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October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

Wikinews interviews painter Pricasso on his art and freedom of expression

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Monday, October 12, 2015

Wikinews interviewed Australian painter Pricasso on his unique artwork created using his penis, and how his art relates to freedom of expression and issues of censorship. He is to be featured at the upcoming adult entertainment event Sexpo Australia in Melbourne this November 5 to November 8.

File photo of Pricasso, 2012.
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Background

Pricasso painting a portrait in Australia at Sexpo (2012)
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Pricasso is the stage name of Australian painter Tim Patch, in a nod to the artist Picasso while using the word prick. Pricasso has been painting portraits using his penis for more than ten years.

Based in Australia, Pricasso paints his artwork using his buttocks and scrotum in addition to his penis. According to 640 Toronto News, Pricasso markets himself as “The World’s Greatest Penile Artist”.

Cquote1.svg I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. Cquote2.svg

Pricasso

He is able to create 20 paintings in one day. Pricasso also practices other styles besides portraits, including landscape painting and nudes. Typically his portraits take him not more than 15 minutes to paint. He told Coconuts TV he chose to specialize in creating artwork in this manner because he felt it was a niche market.

His fanbase is international; Pricasso has journeyed to locations including the United States, Holland, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and China to paint portraits for people. Though he is willing to travel to display his talent, Pricasso told In Touch Weekly most of his income is Internet-based.

Wikinews interviewed Pricasso about his artwork and asked for his thoughts on topics of censorship and freedom of expression. We discussed what are considered appropriate forms of parody and satire of public figures — protected in the United States following the Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.

The interview touched upon a 2013 conflict which arose on our sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons, when an image of a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales painted by Pricasso was uploaded to the site. Wales called it “harassment” and a succession of deletion discussions ensued. We asked Pricasso about this as well as the different reaction from former-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille, who called his painting of her part of a “free society” where artists “exercise their freedom in unusual ways.”

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with Wikinews.

Pricasso: Thanks for doing this, great questions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long have you been painting in this particular fashion?

Pricasso: I first tried it over 10 years ago and realised it would be possible with practice to get as good with it but in a slightly more impressionistic style than I could with a brush, and I really liked the results, of course at first I had to work out the paint formula and what to paint on which was done by trial and error — and then finding somewhere to practice, which was a problem until I was invited to become a member of a Bondage club in Brisbane, my first patron. There I realised that there were so many people with totally different views on what is acceptable in society, and were always protesting over most censorship issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long can you paint with your penis at one time before it gets too tiring?

Pricasso: At most Sexpo’s and Adult Expos I paint for 13 hours a day in half slots so I paint 20 plus paintings a day. When I am painting I have to concentrate hard and go into a meditative state; I don’t notice much going on around me until I have finished.

Example of Pricasso applying paint before creating a piece of artwork.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Other than your penis, what other parts of your body do you use in the painting process?

Pricasso: I quickly worked out that I could speed it up by using my testicles and butt cheeks to cover large areas in no time at all, but only recently do I paint the edges using my butt-crack, I call it the credit card swipe!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you come up with the name Pricasso?

Pricasso: That was the heading they christened me with in the Picture Magazine interview in 2006. I realised it was Gold and took out the website and trademark.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s the most positive reaction you’ve had to one of your paintings?

Pricasso: It is always satisfying to get applause when a painting is finished; at most adult shows this happened all the time; but I do like painting disabled people. I have painted several people with severe cerebral palsy and they are over the moon with the result; this gives me the most pleasure, as I do realise that they are still sexually active people and everyone should realise this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have any of your paintings been featured in a gallery somewhere?

Pricasso: I have entered the Bald Archy Exhibition in Australia every year and sold a few. Also at an exhibition of politicians in Australia, and last November I went to Miami for the Art undressed exhibition and also painted 15 minute portraits there which was fun.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider it a form of freedom of expression to create your artwork in the way you do with your penis?

Pricasso: When I first thought of the idea I was really thinking I could get invited to a few parties as the entertainment which I do regularly, but now I am getting a good style about my work and want to take it to the next level and be accepted as an innovator.

