey Kong and Nemo.

I would personally find this a very interesting visit, certainly makes me want to learn how and where he collected all of these rocks from. It would be great to hear the story of the journey involved in collecting all these rocks. Below are a couple of photos of some of the collection.

Source: ThisIsColossal

Target More Than Just A Store

Browsing through Reddit the other day, I ran into a Til (Today I Learned) that said Target has a top rated forensic law in Las Vegas and Minneapolis used to solve retail crimes committed at Target stores. They also handle felony, homicide and special circumstances cases for law bureaus that need the extra manpower, facilities, resources and time, free of charge. That alone I found very interesting, but when I went into the comments section of the post, I found a personal experience of such department by someone. I wanted to share the story of a man with an addiction, his encounter with Target’s forensics department, and how he turned his life around.

So, at a different point in my life I had a serious drug problem and my main source of income was shoplifting Blu-Rays which I would fence to a used game store. During a ~4month period I stole about $15k worth of Blu-Rays from a single Target location. There was no magic to it, I’d walk in and fill a hand basket with new releases and walk out the door. I’d run to my car and drive away, and towards the end I would basically fast-walk through the parking lot, they will not chase you out of the store. I didn’t take any measures to disguise myself, and I drove away in a car which was registered in my name – albeit to the address I had during college in a different state.

After several months of this (I also used to frequent Walmarts and Blockbusters (dating myself!)) I left my apartment and drove about 25 minutes to my usual Target. I went in early, it was around 8:30am. I followed my usual method of filling a basket and went to leave the store. I got through the first set of doors and as I went to leave the terminal doors two guys stepped in and addressed me by name and told me to stop. I made a half hearted struggle and just gave up.

These were two guys from the higher level of Target loss prevention. Not only did they know my name, they knew my apartment and started asking me specific questions about who else lived there “who drives the silver car that was there this morning”. They had actually watched my apartment that day and followed me from my door step to the store in order to catch me in the act. They also knew the store I sold the discs too, and asked me some general questions about that process.

I was pretty impressed, there was some serious detective work going on by Target. I was a bit uncomfortable that they were literally staking out my house, but as I mentioned at that point this was a huge source of loss for them. 

I want to say that they gave me something I did not see much of during that time period – respect. They recognized that I did this to feed an addiction, not because I was a worthless person. I showed them respect and they were really very good to me. They actually asked me what I did with the hand baskets… I told them I threw them out of my car window and the guy said “ah man those are like $60 a piece!” and we shared a laugh. It was the last time I stole from Target, though I wish I could say the last time I stole in general. No other retailer made this kind of effort, Target was really invested in finding me. I was processed for Grand Larceny and afforded a continuance from the state, after a year of good behavior the incident was off my record. I THOUGHT that was the end of my experience with Target.

On a longer timeline… I left the state about three months after this happened. Eventually I was able to get clean and returned to the state of the Target thefts about 2.5 years later. I was now properly employed and a contributing member of society again, so I registered to vote. Three weeks later the police arrived at my work and I was informed I had 7 outstanding larceny warrants. During my time out of state Target and the police had finally crunched through all of their information on me and assembled evidence of at least 7 larcenies for which I could be charged. I got a packet in the mail that was inches thick, with some wonderful pictures of me, my car, and my old apartment.

Long story short, with the help of a lawyer I was able to show the state that these crimes were committed years ago by a drug addict. I was able to show them my history since then and my accomplishments and all 7 charges were dropped outright. I still have the packet of information from Target, and occasionally I look at the pictures and remind myself where I came from. I can’t even imagine shoplifting now, it’s really surreal.

So; Target is voracious in their pursuance of high level shoplifting. Their guys are dedicated and pretty intense, but in my experience not bad people. Don’t shoplift that makeup, they may watch where you sleep!

Also, never forget that people can change. Including you, or your friends or family members who might be struggling. I was a career shoplifter and speedball shooter. Four years later I own a home, am married, and have a very good career. Amazing what is possible when your mind is clear.

I still shop at that Target occasionally , but it’s kind of hard. I feel watched (and may very well be) but I also start to sweat and my heart rate increases and it’s still a flood of memories. Every time I go in there I think about the loss prevention guys and would like to see them again and show them how I am doing.

Edit: I’ve been on here a while and wondered if I’d ever get gold, glad someone found it interesting! I actually texted my wife and told her I saw this thread and was feeling a bit depressed afterward. I don’t talk about this stuff much, very mixed emotions. I’m not necessarily ashamed of it but I struggle with the thoughts and memories it evokes. Every year brings new perspective on this stuff. I think the most important thing that I can say to people is that you can never assume what people have been through.

