Some amusing history: The U.S. Post Office and Valentine’s Day cards

June 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“It can take people a while to grasp the implications of a new communications system. When Thomas Edison invented his improved telephone receiver in 1877, he thought it would become a medium for broadcasting concerts and plays to remote auditoriums. For twenty-five years after radio was developed at the end of the nineteenth century, people chiefly regarded it as a means of ship-to-shore communication.

“Then there’s the US Postal System. For the first half century after its founding, its main function was to circulate newspapers to a national audience. Not that you couldn’t send letters, too, but the rates were much higher than for periodicals. In 1840, sending a letter from Boston to Richmond cost 25 cents a sheet, at a time when the average laborer made 75 cents a day. Postal inspectors were always on the alert for people who sent each other newspapers at the cheaper rate and added coded personal messages by putting pin pricks in certain letters.

“That all changed in 1845, when Congress enacted the first in a series of laws that sharply reduced the cost of sending letters. The new rates led to a vast surge in personal correspondence and set up a communications revolution that the historian David Henkin has chronicled in a fascinating new book called The Postal Age.

“One dramatic effect of the cheaper postage was to allow Americans to keep in touch with one another in what was becoming the most mobile society on earth. But as Henkin recounts, the post was used for other purposes. Businesses made mass mailings of circulars, and swindlers sent out letters promoting get- rich-quick schemes. People sent each other portraits of themselves made with the recently invented daguerreotype process. They sent seeds and sprigs to distant friends and family eager for the smells of home. And, oh yes, they also sent valentines. “St. Valentine’s Day was an ancient European holiday. Back in England, people drew lots to divine their future mates and exchanged love poems and intricately folded pieces of paper called ‘puzzle purses,’ the ancestors of the fortune-telling cootie-catchers that children still make today. But before the 1840s, puritan Americans almost completely disregarded the holiday, like the other saints’ days of the Old World.

“The drop in postal rates set off what contemporaries described as ‘Valentine mania.’ By the late 1850s, Americans were buying 3 million ready-made valentines every year, paying anything from a penny to several hundred dollars for elaborate affairs adorned with gold rings or precious stones. People sent cards to numerous objects of their affection, often taking advantage of the possibilities for anonymity that the mail provided.

“That was alarming to moralists who complained that the postal system in general promoted promiscuity, illicit assignations, and the distribution of pornography – and actually, they weren’t entirely wrong about any of that. But fully half of the valentine traffic consisted of comic or insulting cards that people sent anonymously to annoying neighbors or unpopular schoolmasters. By the time the craze tapered off a few decades later, people were sending each other cards for Christmas, Easter, and birthdays, as the greeting card became a fixture of American life.”

(From Geoffrey Nunberg, “The Years of Talking Dangerously”)

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THE NEWS

Yuk! Michael Jackson autopsy: “Leaked details of Michael Jackson’s autopsy reveal he had wasted away to a virtual skeleton, was almost bald and his body was riddled with needle marks. The results indicate 50-year-old Jackson was effectively anorexic, weighing just 50kg at the time he died, his stomach was empty except for a series of pills he had swallowed. Jackson was barely eating and was limiting himself to one meal a day, reported The Sun in London which obtained the autopsy findings. It is understood Jackson – who died at his rented Los Angeles mansion last Friday – was taking narcotic painkillers three times a day: The evidence of which was shown by numerous needle wounds on his body. Doctors also found surgery scars which they believe were the result of as many as 13 cosmetic operations in the past 20 years.

The latest Aston Martin is a Toyota!: “The next car for super spy James Bond may not be able to outrun gun-wielding baddies or rocket down a winding mountain pass, but it will at least be able to park in tight city streets and use less fuel than some hybrid cars. The world’s most famous spy may soon be driving a frugal hatchback based on a $20,000 Toyota in an unusual matchup between Bond’s preferred brand, Aston Martin, and the world’s largest car maker, Toyota. Toyota and Aston Martin have joined forces to create a baby car that is likely to become a reality “in the not too distant future”. Toyota announced it will provide Aston Martin with the underpinnings of its Toyota iQ small car – the smallest four-seater in the world – as the basis for a new luxury commuter car to be exclusively built for, and sold to, Aston Martin owners. The most affordable Aston Martin, the V8 Vantage, will set you back the best part of $300,000. The radically different pairing will produce the Cygnet – a three-door city hatchback that borrows traditional Aston Martin design cues but uses Toyota’s driving package. The Cygnet will be tailored specifically to customer requirements at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Britain”.

Monster croc in Australia’s wild North: “A monster croc – believed to be about 4.5m [15 ft.] long – has reappeared at a popular Northern Territory reserve. The huge saltie was seen sunning himself on the road at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve – a birdwatchers’ paradise – at lunchtime yesterday. It is believed to be the same crocodile spotted at the reserve in March. The croc shocked visitors and daytripping family groups by stepping out of the swamp at Fogg Dam and sunbaking on the walkway. Birdwatcher Darryel “Biggles” Binns, 58, was surprised when the crocodile suddenly appeared behind him at the reserve, 60km from Darwin. “I thought it was a cow lying on the path at first,” he said. The crocodile has the same distinctive marks near its back leg as the one spotted by wine salesman Brian Hammond in March. At the time Mr Hammond described the saltie as “the ultimate killing machine”. Parks and Wildlife officers set a trap for the croc after the initial sighting, but the croc was too big and could not be caught. The croc appears to have no fear of humans and is not afraid to venture out of the water and on to the road. The Territory Government declared a 50 kilometre croc-free zone around Darwin after 11-year-old Briony Goodsell was taken by a huge saltie in Lambells Lagoon in March.”