Cquote1.svg A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. Cquote2.svg

—Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2008, prior to a Sexpo event in South Africa, you uploaded a video to the Internet of yourself painting a portrait of then-Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille. Why did you decide to do this?

Pricasso: No particular reason on my behalf, it was the organisers of the Sexpo who got me to paint it mainly for publicity. But also to have a portrait on my stand, who people in Cape Town would relate to as I now know she is very popular and has a great sense of humour.

Cape Town former-Mayor Helen Zille
Image: Helen Zille, Democratic Alliance, South Africa.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille commented of your portrait painting of her: “This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their freedom in unusual ways. And if this is how he wants to do it, I must accept his constitutional right to do so.” — what are your thoughts on her reaction?

Pricasso: Sounds a bit formal but that is how politicians usually talk, guarded and a totally correct response, the trouble is that if they spoke from the heart it might come back to bite them one day, but I did talk to one of her aides privately and she said they were all really impressed and loved the concept, I really should have offered to paint her too but I was probably flat out all day — I always am at the South African shows.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mayor Zille further commented about the quality of your painting of her: “[Pricasso] has achieved a good likeness and I can’t imagine how he painted it without brushes or conventional equipment.” — what do you think of this assessment?

Pricasso: Most people are impressed when they see it done, skeptical at first but after the initial shock they all usually stop to watch until I finish that particular painting, usually they take about 15 minutes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png If you could speak to Mayor Zille, what would you say to her about her reaction to your painting of her?

Pricasso: I would say I was impressed with her response, mostly girls are much more impressed than guys only a minority of guys I might add, lots of them love it and me too!! But in general she gave a responsible and educated reply and was not at all offended by the experience.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 2011, one member of the Gold Coast Sculptors’ Society quit in protest due to your participation in the ‘Exotic Erotic’ show — how do you feel when people react to your artwork in this way?

Pricasso: I guess I could say; This is a free country. A free society throws up these kinds of people, who exercise their dissaproval in various ways. And if this is how she wants to protest, I must accept her constitutional right to do so. There was that politically correct enough? Or maybe the silly old B***ch — but her reaction did get heaps of publicity for the show and they had record numbers coming through the doors so there was a silver lining. But obviously it is a bit confronting and not everyone’s cup of tea but if they could just see it before they get on their high horse they might have a different point of view.

The painting of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, the uploading of which Wales called “harassment”. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You painted a portrait of Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales in 2013; a picture and a video file of the making of this painting were uploaded to Wikipedia’s sister site for images and media, Wikimedia Commons. Shortly thereafter, the files were nominated for deletion and a deletion discussion ensued — what are your thoughts on this discussion?

Pricasso: I did not think Wikipedia censored anything as on Jimmy Wales’ Twitter account his banner heading is: “Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.” Either this is misleading in the very least or blatantly untrue.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The deletion discussion at Wikimedia Commons resulted in keeping the photograph of your portrait of Jimmy Wales, but deleting the video of your making-of-the-portrait — do you consider a video of your portrait painting to be offensive?

Pricasso: Not in the least; it’s pure performance art.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png During the deletion discussion, Jimmy Wales commented “I encourage people to go to commons and work to explain to the community there some of the concepts behind Hostile environment sexual harrassment. I encourage everyone to seriously consider whether it is appropriate behavior to upload a clearly non-notable film of someone using his penis to paint a picture of a Wikipedia volunteer. It is harassment, it is trolling, and I am deeply disappointed to have to point this out to some people.” What do you think of his response to your artwork? Do you feel your paintings constitute harassment?

