Hands off!

April 30, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Under arrest

THE NEWS

Britain successfully reduces poverty — for one guy anyway: “British politicians have described as “extraordinary” the near-£1 million salary earned by the head of a government-owned fund manager tasked with reducing poverty in developing countries. Richard Laing, chief executive of CDC Group, earned £970,000 ($1.98m) in 2007 after his performance-related pay was boosted by unexpectedly large returns in the fund’s investments. Between 2004 and mid-2008, CDC’s assets more than doubled to £2.7 billion ($5.5 billion), far exceeding expectations. “The remuneration arrangements led to extraordinary levels of pay in a small publicly owned organisation charged with fighting poverty,” the Commons Public Accounts Committee said. It said pay arrangements placed too much emphasis on financial performance and too little on poverty reduction. CDC, formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation, does not donate aid, but invests in companies in developing countries to create jobs and stimulate further investment from other private sources. Since a restructuring in 2004, it makes its investments indirectly through private fund managers.”

Radio Shack Employee Arrested for Punching Customer: “A worker at Radio Shack was arrested for punching a customer. Officers arrested 52-year-old James Knol of Eau Claire on Sunday night for disorderly conduct and battery. According to the police report, 56-year-old Leigh Carey was trying to return something at the Radio Shack on Clairemont Avenue. Carey told investigators Knol wouldn’t let him, so he asked to talk to a manager. That’s when he says Knol started punching him and a witness called 911. Knol is due in court May 19″.

Fare dodger pays with a lost leg: “A schoolboy has recounted his shock at having his leg amputated after being run down by a taxi from which he had just done a “runner”. Dung Tran, 15, said he and two friends caught a taxi from Adelaide’s King William St in the CBD about 12.30am on Sunday. When they got near their destination at Woodville Gardens, they ran from the cab without paying the fare of about $20, the Advertiser reports. “We decided to run from the cab. We did it and I tripped, I just tripped,” Dung said from his hospital bed in Royal Adelaide Hospital. He said the taxi mounted the footpath before hitting him. “The taxi came and hit my leg, I was in so much pain, it hurt so much. I don’t know how he could do that. Why would he do that?” The taxi driver, whom Dung said was of Indian appearance, stopped momentarily then reversed and drove off.

The Queen re-writes the rules: “The Queen has emailed messages of thanks to her correspondents throughout the Commonwealth. At a keystroke, her technological savoir faire has released her female subjects from the tyranny of the hand-written thank-you letter. For it is, almost always, women who take responsibility for these Edwardian social formalities. Once married, men are mysteriously absolved of letter-writing; even the task of finding and posting gifts to their own mothers falls to their wives. ‘My husband is in love with another woman, but he insists that we stay married’ Even if her husband insists on the formality of bread and butter letters, generally it’s the woman who has to see them through. One friend recalls that when she was still dazed and groggy from childbirth, her husband presented her with a stack of cards and a list of people who had sent gifts.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

So near and yet so far

April 29, 2009 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looks like that bird has got it figured

THE NEWS

Tricky New Zealander: “A KIWI fugitive infamous for his tricky evasion of police has inspired a new range of “Where’s Wally” -style T-shirts that make a joke of his failed capture. William Stewart has been on the loose in New Zealand’s South Island since February 10, attracting endless publicity with his thefts and evasion stunts, including blasting through police cordons on a farm bike. The self-styled criminal captured the imagination of fellow Kiwis when he stole dinner from a farm kitchen and etched a thank-you note in the table signed “Billy the Hunted One”. He captured the imagination of property developer Barry Toneycliffe, who has started selling “Where’s Billy” T-shirts online, fetching as much as NZ$60 ($47) a piece. Mr Stewart, 47, a long-haired, unkempt Michael Bolton lookalike, has been described by police as a dangerous, methamphetamine-addicted loner. They believe he sleeps rough in rural areas during the day and moves at night in his latest stolen vehicle with two shotguns at his side. He has been sighted robbing stores in several small towns, all of which feature on the T-shirts with their names obscured. A South Island freezer worker has also been inspired by Billy, penning a song in his name after hearing about it at his small town pub. “He’s a bit of a legend in this place at the moment … and he’s obviously got a lot of followers out there,” Robbie Robertson told the Timaru Herald. But the police say it’s no laughing matter and have warned the public not to help the fugitive. “This guy is a scumbag thief, a career criminal,” said Sergeant Stu Munro, who insisted police are not embarrassed by his evasion.”

First British woman fires weapon on the front line: “Lance Corporal Amy Thomas has become the first British female soldier to fire a weapon on the frontline, during a firefight with Taliban insurgents. The 20-year-old was serving with Royal Marine Commandos in Helmand province when she found the enemy in her sights. L/Cpl Thomas, a Royal Military policewoman, had been attached to the commandos to gather intelligence and frisk women suspects. Her unit came under attack following a helicopter assault in the southern province. “As soon as we left the helicopters the company came under fire and then it was non-stop,” she said. “There were loads of Taliban in the area. I identified one of them running with a weapon and indicated him to the lads. “They didn’t see him so I took the shot. I don’t know whether I hit or killed him. It was the only time I opened fire on the Taliban.” L/Cpl Thomas, from Port Talbot in South Wales, was attached to the marines for a two-month period. Under current rules, women are not allowed to serve in either the infantry or the Royal Armoured Corps, though they serve in other front line units such as the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers. “I just got on with it because you have to,” said L/Cpl Thomas. “At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to because I’m quite a girlie girl but once I was out, the training kicked in. The Marines did not treat me any differently as a girl and I felt like one of the lads when I was out with them.”

