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YouTube // NPR Music
YouTube // NPR Music

Watch Blue Man Group's Tiny Desk Concert

YouTube // NPR Music
YouTube // NPR Music

Blue Man Group is one of those rare acts that lives up to the hype. The first time I saw them in Las Vegas, I was surprised that the act included plenty of humor, impressive messiness, feats of dexterity, and actually good music. That last one was the biggest news for me, since I had never actually thought of Blue Man Group as a band...but of course they are. They've released a bunch of albums. They also happen to be into performance art.

Blue Man Group dropped by NPR recently for a Tiny Desk Concert. Using a variety of instruments, both custom-made and off-the-shelf, the concert is a delight. NPR's Bob Boilen writes:

Every band that plays the Tiny Desk must work within the restrictions of the space. So instead of installing their entire signature PVC instrument, what ended up behind the desk was about a third of it. On the right side of the desk, their Shred Mill makes its internet debut: It's a drum machine triggered by magnets that changes rhythm depending where they are placed on the home-made variable-speed conveyor belt. They also invented something called a Spinulum, whose rhythmic tempo is controlled by rotating a wheel that plucks steel guitar strings. ...

Read the rest for more details on the instruments involved, including a nice writeup of the Chapman Stick. The Stick is usually the weirdest instrument onstage when it appears, but for Blue Man Group it's probably the most conventional. Enjoy:

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Burger King
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Food
Burger King Taunts McDonald's By Offering Free Whoppers to Scary Clowns on Halloween
Burger King
Burger King

The rise of the scary clown trope, fueled by movies like It and real-life pranksters, has left McDonald’s with a bit of an image problem. The fast food chain took its mascot Ronald out of the spotlight following the clown crisis of 2016, but a new promotion from Burger King proves that suppressing the colorful mascot won’t be so easy. As Food & Wine reports, Burger King is offering free Whoppers to customers who come in dressed as scary clowns on Halloween night, an apparent jab at its competitor.

On October 31, from 7 p.m. to closing time, select Burger King locations in Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles will hand out free burgers to the first 500 guests who fit the spooky description.

A video advertising the stunt shows a diverse group of creepy clowns, but their ringleader—a familiar-looking red-headed clown dressed in red and yellow—makes it clear that the trolling is intentional.

This isn’t the first time Burger King has used Halloween as an opportunity to poke fun at the golden arches. Last year, a Burger King restaurant in Queens, New York “dressed up” as the ghost of McDonald’s. Customers interested in helping the chain with its latest prank better start planning their costumes now.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG
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crime
German Police Tried to Fine Someone $1000 for Farting at Them
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images for IMG

In Berlin, passing gas can cost you. Quite a lot, actually, in the case of a man accused of disrespecting police officers by releasing a pair of noxious farts while being detained by the police. As CityLab reports, Berlin’s police force has recently been rocked by a scandal hinging on the two farts of one man who was asked to show his ID to police officers while partying on an evening in February 2016.

The man in question was accused of disrespecting the officers involved by aiming his flatulence at a policewoman, and was eventually slapped with a fine of 900 euros ($1066) in what local media called the "Irrer-Pups Prozess," or "Crazy Toot Trial." The errant farter was compelled to show up for court in September after refusing to pay the fine. A judge dismissed the case in less than 10 minutes.

But the smelly situation sparked a political scandal over the police resources wasted over the non-crime. It involved 18 months, 23 public officials, and 17 hours of official time—on the taxpayers’ dime. Officials estimate that those two minor toots cost taxpayers more than $100, which is chump change in terms of city budgets, but could have been used to deal with more pressing criminal issues.

[h/t CityLab]

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