Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Man builds Star Wars themed ‘CAT-AT’ for friend’s forceful felines

    Man builds "CAT-AT" for his Star Wars loving friend (Billy Appletini/Reddit)

    In "The Empire Strikes Back," the Rebel Alliance has their secret base on the ice planet of Hoth attacked by AT-AT's: Giant, four-legged, mechanical walkers that rain down destructive laser attacks and whose armor is seemingly impervious to retaliatory efforts.

    32-years-later, one industrious Reddit user has created a replica version of the AT-AT that serves as a "furnished luxury cat condo" for his friend's two kitties. "My buddy loves Star Wars, and he has two cats," Reddit user BillyAppletini wrote. "So, I built him this, and put it in his apartment." More on the construction of the CAT-AT:

    "I wouldn't consider myself a great woodworker or an artist - but I will take credit for being committed to a joke. I wrecked my house for a month building this, which was about 27 days longer than I wish it would have taken. The trickiest part was keeping any of my friends from coming inside my place for that whole time - I knew they wouldn't be able to keep it a secret!"

    "I was originally going to forge an Amazon receipt and make it look like my buddy's cat ordered it on his Amazon account and have it delivered while he was at work, but enough was enough - when it was complete, I had to get it out of my loft and clean up."

    You can see more photos of the CAT-AT, including a view from inside the cat condo, after the jump.

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  • Newborn fawn naps on doorstep of California home (VIDEO)

    Photographer James Chang captured some delightful video of a newborn fawn resting on the doorstep of his parents' California home.

    At first, Chang was worried that the fawn was injured and called 9-1-1. He was told not to worry and to simply give the baby deer some space in case its mother was nearby.

    "I freaked out, because I thought it was hurt and needed help," Chang told KSBW News.

    But sure enough, after a short amount of time, Change noticed the fawn's mother eating grass across the street. Chang's own mother told the Today Show the adult deer eventually walked across the street and gently "nudged" her fawn, who then slowly rose to its feet and began its "newborn wobbly walk" back into the wilderness.

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  • ‘Real life Barbie’ stirs debate over cosmetic surgery

    Do Barbie dolls create unrealistic expectations for young women? (Valeria Lukyanova/Tumblr)A recent article about 21-year-old Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova has caused an uproar across the Internet, as people debate whether or not the "real life Barbie" achieved her appearance through cosmetic surgery. It has also stoked a larger debate over whether or not excessive pressure is placed on young women by the media and popular culture to fit within a certain cosmetic mold.

    Lukyanova's Tumblr account features some pictures of the model without cosmetics, but in most of the photos she appears to be wearing a lot of makeup. In addition, several readers are questioning whether the photos have been altered, and there's speculation as to whether Lukyanova underwent extensive plastic surgery at such a young age to get her look.

    So, are young women really altering their bodies in an attempt to look like Barbie?

    Writing for Discovery News, Benjamin Radford says "little research" has actually been done on whether girls actually look up to Barbie as a physical ideal. Radford cites an article from the journal Adolescence, in which authors Tara Kuther and Erin McDonald write that, "the extant literature about Barbie dolls tends to be opinionated and based on essays and popular media articles" rather than actual scientific research and analysis.

    In fact, Radford points to a 1995 British study, which found that young girls are actually fond of "torturing" and destroying their Barbie dolls, seeing them as disposable toys rather than a real-life approximation of feminine beauty.

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  • Bear falls safely from tree after police tranquilized it (PHOTO)

    A young bear is seen falling from a tree after being tranquilized. (Andy Duann/CU Independent)

    In a truly memorable moment, a bear can be seen falling from a tree after being tranquilized by police in Colorado.

    The young bear, estimated to weigh between 150 and 200 pounds, had wandered onto the University of Colorado at Boulder campus and climbed into a tree, according to the CU Independent, which captured the stunning image.

    "[The bear] was tranquilized by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department and it fell onto some mats that the Rec Center provided," CU Police Department spokesman Ryan Huff told the paper. "It is now in a cage and it will be relocated at a higher elevation."

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  • Woman allegedly calls in bomb threat over $14 electric bill

    Deidra Reed is facing a felony charge after allegedly threatening to blow up Oklahoma Gas & Electric over a $14 utility bill.

    "I remember flipping out, but I don't really remember what was said," Reed told local TV affiliate News9.

    According to an OG&E employee who has agreed to testify against her, Reed reportedly called the electric company and said, "I am going to blow OG&E up 'cause y'all are charging me for electric I haven't used."

    In her interview with News9, Reed is wearing a T-shirt that reads, "I [Love] Haters."

    "The detective actually told me he heard [the call in question], so I can't really argue with it if it's me," Reed told the station.

    "I don't have a criminal record," Reed said. "I'm struggling to pay $40 a month for rent. How the hell am I [going] to buy some bomb equipment? I don't have [the] know how to make a bomb."

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  • Marines discharge sergeant who criticized President Obama on Facebook

    The Marines announced they are discharging Sgt. Gary Stein after the 9-year veteran used his Facebook account to criticize President Obama.

    "I love the Marine Corps, I love my job. I wish it wouldn't have gone this way. I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career," Stein told the AP.

    Stein will receive an other-than-honorable discharge (OTH), which means he will lose most of his post-service military benefits, the Corps said. In addition, the OTH discharge means Stein will not be eligible to re-enlist in any other branch of the armed forces.

    The story has ignited a debate over the First Amendment rights of men and women serving in the military.

    Stein said he was only exercising his constitutional rights to free speech on March 1 when he wrote on a Facebook page designated for Marine meteorologists, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him."