A Porsche family car! Four doors and wide: “The Panamera has no shortage of luxury or high-tech features, and the official starting price of $89,000 is certainly better than what was rumored a few months ago. The exterior styling is controversial to say the least, yet it looks at home in the Porsche lineup. The interior is less daring, but should help raise the bar in the grand touring luxury segment. Porsche says that the Panamera is 76 inches in width, making it an especially wide sedan. A Mercedes-Benz S-Class, by comparison, is less than 74 inches wide. The Panamera measures 55.8 inches in height and 195.7 inches in length. This makes for a roomy interior, especially for just four passengers. The cabin is complete with 18-way adjustable front seats, and 8-way adjustable rear seats. The entry-level powerplant will be Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower. The ‘S’ model will deliver 400 hp from a 4.8-liter V8, and the Turbo variant will offer an estimated 500 horses. The Panamera S will start at $89,000, while the all-wheel-drive 4S will cost $93,800. The Turbo will ring in at $132,600, which is slightly more than a Cayenne Turbo. U.S. sales are to begin in October.”

Hajnal Ban [above] had leg-breaking surgery to be taller: “A LAWYER turned politician has told how she spent nine months in Russia for bone-breaking growth surgery because of insecurities about her size. Logan councillor Hajnal Ban, 31, had each of her legs broken in four places for the leg-lengthening procedure, remaining in hospital as she grew about 1mm a day to increase her 154cm [5']frame to 162cm [5'4"]. “It’s not an operation everyone will agree with – there are some people who are just totally against cosmetic surgery, full stop, so I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” she said. Cr Ban, who was elected to Beaudesert Shire Council in 2006 and then Logan City when they were amalgamated last year, said she had been taunted at school and called names such as “midget”. When she got older, it became an issue of credibility and people not taking her seriously, particularly in her chosen profession of law and now politics. “I get tired of people focusing on the physical side of me because I feel like I have a lot to offer and I’m a qualified lawyer,” she said. “I’m educated and I think people don’t tend to focus on that.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Oh Dear!

April 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ethel was a bit of a demon in her wheelchair, and loved to charge around the nursing home, taking corners on one wheel and getting up to maximum speed on the long corridors.

Because the poor woman was one sandwich short of a picnic the other residents tolerated her and some of them actually joined in.

One day Ethel was speeding up one corridor when a door opened and Kooky Clarence stepped out with his arm outstretched. ‘STOP!,’ he shouted in a firm voice. ‘Have you got a license for that thing?’

Ethel fished around in her handbag and pulled out a Kit Kat wrapper and held it up to him. ‘OK’ he said, and away Ethel sped down the hall.

As she took the corner near the TV lounge on one wheel, weird Harold popped out in front of her and shouted ‘STOP! Have you got proof of insurance?’

Ethel dug into her handbag, pulled out a drink coaster and held it up to him. Harold nodded and said ‘On your way, Ma’am.’

As Ethel neared the final corridor, Crazy Craig stepped out in front of her, butt-naked, and holding his ‘you-know-what’ in his hand.

‘Oh, good grief,’ yelled Ethel, ‘Not that damn breathalyzer test again!!!’

THE NEWS

British woman who broke court order stopping her from having noisy sex is finally locked up: “Neighbours of a woman who ended up in court for her noisy love-making were savouring peace and quiet last night after she was locked up accused of breaking her anti-social behaviour order. Caroline Cartwright, 48, was remanded in custody until May 5 charged with three breaches of her Asbo in just 10 days. The four-year order was imposed by magistrates in Sunderland on April 17 and prevented Cartwright ‘making excessive noise’ anywhere in England. However, Houghton le Spring Magistrates’ Court heard that police arrested her on April 18, on April 22 and again on April 26 after reports from neighbours she was flouting the ban with husband Steve. She was subsequently charged with three counts of breaching her Asbo by making excessive noise that can be heard by neighbours. Cartwright appeared before magistrates from custody having been arrested yesterday and charged with the third offence. Prosecutor Claire Ward said neighbours had complained to police on three separate occasions about early morning noises of shouting, moaning, groaning and a bed banging against the wall coming from the Cartwrights’ home.” … Cartwright, of Hall Road, Concord, Washington, Tyne and Wear was remanded in custody and ordered to appear via video link before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on May 5.”

Man cut father’s pacemaker out with a pocketknife: “A MAN reportedly cut the pacemaker out of his father’s chest, police in northeast Iowa said today. The Delaware County sheriff’s office said Jesse Fierstine, 32, of Manchester, struck his dad, Charles Fierstine, on the head with a torch and a piece of firewood at the weekend. The Associated Press reports the son then cut the pacemaker from his father’s chest using a pocketknife. Jesse Fierstine was charged with attempted murder, while Charles Fierstine, 63, was taken to hospital. Officials didn’t give details on his condition yesterday.”