Airport Bribery Prevention (Kathmandu, Nepal): “The government’s anti-corruption watchdog has become aware of rampant bribery being committed at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. Apparently, complaints have been lodged because travelers wanting preferential treatment during screenings and inspections can easily slip some cash to airport workers. To address the “irregularities” (Nepalese for bribery), the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has ordered that all airport officials be given trousers with no pockets. Yeah, that’ll work.”

Blackberry stops skier’s plunge down crevasse: “Its owners are quick to admit they can’t live without it, but it took a British skier to plunge 20m down a crevasse to prove that a Blackberry can actually save your life. David Fitzherbert, of West London, was making his own tracks down a glacier on Switzerland’s Matterhorn when the snow beneath him gave way. He plunged 20m down a crevasse before it narrowed to the point where his Blackberry – stashed in his top pocket – caught on a ledge and held him fast. Beneath him, the crevasse dropped away another 200-odd metres. “After 70 feet it narrowed and I became stuck like a cork in a bottle between the walls,” Mr Fitzherbert told UK tabloid The Sun. Mr Fitzherbert said he suffered a broken jaw, lost several teeth and nearly had his nose ripped off in the descent. He was rescued after his guide called for help and was stuck so fast he had to be drilled out. He spent 10 days in a hospital in Bern, where he was treated for extreme hypothermia and concussion. Needless to say, his phone supplier Vodafone was happy to hear the news of their product’s life-saving capabilities, especially given the fact Mr Fitzherbert was still able to use his beloved Blackberry to call his wife and tell her about the accident.”

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

Visual aids — old style

June 29, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

As many people suspected ….: “The mother of two of Michael Jackson’s children has claimed Jackson is not actually their father. Debbie Rowe made headlines 13 years ago when Jackson announced she would be the mother of his first child, Prince, now 12. Now she has told the News of the World that she was artificially inseminated with sperm for both births from an anonymous donor. “It’s just like I impregnate my mares for breeding. It was very technical,” she said. “Just like I stick the sperm up my horse, this is what they did to me. I was his thoroughbred.” The couple married at the Sheraton Hotel in Sydney in November 1996 while Rowe was pregnant with Prince, but she said the two of them never once had sex during their time together. Paris was conceived in the same manner, but complications with the birth left Rowe unable to bear any more children. She said it was at that stage the Jackson ended their relationship and paid her $9 million over nine years in exchange for custody of the children. “I got paid for it, and I’ve moved on. I know I will never see my children again.” The mother of Jackson’s third child, Prince II, has always remained a mystery.”

Teen injured after falling asleep in dumpster: A teenager has escaped with broken ribs after falling asleep in a dumpster and waking up inside the crusher jaws of a garbage truck south of Melbourne. The 19-year-old was trapped inside the truck’s mechanical compactor early on Friday but screams alerted the driver of the truck, Ambulance Victoria says. His friend, who was also asleep in the industrial-sized garbage bin when its contents was emptied into the truck about 1.30am, was not injured. Paramedics arrived at an address in Narre Warren North Road, in Melbourne’s outer southeast, within minutes of receiving the call. Paramedic Andrew Winkler said the two men were asleep in the dumpster when it was emptied. “Both were thrown into the back of the garbage truck, and the 19 year-old became caught in the mechanical compactor,” Mr Winkler said in a statement. “Thankfully the truck driver heard their screams, and checked the back of the truck. “He found the man trapped in the compactor and was able to free him.” The man suffered pain around his ribs which may have been fractured, as well as cuts, bruising and swelling. “The men are incredibly lucky that the truck driver heard their screams for help over the sound of the garbage compactor,” Mr Winkler said.”

St Paul ‘remains’ are 2000 years old: “Carbon-dating on fragments of bone from a body found in a tomb in the Basilica of St Paul have confirmed Pope Benedict’s belief that the remains are those of the Apostle Paul. “This seems to confirm the unanimous and undisputed tradition that these are the mortal remains on the Apostle Paul,” the pontiff said on the eve of today’s Feasts of St Peter and St Paul. Peter and Paul are revered by Christians as the greatest early missionaries. Christian tradition had it that St Paul was buried together with St Peter in a catacomb on the Via Appia, before being moved to the basilica erected in his honor. But it was not until a stone sarcophagus was discovered there in 2006 that Vatican archeologists could apply scientific research to the religious tradition. Pope Benedict gave details of the discovery, saying a tiny hole had been drilled in the sarcophaguus to permit inspection of the interior, revealing “traces of a precious linen cloth, purple in color, laminated with pure gold, and a blue colored textile with filaments of linen”. “It also revealed the presence of grains of red incense and traces of protein and limestone,” the Pope said. “There were also tiny fragments of bone, which, when subjected to Carbon 14 tests by experts, turned out to belong to someone who lived in the First or Second Century.”

Girl in shackles escapes would-be-rapist: “A six-year-old girl allegedly kidnapped by a would-be-rapist in the US has managed to escape from his apartment despite being in leg shackles. Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said the girl was found on Saturday afternoon (local time) as police searched the apartment complex in Hanover, about 32km southeast of Boston, where she and the suspect live. The girl’s mother had reported her missing about 1:30pm. When she was found the girl pointed police officers to an apartment where she was imprisoned, Mr Cruz said. Police arrested Justin Shine, 26, after a struggle. The girl was taken to a hospital, but authorities declined to comment on her injuries”.

Wimbledon admits good-looking players get centre court gigs: “Good looks count for more than tennis ability when it comes to choosing which women play on Wimbledon’s centre court. A succession of easy-on-the-eye unknowns have appeared in Wimbledon’s prime arena this year while some of the top women’s seeds have been relegated to lesser courts. The All England Club admitted that physical attractiveness is taken into consideration. Spokesman Johnny Perkins said: “Good looks are a factor.” A BBC source said: “It’s the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play. “But obviously it’s advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court. “Our preference would always be a Brit or a babe as this always delivers high viewing figures.”