Pricasso: Harassment is when one continually annoys someone, over and over again; I only painted the one painting of him and it to my mind was not offensive, I consider my work as satire just like late night TV, something that gives light relief to a serious subject. There are many examples of political cartoon images on Wikipedia, so why are they still up there or is it just the things Jimmy Wales doesn’t like get taken down? By the way anyone who has not seen the offending Video can view it on Vimeo under Pricasso: http://vimeo.com/user10315938/review/68837137/893b31ca54

I paint about 1000 portraits a year and get paid by the sitters or a close friend of them to do so. I had a request to paint a portrait, to do [this] portrait of Jimmy Wales with a video of me painting, by Russavia (who is an editor at Wikipedia), something I do all the time and I have great feedback as to how funny the videos are; I had no idea who Jimmy Wales was at the time of the request, but painted him only once so it can’t be called Harassment. Is he just using his position of power to cut and censor … It took me a lot of effort and time to put this together so I was pretty upset. And would really like it to be republished next to the portrait as originally it was before Mr Wales had it removed.

[Editor’s note: Accusations of harassment focused on the uploader, rather than the artist; the successive heated discussions, over about six months, that ultimately led to the video’s deletion from Commons may be read here. Jimmy Wales expressed his position elsewhere and did not directly participate in the discussions themselves.]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How do you compare the reactions by Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille who said your portrait painting of her was a product of a “free society” and a reflection of how people “exercise their freedom” with the comment by Jimmy Wales calling the publication of your artwork “harassment” ? Which of these individuals do you feel is correct, Mayor Zille or Wales, and why?

Pricasso: I think Helen got it. They in South Africa are struggling with change from being suppressed to one of freedom as she said “a free society”. Jimmy Wales on the other hand although promoting himself as The Free Speech Guy is censoring things he does not agree with and calling it Harassment, not a good look Jimmy!!

I did put the video of Helen Zille being painted on YouTube. It was there for a few months but they too delete my work quite regularly so it’s probably long gone.

She is an experienced politician and would weigh up the fors and against before she acted, obviously the fors had it.

Mr. Wales on the other hand has probably not seen a lot of my work; if he had he would know I do it for fun and not really to be taken too seriously, it’s a comedy performance, but he could not see the unique talent of someone who has cornered the world market of penis portraits painting with no imitators for the past 10 years, so before too many people could have a small chuckle at his expense he had it deleted, I’m sure there would be many others who would like to remove things on Wikipedia but don’t have the muscle to do so.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Have you experienced censorship or attempts by others to limit your freedom of expression? How so, and what was your reaction?

Pricasso: As I said before YouTube is always deleting my videos when someone complains, sometimes even when there is no genitals visible. Once one was taken down because the guy I was painting had the word (fuck) on his tee shirt; I mean how many films have this word in the dialogue. Also in Macau at the adult show, the people who make the rules make me perform inside an enclosed area, and people are wary of coming in through the door so is a bit slow there; and the guys that run the show are so polite and passionate trying to change China slowly, making it more open, that I keep on returning year after year.

Signed painting of a French Bulldog, by Pricasso. 2013.
Image: Pricasso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you consider some of your art pieces to be forms of parody or satire of famous people?

Pricasso: Oh yes I love creating something topical and painting a spoof on famous people, and painting with a penis really lends itself to this form of art, but I just painted a normal portrait of Jimmy Wales, as I said before I had no idea who he was before I googled him. And found this heading [on] his Twitter account (seems to me he has a few double standards) “Jimmy Wales
 Verified account
‪ @jimmy_wales You know, the ‪@Wikipedia and ‪@Wikia guy. Free speech activist, entrepreneur.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you familiar with the U.S. Supreme Court case, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell ? How do you feel after reading about the unanimous decision protecting parody as a form of freedom of speech in that case?

Pricasso: Thanks for sharing that with me, I had no idea about this case and it’s good to know that freedom of speech is alive and well in America. Actually I was a bit taken aback by the parody and slightly offended that I have been put in the same category, my painting is pure performance art and I don’t go out of my way to offend. And I am totally against censorship. It’s a shame the same is not true about Wikipedia and Mr. Wales.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Pricasso, thanks again for doing this interview with Wikinews, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Pricasso: Not at the moment. I’m exhausted! Thanks.



Related news

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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Pricasso
  • Commons-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Pricasso
  • Wiktionary-logo.svg Pricasso

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September 30, 2015

Naked man arrested after attacking motorists near high school

Naked man arrested after attacking motorists near high school

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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Crystal Meth
Image: Radspunk.