A lovely bunch of coconuts!: “Bystanders who saw this bizarre sight trundle its way along the dusty roads to market must have thought this driver had gone ‘coco-nuts’. In a desperate attempt to get his haul to market, a coconut seller piled hundreds upon hundreds on the back of a three-wheeled tuk-tuk. But the precarious load looked in danger of falling off as the overloaded motorised rickshaw made its very slow journey. The husks were tied together before being hauled across the buggy as the driver attempted to get his stock to market in the city of Mysore in India’s Karnataka. Perhaps it would have been quicker to have walked, as the vehicle was only moving at a snail’s pace. An onlooker said: ‘The husks were all tied to each other using their own fibres. Crazy.’ Perhaps the driver will stop off at a ‘shell’ garage on the way.”

British firemen now look like Jedi knights: “It looks like something out of Star Wars – but inside this futuristic helmet is a fireman. Brigades across the country are buying the headgear which can stand heat of more than 1,000C, without the temperature inside going above 35C. And in technology reminiscent of cartoon character Inspector Gadget, firemen can use a lever at the side of the helmet to pull down a gold-plated visor for extra protection. Torches are clipped to either side of the helmet, and speakers, microphones and cameras can be attached to allow firemen to stay in touch. The £130 helmets are made in France by safety equipment experts MSA.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Some Lifehacks

April 27, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Soggy cellphone

We’ve all done it; tried to juggle shopping, briefcase, baby, handbag – or wallet – while in the loo, and attempted to take a mobile call at the same time. Suddenly, your pristine handset is soaking wet and no longer working. Before you consign it to the scrapheap, take the battery out to prevent any short-circuiting and dry it with a cloth. Then, bury the phone in a bowl of uncooked rice for 24 hours. The rice draws water out of the phone and chances are, you’ll be back in touch in no time.

Lost your car?

You’ve waited two hours to meet relatives off a delayed flight and, laden with suitcases, you get to the multi-storey car park. But where’s the car? You can’t remember and pressing the button on the remote control key fob isn’t leading you to your target, via a friendly beep and a flash of lights. In order to extend the reach of your key, hold the metal part of the remote control against the underside of your chin with your mouth open. Then press the ‘unlock’ button. The encrypted radio signal that tells your car to unlock itself travels first into your jaw cavity, which works as an amplifier that widens the range and strength of the signal. Looks odd, but it works.

Checkout crisis

There’s a queue behind you, growing longer by the second as the shop assistant tries in vain to swipe your credit card. But there is a trick that can help and requires nothing more sophisticated than a plastic bag. Wrapping the card in the bag and swiping it again often ensures the transaction goes through. This is because minute magnetic and non-magnetic zones are arranged on the strip in a way that encodes the required data, including your PIN. Wear and tear can cause minute gaps to appear in these zones. The thin layer of plastic in a bag is enough to bridge the gap as the card is swiped.

Wobbly Wi-Fi

With summer on the way, why not go online from the comfort of your deckchair in the garden? Sounds lovely – except that your wireless internet connection is patchy when you’re not sitting on top of your router. You could fork out $150 for a more powerful replacement or you could grab a piece of card, some silver foil and scissors, Blue Peter-style, and make a budget signal booster. Wireless routers work by transmitting radio waves from an antenna to your computer. Waves are emitted in all directions, but by reflecting them their range can be extended. So if you make your cardboard covered in silver foil into a minisatellite dish and then position it behind the router, pointing in the direction of your deckchair, you can almost double the range of the wireless connection.

Ailing iPod?

When your iPod is nearing the end of its useful life, you buy a new one or you can eke out a few more weeks’ worth of tunes till payday with this simple trick. Take off the back of the iPod and insert a folded business card on top of the battery and close it again. By compressing the components together, it somehow makes it work – for a while.

Invisible ink

You need to print off one more page of that vital document, but suddenly the printer is out of ink. Try removing the cartridge and giving it a vigorous shake. This often makes the ink stretch to one or two more pages. If this fails, remove the cartridge again and hold a hairdryer to it for a few minutes. While it’s still warm, stick it back in the printer and resume printing. The tiny nozzles that deposit the thick ink on to the paper can become clogged towards the end of the cartridge’s life and warming the ink will soften it and let those vital last few drops flow more easily.

Frozen DVD

The film has reached its conclusion when the screen flickers, skips and freezes because the DVD has a scratch or some dirt on it. Theories abound about the best way to clean it. Some people swear by toothpaste or furniture polish, but the truth is they mostly prove fruitless. You’re better off pouring some cleaning alcohol onto a lint-free cloth and rubbing it in gently in a non-circular motion before rinsing it with a damp cloth. Make sure the DVD is completely dry before you re-load.

Computer crashes

If – no, make that when – your PC’s hard drive crashes and can’t be read, don’t be too quick to throw it out. Remove the harddrive box from your PC and stick it in the freezer overnight. Many hard drive failures are caused by worn parts that no longer align properly, making it impossible to read data from the drive. Lowering the drive’s temperature causes its metal and plastic internals to contract slightly. When you take the drive out of the freezer and return it to room temperature, those parts expand, freeing them up. It may not last for long but long enough to recover, and copy, essential data.