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

The 25 best exam blunders……

June 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We all have to fail sometimes. But there’s something glorious about failing with style.

1) Classical Studies
Question: Name one of the early Romans’ greatest achievements.
Answer: Learning to speak Latin

2) Biology
Question: What is a fibula?
Answer: A little lie

3) General Studies
Question: Jeff has been asked to collect data about the amount of television his friends watch. Think of an appropriate question he could ask them.
Answer: How much TV do you watch?

4) Classical Studies
Question: What were the circumstances of Julius Caesar’s death?
Answer: Suspicious ones

5) Biology
Question: Give an example of a smoking-related disease
Answer: Early death

6) Geography
Question: What are the Pyramids?
Answer: The Pyramids are a large mountain range which splits France and Spain

7) Biology
Question: What is a plasmid?
Answer: A high definition television

8) English
Question: In Pride and Prejudice, at what moment does Elizabeth Bennet realise her true feelings for Mr Darcy?
Answer: When she sees him coming out of the lake.

9) Geography
Question: What do we call a person forced to leave their home perhaps by a natural disaster or war, without having another home to go to.
Answer: Homeless

10) Religious Studies
Question: Christians only have one spouse, what is this called?
Answer: Monotony

11) Biology
Question: In the Hawaiian Islands, there are around 500 different species of fruit fly. Give a reason for this
Answer: There are approximately 500 varieties of fruit

12) Physics
Question: Name an environmental side effect of burning fossil fuels
Answer: Fire

13) Geography
Question: Define the term “intensive farming”.
Answer: It is when a farmer never has a day off.

14) Maths
Question: Change 7/8 to a decimal
Answer: 7.8

15) Geography
Question: What does the term “lava” mean?
Answer: A pre-pubescent caterpillar

16) General Studies
Question: Redundancy is often an unpleasant and unexpected event in someone’s life. Give two examples of unexpected life events.
Answer: 1) death 2) Reincarnation

17) History
Question: What was introduced in the Children’s Charter of 1908?
Answer: Children

18) Business Studies
Question: Explain the word “wholesaler”.
Answer: Someone who sells you whole items – eg, a whole cake

19) Geography
Question: The race of people known as Malays come from which country?
Answer: Malaria

20) Geography
Question:What artificial waterway runs between the Mediterranean and Red Seas?
Answer: The Sewage Canal

21) Geography
Question: Name one famous Greek landmark
Answer: The most famous Greek landmark is the Apocalypse

22) Maths
Question: Expand 2 (x + y)
Answer: 2 ( x + y )
2 ( . x . + . y . )
2 ( .. x .. + .. y .. )

23) Business Studies
Question: Assess Fashion House pls’s choice to locate its factory near Birmingham. Is Birmingham the right location for this type of business?
Answer: No. People from Birmingham aren’t very fashionable.

24) History
Question: Where was the American Declaration of Independence signed?
Answer: At the bottom.

25) History
Question: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common?
Answer: Unusual names.

Originally here

THE NEWS

“Cigarettes, whisky, and wild, wild women”: “Tomoji Tanabe, a Japanese retired civil engineer, had died peacefully in his sleep overnight. He was 113 years’ and 274 days’ old and had more than 50 great-grandchildren. Having foregone alcohol and cigarettes all his life, Tanabe had became the world’s oldest man in January 2007. That mantle has now passed to Mr Allingham — the first time a British person has ever held such a title. … Mr Allingham is quieter these days, but no codger at heart. In contrast to Mr Tanabe’s asceticism, he attributes his longevity to ‘cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women.’ The Air Mechanic First Class is best known publicly for his war record, because of the many public engagements he has attended — up to 70 some years — including regular meetings with the Queen, politicians and soldiers returning from theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet he dislikes talking about conflict, saying only: ‘War’s stupid. Nobody wins.’”

What utter crap!: “A London art gallery has unveiled a $62,000 masterpiece – a supermarket receipt for $150 worth of groceries bought by the museum’s own curator. The piece by artist Ceal Floyer whose previous works include a black bin bag filled with air and beer mats propping up wobbly tables. Floyer insists a fresh receipt – based on her original bill for items that are all coloured white – should be created every time it is exhibited. Tate curator Andrew Wilson – who did the shopping trip this time around – said the piece is like a “domestic still-life painting with the supposed purity of Modernist monochrome abstract painting.”

Another despicable British “jobsworth” (rigid and petty rule-follower): “A coach driver refused to let a woman get off his vehicle near her home – even though she was desperate to get to her dying mum’s hospital bedside. Sheila Gibbs was forced to stay on the coach for an hour as it took her 30 miles away from home – and then she had to retrace the route to collect her car so she could race to the hospital. By the time she got back to her home, however, she had been told that her mother, Kathleen Bicknell, 88, had died from hypothermia. “On the coach I got a phone call telling me mother had collapsed and was being attended to by paramedics,” said Mrs Gibbs. “The coach was passing through Salisbury so I asked the driver if he would let me off. But he refused and I had to go all the way to Bournemouth and then travel back to Salisbury afterwards.” “He just said he was not allowed to stop en route and it was not worth his job to do it. He said it might cause problems and if everyone did the same thing where would he be? “I just found it totally lacking in any kind of compassion. It meant I had to travel for two extra hours.”

