Shop owner tiles floor with 250,000 pennies

A Pittsburgh-area tattoo parlor owner says she saved some money by using real money to tile her space — with 250,000 pennies.

Mel Angst was looking for an inspired way to tile the floor of the Garfield, Pa. tattoo gallery, Artisan, which she runs with her husband, tattoo artist Jason Angst.

“My floor is made out of about 250,000 pennies,” Angst told ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. “Amazingly enough, it’s a lot cheaper to glue money to your floor than to actually buy tile. It’s about $3 a square foot…”

Angst looks forward to next week, when it will be grouted, shined and completed. Once it is done, everyone that logged 30 hours of penny-tiling is promised a free penny tattoo from the shop.

I hope they achieve a smooth, blended grout job. The grunge that could collect from object/tiles as small as a penny could be disgusting.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Blog posts will be erratic next few days…

14 November

I just returned home from oral surgery which sort of grew to unpredicted complexity whilst proceeding.

I’ll be posting stuff I find interesting as usual – but, commentary will be limited. I blame the medication in advance. 🙂

Just look below this note for the latest post.

OK. This is no longer a sticky. I’m not quite back up to speed in terms of how much, how often I post from my wanderings as a news junkie. But I especially want to thank loyal readers who put up with an extra count of terse, grumpy comments.

Both doctors gave me a pass, today. My dentist for the last 20+ years thinks he can sort me out for the umpteenth time from a mouth with a history that includes an horrific car crash back before we had seat belts and safety bags. As usual, since we’re all motorheads, we spent as much time discussing the USGP in Austin, turbo-diesel power and exhaust tuning – as we did mundane questions about my absurdly close bite. 🙂

New Jersey’s Governor Christie reverses stand on tax hikes — storm repairs must be paid for

Click on to enlarge

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has pushed aggressively for cutting and capping taxes in New Jersey during his three years in office, said Tuesday that people who lived in towns destroyed by Hurricane Sandy were likely to pay higher taxes to help rebuild.

“It’s got to be paid for,” he said. “There’s no magic money tree.”

In a 40-minute news conference in Trenton, Mr. Christie said he expected the federal government to do as much as it had done for victims of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast to help rebuild New Jersey. And he said that municipalities would be allowed to raise property taxes more than the 2 percent limit that he signed into law in 2010 to cover costs brought on by the storm.

“No one’s ever happy with higher taxes, but the fact is, what annoys people more than anything else is waste,” he said. “As long as they know that the money’s being spent in a way that’s helping to bring their town back to life, I think people will understand it’s got to be done.”

He’s right about ordinary Americans, rank-and-file Republicans. As far as “professional” Congressional Republicans are concerned – Good Luck!

It was a striking endorsement of the role of higher taxes and the federal government in helping the recovery, particularly coming from a governor who has often been held up as a leader in the movement to rein in both.

But Mr. Christie, wearing a suit and tie rather than the fleece jacket seen in his TV appearances the last two weeks, disagreed that the storm had brought on a change of heart. Unlike Mitt Romney, he said, he had never questioned the need for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Emergency response is always something that I’ve thought was an appropriate governmental function,” he said.

“There are plenty of instances that can happen in our country where a state by itself is not equipped to deal with the results of a natural disaster,” he continued. “And so the country needs to band together to help its other states to be able to get over something that has been disproportionately foisted on one or two or three states of the 50. But no, it hasn’t turned me from a limited-government guy to a big-government guy.”

The sort of revelation that keeps recurring among conservatives once they realize they’re being boors in the face of an emergency. Trouble is – many of them go straight back to being pigheaded once electricity has returned to their own neighborhood. And screw everyone else!

Woman jailed for faking son’s illness, claim benefits, even to jump lines!

A mother who shaved her young son’s head and eyebrows and forced him to use a wheelchair to make it appear he was seriously ill so she could claim £85,000 in benefits has been jailed.

The woman kept up the pretence for three years while the boy was aged between six and nine, sending him to school wearing a bandana and making him remain in his wheelchair, even though he was ridiculed by his classmates.