Flashy phone

Mobile phone cameras are so advanced nowadays that many people dispense with conventional cameras. But one downside is that they often emit a blinding flash, washing out photos. To prevent this, tape a small piece of paper over the flash. Experiment with different colours and thicknesses of paper to tone down the flash from super bright white to a more pleasing glow for evening photos.

Child lock

Every parent knows that half the battle of preventing children from watching television is stopping them turning it on in the first place. Here’s an easy way of deterring them; take an Lshaped Plexiglas picture frame and place the stand part of the frame under the television, DVD or CD player covering the control buttons. The child can’t push the button and can’t move the plexiglass because it’s fixed under the TV, but the machine still picks up a remote control signal.

Sticky keyboard

It’s as bad as having an old-fashioned typewriter; you’re writing an important document at your PC and the ‘t’ or the full-stop key keeps sticking. It’s hardly surprising given that computer keyboards are quasi dinner plates in most offices, collecting all the food – and drink – consumed over them. Keyboard fix: A spin in the dishwasher can take the dirty out of QWERTY. Well, just as you would with dirty crockery – once you’ve disconnected it, of course – stick your keyboard in the dishwasher. Allow to dry out for 24 hours and it’ll be squeaky clean and super-efficient again.

Flat phone battery

Modern mobile phones are basically handheld laptops, so it’s no wonder they go flat at the end of the day. If you find yourself without a charger, there are things you can do to prolong battery life. First, take your phone out of your pocket because the warmth from your body speeds up the chemical reactions in the battery, making it run down faster. If things are getting desperate, stick it in the fridge – the cold air will help the charge last longer, as will moving your phone closer to a mast because the farther it is from a transmitter, the harder it has to work.

THE NEWS

Internet slowdown coming: “Internet users face regular “brownouts” that will freeze their computers as capacity runs out in cyberspace, according to research to be published later this year. Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 per cent a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC’s iPlayer. It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. From 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an “unreliable toy”. In America, telecoms companies are spending £40 billion a year upgrading cables and supercomputers to increase capacity. While the net itself will ultimately survive, Ritter said that waves of disruption would begin to emerge next year, when computers would jitter and freeze. This would be followed by “brownouts” – a combination of temporary freezing and computers being reduced to a slow speed. Engineers are already preparing for the worst. While some are planning a lightning-fast parallel network called “the grid”, others are building “caches”, private computer stations where popular entertainments are stored on local PCs rather than sent through the global backbone. Telephone companies want to recoup escalating costs by increasing prices for “net hogs” who use more than their share of capacity.”

Lion gives rescuer a big thank-you kiss: “A COLOMBIAN woman who rescued a lion from abuse in a travelling circus has received a big thank-you kiss. Ana Julia Torres fed and nursed Jupiter back to health and has formed a friendship with the big cat – one of 700 neglected animals she cares for at a shelter in Cali, The Sun reported. “It was an amazing to see an animal that size acting so affectionately,” an onlooker said.”

Sacked for Facebook surfing while sick: “An insurance worker lost her job after surfing popular social network site Facebook while off sick, her employer said. The Swiss woman said she could not work in front of a computer as she needed to lie in the dark, but was then seen to be active on Facebook. Her employer, insurer Nationale Suisse, said in a statement the action had destroyed its trust in the employee. “This abuse of trust, rather than the activity on Facebook, led to the ending of the work contract,” it said. The unnamed woman told the 20 Minuten daily she had been surfing Facebook in bed on her iPhone and accused her employer of spying on her and other employees by sending a mysterious friend request which allows access to personal online activity. Nationale Suisse rejected the accusation of spying and said the employee’s Facebook activity had been stumbled across by a colleague in November, before use of the social network site was blocked in the company.”

Video of a slow loris being tickled attracts nearly half a million views: “Forget about the internet celebrities of yore: this cute little critter being tickled is now a new YouTube sensation. The video of the small slow loris pet – which enjoys being tickled so much that it throws its hands in the air like it just don’t care – has already attracted almost 500,000 views in little over a week. One of the many fans of the video commented that the animal to be “the cutest thing ever”, while others expressed a desire to own one. “If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face then what does?” asked another YouTube user. Several commenters likened the pet to the fluffy creature out of the Gremlins film, pleading with the owner to “don’t get it wet”. But the trade of the slow loris, a primate native to much of Southeast Asia and whose Indonesian name translates to “shy one”, has been banned in many countries” [Video at link]

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Who is Fido’s friend?

April 26, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is it a hamster?

THE NEWS

Man, 84, fights off carjackers with groin kick: “An 84-year-old man has a black eye, but he still has his car, after fighting off two would-be carjackers. Ted Mazetier said he stopped Wednesday night to help two men with a disabled car when one punched him in the face and demanded his keys. Mazetier said he kicked the man in the groin and the other in the belly. The two men fled as a passer-by stopped to help. Police later arrested two suspects for investigation of assault. Mazetier said he’ll think twice before stopping again to help someone on the street. He’ll be 85 in June.”

