Beer bullies blamed for Marijuana ad being pulled from NASCAR

Marijuana ad pulled from jumbotron at NASCAR Brickyard 400

An advertisement that said marijuana was less harmful than alcohol was pulled off a jumbotron outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 in Indiana on Friday.

The Marijuana Policy Project said in a news release that Grazie Media, the company that owns the huge billboard, had condoned the running of the ad…

Continue Reading at Raw Story...


Walk (diagonally) in Harry Potter's footsteps using Google Maps

Have you ever fancied walking in Harry Potter's footsteps and experiencing the thrills and spills of Diagon Alley for yourself?

Well now you can, right from your very own browser.  Diagon Alley has been added to Google Maps!
[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?cbll=51.690875,-0.417249&layer=c&cbp=13,293.7,,0,2.04&hl=en&gl=uk&ie=UTF8&t=h&panoid=u1gcE6cVKELE_xgImwtVHQ&source=embed&ll=51.69053,-0.416965&spn=0.000522,0.001507&z=19&output=svembed&w=562&h=314]

If you've ever wondered whether the alley where Harry, Hermione and Ron go to get their Hogwarts' supplies is real, whether The Leaky Cauldron does indeed open up to a secret passage safely hidden from Muggles in the back streets of London, well now you've got your answer.

It's very real and the living proof is embedded into Google Maps for all to see.

A brief (and recent) history of Diagon Alley

The first glimpse we Muggles got of the infamous road was when Hagrid tapped on a common-or-garden brick wall (for all intents and purposes) that lay beyond The Leaky Cauldron.

Not only was it our first glimpse, but it was affirmation for Harry Potter that the wizarding world was alive, well and all too accessible as long as you had a friend in magic to take you there.

The affable Rubeus Hagrid had walked Diagon Alley many a time and soon helped the young wizard pick a wand from Ollivander's Wand Shop (or does the wand pick the wizard?), purchased Hedwig the owl from Eeylops Owl Emporium for Harry's 11th birthday and a whole manner of other school supplies in anticipation for the orphan's first term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Diagon Alley appears in many of Harry's adventures

The misguided attempt to reach the street using The Weasley's Floo System, sending him instead to Borgin and Burkes, gave us our literal interpretation of the name as Harry's command was interpretted as diagonally, not Diagon Alley.

It was at Flourish and Blotts school supply shop on the alley that Lucius Malfoy first met Harry Potter and learned of the young wizard's blatant disregard of the taboo that surrounded mentioning Lord Voldermort's name.

It was not a coincidental meeting.  Malfoy slipped Tom Riddle's Diary into Ginny Weasley's schoolbag and the whole Chamber of Secrets escapade was to hinge around that very act.

The darkness sets in

In later films, as Voldermort's return became undeniable and wizards and witches no longer felt safe walking the streets day or night for fear of Death Eaters, Diagon Alley became a somber place.

In the desperate search for the Horcrux' that would eventually decide the battle between Potter and Voldemort, the good versus evil tug-of-war that dogged Harry until the end of the Second Wizarding War, Diagon Alley was oft to be found home to snatchers.

This abandonment of the restaurants and boutiques that had once made the Alley so resplendent left it open to the abuse of Voldemort's cohorts and wizards who had no choice other than to risk its perils.

Thankfully, since Voldemort was once again banished, Diagon Alley is once more a light, colourful place.

The posters of Death Eaters who were 'wanted' are nothing but memory and the shops, including  Fred and George's 'Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes' and Gringotts Bank, are bright, prosperous places once again.

Ollivanders' Wand Shop almost 2,500 years old

Despite records indicating that Ollivanders owned a wand shop on Diagon Alley since the fourth century BC, this particular post code still eludes Muggles.

Even having geographical locations on the Google Map, Muggles may yet struggle to find Diagon Alley.

Legend has it that The Leaky Cauldron, through which the Alley is accessed, is situated on Charing Cross Road.

Although everyone knows of its existence, even that the pub lies between a record shop and a bookshop, Muggles have been cursed with a type of selective blindness that makes the ancient boozer invisible to anyone other than members of the wizard world.

Beware of Knockturn Alley, the 'dodgy place'

If you do find it, be wary of Knockturn Alley, a side road off the main alleyway housing the aforementioned Borgin and Burkes where Tom Riddle worked after leaving Hogwarts.

Borgin and Burkes is just one of many shops trading in artifacts of the Dark Arts along Knockturn Alley, that even Hagrid referred to as a 'dodgy place'.