As some parents in Victorville, California were taking their children to school on Monday, they were confronted with a naked man who appeared to be trying to gain entry into passing vehicles around the intersection of El Evado and Seneca roads.

The man, later identified as Daniel Anglin, 19, of San Bernardino was said to have been wandering through traffic, screaming incoherently, and mumbling in tongues.

“You couldn’t even make out what he was actually saying,” said Lydia Lopez, a witness. “He was just screaming, ‘Ahhh!’ And just constantly screaming.” Lopez, decided to call 911, and shoot cellphone video of the incident until police arrived, about ten minutes later.

“It really did look like more of a like zombie,” Lopez said. “He was in a zombie state of mind in a way ’cause looking at his face, you can just tell. He just wasn’t there. It didn’t even look like he knew what he was doing.”

When police arrived, they were able to subdue Anglin after shooting him with a police issued taser gun. According to police, before being shot with the taser, Anglin tried to take control of a deputy’s SUV. Anglin was charged with suspicion of carjacking, burglary, and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Lopez also praised the job of the police officer that subdued Anglin, saying “He did his job, and I think he did it well,”.

Anglin’s mother, identified only as Denise, later told police and news reporters, that her son suffers from a bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, and admitted that he was also under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the incident. Denise went on to say that this is her son’s first run-in with the law, and she hopes that the courts will show mercy on him.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both usage and availability, for illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, has gone down among school aged children in the last two decades. NIDA statistics show usage down to 27.2 percent in 2014, from it’s peak of 34.1 percent in 1997.



Sources[]

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September 28, 2015

Twenty-six pounds of flying marijuana punctures woman’s carport

Twenty-six pounds of flying marijuana punctures woman’s carport

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Monday, September 28, 2015

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View of Nogales, AZ
Image: Jim Greenhill.

After hearing a loud thud at her home in Nogales, Arizona, Maya Donnelly thought there may be a storm raging outside, she thought nothing of it, and went back to sleep. Yet later that morning she discovered her carport had hole in it, and her plastic dog house was destroyed.

Donnelly later discovered inside the dog house, wrapped up in black packaging, what later turned out to be a twenty-six pound bundle of marijuana. Police believe the bundle, valued at nearly $10,000, was accidently dropped by a plane smuggling drugs across the border. Police told Donnelly that an airplane trying to smuggle marijuana from Mexico had probably miscalculated the drop of that particular bail, and that the rest of the load was more than likely dropped farther north.

Nogales Police Chief Derek Arnson said it was the first time in his three-year tenure that he had seen a package of drugs hit a building. ‘Someone definitely made a mistake – and who knows what the outcome of that mistake might be for them,’ he said.

Luckily for Donnelly, her German Shepherd Hulk, was not sleeping inside the dog house at the time. ‘Thank goodness he is a wanderer at night and was not in his house,’ Donnelly said. ‘He was probably at the gate watching the plane go by.’



Sources[]

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Eleven Quebec locations to be renamed to remove racial slur

Eleven Quebec locations to be renamed to remove racial slur

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Monday, September 28, 2015

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File photo of the Gatineau River. The Quebec Toponomy Commission states Nigger Rapids, a part of the Gatineau River, is to be renamed.
Image: Nickclose.

The Quebec Toponomy Commission, a Quebec public body which is responsible for naming places, cataloguing place names, and suggesting changes to their names, has announced in a press release on Friday that eleven locations in Quebec, whose names contain a racial slur, are to be renamed. The organization said they have yet to decide on the locations’ future names.

All of the places which are to be renamed include the racial slur nigger, or its French counterpart negre, in their names. Among the list of places to be renamed is Nigger Rapids, a section of the Gatineau River where a black couple drowned.

Although Nigger Rapids was named after the Black couple, the Commission believed the name was no longer an appropriate way to remember them.