Baby unharmed as car crushes pram: “A baby boy has miraculously escaped being crushed when his stroller was run over by a car at Redcliffe, north of Brisbane. The boy’s mother and her two other children also were hit by the car which allegedly crossed on to the wrong side of the road along Prince Edward Pde. Several neighbours who heard the crash, about 11.10am, ran to the scene and found the 30-year-old Scarborough woman and her two daughters lying at the intersection with Shields St. One girl, 11, had head injuries, while her sister, 7, received only minor injuries. Their mother was unable to move because of pelvic and leg injuries, police said. A woman who rushed to help the injured family found the 12-month-old baby strapped inside the crushed stroller in the middle of the road. He was unharmed apart from a few leg grazes. “He wasn’t making a sound. He was just lying on his side, looking out. He just looked dazed and he had a few grazes.” … The 35-year-old driver, whose Kia Mentor sedan ended up crashing into the steps of a corner store that was closed for Anzac Day, had a medical condition, police said.”

Shock, horror! Israeli oranges ‘on sale in Iran’: “Fears that an Iranian ban on imports from its arch foe Israel was flouted by the sale of Jaffa oranges have sparked an inquiry in Tehran, reports say. City authorities asked the judiciary to take action after the Israeli fruit was allegedly imported in boxes marked as Chinese, local media report. The fruit was imported via Dubai and put on sale at markets and in shops in and around Tehran, one report says. A news agency showed pictures of boxes containing fruit bearing a Jaffa label. In its report on the alleged distribution of the oranges, the Ilna news agency said fruit still in storage would not be sold. Photos released by the Mehr news agency show oranges clearly marked “Jaffa Sweetie Israel PO”. An Iranian customs official later told a third news agency, Isna, he found the reports impossible to believe but added that if any Israeli oranges had been imported, it could only have happened through unofficial channels”

Predatory British bank: “Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been ordered to drop repossession proceedings against a family after watchdogs branded its actions “unfair” and “unreasonable”. NatWest, part of the RBS group which is 70% owned by the taxpayer after its multi-billion-pound bailout, had demanded last September that Peter Addyman, a pharmacist from Hastings, East Sussex, and his wife, Marian, repay their entire mortgage within 30 days. This was despite the couple’s insistence that they had not missed any payments. In a ruling early last week, the Financial Ombudsman Service said it was “not satisfied” by RBS’s order to repay the mortgage without giving an explanation. It said the bank had not treated the couple “fairly or reasonably”. NatWest was ordered to abandon the repossession and pay a sum in compensation. Which? said: “NatWest’s behaviour in this instance has been particularly outrageous.” It has now written to the Financial Services Authority to look into RBS. “We are worried that this isn’t an isolated case,” it said.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

I’d be scared too

April 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Kids arrested for making a movie: “As officers surrounded the building, SWAT Team Sniper, Officer Steve Reiff, set up with his rifle at the edge of the strip mall, and covered the jewelry store. While the officers set up defensive positions the owner of the store, Janet Deluca, exited the store and said every thing is ok, we are making a movie. When officers went into the business and asked to see the firearms the teenagers stated they did not have any weapons. After further questioning they finally showed the officers where they had hidden the weapons in the store. They also stated they were making the video for a school project. One of the actors was wearing a tactical vest. Six teenagers involved and the owner of the store were placed under arrest and transported to the Covington Police Department where they were booked and placed in St. Tammany Parish Jail. One of the teenagers was a juvenile and they were released to their parents.”

Black-belt mom fends off mugger: “A KNIFE-wielding mugger has come off second best after trying to attack a 29-year-old Gold Coast mum with a black belt in martial arts. Not only did the man fail to steal Beth Gascoine’s car keys – he also may be sporting a broken wrist after the mother-of-two bravely fought back. Ms Gascoine, a 29-year-old nurse, was attacked about 10am today when she went to her car parked beneath a Sizzler restaurant at Mermaid Beach. The man demanded her car keys but when she refused, he pulled a knife. That was when Ms Gascoine called on the skills she learned 10 years ago as a black-belt exponent of Zen Do Kai, a form of karate. “I was scared but instinct kicked in,” she said. “He drew the knife on me and tried to attack me but I blocked it and managed to get away.” The man was knocked to the ground and ran off empty-handed”

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg sign spelling error: “Its claim to fame is its name – one of the world’s longest. So you might expect those writing signs to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg to try extra hard to copy it down correctly. But it has emerged that directions to the beauty spot have been spelled wrongly for years. The Indian name, which means ‘The fishing place at the boundaries, the neutral meeting ground’, was written with an O at letter 20 in place of a U and an H at letter 38 instead of an N. Officials in Webster, Massachusetts, found the error by consulting historical books and have promised to correct it. Many residents in the small town do not even try to pronounce its name, simply referring to it as Lake Webster.”