Stolen snake found after eating a tagged animal: “A stolen two-metre carpet python has been recovered after authorities homed in on a tracking device attached to an endangered animal which the snake had devoured. The snake was taken from the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation’s Woodvale Research Centre sometime between June 19 and 22. The python ate the woylie, which is a small mammal, in the wild at Narrogin, complete with transmitter, and was brought to the centre so the tracking device could be removed from the snake. Conservation department officers in a plane yesterday traced the signal to a house in Heathridge yesterday afternoon. The officers and WA Police recovered the animal. Joondalup Police have charged a 31-year-old Heathridge man with receiving stolen goods.”

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

Indians often do well in Britain

June 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arun Nayar is married to Elizabeth Hurley (below)

(Arun is half-German and announces himself with a posh English accent. He is the eldest son of Vinod Nayar, a Bombay businessman, and Gunnar, his German mother who set up a lucrative textiles company in the city 30 years ago. After his parents’ separation when he was young, Arun was brought up by his mother and was sent to the John Connon School in Bombay before embarking on a top-drawer British education. See here)

THE NEWS

Sweden: City votes to let women go topless: “The sports and recreation committee in Malmo, Sweden, has voted to allow women to go topless in the city’s swimming pools. The board struck down a motion that stated: ‘Women with two-piece swimsuits ought to wear a top piece,’ after controversy was sparked by members of the feminist Just Breasts/Bare Breasts network made visits to the city’s pools sans bikini tops.”

Vodka kills as many Russians as a war: “The terrible cost of Russia’s love affair with vodka was laid bare in a study published yesterday. It blamed alcohol addiction for more than half of all deaths among Russians in their prime years and said that the scale of the carnage was comparable to a war. The report, which appeared in The Lancet, said that three quarters of deaths among men and half of deaths among women aged 15-54 were attributable to alcohol abuse. The mortality rate in Russia in this age group was five times higher for men and three times higher for women than in Western Europe. Professor David Zaridze, who led the international research team, calculated that alcohol had killed three million Russians since Mikhail Gorbachev tried and failed to restrict sales in 1987. He added: “This loss is similar to that of a war.” The study analysed the deaths of almost 49,000 people between 1990 and 2001 in Tomsk, Barnaul and Biysk, three industrial cities in Siberia with typical mortality rates. It concluded that alcohol was the cause of 52 per cent of mortalities; 13 times greater than the worldwide average.”

British city official threatens old lady over her missing cat: “A pensioner was threatened with a £75 fine for putting up posters of her missing cat. When Sarah Sear, 63, received a phone call in response she thought it would be to give her the news that her beloved Siamese Alfie had been found. Instead the caller said he was from the council and that he would send someone round to enforce the fine for flyposting if Mrs Sear did not take down the posters. The pensioner, from Worthing, West Sussex, was left so upset by the call that she has taken down most of the posters – reducing the chances of finding her cat. She said yesterday: ‘He said to me, “My boss will not be happy if he sees the posters”. ‘I was absolutely flabbergasted. At first, I thought it was a joke. I was absolutely beside myself as he was making me feel as though I had done something really terrible.’ The call from the Worthing Borough Council worker came after Mrs Sear had stuck about 20 posters on to nearby phone boxes, trees and lampposts following her cat’s disappearance three weeks ago. She added: ‘I cannot understand why there was absolutely no sympathy from the man that called. Should missing pet posters really be classed as flyposting?’ [But publicity brings a backdown, as usual]

Survey proves men really do prefer food over sex: “It’s official: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. A new study asking Australians to rank which everyday experiences give them the most pleasure has quashed the long-standing assumption that men prefer sex over food. The survey, conducted by Magnum icecream, polled almost 10,000 people across the country, The Advertiser reports. Men rated taste sensations as their top pleasure trigger, with physical arousal (including sex) coming in fourth. Personal accomplishment was second, then the need to relax. The results were reached through a “pleasure quotient test”, which uses a scale to determine the frequency and intensity to which individuals are stimulated by certain triggers”.

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

So how’s your day going?

June 26, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

PA: Pedestrians to carry flags to cross street: “To cross the street in Lemoyne: look left, look right, look left again. Then, grab a flag and go. ‘Let me see if I understand this correctly,’ Bob’s Bagels employee Rose Williams said. ‘You’re supposed to take the flag, cross the street, [and deposit it in the opposite bin]?’ That’s exactly right. Inspired by a similar effort in Kirkland, Wash., the project’s two-fold goal is to make pedestrians more visible and to remind drivers that pedestrians have the right of way, Lemoyne councilman John Judson said.”

Topless women slow down work on building site: “Darwin’s tradies [tradesmen] have returned fire in the great Watergape scandal, accusing topless European backpackers of deliberately playing up to grab their attention. The Northern Territory News last week revealed that the backpackers were distracting workers at the Darwin Waterfront development, slowing progress on the building site. The Waterfront’s new safe swimming beach and recreational lagoon has become a favourite hangout for the scantily clad Europeans since it opened to the public in April. British backpacker Penelope Smith, 19, said more than a dozen workers stood around and perved on her while she was sunbaking topless. But the workers told the Northern Territory News it was the backpackers who are trying to grab their attention. “They ask for it,” one tradie told the Northern Territory News. “They come and sit right in front of where the tradies are. “They do it topless too – how do they get away with that?”

Kids’ ‘nuclear reactor’ clears streets: “Two six-year-old boys pretending to have built a mini nuclear power plant prompted German police and the fire brigade to clear their street, authorities said today. The schoolchildren in the western town of Oelde had built the nuclear reactor mock-up out of a computer casing and taped a “radioactivity warning” they had printed out from the Internet on its side. “When the boys returned to their ‘nuclear power plant’ from a brief stop at home they were sent away again as the area and a wide radius around it had been cleared and blocked off,” police said in a statement. Residents were ordered not to leave their homes and firefighters tested for a radioactive leak. The boys’ parents thought the fire department was conducting a drill until they read about the operation online and what led to it. They reported to the police station and explained their six-year-olds had not managed to build an actual nuclear reactor.”