The worst ones were a pretty dramatic chase through a blockbuster parking lot and a failed escape attempt from walmart which included a can of wasp killer haha. Now I worry about getting home from work in time to catch the dump. Life is different!

Source: Reddit Comment

Should We Donate To The Susan G. Komen Foundation?

Pink ribbons adorn various places and items through the year to promote breast cancer awareness. The ribbons are a trademark of the Susan G. Komen foundation, which advocates breast self-awareness as a primary method for fighting breast cancer. Around 458,000 people die of breast cancer each year, it’s no puzzle that we need to raise awareness and money to  fight this disease. The Komen foundation devotes millions of dollars to more than 100 research grants aimed at curing, and hopefully preventing, breast cancer. It also funds thousands of community health programs and helps establish new global programs that all help the cause of breast cancer awareness. The foundation has several ways in which it generates revenue to use towards its mission. The Susan G. Komen Race for the cure is the world’s largest fundraising event for breast cancer. The primary source of revenue for the event is donations collected by the participants in the race.

Nothing big comes without its fair share of controversy, the Komen foundation is no exception. In recent years the Komen foundation has faced criticism for how much of its raised money was being donated to cancer research. Should we be donating to this foundation?

The Beginning
The foundation was started when Nancy Goodman Brinker’s sister, Susan Goodman Komen, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and died of the disease at the age of 36 in 1980. Nancy Brinker, who believed that Susan’s outcome might have been better if patients knew more about cancer and its treatment, promised her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen foundation was started in 1982 to fulfill that promise in her memory.

Controversy And Criticism
With each year that passed, the foundation grew with volunteers and supporters, and continued to raise more money. In December 2009,  Brinker was appointed CEO of the organization. In recent years, Brinker’s organization has been criticized for how they spend the money that people entrust them with. Nancy Brinker’s salary has been a direct target, as in 2011 she was paid $417,712 as CEO, and is currently being paid $684,000 a year according to the charity’s latest available tax filing. This is a bit of a shock, considering not only has the foundation cut by nearly half the proportion of fund-raising dollars it spends on research grants in recent years, but also only spent 15% of its donations from 2011 on research grants and awards. The organization also has a bad reputation for using a lot of its donor funds for legal fees that involve denying other fundraising efforts by other individuals.

The Komen foundation has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred small non-affiliated fundraising charities because of their use of the word “cure” in their charity name or the use of the color pink. According to Komen’s financial statements, the cost of these legal fees add up to almost a million dollars each year, lets not forget this is donated money being spent. Isn’t this supposed to be an organization whose mission is to raise money for a good cause? Why are they so worried that others will also raise money for that same cause? Obviously because it interferes with the business side of their organization, the part where they don’t generate enough money for profit.

The biggest controversy that the Komen foundation has had is that of  their relationship with Planned Parenthood. In 2007, Komen granted money to pay for 170,000 clinical breast exams and 6,400 mammogram referrals at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In 2012, Komen stopped funding Planned Parenthood, citing a congressional investigation and a newly created internal rule about not funding organizations under any federal, state or local investigation. This move was applauded by conservative and religious groups but it was denounced by several editorials, women’s health advocacy groups, and politicians. Four days later, due to the public’s response, the foundation reversed the decision and announced it would amend the policy to “make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in  nature and no political”.

Komen benefits from corporate partnerships, receiving over $55 million a year from corporate sponsors. There has been a lot of criticism over its choices in partnerships. For the 2008 model year, the Ford Motor  company built a branded limited edition of 2500 Ford Mustang motorcars with a “Warriors in Pink” package as part of their long-running association with Komen. A study found that women employed in the automotive plastics industry are almost five times as likely to develop breast cancer, prior to menopause, as women in a control group. In April 2012, Komen paired with KFC to offer “Buckets for the Cure”, a promotion in which fried and grilled chicken was sold in pink branded buckets. The collaboration garnered criticism because of the promotion of unhealthy eating habits and obesity, since obesity itself contributes to breast cancer. Now to be fair, all this criticisms over partnerships is ridiculous, the foundation is trying to raise money for breast cancer research, not obesity issues, that’s another problem in itself.

Would I donate money to this foundation? My answer is yes, and this is my personal reason as to why. Although this isn’t the only foundation out there for this particular cause, it is one that is doing a lot of work on a global scale to help its main mission, breast cancer awareness. I feel like it has done a great job at that, I don’t think there is a single person in the U.S that doesn’t associate a pink ribbon with breast cancer. Although the foundation, according to its own financial records, doesn’t do well in the use of its money, I think that once it realizes that not as many people want to invest in their organization because of their use of funds, they might reconsider some of their financial decisions.

Sources: Wikipedia, Komen.org, Huffington Post, Washington Post