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A certain king of thieves has acquired a new throne. No, we haven't traveled into a fantasy world where a thieves' guild crowns its own king of their sector of the criminal underworld. This is the real world and in this real world, this thief acquired another type of throne. Though silver has been used in jewelry for more than 6,000 years, this piece of thievery involved its posterior superior; a solid 18-karat gold toilet.

Burglaries are unfortunately commonplace, with 2.5 million occurring every year. However, burglaries that involve golden toilets are few and far between. This is especially true when the golden toilet in question is a piece of art worth around $6 million. Only weeks prior, these were the words issued concerning its security.

"It's not going to be the easiest thing to nick. Firstly it's plumbed in, and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don't plan on guarding it," said Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, brother of the Duke of Marlborough.

It doesn't take a literary savant to see the foreshadowing in this scenario. The piece of art in question is titled America by an Italian artist named Maurizio Cattelan, a character oft referred to as the court jester of the art world. The installation is a piece of participatory art and -- sparing the details of the participation thereof -- it's a fully functional toilet made of solid 18-karat gold. Having been on display in the Blenheim Palace in the UK (pictured top), the Guggenheim Museum loan was recently burgled. On September 14th, the Blenheim Palace issued a tweet:

That unforeseen circumstance was, of course, the golden-toilet-art-installation being stolen from the Palace sometime in the night. While 35% of people wouldn't have discovered an establishment were it not for the sign, Winston Churchill's birthplace, complete with functional solid gold toilet, needed no advertising and could've benefited from better security.

"The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace. The artwork has not been recovered at this time, but we are conducting a thorough investigation to find it and bring those responsible to justice," said Jess Milne of the Thames Valley Police.

This was mid-September and the valuable piece has still not been recovered. However, a couple of arrests have been made in connection to the burglary but the toilet evades authorities still. The AC Cobra was famous for reaching 186 MPH on British roads in 1962, but the most famous (and sought after) vehicle right now is the VW Golf that CCTV caught the burglars loading the toilet into before escaping. Police believe there may be another vehicle involved yet, but it remains unconfirmed as the search continues.

North America is the largest market for art only second to Europe. This doesn't bode well for the art piece, especially as more time passes with it unaccounted for. Of course, any sale of such an item as a work of art would be easy to detect due to its uniqueness. But, solid gold is solid gold and worth a great deal whether it's toilet shaped or not. Thus, the insurance company for the Blenheim Palace issued a substantial reward attached to the toilet:

"The reward is up to 100,000 Pounds Sterling and terms are by approval of the insurance company, which includes the safe return leading to an arrest."

The hunt continues and the creator Cattelan is in disbelief. Significant buzz has surrounded his piece ever since it was offered to the White House when Donald Trump was elected President in 2016. But, despite the satirical nature of the installation and the artistic voice of the creator, he's saddened by its theft. Though, the attitude in his words might deceive you:

"When this morning I was informed about the robbery I thought it was a prank and it took me a while, after a few checks, to come to the conclusion that it was true and it wasn't a surreal movie where instead of the jewels of the crown, the thieves went away with a bloody toilet. I always liked heist movies and finally, I'm in one of them. Dear thieves, please, if you are reading this, let me know how much you like the piece and how it feels to pee on gold," Cattelan said in a statement after hearing his installation had truly been blagged.

The search is ongoing, but once the golden toilet is recovered, we're certain its security will no longer be number two on their list.

Monday, June 10 2019 21:47

4 Hobbies To Beat Summer Boredom

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Summer is finally here, with weather perfect for getting outside and trying something new. If you've been itching for a new project or hobby to fill your time with, now is the best time of year to get started. You'll be able to explore outdoor hobbies that require warmer weather, as well as learn about options that you can entertain yourself with year round. Here are a few awesome new hobbies for you to check out this summer while the weather's still beautiful.

Creative Construction

Have you been putting off on your home repairs and general to-do list? Instead of looking at it like a chore, consider it the start of your new DIY or woodworking hobby. Being able to handle your own home repairs can help you save money while putting all the personal touches you want into your home. Just make sure you've got the right tools for the job. Among contractors, 84% say their most commonly used cordless power tool is the power drill.

Classic Cars

Whether you're looking to get into racing or just like the feel of a classic car, learning about auto repair can get you started on a variety of hobbies this summer. For a real challenge, try fixing up an older, classic car that you buy used. Between private-party and dealership sales, nearly 40 million used cars exchange hands each year, and there's a good chance you'll be able to buy a used car in need of repair for a reasonable price.