    Though Stein amended his original post to say he would only refuse to follow any "unlawful" orders, he reportedly resisted offers from the Corps to retract his statement.

    "The Marine Corps gave him the opportunity to think about his actions, yet Sgt. Stein continued to undermine the chain of command," said former Army colonel and military prosecutor Tom Umberg.

    Umberg was not directly involved in Stein's case but said he believes his behavior was deliberate.

    "I think his purpose was to leave the Marine Corps in a dramatic fashion in order to begin a career in talk radio or what have you."

    Stein's attorney Gary Kreep, who also serves as executive director of the United States Justice Foundation, said he would pursue administrative appeals within the Marine Corps.

    "As long as he wants to pursue this, we will be supporting him," Kreep said.

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  • ‘Polite’ burglar offers to trade items with people he robbed

    Travis Foreman discusses the "polite burglar" who broke into his home. (Image: KIROTV.com)

    Hours after breaking into a Washington State home, a burglar dialed up the victimized homeowners' cousin, asking if he could stop by to swap some of the stolen items for a few personal items he'd left behind.

    KOMO News reports that the only thing the alleged burglar asked in return from the homeowners was that they not call the police to report the actual crime.

    "It's very unusual," Sgt. Kevin Crane of the Bremerton Police Department told KOMO. "I've never seen this happen before where a burglar contacts the victim trying to make a deal to exchange things he left behind for some of the items he stole from the victims."

    Earlier on Tuesday, the burglar had fled the scene of the crime after he broke into the residence only to find one of the occupants, a former Marine, was at home and holding a gun. "Get out! I have a gun!" Travis Forman allegedly said, according to KIRO TV.

    The robber, Shane Jackman, reportedly said, "Yes, sir!" before running away.

    Among the items left behind in the robbery were papers identifying the alleged burglar by name. After realizing he'd left behind some of his own items at the scene of the crime, Jackman then used a cell phone he'd stolen from the house to call Foreman's brother in California.

    "He says, 'Hey, I got the guy on the line that apparently stole your stuff. He said he's crying, he's distraught and says he wants to give your stuff back,'" Foreman told KIRO.

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  • Would you buy your dog a pair of testicular implants? (AP/Richard Vogel)Gregg Miller says he's well aware that his business selling testicular implants for dogs invites just as many jokes as it does clients. That's because Miller's job is creating artificial dog testicles for canines that have been neutered.

    "Dogs aren't stupid," he tells Business Week. "They would know if their eye was gouged out, or their foot was cut off. Why wouldn't they know if their testicles are now missing?"

    But laugh all you want, Miller, 59, says his business has become a big success. He says 517,223 dogs in all 50 U.S. states and 49 countries are now wearing "Neuticles" manufactured by his company. Though, as Business Week notes, even Miller can't avoid slipping into unintentional humor when discussing his unusual business.

    "When Neuticles were introduced commercially in 1995," he says, "people thought I was nuts," he said.

    But as the comedian Joan Rivers asked Miller, "What do they do?"

    Miller claims the Neuticles gives dogs a sense of restored pride. Though he recommends the "very lifelike" (and more expensive) silicone version of his product (up to $600) compared to the "easily detected" though more affordable "rigid polypropylene version (about $150).

    "Generally pet owners think (Neuticles) are genius and non-pet owners think we're insane," he says.

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  • Man uses kebab sandwich to ‘plug’ his own slashed throat

    One version of the popular kebab sandwich. (AP/Gero Breloer)

    A British man saved his own life by using a kebab sandwich to stanch a critical wound after having his throat slashed.

    The BBC reports that James Hobbs, 37, was suffering from massive blood loss after being stabbed by Jamie Edney, 36, during a fight outside Hobbs' apartment.

    The Sun's website has a picture of Hobbs holding a kebab sandwich after his ordeal.

    Edney has reportedly been sentenced to five years in prison for the near-fatal five-inch-long throat slashing. The fight started when Hobbs accused Edney of having an affair with his girlfriend.

    Hobbs lost five pints of blood during the January 2011 altercation before a stranger handed him the sandwich to help stop the loss of blood. He was forced to use the sandwich as a bandage for several minutes before his cousin was able to find a towel to use as a replacement.

    Hobbs ended up needing 27 staples in the hospital emergency room to seal the wound.

    Despite sentencing Edney to the half-decade prison term, Judge Michael Longman expressed sympathy for him, noting that Edney did not provoke the confrontation.

    "I accept that you did not go looking for trouble. It was not begun by you," Longman said to Edney in the courtroom.  "It was Mr. Hobbs who came to your door and he did so in a temper."

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  • White House party crasher Tareq Salahi running for Virginia governor

    Tareq Salahi is running for governor of Virginia (AP/Kevin Wolf)

    Former "Real Housewives of D.C." star and alleged White House party crasher Tareq Salahi announced he is running for governor of Virginia.

    "As a Virginia native for the last 42 years, I am troubled to see how our current political figure heads continue to waste tax payer dollars during these difficult economic times!" Salahi said in a statement. "I'm a big believer in limited government, keeping taxes, regulation and litigation low."

    Gossip website TMZ has a copy of the official paperwork filed by Salahi on Tuesday. A PDF of the paperwork says Salahi intends to run in the Republican primary.

    Salahi and his now-estranged wife Michaele gained notoriety in 2010 after they allegedly crashed a state dinner hosted at the White House.

    And while most politicians wait until they're already in office before being accused of a crime, Salahi is taking the opposite route: It was announced on Monday that Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit against Salahi for allegedly scamming visitors to his vineyard.

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