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  • Sometimes controversy is good publicity, and sometimes it isn't. When an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," a show on Oprah Winfrey's troubled OWN network, highlighting her travels in India aired in the Asian subcontinent, many viewers took offense. The intention of the piece was to "explore the beautiful culture and spirit of the country," according to Winfrey's production company. But many viewers, who took to social media to express their displeasure, found the piece full of stereotypes and clichés from elephants to snake charmers. They were particularly offended by a scene in which Winfrey sits down to dinner with a family and says, "I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still," apparently unaware that eating with one's right hand is customary for the majority of the population.

    One Twitter user wrote, "Not mad at you Oprah, just disappointed." Another took a more let's-be-reasonable approach, writing, "Need to stop overreacting to every perceived criticism if India is to

    Read More »from Oprah Winfrey Receives Criticism Over Show About India
  • Kentucky-based writer Patrick Wensink knows it isn't easy to get a book published these days. If you're lucky enough to do so, you still face the challenge of getting people to read it. No small feat. Lazy Fascist Press, an indie publishing house without a major marketing budget to lavish on the title, published Wensink's satirical novel "Broken Piano for President" in February. This week the book got a significant PR boost from an unexpected source. The book's black and white cover image is similar in design and feel to the label of a Jack Daniels bottle, you see. It came to the attention of Jack Daniels' parent company just now, and Wensink received an unusually courteous and pleasant cease-and-desist letter that promptly went viral.

    We spoke with Wensink about the effect the letter has had on book sales, whether or not he drinks JD, and the plans in progress for the new cover art. Australian artist Matthew Revert, who was responsible for the original image, has been tasked with the

    Read More »from Interview with Author Who Received Humorous Cease and Desist Letter From Jack Daniel’s
  • It's customary for big companies to protect their brands and to use lawyers to tamp down any trademark-infringement issues. It's not customary to do so in a gentlemanly fashion. But when lawyers for Jack Daniel's, the whiskey brand, sent author Patrick Wensink a cease-and-desist letter regarding the cover art for his book "Broken Piano for President," the remarkably cordial tone of the letter stood out. The cover of Wensink's book resembles the iconic black-and-white Jack Daniel's label. The lawyer who penned the letter, Christy Susman, eschewed the threats-and-venom route and, instead, took the path of sweetness and light. The company even offered to reimburse Wensink for the cost of changing the artwork in question. The letter went viral and has been called "the greatest cease-and-desist letter ever." No word yet on Susman's future writing career, but as for Wensink, he says he is planning on complying with the order -- but he and his publisher won't accept the money. We're going to

    Read More »from Jack Daniel’s Lawyer Cease and Desist Letter Goes Viral
  • If you misplace your wallet constantly, listen up! It can still make its way back to you -- even 15 years later. Don Golightly lost his wallet in 1997 while cliff jumping into Utah's Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Why he didn't just take his wallet out of his pocket is a story for another time. Golightly understandably figured that looking for it was a lost cause, and he figured he'd never see it again. Last Saturday, an unexpected visitor proved him wrong. A young man showed up at his house with the wallet, which he'd found while scuba diving in the Flaming Gorge. The wallet contained partly intact cash, some tarnished loose change, and an old driver's license. Luckily, Golightly hadn't moved in 15 years. The diver posted about his adventure on Reddit, where the tale has become a huge hit. One commenter noted that Golightly could send the cash to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and recoup the value. Perhaps the diver will share in the riches.

    What's the coolest thing you've ever

    Read More »from Man Reunited with Wallet Lost at Bottom of Lake 15 Years Later
  • Message in Bottle Found after 35 Years

    Note to self, if you're thinking about putting a message in a bottle and sending it down a river, put your name and telephone number on it -- you just might see it again. Thirty-five years after Sean Keown set afloat a glass bottle stuffed with a handwritten note at a favorite swimming hole along the White River in Rochester, Vermont, 14-year-old Justin Shepard found it, 75 miles away. Even though the bottle was uncorked when he found it near the Bellows Falls dam, the soggy note was still readable. Sheppard called the phone number to no avail. He turned to the Internet instead, where he was able to track down the note's writer. Shepard mailed a copy of the note to Keown, and it arrived last week.

    Keown, then in elementary school, had promised the finder a reward. He may have had a candy bar or perhaps a soda in mind when he wrote those words. Luckily for Shepard, Keown is now thinking cash.

    Read More »from Message in Bottle Found after 35 Years

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