British church blesses fathers with beer: “Bottles of beer will be given to fathers who attend church, in an alternative “blessing” for Father’s Day. A senior bishop has backed the move, which is part of a Church of England initiative to put a Christian emphasis on the annual celebration of fatherhood. Concerns over the lack of men attending services year-round has led clergy to offer a range of incentives today, including free beer, bacon rolls and chocolate bars. It is the first time that the Church has attempted to treat Fathers’ Day in the same way as Mothering Sunday, which has traditionally formed part of its calendar. The plan to distribute ale has upset groups working to tackle alchohol abuse, but the Rt Rev John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, said that it could help churches to attract more men. He argued that the free beer was intended to be symbolic of “the generosity of God”.

Live alligator found on train: “Norwegian customs officials carrying out a routine check were shocked to find a live alligator in luggage on board a train bound for Oslo. The 75cm caiman reptile, which is on the list of endangered species, was found during a routine baggage control yesterday on a train travelling from the Swedish city of Gothenburg to Oslo, Norwegian customs inspector Wenche Fredriksen said. “It was in a ventilation tube inside a bag,” she said. The reptile’s owner, a 22-year-old man, said he bought the “pet” in Poland where he was a student and wanted to bring it home to Norway. The caiman was turned over to veterinary authorities who were to decide its fate.”

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

Apparently the classifieds below actually ran at different times in a Minneapolis newspaper

June 25, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER: 8-years old. Hateful little bastard. Bites!

FREE PUPPIES: 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.

FREE PUPPIES: Mother, AKC German Shepherd.. Father, Super Dog..able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

FOUND DIRTY WHITE DOG: Looks like a rat. Been out a while. Better be a big reward.

COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED. Also 1 gay bull for sale.

NORDIC TRACK: $300 Hardly used, call Chubby.

GEORGIA PEACHES: California grown – 89 cents/lb.

JOINING NUDIST COLONY! Must sell washer and dryer $300.

WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE: Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.

FOR SALE BY OWNER: Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition. $1,000 or best offer. No longer needed, got married last month. Wife knows everything.

THE NEWS

Europe asks horse owners to pledge not to eat their animals: “Horse owners will have to sign a pledge not to eat their animals under new EU legislation, it has been reported. The rule, aimed at continental Europe, where two million horses are reportedly eaten every year, will still have to be signed in Britain. Anyone who refuses to sign up to the regulations could face prison or an unlimited fine. Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, said: “I’d like to be a fly on the wall when the Queen and Princess Anne are asked to sign a form saying they’re not going to eat their horses. “Measures to stop the trade in horse flesh may be a good thing. But any common sense in Brussels is drowned by the sheer weight of ludicrous suggestions.” The new law has left British horse and stable owners perplexed. Kate Gillanders, of Kindross, Pertshire, told The Sun “We don’t see our horses as cattle. The thought of them being eaten is utterly repulsive. Brussels is poking its nose in where it should not be. “The EU knows nothing about me and cares even less. This nonsense is somebody else’s obsession.” The new regulations come into force on July 1. Horses born after this date, and those born before June 30 who have not been issued a horse passport, will also have a microchip implanted.” [A horse's passport, fer Chrissake!]

Legal eagle too grand to pay a bill if it is “peanuts”: A Gold Coast small businessman has taken court action against a magistrate over a disputed $75 bill for a service call for a faulty dictating machine. Office equipment supplier Alf Mitmannsgruber became incensed when Southport magistrate Kerry Magee, who earns $262,590 a year, for 12 months failed to pay the bill. So he had her served with a minor debt claim by one of her own bailiffs at the Southport courthouse. Three weeks later, he received his money, plus legal costs. He said he made a service call to her Southport chambers, collecting the faulty dictating machine and leaving a spare one. But he found the machine needed a new circuit board and his $252 repair quote was rejected. He left an invoice for $75 for the service call, diagnosis and relief machine – but the bill remained unpaid more than 12 months later. Last month, Mr Mitmannsgruber received a cheque for the $75, plus $86.50 in costs. The cheque listed Ms Magee as an account holder, along with other barristers. Peter Morrow, of the Southport Barristers’ Chambers, said Ms Magee was not personally responsible for the debt but the chambers had agreed to pay it to avoid litigation. “We’re talking peanuts here. Mr Mitmannsgruber has got his money,” Mr Morrow said.”

Black woman strolls along British train line, bringing services to a halt: “These dramatic images capture the scene as a woman casually strolls on to main line rail tracks on her way home from shopping. She seemed oblivious to the potential dangers of walking along the line where high-speed trains regularly pass. Fortunately for the unidentified 38-year-old, the alarm was raised and services halted. The unnamed woman, who lives in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is thought to have walked off the platform at Bristol Parkway Station just after 9am on Saturday. She then strolled for 650m along the track eastwards towards Winterbourne before a cross-country train driver picked her up at 9.20am. Train services in the area were halted between 9am and 9.30am, causing travel chaos for thousands of passengers. A British Transport Police spokesman has confirmed they are investigating the incident and revealed that the woman involved was not in a disturbed state. He said: ‘Nine times out of ten when you find people on the tracks it is down to mental health issues but as far as we know this woman wasn’t in a distressed state. ‘After she was taken back to the platform by a train driver our officers escorted her on another train to her home in Cheltenham. ‘We have now reported her to the Crown Prosecution Service for trespassing and the case is in the hands of the prosecutors.’