The press release notes “Some of these place names, over time, testify to historical events”((fr)), but adds that even though the racial slurs are “of ancient usage”((fr)), they still “violate the dignity of the members of the black community.”((fr))

The name changes came after Rachael Zellars, PhD candidate from McGill University, started a petition to rename the places. “Finally, importantly, we are insisting that the Rapids currently named, ‘Nigger Rapids’ in Bouchette, be renamed to memorialize the dead — that is, to honor the memory of the Black couple who struggled in this body of water and tragically died there in 1912. We want to know their names, just as we know Cartier, Champlain, etc. as markers for real human beings who lived and died in Quebec, rather than as racial or ethnic slurs”, the petition said. 1,980 people have signed Zellars’ petition.

Zellars said the petition was her way of saying “let me show you some disagreement”.

The Commission has de-officialized the names in question.


Sources[]

  • Rachel Zellars. “Remove the term ‘nigger’ from all of Quebec’s natural sites” — IPetitions, September 28, 2015 (date of access)
url: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/removing-nigger-from-quebecs-natural-sites
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August 22, 2014

Four arrested after building spire in Moscow painted in Ukrainian colors

Four arrested after building spire in Moscow painted in Ukrainian colors

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Russian authorities have detained four people on Wednesday on suspicion of vandalism, following an incident where the spire of the iconic Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building in Moscow was painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The suspects, reportedly consisting of two men and two women, allegedly ascended the building by stairs to reach its top floor, before using climbing equipment to complete the ascent, according to Moscow police.

File photo of the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building in 2009.
Image: SphinxTheGeek.

Over the course of the previous night, the suspects proceeded to paint the top half of the building’s star-shaped spire blue and erected a Ukrainian flag atop at about 7:15 am local time, reports the Interfax news agency, with information corroborated by Moscow’s municipal emergency services. The alterations to the building made by the suspects remained for several hours, before workers removed the flag and repainted the spire to its normal color. Containing 32 floors and standing at a height of 176 m (577 ft), the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building is one of the Seven Sisters, skyscrapers constructed between 1947 and 1953 in Moscow under the direction of Joseph Stalin.

Following the act, at least one of the suspects then reportedly descended from the building by parachute, reported state news channel Rossiya 24, and captured on a video published by Lifenews, reportedly filmed by a local resident. Additional video broadcast by Rossiya 24, taken from a window, captured a parachuting suspect landing in a nearby playground. Among the suspects was Alexander Pogrebov, who has denied the charges brought forth by authorities. “I was detained for parachuting off the skyscraper. I chose that place because it’s beautiful. […] It just so happened that at the time of the jump, someone else committed an act of vandalism — they destroyed the spire with paint, and raised the Ukrainian flag.” said Pogrebov in an interview to LifeNews.

Pogrebov’s comments were supported by a police official, who stated to the Itar-Tass agency: “The two young men and two girls say they jumped from a high building with parachutes. They say they didn’t hoist any flag and didn’t paint the flag.” If convicted of vandalism, Pogrebov and the other suspects may be sentenced to a maximum of three years imprisonment. Over the phone to Bloomberg, an unidentified duty press official stated the suspects were previously arrested over other charges. According to reports from Russian state television, all four suspects were Russian citizens.

Other acts by Russian protestors to show support and solidarity with Ukraine, contrasting the approval which came following the Russian annexation of Crimea, included the singing of the Ukrainian national anthem by protestors while being arrested. Russian musician Andrey Makarevich, who fronts the band Mashina Vremeni, which translates to “Time Machine”, was labelled as a “traitor” by Russian lawmakers and musicians who supported Russian interests, after he traveled to eastern Ukraine last week to perform for displaced children in regions held by the Ukrainian army.

