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The Origins Of The Names Of Australia’s States, Territories, and Their Capitals (via Today I Found Out)

Just in case you didn’t know, this post from Today I Found Out provides the origins of the names of Australia’s states and territories, along with their capitals.
I don’t know if they teach Australian geography and history in schools anymore.

Now, if you search around the internet you might find out that the list might not be absolutely complete.
But what is there sounds correct to me.
Including the useful fact that you don’t pronounce Brisbane ‘Brisbane’, and the slightly disappointing fact that Melbourne could have had the much, much cooler name ‘Batmania’.

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Opera Company Of Philadelphia ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ Flashmob (Again)

Posted this back in 2010, but someone else reposted it recently and it is so good.
(Flashmobs seem to have faded away, haven’t they?)
Anyway, in this case it’s not so much a flashmob as a Random Act Of Culture.
The Opera Company Of Philadelphia have continued to perform these, and if you click through to their youtube page there are renditions of Verdi at a Cheesesteak Diner and Mozart in a Library, among others.
While not featuring the massed number here, part of the treat is that each performance seems out of place but finds a home in strange environs.
Now, if you haven’t seen this you’re in for a treat, if you have it’s as good as you remember.

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Say It With Flowers (via Mike Wittmer)

Mike Wittmer went to a school concert where he was bemused to see parents with bunches of flowers to present to their children after a group singing performance and makes some observations about the over celebration of the ordinary deeds of our children.
This may be the most subversive thing you’ll read today.

An excerpt:

Why so much fuss over a normal performance? The principal last night opened the concert by promising that what we were about to see would “take our breath away.” Really? One hundred kids singing “Little Drummer Boy” is perfectly fine, but anyone who got goose bumps needs to get out more. Why isn’t it enough to have our children sing a standard Christmas song and then thank them for their standard performance? Did any of the children behind her really think they were going to amaze and wow their parents with “Fa-la-la-la-la”? And if that really did take our breath away, what words would be left to describe the truly amazing events of life?

Read the whole post *Say It With Flowers* at Mike Wittmer.

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Ten Fourth Of July Facts (via Today I Found Out)

Happy fourth of July to US readers, wherever you are.
Here are ten fourth of July related facts.
Source: Today I Found Out.

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Rent-A-Mourners (via TIME)

A TIME online portal has a featurette about a UK company that provides mourners to attend funerals for a fee.

Worried that not enough people will show up your funeral? Let Rent-A-Mourner help. The ingenious and aptly-named company allows concerned parties to pay for professional grievers to fill a funeral home and make sure that the deceased gets a fitting and extremely well-attended sendoff.
For approximately $68 a head, the U.K.-based business will send “professional, polite, well dressed individuals” to attend your funeral or wake, and will weep, wail and generally appear sad about the passing of whatever person happens to be filling the casket for about two hours. Rent-A-Mourner promises that your paid grievers will be “discreet” and “professional,” according to its website.
Read the rest of the article here for more details.

The article points out that similar practices are part of non-western cultures.