Moron act of the day: “A GROUP of larrikins discover why you should not light a firecracker that’s wedged between your legs. Watch the video but don’t try this at home. The YouTube video Firework Nutshot Fail shows a man perched between two cars with a firework attached to his crotch. His mate lights another firework under him and the inevitable happens. The man could be in the running for a Darwin Award”. See the video here

China: Man digs 50ft hole to fish — in his kitchen: “Li Huiyan, of Chongqing, hired 30 villagers for six months to dig the hole in his kitchen, reports IC Media. He wanted to reach an underground river which he suspected was full of fish. The river had been over ground but had disappeared 30 years ago when the local authorities bombed part of a mountain to pave a road. Li explained: ‘The river used to have so many fish, and by simply putting a net there, hundreds of fish would be caught.’ After digging his pit down to the river, Li installed a fishing net across it and regularly hauls out fish, so far earning his family nearly £2,000.”

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

Another oldie but goldie

June 24, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

Dear Grand-daughter,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker ..

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting..

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn’t notice that the light had changed.

It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t honked, I’d never have noticed.

I found that lots of people love Jesus!

While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, ‘For the love of God!’

‘G! o! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!’

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.

I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

My! grandson burst out laughing.

Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.

I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.

So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away.. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love, Grandma

THE NEWS

Zimmer frame gang ‘tortures adviser’ who lost $4 million: “A group of wealthy pensioners has been accused of kidnapping and torturing a financial adviser who lost about $4 million of their savings. The pensioners, nicknamed the “Geritol Gang” by German police after an arthritis drug, face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty of subjecting German-American James Amburn to the alleged four-day ordeal. Two of them are said to have hit him with a Zimmer frame outside his home in Speyer, western Germany, before he was bound with duct tape, bundled into the boot of an Audi A8 and driven 300 miles (483 kilometres) to a home on the shores of a popular holiday lake in Bavaria. During his alleged confinement in an unheated cellar, Mr Amburn, 56, claims he was burned with cigarettes, beaten, had two ribs broken, was hit with a chair leg and chained up “like an animal”…. “I was led into the cellar,” recalled Mr Amburn, who also has a home in Florida. “I saw a folding bed and a WC reserved for me. They immediately went on about their money. I told them what I had told them before, that due to market conditions, unfortunately it was gone. “I was struck. Again and again they threatened to kill me. The fear of death was indescribable.” He then told them that he could pay them back if he sold some securities in Switzerland and they agreed to let him send a fax to a bank there. He scribbled a plea for help on the bottom of the paper. “It was disguised as a policy,” he said. “I wrote ‘call. po-lice’ and they didn’t notice it.”… In the meantime, an employee at the Swiss bank spotted the message and telephoned police in Germany. Armed commandos stormed the house in the early hours of Saturday morning.”

Terrified passengers told to balance plane: “Passengers have revealed their horror at being told to sit at the back of a plane to balance it out. Terrified by the request, 71 tourists refused to board the Thomas Cook flight from Majorca, in the Mediterranean, to Newcastle, UK. According to the airline, a jammed hold door meant that bags could only be loaded at one end, making the plane nose-heavy and necessitating the balancing request. Adding to travellers’ concern, in-coming passengers reportedly warned them not to board the plane as it was “the worst flight they had ever had”. Passenger Dave Charlton, from Northumberland, UK, said he was terrified by the look on the faces of the people getting off the plane and decided not to board it. “People were kissing on the ground and putting their hands together like they were praying,” Mr Charlton told the UK’s Daily Mail. “When people are getting off the plane saying, ‘Don’t get on’ and we’d been told there was a fault with it, there was no way we would get on. It’s just not worth the risk.” The plane returned to Newcastle, UK, with 115 [trusting] passengers onboard.”

Tattooists ‘required to stimulate genital area’: “Two Melbourne tattooists who sexually assaulted girls while performing genital piercings have avoided immediate jail time. Dandenong tattooist Mark Andrew Ford, 50, told two girls aged 13 and 15 that his brother Gregory Alan Ford, 53, could carry out the genital piercings they wanted, the Victorian County Court was told. In order to perform the piercings, Gregory Ford was required to stimulate the genital area for several minutes, the court heard. Neither of men asked the girls how old they were. Both men pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16. Sentencing the pair, Judge Wendy Wilmoth, said the sexual penetration of a child was a very serious offence. “In this unusual case, the penetration of each child was carried out at the child’s request, and in pursuit of something which might be called a fashion or a fad,” Judge Wilmoth said. “A child under 16 years is, of course, incapable in law of consenting to such a procedure.” Judge Wilmoth noted the offences happened in 2001 and 2007 respectively and the Ford’s business Tattoo City no longer performed intimate piercings, regardless of the age of the customer. She sentenced the men to two years and six months in prison, wholly suspended for three years.”

US airlines ‘have the worst food in the world’: “It’s official – US airlines have the worst food or any carrier in the entire world. American Airlines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways were voted the worst in a survey by SeatGuru.com. However, airlines such as Singapore and Air France were voting in having the best in-flight meals. Singapore Airlines, which flies its luxury mega-jumbo out of Sydney each day was voted the best food and most comfortable. The only stand-out US carrier was Continental, which was voted as having good in-flight fare and comfortable seats. United, American and US Airways also were cited for having the least comfortable economy-class seats and the rudest flight attendants.”

Hawaiian fire station catches fire after lunch error: “Firefighters in Hawaii have been embarrassed to find their own station alight after one left his lunch cooking on the stove to help at a car crash. The unit near Waipahu was helping at a car crash were called back to the station when the kitchen caught fire, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. The fire caused about $30,000 in damage and the humbled firefighters say it shows no-one is immune to making mistakes that cause fires.”