On a post on Twitter, Russian opposition leader Gennady Gudkov stated “I don’t justify youngsters who painted a star on the skyscraper, but this is an administrative offense, not criminal”. In 2011 and 2012, following accusations of electoral fraud during the parliamentary elections at the time, Gudkov supported protestors who took to the streets of Moscow in opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The act comes just days prior to Ukraine’s Day of the National Flag on August 23 and Independence Day on August 24. The country’s president, Petro Poroshenko, expressed his approval from Kiev of the act and praise for the suspects in a written post on Facebook. “On the eve of Independence Day we are starting an initiative called ‘Our Colours,’ which is devoted to the Ukrainian flag”((uk)), wrote Poroshenko. “And it is symbolic that, on this day, our colours have been painted on what is perhaps the greatest skyscraper in Moscow. I urge Ukrainians throughout the world, wherever they are, on the eve of the anniversary of our independence, to decorate their homes, offices, and cars in our national colours.”((uk))

“I like very much the fact that, on the eve of celebrating the Ukrainian flag, one of Moscow’s highest buildings was painted in our colors,” Poroshenko said in a video posted on Facebook. “I congratulate these Ukrainians.” Following the deaths of more than 2,000 people and the displacement of 300,000 from their homes amid fighting in eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian armed forced and pro-Russian separatists, Poroshenko is scheduled to discuss the crisis with Putin next week, the first such meeting in two months.



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May 8, 2014

eBay removes Canadian town\’s listing of sperm whale carcass

eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass

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Citing violations of its policy regarding “Marine mammal items”, eBay terminated an online listing on Monday by the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, for a 40 ft (12 m) sperm whale carcass reportedly beached upon its shores about a week prior.

With an initial asking price of 99 cents, bidding for the carcass reportedly rose to C$238.03 within 15 bids. Reports variously state the final price of the whale, prior to the removal of the listing from the auction site on Monday at about 2:30pm, was C$2,025 or C$2,075. Listed in eBay’s “really weird” category, the carcass was considered by eBay to be an example of “items made from marine mammals regardless of when the product was made”, which are prohibited as per site rules.

Following a council meeting on Sunday in the town of 950 residents, Cape St. George’s mayor, Peter Fenwick, put the whale up on the auction site in a bid to have it removed from the town’s premises, citing a lack of cooperation from provincial and federal government officials on the matter. “It’s your problem, you solve it”, Fenwick recounted to The Globe and Mail (TGaM) as the response he received from them. Apart from eBay, Kijiji was also suggested as another avenue by which to sell the carcass.

Fenwick told CTV News, several years prior another sperm whale measuring 15 ft was beached in the area, but disappeared without incident, an act Fenwick attributed to be the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This time”, he remarked, “the authorities have told us that it’s our whale, it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.”

On putting the carcass for sale, Fenwick remarked, “We knew we had to do something with it and this seemed to be the least expensive way of disposing of it.” In a news release, Fenwick highlighted a possible use for the carcass, particularly its bones. “The 40 foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed, and the town is asking museums and other organizations that could use a whale skeleton to contact the town for further details.”

On retaining the whale himself, Fenwick stated, “As a town we would dearly love to keep the whale and put it on exhibit in the town but the cost of such a venture would be hard to justify.” Fenwick told TGaM the whale was “in half decent shape”. “This one looks like it died very recently and hasn’t decomposed much”, which Fenwick suggested elsewhere was due to the whale’s present location, partially submerged in near-freezing water. However, Fenwick noted its close proximity to a residential area, saying homeowners who lived there were “very interested in seeing the whale gone.”

eBay was not the only organization who barred the sale from taking place. “We also got threatened by the federal department of the environment, and told to pull the ad off or they would prosecute us”, said Fenwick on the opposition he said he received from Environment Canada, which viewed the sale as contravening a federal act designed to protect endangered species. “I received a call from the federal department of the environment saying that you’re not allowed to sell any parts of sperm whales, even if they’re dead.” he added. “So I said, ‘Oh that’s very good, I’m glad to hear that, now can you send somebody over here to get rid of it for us?'” Fenwick’s request was met with a negative response from Environment Canada.

“They’ve got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots.” Once decomposition sets in, Fenwick remarked the carcass would become a “real nuisance”. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale that’s been rotting on the beach for a couple of months — actually sometimes you can’t see it for the clouds of flies around it — but you can smell it for about a mile”, he added.