Engaging Exercise

With the summer comes warm weather, so now's the perfect time to try out a new sport or exercise routine to keep you active. There's a sport out there for everyone, whether you settle on something more relaxing like golf or high-intensity like parkour or rock-climbing. It doesn't take much activity to impact your lifestyle for the better. In fact, engaging in just 10 minutes of physical activity every day can help you improve mobility and live longer. Look for sports that you can use either as a chance to get away and take some time for yourself or alternatively get the family involved for an extra bit of motivation.

Get Out The Grill

For a hobby that your family is sure to love just as much as you, it's time to break out the grill and get to work. Grilling and cooking can be great summer activities, and even if you don't want to grill during the colder seasons of the year, you'll be able to take your skills and turn them into an appreciation for finer foods and barbecue. Just make sure you're cleaning and preparing your grill properly, or you'll have a hard time setting it up come next summer.

Get out there and try something out of the norm! Fishing, for instance, may seem to be more popular with older generations, but more than 60% of participants in 2017 were under the age of 45. Why not give it a go? Summer is the perfect time for you to discover your new favorite hobby or pick up an old one that you've put on the back burner for a while. How do you plan to make the most of the warmer season for your favorite hobbies?

Eccentric millionaire wants to plan a 100-person battle royale on a remote island. Unlike the Hunger Games, no one has to die (or fall in love with Josh Hutcherson).

Admit it, you've probably spent more than a few occasions day-dreaming about some of the fantastical things you'd do if you had millions of dollars at your disposal. It's natural, and sometimes it can be a decent little escape to a different world. For some of the wealthier people in the world, those pieces of imagination are very possible if they have enough money to fund them.

There's a marketplace online called HushHush, that deals in luxury items, experiences, etc. The things listed on the marketplace are extravagantly priced for most people, but the absurdly wealthy aren't like most people. So their desires might be a little different.

Some 43 million Americans move every year. Among the extremely wealthy, it's common for people to have several homes which they live between. Why move from one home to another when you can afford to have several at the same time, right? Right. One guy was in the market for a private island, another thing that isn't uncommon for rich people to purchase. His purpose for the island, however, wasn't for a new home. While most Realtors count curb appeal as one of the top five most important property purchase considerations, our millionaire friend's intentions were more event oriented.

The private island buyer is looking to host a last-person-standing, battle-royale inspired event on the island. The competition would be a 100 person battle, three days long, with a $131,000 jackpot for the winner of the tournament. The tactical clothing industry brings in an average of $947 million in revenue every year and the host would add to that by providing competitors with Airsoft guns, ammunition, and touch sensitive body armor for the duration of the event. The competition would go 12 hours per day and everyone would camp at night, the gear and necessary supplies for which would also be provided.

The trouble in all this, which is the very reason this story went viral, is that the person who wants this event to exist has no idea how to plan it. Thus, he went to HushHush for help and is offering a $59,000 contract over a six-week period to hire a professional game maker. Someone with experience planning realistic, large scale events of this caliber. They would be in charge of all the details from set design to supply shipments. About 85% of people are allergic to poison ivy, but on an uninhabited island, any hazards are generally unknown, so an entire medical and safety staff would be stationed during the event as well. Of course, the person interested in making this event a reality is ready to shell out every penny to make it so.

“If the championship is a success this year, it’s something he wants to make an annual event moving forward, which is very exciting! If you’re a fan of last-person-standing movies and games, it’ll be a great opportunity to have a once in a lifetime experience and earn a significant amount of money. However, to get there, our concierge team needs some help to make it a reality. The first thing we need is a talented gamemaker to help us make the event as realistic as possible,” HushHush founder Aaron Harpin said.

There was an application form to be selected as the game maker, but it closed April 22. The pool of applicants must be fairly large because $60,000 over six weeks of work is a hefty sum for the average person. Even if you're planning a battle royale tournament for the entertainment of the wealthy.

But, now it's a waiting game. We're certain this story will resurface. After all, where there's enough money to buy something, it's only a matter of time until it's a reality. What could possibly go wrong?

The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30 each year. Tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic Ocean are called hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions. In addition, there have been several storms in history that have not been fully tropical and are referred to as subtropical storms or subtropical depressions, meaning they aren't as damaging (though they still can be devastating).