However, as well as giving Tom Riddle employ, it was also where Draco Malfoy, Lucius' son, travelled to when assisting Voldemort's closest allies to gain access to Hogwarts through an ancient vanishing cabinet, an act that would eventually cost Dumbledore, headmaster of the school and mentor to Harry Potter, his life.

But you've got to get to Diagon Alley first.  If you know to a good old-fashioned fireplace that looks like it's been around for a while, why not try a sprinkling of Floo Powder and see where that gets you.

Remember, speak clearly as you command you destination or else who knows where you may end up or, indeed, who you may bump into along the way...


6 Best Practises for your Business Blog

Thanks for visiting Feckless. I've moved this post to A Copywriters Toolbox, renamed it and brought it bang up to date.

It now covers best blogging practises for businesses in 2016 and beyond. Thank you and see you there.


Woman with MS gets stuck in Charity dumpster

A woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis found herself in a bit of a pickle as she ended up putting herself in a charity dumpster in Oklahoma at the weekend.

Allegedly, the woman had contributed items to the charity bin and, after being unable to account for its whereabouts upon returning home, became convinced that her tennis bracelet had accidentally followed the three bags full into the donation bin.

The following morning, she took a table along and successfully used it to hoist herself into the dumpster to have a ferret around for her lost jewellery.

After a while, it was apparent that she was unable to get back out of the Positive Tomorrows bright red dumpster and had no choice but to call 911, reporting to the fire service that she was 'in a bit of a pickle'.

The fire service approximated that the elderly-sounding woman, who has remained nameless, spent up to two hours inside the box and was possibly dehydrated given how hot enclosed metal containers like the donation box get, even in the early hours of the morning the woman had chosen to retrieve her lost bracelet.

It was unclear whether the woman found it, although her attempts were probably hampered by another charitable soul who actually threw in a black sack of clothing whilst she was in there.

I dunno about you, but an elderly woman sneaking to a charity bin in the early hours of the morning and not wanting to pipe up when someone was actually there who could have raised the alarm for her?  Pride, vanity or guilt, do you reckon?

That bracelet, methinks, is about as real as the clothes the emperor wore in the prophetic tale that Lady Godiva would re-enact many years later on horseback in Coventry...which happens to be where the old gal who fell in the dumpster ought to be sent if she had indeed spotted something she fancied for herself going into the charity bin and literally threw herself into the task of retrieving it.

Weird news: Oklahoma woman stuck in charity bin calls 911 – video | full story on Metro News.

What do you think?
Was she out to purloin someone else's charitable gift or did she genuinely lose her tennis bracelet, along with a little dignity?

US Poverty Spread over 20 years - look familiar?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="970"]Poverty Sprawl Gif - US Poverty Two Decades of US Poverty[/caption]

This shocking gif courtesy of Gawker.com is from The Atlantic Cities publication and shows the amazing spread of poverty over the last 20 years in and around New York.

You can see Newark airport (just about) on the left, through the centre of the map to Jersey City and finally across to New York. Each dot represents 20 people and, as you can see, the dots are getting more compact as we reach the present date.

Colour coded for convenience, the ethnicity is as follows:

  • pale blue = white/Caucasian

  • golden-yellow = black

  • green = Hispanic

  • red = Asian/Pacific

And, no, I'm not going to jest about where the red dot on an Asian's head comes from for fear of getting lynched, not that savvy Indians need council houses these days, anyway.

It's a real indictment on the US economy that so many more people nowadays live below the poverty line. But if you look at many other conurbations across the 'civilised' world, I bet there would be a similar pattern.

From The Smoke to Stoke - heck, it's no joke

At least there aren't moves to ship indigenous inhabitants from The Big Apple up to Ontario. Lost me?

Check out this article in The Guardian from February, 2013.

London families, 761 of them from Camden (they were not alone), were threatened with being shipped 200 miles up the M6 to Stoke when Welfare Reform kicks in proper.

Why? Because the cap on their benefit no longer avails them of the minimum affordable rent in The Smoke, so they've got to up sticks and go live somewhere more affordable.

One thing's for certain: the gap between those who have and those who have not is only going to get wider over coming years, no matter which side of The Pond you happen to live.

This was indemnified further this week; last week, the UK Government told Civil Servants they're no longer automatically entitled to an inflation-matching pay rise from now on. Conversely, MPs informed us this week that they'd voted to give themselves a £10,000 per year pay rise.

There'll be a riot bigger than last summer's before this lot passes, you mark my words.