She was given a new car to drive the boy around and was able to take him on holiday to Florida, where she made him use the wheelchair so that they would be moved to the front of queues.

Gloucester crown court was told that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had a personality disorder. But jailing her for three years and nine months, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said her behaviour amounted to cruelty over a long period of time and had caused damage to her son who, like those around him, believed he was ill.

He told the woman from Gloucestershire: “Your behaviour towards your son is quite beyond the pale. Over a long period of time you persuaded your little son and, through him, others, he was suffering from ALPS [a disorder of the immune system] and later cancer.

This was cruelty over a long period of time. I accept no physical injury was inflicted but you have caused undoubted long-term psychological harm to him. These were frauds from the outset over a long period of time and you gained financially to a great extent…

What a cruel, hard-hearted, egregious person.

Self-declared Guru jailed for swindling French aristocrats

A self-styled guru has been sentenced to eight years in prison for cheating three generations of an aristocratic French family out of their fortune by making them believe they were under threat from a secret masonic plot.

Thierry Tilly convinced 11 members of the De Vedrines family to barricade themselves into their turreted manor house, Château Martel near Monflanquin, a medieval village in the Lot-et-Garonne in south-west France.

In what the court described as a “machiavellian plot”, he tricked them into handing over up to 4.5 million euros, and eventually made the family flee to Oxford, persuading them he was a former secret services agent and there was a plot against their lives. The family members, aged 16 to 89, described being in his sway for around nine years until 2009.

Tilly, 48, who met the family when he worked as an administrator at a school run by one of the De Vedrines sisters, was convicted of psychological abuse and deprivation of civil rights.

His accomplice, Jacques Gonzalez was sentenced to four years in prison.

I’m hard-pressed to come up with more than a modicum of sympathy for the gullible holders of inherited wealth. There are beaucoup private banks ready and willing to aid them in managing their money – starting with HSBC which is #1 as I recall. Inheriting lots of buck$ brings with it a responsibility to manage affairs for yourself and your family – or, don’t be a cheapskate, hire someone capable.

If you are hustled by some creepy con artist? What? Did you think you weren’t a target?

Talk about breaking the mold? Gay anti-mafia politician elected governor of Sicily!

Openly gay, devoutly Catholic, left-wing and an enemy of the mafia, Rosario Crocetta broke the mould when he was elected governor of deeply conservative Sicily last month.

The island has long been better known for its machismo, corruption and homicidal mafia dons than progressive politics, but the chain-smoking former communist says he will bring a “revolution” after winning a regional election.

“I will demonstrate that this region can be the most liberal in Europe. Certainly I will be exposed to opposition from the old political system, to layers of powerful mafia patronage, but I am ready for the battle,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Crocetta, 61, who has escaped at least three mafia assassination plots and was elected to the European parliament in 2009, could not be more of a contrast to his predecessors, under whom Sicily has come close to bankruptcy.

He replaces Raffaele Lombardo, who stepped down in July after being charged with mafia association. The previous regional president, Salvatore Cuffaro, is serving a seven-year jail term after being convicted on similar charges.

Crocetta said he planned a raft of anti-mob measures as well as boosting gay and other civil rights. He was Italy’s first openly gay mayor and is now its second declared homosexual governor after Nichi Vendola in Puglia, seeing no conflict with his strong beliefs as a gospel-quoting Roman Catholic.

He sees his election as part of a general movement by Italian voters against a deeply unpopular and discredited traditional political class…

Crocetta says the mafia hates him because as mayor he robbed them of public work contracts, fired mafiosi including the wife of a leading boss and exposed businessmen implicated with the mob. “This attracted great unfriendliness towards me,” he says…

As governor of Sicily he plans a “white list” of firms to be given privileged access to public contracts because they are untainted by Cosa Nostra, and says he will create a task force assisting victims of the mob and corruption.

I wish you well. Cleaning up corruption, gangsters, ain’t ever an easy battle.