Landlocked province Alberta borrows a beach: “It seemed the perfect way to promote the outdoor life that Canada has to offer: blue skies, clear water and a girl laughing as she runs through sand dunes. Officials in Alberta thought that it was just the thing for a £14 million rebranding exercise to counter controversy over oil extraction but they weren’t smiling yesterday after a sailing enthusiast revealed that the landlocked province had borrowed the scene from Beadnell Bay, Northumberland, 5,000 miles away. While the Alberta government admitted that it had “screwed up”, it insisted that there had been “no attempt to make people think that the place pictured was Alberta”. The location represented Albertans’ interest in the world around them, they said. The scene-stealing was discovered by Peter Bailey who knew that the province had plenty of lakes with sandy shores but no coast. He tracked down the real setting after pestering the Canadian government and tourist authorities with e-mails.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

An ancient monastery of the Mediterranean

April 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mt Athos?

THE NEWS

Star Wars cop claims to use Jedi mind tricks on suspects: “A POLICE officer in Scotland has confessed to following the Jedi faith beloved of Star Wars film fans, respected policing analysis group Jane’s reports. Pam Fleming, a 45-year-old beat officer in Glasgow for Strathclyde Police, said that she thought all police officers “should be Jedis,” when interviewed by Jane’s Police Review. “For me, it is not a joke,” she said. “Being a Jedi is a way of life. “I love the Star Wars films and the concept of being a Jedi, that the faith is not divisive.” Ms Fleming said she knew of other Jedis in Strathclyde Police – the force apparently has eight in total. She told The Sun she uses Jedi mind tricks to get the truth out of suspects during interviews. However, Ms Fleming said she does not use her powers to influence what suspects say or do”

UK: Woman forced to clothe naked gnomes: “A British woman said she was ordered by local officials to clothe the naked lawn gnomes that have stood in her front garden for about 15 years. Sandra Smith, 64, said she was forced to cover the gnomes, one male and one female, after a neighbor complained about the garden decorations to the Bromsgrove District Council.”

Madwoman burns to death in road-rage: “It was the ultimate expression of road rage. A furious woman driver died after ramming another vehicle and spinning her wheels so fast that her own car burst into flames. Serena Sutton-Smith, 54, burnt to death after refusing to get out of her Vauxhall Nova as she sat with her foot flat on the accelerator. She spun the wheels so fast that her tyres disintegrated and the metal rims sent a shower of sparks into the engine, igniting the brake fluid and setting the car on fire. Appalled onlookers urged her to get out of the car as the flames licked around her but she told them to “F*** off”, an inquest in Gloucester was told. The inquest heard that Paula Small was driving her Fiat Punto when Ms Sutton-Smith emerged from a side road without stopping, causing her to swerve to avoid a collision. Mrs Small was forced on the grass verge and she flashed her lights as Ms Sutton-Smith passed her. Ms Sutton-Smith then pulled over and Mrs Small stopped a short way in front of her. She was getting out when the Vauxhall Nova rammed her car. Mrs Small said: “I opened my door and put my foot out but as I was getting out there was a bang and I hit my head on the door frame. I was frozen with terror.” As neighbours came to investigate they saw Ms Sutton-Smith sitting with a furious expression, revving her engine and spinning her wheels.”

A cheap Chinese Rolls Royce! “With a flying lady on the bonnet, its vast classical radiator and familiar contours, it looks for all the world like a Rolls-Royce. Hop inside, and the massage seats, pure wool carpet, subdued lighting and wine cabinet add to the impression. But the car in question could hardly be less British. It is actually a Geely GE, made in China. Although Geely claims to be ‘re-inventing the classic’, it seems Rolls-Royce bosses disagree. They are consulting lawyers after seeing this Chinese-made car audaciously displayed just feet from the classic brand’s Phantom at the Shanghai Motor Show. ‘Our colleagues in Shanghai are taking a serious look at it,’ a spokesman said. ‘Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is very protective of its brand image and takes seriously any attempt to imitate its products. ‘Rolls-Royce is currently keeping its options open and is in consultation with its legal advisers.’ Geely already has links with British icons. It builds taxis for London under licence.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Insults worth reading again‏

April 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There was a time when words were used beautifully. These glorious insults are from an era when cleverness with words was still valued, before a great portion of the English language was boiled down to four-letter words!

The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor: She said, ‘If you were my husband, I’d give you poison,’ and he said, ‘If you were my wife, I’d take it.’

Gladstone, a member of Parliament, to Benjamin Disraeli: ‘Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.’

‘That depends, sir,’ said Disraeli, ‘On whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.’

‘He had delusions of adequacy.’ – Walter Kerr

‘He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.’ – Winston Churchill

‘A modest little person, with much to be modest about.’ – Winston Churchill (Said of Clement Attlee)

‘I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.’ -Clarence Darrow

‘He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.’ – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

‘Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?’ – Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

‘Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.’ – Moses Hadas

‘He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.’ – Abraham Lincoln

‘I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.’ – Mark Twain

‘He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.’ – Oscar Wilde

‘I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.’ – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

‘Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one!’ – Winston Churchill, in response.

