Blog Posts by Eliza Murphy

  • Artist Uses Pennies As Her Canvas

    Jacqueline Lou SkaggsJacqueline Lou Skaggs has a lot of patience, and quite an eye for detail.

    Skaggs, a 48-year-old Queens, N.Y. resident, is the artist responsible for the 12 miniature works of art, each carefully hand-painted on discarded pennies she had found and used as her painting canvas.

    But Skaggs' penny art collection titled " Tondi observations" is one of kind. She said these paintings were done in the early 1990s, and isn't sure she'd be able to do them now.

    "I don't know that I could paint them again. I'm not a miniature artist, or generally a painter. I'm a conceptualist. Things are invented however is necessary for the idea," Skaggs told ABC News. "I was just on a mission with those works, and I was so interested in the discourse between the images and the coins. I was compelled to create them."

    Skaggs often gets asked how long the miniature pieces of art took to create, but she explained there is no simple answer.

    "I'd work on several at a time. So it's hard to say. Some images

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  • World's First 'Liliger' is Born in Siberian Zoo


    Lions and tigers, oh my. But now a new animal can be added to the mix.

    Meet baby cub, Kiara, thought to be the world's first liliger.

    The cute kitty, whose mom, Zita, is a liger (lion crossed with a tiger) and dad, Sam, is an African lion, was born in August at the Novosibirsk Zoo in Siberia.

    To add to the confusion, Kiara is reportedly being raised by the zoo's ordinary domestic cat since her liger mother wasn't able to provide enough milk to feed the hungry, growing baby cub.

    Kiara is being kept in quarantine right now, but visitors should be able to see her fuzzy face as soon as October.

    "This cub has just started growing and developing, her character has not even formed yet. But I'm confident she will be a calm, confident, strong animal," Roza Solovyova, the head of the zoo's cat section, told Reuters.

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  • 5-Month-Old's Amazingly Awkward Passport Photo

    Courtesy the Family

    Say cheese!

    This certainly isn't your typical passport photo. The adorable 5-month-old pictured here from Vancouver, B.C., has become an overnight sensation with his hysterical smirk, often being referred to online as the "drunk baby."

    When the baby's father, whose real name is Joel (and asked only to be referred to by his first name), posted his son's picture to Reddit, he had no idea it would cause such a stir.

    "I put it up there because I wanted people to laugh. Mission accomplished," Joel told ABC News.

    The hilariously awkward photo is actually an outtake from the baby's passport photo shoot.

    "Those were the outtakes. I talked to the fellow developing them. He thought it would be funny to develop the outtakes, so he was quite happy to hear this had gone around the world," Joel said.

    Despite the many funny comments on Reddit accusing the baby of posing for his first mug shot, or asking the baby to lay off the bottle, his father sets the record straight

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  • Panda Cub Opens Eyes at San Diego Zoo


    Take a look at this adorable cub, who is one of the newest additions to the San Diego Zoo.

    The 47-day-old is just starting to open his eyes, which is right on schedule for being less than 50 days old. The entire eye-opening process can take around three weeks to complete. It's the sixth panda cub born at the zoo under a 12-year agreement with China that included the loan of two giant pandas.

    The newest panda doesn't have a name just yet. It's Chinese tradition to wait 100 days before naming newborns. But you can actually help take part in giving the little guy an identity. The zoo will start taking suggestions to name this fuzzy little creature on its website Monday. Start thinking fast, though. The zoo is only accepting submissions until Sept. 24.

    The panda's mother, Bai Yun, gave birth to the baby on July 29. San Diego Zoo bear researcher, Suzanne Hall, has kept blog posts tracking the panda's birth and growth. When he was born Hall wrote, "At 2:10 p.m., with a

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  • Minnesota Man Turns Bedroom Into K'nex Kingdom


    Even at a young age, Austin Granger of St. Paul, Minn., 21, enjoyed the art of building things.

    "His dad started showing him how to build with LEGOs when he was 4 or 5 years old," his mother, Renee Bergeron, said. "By the time he was 7, he was doing the adult versions."

    "He is amazing at this stuff. He's made structures outside, inside, even working structures," she added.

    Courtesy Kevin C. WalkerGranger's talent is on full display in the YouTube video he posted Sept. 13 of his impressive K'nex structure in his bedroom that is generating a lot of buzz online. This one, proudly dubbed "Clockwork," is the biggest machine he has built to date in terms of the amount of time it took him to build it with the construction toys, and the number of electronic and motor components it contains.

    His description for the K'nex creation reads, "This is Clockwork, my fifth major K'nex ball machine, and my largest and most complex K'nex structure to date. It took 8 months to build, has over 40,000 pieces, over

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  • World's Smallest Bodybuilder Dies at Age 23

    Geoff Caddick/PA Wire/AP PhotoThe world's tiniest bodybuilder, Aditya 'Romeo' Dev, died today at age 23.

