CHILDREN EXPLAIN ANGELS

December 31, 2009 at 10:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold. – Gregory, age 5

Everybody’s got it all wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it -Olive, age 9

It’s not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to Heaven, and then there’s still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes. – Matthew, age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else. -Mitchell, age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he’s not much good for science. -Henry, age 8

Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!! -Jack, age 6

Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead. Daniel, age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there’s a tornado. -Reagan, age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. I you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter. -Sara, age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who’s a very good carpenter. -Jared, age 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn’t go for it. -Antonio, age 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth. -Ashley ~ age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don’t make the animals get better, they help the child get over it. -Vicki, age 8

THE NEWS

Glowing walls could kill off the light bulb: “Light-emitting wallpaper may begin to replace light bulbs from 2012, according to a government body that supports low-carbon technology. A chemical coating on the walls will illuminate all parts of the room with an even glow, which mimics sunlight and avoids the shadows and glare of conventional bulbs. Although an electrical current will be used to stimulate the chemicals to produce light, the voltage will be very low and the walls will be safe to touch. Dimmer switches will control brightness, as with traditional lighting. The Carbon Trust has awarded a £454,000 grant to Lomox, a Welsh company that is developing the organic light-emitting diode technology. The trust said it would be two and a half times more efficient than energy-saving bulbs and could make a big contribution to meeting Britain’s target of cutting carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020. The chemical coating, which can be applied in the form of specially treated wallpaper or simply painted straight on to walls, can also be used for flat-screen televisions, computers and mobile phone displays. As the system uses only between three and five volts, it can be powered by solar panels or batteries.” [The Greenies will no doubt discover that it is "toxic" or some such]

Scientists find insect vision to be the bee’s knees: “Engineers and rocket scientists are learning from the humble bee, which, unlike the crash-landing fly, is an expert pilot. When landing, bees reduce their flight speed rapidly, hover for a split second until their hind legs contact the landing pad, then gently land. If they come in to land upside down, they will use their antennae as landing gear instead of their legs. In a world first, Vision Centre scientists at the University of Queensland used a high-speed camera to study more than 1000 bee landings. The research appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology. Professor Mandyam Srinivasan said the team was designing robots and aircraft that used the principles of insect vision for navigation and difficult manoeuvres. “One of the things we’d like to do is to build vision systems and landing gear for helicopters, and other hovering kinds of craft, that will allow them to land on rugged terrain,” he said. “There’s a fair amount of interest, in space exploration and fields like that, in aircraft that can perch on craggy rocks, that can land not just on a smooth runway but pretty much anywhere.” Bees manage to get the landing speed, angle and touchdown right every time, even when the surface is sloping or upside down.”

Myths led to crater discovery: “An Aboriginal Dreaming story about a star crashing to earth with a noise like thunder has led to the discovery of an ancient meteorite crater in central Australia. A Sydney astronomer, Duane Hamacher, found the bowl-shaped crater in Palm Valley, about 130 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs, by searching on Google Earth. He was inspired to look there after learning of traditional stories told by the local Arrernte people about a star that had fallen into a waterhole called Puka in the valley. Mr Hamacher, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University, said that reality matching the Dreaming story could be a case of pure chance. “But if so, it’s an incredible coincidence,” he said. “It is impossible to survive on a continent like this for 50,000 years and not have an intimate knowledge of the natural world around you, including the night sky,” he said. He searched historical records for Aboriginal stories with references to comets, meteors and cosmic impacts, and looked for matching astronomical events. The Palm Valley crater, which the team proposes to name Puka, was probably formed millions of years ago, so people could not have witnessed the impact. “But perhaps the Arrernte knew rocks fell out of the sky and maybe they deduced that a large rock caused the big bowl-shaped crater,” he said.”

The Tropicana still lives: ” Havana’s famed Tropicana nightclub turns 70 this week, its glamour days as an international celebrity haunt well behind it, but its future assured as a money-making hotspot for the cash-strapped Cuban government. Scantily clad female dancers, their costumes mostly feathers and sequined thongs, writhed across its outdoor stage as they have for decades in a show that began on Monday night and ended Tuesday morning, marking the club’s opening on December 30, 1939. The show included an homage to stars like Carmen Miranda and Nat King Cole who performed amid Tropicana’s lush gardens and towering trees. Photos of Cole flashed on screens behind the stage as two dancers swayed romantically to his song Tenderly. Tropicana began as a casino and nightclub that, especially in the decade before Cuba’s 1959 revolution, attracted a steady stream of celebrities ranging from Marlon Brando to Maurice Chevalier. Some performed there and others simply mingled with the elegantly dressed clientele. Their presence and the accompanying publicity made Tropicana one of the world’s best known nightspots.”