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

Academic phrases – translated…

June 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sometimes we all need a little help understanding academic speak. So for those struggling to understand your professors, this may help, courtesy of The Student Affairs Blog. Let’s start with:

1) “In my experience…” (Once.)

2) “In case after case…” (Twice.)

3) “In a series of cases…” (Thrice.)

Go on to…

“It is believed that…” (I think.)

Make it crystal clear with:

“It is generally believed…” (A couple of others think so, too.)

“Correct within an Order of Magnitude…” (Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.)

“It has long been known…” (I didn’t look up the original reference.)

And my favourites:

“Three of the examples were chosen for detailed study…” (The other results didn’t make sense.)

“Typical results are shown below…” (This one made the prettiest bar chart.)

“A highly significant area for exploratory study…” (A totally useless topic selected by my academic degree committee)

“Additional study will be required for a more complete understanding of this phenomenon…” (I didn’t understand this, and probably never will.)

Originally here

THE NEWS

An important warning: “After signing up with a Hawaiian horse ranch for a mounted tour of a steep mountain trail, Dr Phelps’ medical expertise was called into play when the tour guide’s horse buckled and fell over and the young rider was catapulted from her mount. “She landed heavily on the side of her head,” Dr Phelps told Confidential yesterday. “I saw the horse crumble and the guide fell badly. I was directly behind her and already making a mental checklist of her potential injuries before she had landed.” Dr Phelps said the guide was distressed and complaining of head and neck pain. “She was also very confused. At the very least she had a bad concussion.” Phelps administered first aid and immobilised the woman before calling 911 and requesting paramedics attend. The fire brigade was the first to arrive at the scene but Phelps refused to let them move the injured woman. “Too many paraplegics become paraplegics because they are not immobilised. Unqualified people shouldn’t be permitted to touch them. The injuries sustained by people like (actor) Christopher Reeve could be avoided in a lot of cases,” she said. When paramedics arrived, Phelps stepped aside and allowed the woman to be moved, on a spinal board. Phelps was informed that the guide spent a number of days in hospital before being discharged and has taken leave from her job”.

Speedy garbage bin: “Newsbreaker David Jones said he was dumbfounded and had to get his camera out to take photos when he noticed the Holden Commodore towing a wheelie bin as it overtook his mate’s vehicle on the Stuart Highway, south of Katherine on Wednesday. “We thought it was hilarious,” he said. “It was an 80kmh zone and she just flew past us. But then the bin started to wobble and lost a tyre. “It was dragging along for ages and left marks all over the road. There were bits of rubbish flying everywhere. “She then obviously realised something was wrong and pulled over.” “Who knows what she was doing, maybe it was a prank,” he said. “But we had only passed a rubbish dump sign moments earlier so maybe she had just been to the dump.”

CO: Woman faces eviction for Easter decorations: “An attorney for a 59-year-old woman says his client should not be forced to leave her apartment in Boulder County, Colo., because of Easter decorations. … Pineau said his client was informed by her landlord several days after Easter that her door decorations, which included Peep marshmallow candies and bunny stickers, needed to be removed. After Burdick refused, apartment managers posted a notice outlining a lease provision mandating residents keep their living areas clean and sanitary, the attorney said. ‘They’re calling her decorations garbage,’ Pineau alleged.”

Cruise liner weighing 122,000 tonnes squeezes along river with inches to spare: “A 37m-wide cruise ship to due enter service in Southampton has squeezed along a river in Germany with just inches to spare. The 2,850-guest Celebrity Equinox dwarfed the River Ems in Germany as it passed through the locks backwards. At its tightest point along the course, there were just four metres – not enough room to park a London black cab – between each side of the 317m-long, 37m-wide ship and the riverbank. It was en-route from shipbuilder Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, to Eemshaven, Netherlands where it will undergo trials before arriving in Southampton for its launch. Celebrity Cruises plan to put the 122,000 tonnes liner into service from July 31.
Captain Apostolos Bouzakis had to wait until high tide, calm winds and the right tidal barriers before embarking on the tricky journey yesterday and said: “The conveyance is an interesting challenge for any captain. “The limited space available for navigation, the nature of sailing in reverse and the number of locks and bridges to traverse are all factors that cruise ship captains normally do not have to contend with.”

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

Two advertisements from the 1930s

June 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Footballer flashes penis on television: “Football officials in Tasmania are investigating an incident where a player exposed himself during a live TV broadcast. The Mercury reports AFL Tasmania and Clarence Football club are investigating the incident involving Clarence reserves player Tim Orchard. Orchard was filmed exposing his penis in the background as senior player Ben Setchell was being interviewed live on ABC TV in the changerooms after Clarence’s win over South Launceston at Bellerive Oval on Saturday. Orchard was fully clothed in his club jacket and pants at the time. An embarrassed and angry Clarence president Richard Mulligan said the player would front a sub-committee today. “We unreservedly apologise for any offence that may have been occasioned by the inappropriate action of the player concerned,” Mr Mulligan said.”

A magnificent flying machine: “Sweeping majestically through the sky 6,000 feet above the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire – this is the world’s last flying Vulcan returning to its base at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire after finishing its first public display since Mail on Sunday readers helped to save it from being grounded for ever. Many thought the day would never come. But when it howled over 60,000 awestruck spectators last Sunday, its pilot Martin Withers realised that he and his colleagues had achieved an unlikely dream. Manoeuvring the delta-wing bomber to an altitude of just 300ft for a spectacular and noisy 350mph flypast across RAF Cosford in Shropshire, he was thrilled that the record crowd at the air show could share his exhilaration. It was the first public display by the world’s last flying Vulcan since a campaign by this newspaper helped to save it from being grounded for ever. More than was £500,000 needed by the Vulcan To The Sky Trust to maintain the 50-year-old aircraft was raised in just five days after we highlighted its plight three months ago. But there was more nail-biting before the Manchester-built aircraft, Britain’s most potent nuclear deterrent during the Cold War, was declared airworthy by the Civil Aviation Authority. Earlier this month it was feared that rust was eating through its four Rolls-Royce Olympus turbojet engines. Engineers eventually gave them the all-clear.”