‘I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.’ – Stephen Bishop

He is a self-made man and worships his creator.’ – John Bright

‘I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.’ – Irvin S. Cobb

‘He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.’ – Samuel Johnson

‘There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.’ -Jack E. Leonard

‘He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.’ – Robert Redford

‘They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.’ – Thomas Brackett Reed

‘In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.’ – Charles, Count Talleyrand

‘He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.’ – Forrest Tucker

‘Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?’ – Mark Twain

‘His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.’ – Mae West

‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’- Oscar Wilde

‘He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support, rather than illumination.’ – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

‘He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.’ – Billy Wilder

‘I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.’ – Groucho Marx

THE NEWS

Judge orders defendant’s mouth taped shut: “An eastern Idaho judge who lost patience with the disruptive behavior of a defendant ordered court officials to tape the man’s mouth shut with duct tape during a court hearing. The unusual move was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for Nicklas Frasure, 23. Frasure was convicted of felony theft in 2008, but the judge retained jurisdiction for sentencing depending on Frasure’s response to treatment. In October, Frasure was released from a state mental hospital in Blackfoot. He is accused of violating his probation by not taking prescribed medication.”

Bottle of water causes plane fire: “A BOTTLE of water caused a fire in the cockpit of a Airbus A320 passenger aircraft as it was about to land at a Queensland airport. According to an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report, the pilots were lining up on the runway when they smelled smoke last month. It was coming from the cover of a log carried in the cockpit to record inflight defects in mechanical, navigation, electrical, hydraulic and radio equipment. The incident was reported to the bureau, which investigated and concluded a water bottle was to blame. “The sun was shining through a water bottle at the side of the cockpit,” the ATSB report said. “The bottle was focusing the sunlight like a magnifying glass on the cover of the cabinet defect log, which began burning.” The bureau did not say whether the water in the bottle was used to douse the fire.”

Bra deflects bullet aimed at Detroit woman: “A 57-YEAR-old Detroit woman avoided serious injury when the underwire on her bra deflected a bullet shot at her from next door, police said. The woman, who lives on the West side of Detroit, saw a group of men breaking into a neighbour’s house on Tuesday morning. When the men spotted her, one of them fired a shot at her, a police spokesman said. The bullet struck the underwire on the woman’s bra and that saved her from a more serious injury, police said. “It did slow the bullet down,” said Detroit police spokesman Phillip Cook. “She sustained injuries but they’re not life threatening.” The woman, who was not identified, was treated at a nearby hospital. The suspects in the shooting drove away.”

Bikini jeans – coming to a beach near you: “JUST when you thought fashion couldn’t get any weirder, along comes … the bikini jeans. The eye-catching apparel feature a thong sewn into a pair of supremely low-slung jeans. Not yet available in Australia, they have just gone on sale in the UK for about $150, reports WalesOnline. Created by Japanese clothing company Sanna’s, the booty-cut bottoms were born after a customer said she wanted jeans that sat lower than the hips but did not need to be hoicked up in an unladylike fashion. Designer Sandra Tanimura, who owns a pair of the bikini jeans herself, said: “This was very difficult without the trousers falling down, so I came up with the idea of using the bikini strings.” The jeans are the latest incarnation of the bikini, invented by French engineer Louis Réard in 1946 which has been staple on beaches around the world since”.

World’s most expensive suit sells for $144,000: “A suit made from “the world’s most expensive wool” and with 18-carat gold and diamond buttons has been sold to a mystery buyer for $144,000. It took more than 80 hours to make the one-off suit from rare materials such as wool from the South American Vicuna, which can only be shorn once every three years, and Qiviuk wool, gathered from the Arctic musk-ox. Designer Alexander Amosu said: “I firmly believe that in the wake of the recession, there is still a demand for uncompromising quality.” It was made with 5,000 individual stitches, equivalent to $30 a stitch. The one-off creation will be delivered to its mystery buyer at a central London party at a secret location in an armored Range Rover. Amosu adds: “I wanted to create something completely exclusive, limited, luxurious, impressive and outstanding. Nobody has done that. “Whatever I do I have to do 10 times better than anyone else.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Ancient Egypt eat your heart out

April 22, 2009 at 12:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Larger pic here

(Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate celebrating Mass in the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is outside the Vatican proper but is a Vatican property. The Friars are a conservative Catholic Institute who aim to live according to original Franciscan rules — but I doubt that St. Francis would have approved of the magnificent surroundings above)

THE NEWS

Man passes out from coughing, causing NH crash: “Authorities say a man driving a pickup truck in New Hampshire had a coughing fit and lost consciousness, leading to a fiery crash. WMUR-TV reported the truck crashed on Interstate 93 in Bow, N.H., on Monday morning. Emergency workers said the driver had a coughing fit and lost consciousness. His pickup truck went off the highway, hit a pole and then caught fire. A state trooper witnessed the crash and stopped to help. The driver suffered bumps, bruises and possibly broken ribs. Officials said a gun in the truck was discharging because of the heat of the fire.”

Survey finds microwave more popular than the Pill: “When it comes to women’s lib, a new study has revealed the microwave oven has done more for women’s freedom than the Pill and the tampon. A survey of 1000 Australian women, commissioned by frozen dinner maker Lean Cuisine, found most women voted for the microwave as the most liberating invention of the past 30 years. The dishwasher was second, ahead of the Pill, the washing machine and tampons. Only 3.8 per cent of respondents said mobile phones had given them more freedom, while 3.1 per cent of women applauded the internet for opening up their worlds and 2.5 per cent said push-up bras had revolutionised their daily lives.”

