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'The Handmaid's Tale' is making SXSW 100 percent more unsettling

Published: Sunday, March 12, 2017 @ 7:22 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 12, 2017 @ 7:22 AM


            Cosplayers from the television series

One way to promote a TV show at South by Southwest: opening a pop-up chicken restaurant. Another way: terrifying people to death. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” went for option No. 2 this weekend in Austin, Texas.

As Statesman Shots co-hosts Omar Gallaga and Tolly Moseley explained in an episode of the podcast Saturday, they came across stoically marching ladies in red on their way to the Los Pollos Hermanos installation promoting AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” They were not the only people startled by the guerilla marketing for the dystopian drama.

>> For complete SXSW coverage, head to Statesman.comMyStatesman.com512tech.com and Austin360.com



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Happy nightmares, SXSW. 

Therapy dogs comfort grieving families at funeral homes

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 11:23 AM

There’s Kermit in Texas, Lulu in New York and Dempsey in Ohio

They are therapy dogs who comfort grieving families at funeral homes across the country. 

Increasingly, funeral home directors are adding comfort animals as a service to help friends and relatives deal with the loss of a loved one.

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“The families love it,” Jessica Koth, spokeswoman for the National Funeral Directors Association, told “Today.” “An animal changes the mood of the room.”

While the group does not track the number of therapy animals, Koth said it is on the rise. 

In addition to their duties at funeral homes, some of the dogs also visit hospitals, nursing homes and libraries, where they are part of programs in which people read to children.

There’s Charlie the labradoodle in MinnesotaGracie in Missouri and Judd in Indiana

Tim Hoff, director of Hoff Funeral Homes in Minnesota, got the idea to get a therapy dog after attending a convention for funeral service professionals, according to the Winona Daily News. The Hoff family got Charlie from a breeder who specializes in therapy and service animals. 

“He’s just a lover,” Ashley Czaplewski, funeral director and Charlie’s handler, told the Daily News. “He seems to know exactly who needs his attention, and he sits right at their feet. It’s like he can see who’s struggling the most, even if we can’t.”

Before the dogs can start comforting the grieving, they undergo training, testing and certification to ensure they can handle the work. 

Judd spent a year in obedience classes and training before he was certified a grief therapy dog. 

“Judd displays that loving, gentle nature: ‘Everything is good. Just focus on me and I’m going to make it OK,’” Shari Wallace, his handler at Armes-Hunt Funeral Home, told “Today.” “He’s like a sponge: He absorbs your stress and your fear and your anger. People could be crying or hanging their head, but when he approaches, he becomes a distraction from their emotions.”

Ten Commandments monument destroyed in less than 24 hours after installation

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 8:00 AM

A two year battle came to an end in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Tuesday, but the controversy over a monument to the Ten Commandments has not.

In less than 24 hours after the installation of the monument, someone destroyed the display by knocking it down, breaking chunks of granite off, KARK reported.

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The Ten Commandments were unveiled after state Sen. Jason Rapert introduced legislation to have the biblical laws displayed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.

It measured 6 feet tall and stood near a walkway between the capitol building and the state’s Supreme court, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

It was paid for by private donations totaling more than $26,000.

The bill, the Arkansas Ten Commandments Monument Act 1231, was passed in April, 2015, despite opposition that has continued until this year.

The American Civil Liberties Union said they plan to file a lawsuit to get the monument taken down.

The Satanic Temple also plans on filing a lawsuit.

Gov. Mike Huckabee took to Twitter for some harsh words for whoever knocked down the monument.

KTHV is reporting that Michael Reed has been arrested for destroying the monument.

Spider-Man drops in on Starbucks customers for prank

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 9:26 AM

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Spiderman attends the

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man just had to drop in to a New York City Starbucks to get a refreshing cold brew.

During the prank, set up by Sony as a promotion for the upcoming film, one of the stunt doubles for Tom Holland dropped into the shop from the ceiling, dressed in his full Spidey garb, reaching for his drink, Entertainment Tonight reported.

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The customers and the employees were all real. Well, most of the customers. An eagle-eyed fan may have noticed comic creator Stan Lee in the corner snapping photos.

And as expected, the surprise was taken well by many, but a few were caught off guard, letting some NSFW comments slip. Click here to watch the video.

Lin-Manuel Miranda issues ‘Hamilton’ challenge to raise money for immigration charities

Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 9:05 AM

File photo: (L-R) Leslie Odom; Jr., Phillipa Soo, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christopher Jackson attend

You know every word. You’ve listened to it for hours on end. And maybe never have seen the show itself, but now here’s your chance to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and help a dozen charities working for aiding immigrants.

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“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has issued a challenge. Post a video of yourself singing one of the songs from the musical and then challenging two of your friends to do the same.

It is called the #Ham4All challenge.