Property owners across the country need to be in high alert both during the Atlantic hurricane season and in the months leading up to it to avoid devastating loss and minimize damage. Over the past five years, the U.S. remodeling industry has grown by 6.4%, earning a revenue of $99 billion in 2018. Though plenty homeowners look to remodeling for simply improving their home's aesthetics, those who live in the path of major storms require remodeling projects to better secure the structural integrity of their homes. In addition to securing your home or business for stronger winds and intense weather, being on the lookout for upcoming storms and identifying how they will be referred to is crucial, as well.

Small businesses, which are defined as organizations with fewer than 500 employees, account for 99.7% of all companies in the United States.

If you're thinking about opening some kind of small business yourself, instead of renting out or buying an expensive office building, you might want to consider a shipping container. Since you'll likely only need an employee or two while you're first starting out, a container is a great area for dozens of business ventures.

With Veterans Day placing a much-deserved focus on members of the American Armed Forces, many companies are taking the opportunity to say "thanks" with special offers and promotions that are only available for a limited time. At Great Wolf Lodge, the gratitude is year-round as they pay respect to those who have served to product us all year long. The Howlin’ Heroes discount welcomes veterans with up to 30% savings on each stay with the special code: heroes. Great Wolf Lodge knows veterans have continued to protect our families and it’s time to reconnect with theirs. 

For years, tales of haunted toy stores have spread as urban legends, like the fabled Toys "R" Us in Sunnyvale, California - one said to be so frightening, it's inspired decades of theories and once appeared on an episode of Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories, directed by Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist) and narrated by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy. While the iconic retailer closed its doors here in the U.S. back in June, there is a chance for you to take a stroll through a Toys "R" Us once more, but not one of the many currently inhabited by pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween or Party City's Halloween City / Toy City combos... a haunted Toys "R" Us. For one month only, those who are brave enough have the opportunity to visit ZOMBIES 'R' US - "A New Haunted Experience" located inside the former Toys "R" Us location in College Point (aka Flushing, NY) Queens. 

This feature is brought to you in collaboration with Pentel of America. Ready to make your artwork POP?

There's so many wonderful things about being a parent, but for me one of the highlights is being able to look upon our daughters as they explore their own creative endeavors. Imagination is a powerful thing, and as a grownup storyteller there's always a burning desire to return to a simpler time - a time during childhood where it seemed that anything could be possible, and the simple act of putting a pen to paper could bring forth colorful new creations, new worlds and new adventures. Of course that is still possible, the difference being that now I prefer using my words to do those things, putting the duties of artwork in more capable hands when the professional need arises. But creating art is a soothing thing with so many benefits, whether you're drawing or coloring the experience can be magical. 

The annual Batman Day may take place on September 15th each year, but on September 19, the City of Walla Walla, Washington will once again honor a man whose portrayal of the Caped Crusader has been loved by generations. The Second Annual Adam West Day will find Walla Walla paying tribute to the life of its favorite son — known the world over as Batman and later the voice of Mayor Adam West on the show The Family Guy — in a way that only West’s hometown can.

From ghost stories to haunted houses, many of us enjoy the thrill of the supernatural—especially in the fall. We share scary tales to invoke feelings of fright at the unknown, but the most unnerving thing about these stories is they are often based on true events and real locations. Several historic places in Montana are known for their own spooky legends and tales of paranormal activity. As you step back in time and discover the past, you might find some of these ghost stories are more than just fiction.

When I stopped by the local Meijer on Force Friday II earlier this month, I noticed some new STAR WARS-themed BIC Pens hanging alongside the Hasbro action figures in one spot. Turns out that they're part of a whole new BIC stationery product range featuring the famous characters from the STAR WARS Saga. Today comes news on the full assortment, which you can check out below...

This post was sponsored by NEW! Tide purclean as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central

Laundry is such a double-edged sword... you have to do the laundry, but what does laundry ever do for you? Okay, trick question - because when your laundry looks good, you can look good... but what about the environment? With families like ours becoming more and more conscious about doing right by the world around us, we're always on the lookout for new products that not only make a kinder footprint, but those that actually work - ones that get the job done. NEW! Tide purclean is the first bio-based detergent with the cleaning power of Tide (and as many of you know, I've written about Tide in the past). So what's great about it? I'll tell ya...

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