    Early this morning, Dev was rushed to Satyam Hospital in Punjab, India, where doctors were unable to revive him.

    "He was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state," Dr. Nerraj Chandanone at Satyam Hospital told The Daily Mail. "It was due to massive bleeding which had caused brain damage or aneurism bleeding. There were very rare chances of him surviving."

    In 2008, Dev had been diagnosed with two brain aneurisms, a common symptom of being a dwarf. Doctors had warned Dev that at any time, without warning, his aneurism could burst and lead to a fatal stroke.

    Dev's father, Anil Dev Sharma, 53, and mother, Rakesh Bala, 49, are devastated at the news of their son's death.

    "He was absolutely fine until last night when he suddenly fell unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital and he fell into a coma, he was unconscious all night. Doctors said the nerve supplying blood to his brain had ruptured,

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  • Wandering Bear Stops Traffic on L.A. Freeway


    A black bear that wandered through a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood, temporarily blocking traffic on a freeway and then startling residents as she roamed through yards and a local school has been taken back to the woods where she belongs, and where game officials hope she will remain.

    Around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the 200-pound bear walked out onto 210 Freeway through Montrose in Los Angeles, causing the highway to be shut down until the animal lumbered up a roadside embankment and into a nearby residential neighborhood.

    Residents first spotted the bear climbing over fences and wandering through yards, according to ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

    Officials said the bear made a quick trip to a nail salon, and also took a brisk jog at the Crescenta Valley High School running track during her 2.5-mile adventure through the suburbs.

    Authorities were eventually able to surround the black bear after tracking her by land and air, and hit her with tranquilizer darts at Sunset

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  • Retiring Boss Surprises Employees With Big 'Thank You' Checks

    HowardCooper.comThe employees of Howard Cooper Import Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., are still buzzing about their boss' farewell gesture, fat bonus checks worth thousands of dollars each.

    "Oh it was totally a surprise to everyone," Howard Cooper's employee Sandy Reagan told ABC News.

    Howard Cooper, 83, has owned his car dealership for 47 years, but is now retiring. Cooper sold the company to Ohio-based Germain Motor Company last April, but before the business transaction was complete, he wanted to make sure all 89 of his employees knew how much he appreciated their efforts.

    So Cooper came up with a "thank you" gesture. He surprised each employee last Wednesday with a check for $1,000 for each year of service they had put into working for him.

    "I wanted to thank my employees and that was a way I could do it. I hope it makes a difference in their lives like they have made in mine," Cooper told AnnArbor.com.

    "I was excited. I was happy he did it for everyone. Not just

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  • Message-in-a-Bottle Proposal Goes Awry


    A true "happily ever after" moment went very awry for one Michigan couple. But don't worry, it has a happy ending.

    Nathan Bluestein, 27, of NorthCourtesy Nathan Bluesteinville, Mich. had every detail meticulously planned for his proposal to his girlfriend, May Gorial 32, of Madison Heights, Mich. He was going to take her boating. He had thought of everything. Except for the weather forecast.

    "When we got up there it was warm. It didn't seem very windy. Seemed like a pretty normal day. I've never been on Lake Huron, and didn't know what to expect. I was just looking forward to getting out on the canoe and it was pretty exciting," Bluestein said in an interview with ABC News.

    On Sept. 1, Bluestein and Gorial set out in a canoe in Michigan's Wild Fowl Bay for what Gorial thought was just a beautiful day for a boat ride. Little did she know that Bluestein had secretly packed a bottle containing a French poem, along with the introduction to his proposal, on paper he antiqued by dying it in tea and burning

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  • Quadruplets ID'd By Numbers Shaved Onto Heads


    As if the first day of school isn't already a nerve-wracking experience for kids, try doing it with one of these hairdos.

    Tan Chaoyun from Shenzhen, China, realized she had a problem when her 6-year-old quadruplet sons were about to start school and are so identical that neither she nor her husband can tell them apart.

    Chaoyun was worried the boys' similar identities could cause problems for their elementary school teachers, so she came up with a quick-fix solution as simple as 1, 2, 3 and 4.

    She had a barber shave the numbers onto her son's heads.

    "My sons are identical, even to me," Tan told local reporters. "I could only tell the difference between them by having different ankle tags on them before they turned 18 months old."

    "Even now, their father can't tell which one is which. Sometimes, he punishes the second one for something the third one has done."

    AFP/Getty ImagesAs far as their father is concerned, Jiang Yunglong, Jiang Yun-Shao, Jiang Yunhan and Jiang Yunlin might need to

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