On finding alternate means to dispose of the carcass, Wayne Ledwell, a member of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings, suggested the whale be towed out to a remote area. “They need to do that right away, when they come in and they’re fresh,” said Ledwell. “No one wants to go touch them … everything becomes gooey and slippery and you can’t stand up on the whale and it gets on your boots and you can’t get the smell off and then you go home and the dog rolls in it and you get it in your kitchen and you curse the whales, and you curse the government and … it becomes a mess.” Fenwick said they’d considered the idea, enlisting a local fisherman who, however, judged his engine too small for the job.

Previously, blue whale carcasses washed ashore in the towns of Trout River and Rocky Harbour, located about 150 km further north, and were taken by Royal Ontario Museum for preservation of the skeletons. Fenwick suggested the sperm whale carcass in his town might also meet a similar fate, as the sperm whale’s status as the largest toothed whale might prove to be a drawing attraction for such a facility.

Regarding what he plans to do next with the carcass, Fenwick said “If we’re not allowed to sell it, we’re willing to drop our 99 cent price down to a zero.” He said he hoped some eBay bidder stays interested in the whale. “We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale. We’re hoping that’s not illegal.” He also said he hoped the publicity from the town’s predicament, which garnered national attention, and its unusual means of finding a solution, would draw in someone interested in taking the whale off his hands at their own expense.

Should the whale fall under new ownership, Fenwick advised it be moved away from the town to a beach devoid of people, and the blubber left as food for seagulls, insects, and other predators. He estimated “It’ll probably take a year or so to get down to the skeleton.” As monetary gain was reportedly not what the town cared about, Fenwick was willing to offer the carcass for free, though one report noted money raised from the listing could have gone towards the building of a skate park.

The listing on eBay, as put up by Fenwick, read:

Cquote1.svg This 40 foot sperm whale rolled up on the beach last week. The actual seller is the town of Cape St. George which is responsible for disposing of it before it starts to decay. Once the fat and flesh is removed you have a spectacular 40 foot skeleton of the largest toothed whale in the world, great for museums and other attractions. To prevent it rotting in the town it can be towed to isolated beaches on the Port au Port Peninsula to allow the seagulls and other birds to remove the flesh. Call 709-644-2290 or 709-649-7070 for more details.

Please note the successful bidder will have to remove the whale within 30 days

Cquote2.svg



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May 18, 2013

Kangaroo injures Australian politician

Kangaroo injures Australian politician – Wikinews, the free news source

Kangaroo injures Australian politician

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

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File photo of an eastern grey kangaroo.
Image: JJ Harrison.

File photo of ACT politician Shane Rattenbury.
Image: Champion Blue.

A kangaroo injured Australian politician Shane Rattenbury in the Australian capital, Canberra, on Thursday. Mr. Rattenbury was taking a morning jog in the Canberra suburb of Ainslie when the kangaroo surprised him, and in the ensuing confrontation, Mr. Rattenbury was scratched several times on the leg.

By Mr Rattenbury’s account, the kangaroo was an eastern grey kangaroo, which is a common species in Australia. Neither the kangaroo nor Mr. Rattenbury saw each other until they were close, when they both were surprised by each other. The kangaroo, which had been behind a hedge, then started hopping around and Rattenbury ducked for cover. The kangaroo bounced on him while he was still on the ground. He was left lying in the street while another pedestrian went to his assistance. He was driven home and visited a hospital, receiving a tetanus shot. He attended parliament later that day, where his colleagues made kangaroo jokes about him.

Rattenbury is a member of the ACT Greens, a sitting member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly, and was an expedition leader of a Greenpeace anti-whaling expedition in 2006.

There are many kangaroos living in wildlife reserves around the Australian capital, which often enter suburban areas. The attack follows previous incidents in 2009 when a kangaroo smashed inside a Canberra home, and in 2010 when a kangaroo knocked a jogger unconscious in nearby Mount Ainslie. Kangaroo culls in the Australian capital have been held annually for several years, which have drawn protests. Kangaroo management in Canberra was the subject of a television documentary in 2011 called Kangaroo Mob.