FBI agents accused of spying on dressing room: “Two FBI workers are accused of using surveillance equipment to spy on teenage girls as they undressed and tried on prom gowns at a charity event at a West Virginia mall. The FBI employees have been charged with conspiracy and committing criminal invasion of privacy. They were working in an FBI satellite control room at the mall when they positioned a camera on temporary changing rooms and zoomed in for at least 90 minutes on girls dressing for the Cinderella Project fashion show, Marion County Prosecutor Pat Wilson said Monday. The workers were described in a complaint as “police officers,” but prosecutors did not say whether the men were agents or describe what kind of work they did. The Cinderella Project at the Middletown Mall in the north-central West Virginia town of Fairmont drew hundreds of girls from 10 high schools in five counties. Organizer Cynthia Woodyard said volunteers, donors and participants are angry. “I can’t even begin to put words around what I consider an unspeakable act, the misuse of surveillance by a branch of our government in a place we felt so secure,” she said. “Never in a million years would we have thought something like this would happen. We’re in shock.” The FBI issued a brief statement, but refused to answer questions. The statement said the Office of Inspector General was investigating. “The FBI is committed to the timely and full resolution of this matter, but must remain sensitive to the privacy concerns of any potential victims and their families,” the statement said.”

Ancient cattle re-created: “Through the misty early morning sunlight dappling a Devon field a vision from the primeval past lumbers into view. The beast with its shaggy, russet-tinged coat, powerful shoulders and lyre-shaped horns could have stepped straight from a prehistoric cave painting. The vision is a creature of which even Julius Caesar was in awe: Bos primigenius, the aurochs, fearsome wild ancestor of all today’s domestic cattle, immortalised tens of thousands of years ago in ochre and charcoal in the Great Hall of the Bulls at Lascaux in southwest France. But this herd of 13 bulls, cows and calves known as Heck cattle is the product of Nazi genetic engineering, an attempt to reintroduce the extinct aurochs, the last of which died of old age in a Polish forest nearly four centuries ago. The herd has Herman Goering, the head of Hitler’s Luftwaffe, to thank for its existence. Goering hoped to recreate a primeval Aryan wilderness in the conquered territories of Eastern Europe. Two zoologist brothers, Lutz and Heinz Heck, took on the task of scouring Europe for the most primitive breeds of cattle they could find in the belief that by “back breeding” they could resurrect the extinct species. Heinz Heck, based at Munich Zoo, cross-bred shaggy Highland cattle with animals from Corsica and Hungary, while his brother in Berlin was crossing Spanish and French fighting bulls.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

Some signs from abroad

April 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

British libraries no longer places of quiet: “They have seen book stocks dwindle, shelves turned over to computer games and are commonly used as state-subsidised internet cafes. And now the golden rule of silence, which for decades has maintained the character and atmosphere of Britain’s public libraries, has been swept aside. Readers looking for books in a county’s libraries are being subjected to piped pop tunes. The ‘background music’ has been introduced to attract more users in four Gloucestershire County Council libraries. Retired Doraine Potts was at the Bishops Cleeve library near Cheltenham when her attempt to find a book was disturbed by music from girl band the Sugababes. The former Oxford University languages lecturer said: ‘I just couldn’t concentrate. I asked for it to be turned down and the librarian agreed it was probably too early for all that noise.’ But the director of social thinktank Civitas, Dr David Green, said: ‘Managers who think there is no longer a need for quiet space for people to read are misguided.'”

Airline boss with a nude on his back: “Sir Richard Branson is expected to come in for some criticism after posing in a photo shoot with a naked model – while his children were reportedly watching. An avid kite-surfer, Sir Richard agreed to add some thrills to his spills after a photographer suggested his girlfriend might enjoy a ride in the buff. “What can you say if you are asked to pose with a naked lady?” Sir Richard told The Mail. “I only wish I had eyes in the back of my head.” Sir Richard’s children, Sam and Holly, reportedly watched on from the beach. The model in question, Denni Parkinson, also posed naked with Sir Richard in other shots taken on and around his private Caribbean island, Necker.”

Drastic action: “A GUNMAN has shot dead a speed camera operator on a busy freeway near Phoenix. Police officers were called to the radar enforcement vehicle after reports of gunfire late on Sunday, and they found the employee shot several times, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. The victim, 51, was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his gunshot wounds, the department said. He worked for RedFlex Traffic Systems, which has a contract with DPS to operate speed camera vehicles on the state’s highways. Police said they were treating the shooting as a homicide and were searching for a man driving a white Chevrolet Suburban, a popular SUV. Arizona is the first US state to implement a state-wide speed camera system.’

Identical twins beat parking rap: “Swiss officials say they are powerless to act against identical twins who have run-up hundreds of parking tickets and blamed each other for the offences. They say they cannot punish Harold and Michael Lengen, 38, for parking offences committed while driving around Winterthur. Police say that in the last year alone the twins have collected 29 parking tickets on a car which they both share. But every time they refuse to pay them and tell courts that the other was driving. And police say that as they are identical twins it is impossible to rely on visual evidence to prove who was driving the car when they got the ticket. A police spokesman said: “It is immensely frustrating for our officers. Every time we hand one of them out a ticket we know what is going to happen next and that they will never pay it. “But there really is nothing we can do.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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