“Flexitarians” sneak meat into diet: “Karen Fornito thinks meat tastes like blood and will only eat it if it’s “disguised” as spaghetti bolognese or on a Hawaiian pizza. She takes the vegetarian option at weddings and foodie functions, but will have well-cooked chicken a couple of times a week and a slice of turkey at Christmas – she doesn’t strictly abide by the vego rules – she’s a flexitarian. “It all tastes like blood,” she said of her distaste for the product. And, while she is happy to cook most meat for her family of six, she won’t go near pork. “I can’t stand the smell,” she says. There is a theory common among flexitarians that fish and chicken don’t count as meat. Some go for the veg-aquarian guide of consuming marine life only, others go by the “if it has a face, don’t eat it” rule and some, like Fornito, will take meat in wolf’s clothing. “The mince and ham are heavily processed and usually disguised in a sauce or in a pizza, so I don’t really notice them, they just add flavour to the dish,” she says.”

Love at first sight a myth: “S0 you believe in love at first sight? Well forget it, says an expert who insists the myth of love at first sight is untrue. Psychiatrist and relationships expert Gordon Livingston says it’s “mindless” to think you’ve found “the one” after making eye contact with that random guy on the train, or the girl who made your coffee and he said the myth is also to blame for many unhappy relationships and failed marriages. “It’s impossible to make those kind of judgments until you really know someone,” Livingston said from his home in Maryland, US. “There’s certainly such thing as attraction at first sight, and in retrospect you (may) have been right that this was the person, but often those initial chemical surges betray us.” He said society and advertising portray a certain look as being “beautiful”, but this can mislead us and confuse our ability to make decisions about potential partners. “We’re automatically drawn to (those deemed beautiful) on an almost instinctual basis but they may not have those inner qualities that make for satisfying marriage,” he said. “This is why it’s so important to know somebody. In his new book, How to Love, Livingston explains the key to a long-lasting loving relationship is finding a person who possesses most of what he calls the 10 “essential virtues” – kindness, optimism, courage, loyalty, tolerance, flexibility, beauty, humour, honesty and intelligence. He says a fulfilling relationship is achieved by picking the right partner in the first place, rather than learning to deal with differences”.

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

A Greek wedding the modern way

June 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The bride wants everyone to know what the groom is getting

More here

THE NEWS

Taiwan: Jobless man steals just for free prison lunch: “A jobless Taiwan man released from prison stole a box of cotton swabs just to get arrested again because he ‘could not forget the police department boxed lunches,’ officers and local media said Tuesday. The homeless man in Taipei first stole a pair of shoes on Sunday, was detained and released, the Liberty Times said. He then resorted to stealing again the next day just to get back inside and be fed for free.”

Pathetic British mail carriers: “Swiping playfully at the camera, it’s hard to imagine she could be a danger to anything – except, perhaps, her favourite toy mouse. But to postmen, Illy the kitten might as well be a snarling rottweiler. They say that the six-month-old moggie once jumped up at the letterbox and delivered a painful scratch to a postwoman’s hand. So fearful are they of a repeat performance that they have sent a strongly worded letter to Illy’s owners – warning them to discipline her or face a delivery ban…. Illy, who weighs in at a mere 7lb, spends most of her time playing with balls of wool, chasing her tail or exploring the neighbourhood. Mr Ridge, who runs a greengrocer’s in Clapham, South-West London, first heard about her snappy side when he received the warning letter from an office manager at Royal Mail. It read: ‘I am writing to let you know that, on the 6th of June , our postman was attacked by your animal in your premises while delivering mail to your address. ‘I must advise you that, if any further incidents of this nature are allowed to take place, I shall have no alternative other than to consider suspending the delivery of mail to your home.’

A spitting dolphin: “A rare and recently discovered species of Australian dolphin catches its prey by spitting at it. The snubfin dolphin is found along Australia’s northern coastlines and was recognised as a new species only in 2005. The snubfin not only looks strange – it has a small dorsal fin and round, melon-like head – but new research shows it has an unusual method of feeding. World Wildlife Fund Australia’s marine and coasts manager Lydia Gibson said the small dolphins hunt in groups, chasing fish to the surface and rounding them up by shooting jets of water from their mouths. “This incredibly unusual behaviour, first seen in Australia off the Kimberley coast, has only been noted before in Irrawaddy dolphins, which are closely related to this species,” Ms Gibson said.”

AZ: Town election decided by card draw : “The election came down to the high card. With the final Town Council seat in the small Phoenix-area town of Cave Creek on the line, two candidates who tied with 660 votes apiece in a May runoff cut cards to decide the race. The winner was Adam Trenk, 25, whose king of hearts beat out former councilman Thomas McGuire’s six of hearts. An obscure Arizona law dating to 1925 says that election ties should be broken ‘by lot.’ It applies to all elected offices but the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, and superintendent for public instruction. Ties in those seats are determined by the Legislature. While a first for Cave Creek and relatively rare, such events do happen from time to time in Arizona. Last year, two local school-board candidates rolled dice to decide a winner. In 1992, a game of poker resolved a stalemate in the primary for a state Legislative seat.”

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

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