Related news

  • “Kangaroo knocks jogger unconscious in Canberra, Australia” — Wikinews, March 21, 2010
  • “Southern Ocean whale slaughter to resume” — Wikinews, January 3, 2006

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April 12, 2013

Goat head delivered to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

Goat head delivered to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday at 2:30pm Chicago local time, a goat’s head was delivered for Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts at his office in Wrigley Field. The head was dropped off at Gate K by the unidentified male driver of a van, reportedly not by a member of the United States Postal Service.

The Chicago Police were notified of the incident, and are investigating. The driver of the truck was recorded on surveillance video.

In 1945, when the Cubs last competed in Major League Baseball’s World Series, Chicago restaurant owner Billy Sianis was ejected from Wrigley Field during the World Series after trying to bring a goat into the stadium. Following the incident, Sianis is alleged to have cursed the team, vowing they would never win the championship again. The incident has become part of Chicago Cubs’ fan lore.

The day of the incident, the Chicago Cubs game versus the Milwuakee Brewers was postponed due to weather. The Cubs organization is also in negotiations with the city of Chicago over possible renovations to Wrigley Field.



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April 3, 2013

Sea lion walks from beach into Pantai Inn in California

Sea lion walks from beach into Pantai Inn in California

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sea Lion in a Pantai Inn Lounge
Image: Pantai Inn.

Sea lion sleeping in Pantai Inn
Image: Pantai Inn.

Sea lion rescued in Pantai Inn
Image: Pantai Inn.

Sea lion in a net near Pantai Inn
Image: Pantai Inn.

Last Tuesday early morning, a sea lion walked from the beach into Pantai Inn in La Jolla, California. The animal was rescued by local animal rescue authorities. Wikinews took an interview from Shane Pappas, a General Manager of the inn.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png At what time of day did the sea lion enter the Inn?

Shane Pappas: Surveillance footage shows that our sea lion friend made her way onto our property at approximately 5:45am on Tuesday morning. She waddled through our courtyard and climbed up onto one of our lounge chairs.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long did he stay in the Inn before he was moved out of the building?

Shane Pappas: The sea lion was not seen by our staff until about 6:30am. At that point my front desk agent Veronica made frantic calls to the authorities to find someone to come rescue the sea lion. By the time we got a hold of Sea World they were able to come and rescue her at around 9:45am. All told the sea lion was here for about four hours.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What do you think attracted the animal? Was it the radio sound? Was it heard as far as the beach?

Shane Pappas: We’re not sure what attracted the sea lion. We like to think that it was the beauty and relaxation of our courtyard. In regards to the radio sound I’m not sure what you are referring to.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who and how transported the animal out of the building?

Shane Pappas: A gentleman named Bill who is a rescue worker with Sea World came out to rescue the pup. He asked if I would assist in the rescue which I was more than happy to do. It’s not every day that you get to rescue a sea lion.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Where was the animal transported to?

Shane Pappas: The sea lion was loaded into a crate on a truck and transported back to Sea World. She will be kept there for six weeks so that she can be nursed back to health and returned to the wild.



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March 30, 2013

Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts

Filed under: Wackynews — admin @ 5:00 am

Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

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  • Kangaroo injures Australian politician
  • Goat head delivered to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

Wacky.

A urinal flush valve similar to what Feerick stands charged with stealing
Image: Terry Johnston .

Yesterday, the Milwaukee County district attorney charged Cory J. Feerick, a 33-year-old from Brookfield, Wisconsin, with five misdemeanor counts of stealing US$35,000 worth of flush valves from fast food restaurants and university toilets and urinals. If convicted, Feerick could spend to 9 to 45 months in jail, and pay between US$10,000 and US$50,000 in fines.

Initially arrested in late January following a local news television story on the thefts, he stands accused of stealing parts worth between US$300 and US$600 each from locations that included Milwaukee Area Technical College, Waukesha County Technical College, ITT Technical Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, the Pick ‘n Save on Capitol Drive in Brookfield, and the Arby’s also located on Capitol Drive in Brookfield.

Feerick was dubbed the “Backpack Bathroom Bandit” by the media because video showed him committing the thefts while wearing a backpack. The thefts reportedly took place in September and October of last year, with several area police departments involved in investigating them.



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