NY: Xbox leads cops to trove of stolen electronics: “An Xbox marked the spot where a Bronx man stockpiled a treasure trove of pilfered electronics, police said. Jeremiah Gilliam, 22, was caught after playing a stolen game console online — allowing cops in Pelham, where it was stolen, to trace the IP address to his grandmother’s address, cops said. There, detectives found dozens of video games, laptops, and GPS devices believed to have been stolen from as many as 200 car break-ins and several home burglaries in Westchester County.”

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

Some dumb Australian criminals

December 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

* A police officer noticed a vehicle following him while he drove around Clermont, 280km southwest of Mackay, about 11.45pm. The car followed the police vehicle into the police station’s yard and the driver got out to discuss a relationship problem. The man appeared drunk and when tested blew a blood-alcohol reading of 0.26. The 35-year-old man was charged with drink-driving, fined $1800 and disqualified from driving for 16 months.

* A teenager was seen leaving the Harvey Norman store at Warwick, 80km south of Toowoomba, with two video games he had not paid for. Police went to the store to speak with the informant and get a description of the suspect. Instead, they were handed a very useful document. A staffer recalled the thief had visited the store earlier to seek employment and had given them his curriculum vitae. Police went to the address listed on the CV and charged the teenager with shoplifting.

* A woman went to Cecil Plains police on the Darling Downs to report her mobile phone had been stolen the night before. She had left it on her dining room table when a 34-year-old man known to her visited. When he left, she realised her phone was missing. When police visited the man’s address, he denied knowing anything about the missing phone. Police then rang the number and heard the woman’s phone ringing in the man’s bedroom. He gave the phone to police and was given a notice to appear in the Dalby Magistrates Court .

* Two men who allegedly robbed a hotel at Gladstone, 100km southeast of Rockhampton, at knife point did so without the benefit of a getaway car. They were forced to hitchhike away from the scene and were about 30km from Rockhampton when they used a $50 note as bait to flag down a silver Toyota sedan. The vehicle pulled over and the men got in only to find they had been picked up by two plainclothes detectives. One man and one juvenile were charged with robbery while armed and will appear for sentencing on April 1.

Original story here

THE NEWS

British woman auctions unopened Christmas presents: “A woman is selling unopened Christmas presents from her former boyfriend on auction site eBay after discovering he was a love-rat. Heartbroken Leanne Joseph dumped her lover of three years – identified only as Mark, 29 – three days before Christmas after a work colleague confessed to sleeping with him, The Sun reports. The 24-year-old was too distraught to open the eight gifts, so she put them for sale as a job lot on the internet auction site. Her presents – which Joseph believed could include jewellery, perfume and a thong – had last night attracted a £48 ($80) bid. The resident of Huddersfield, West Yorks, said: “Things are still really raw, so I don’t want anything from him. I hope someone else can enjoy them.” Ms Joseph will give her “takings” to a local hospice.”

Tree surfing bad for your head: “Authorities say a man in Southern California riding a Christmas tree being dragged behind a sport utility vehicle slammed into a parked car and was hospitalised with head injuries. Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino says the 18-year-old and another teenager were Christmas tree “surfing”, a seasonal internet fad. Capt Greg McKeown says the SUV was going about 40km/h on Sunday night when the female driver took a corner and the tree veered wide and crashed. Amormino says the driver fled. Two SUV passengers and the other tree surfer told deputies they didn’t know the girl. Authorities did not release any names. The injured man was hospitalised with moderate head injuries. Amormino says he is expected to survive. He warned against tree surfing, calling it a serious traffic violation.”

Beware of mystery bottles: “An 18-year-old man has been seriously injured in an explosion while trying to empty his rubbish in a bin outside his central Queensland home. Police said the man was emptying the rubbish into a wheelie bin outside his Plahn Street home at Rockhampton when he spotted a bottle containing liquid about 8pm. When he moved it, it exploded. He suffered chemical burns to his eyes, a deep laceration to one hand and a broken wrist. He will undergo surgery at Rockhampton Base Hospital. Police are investigating the explosion”.

Tiger still burning bright: “Love rat Tiger Woods has been seen partying with alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel [above], it was reported today. The golf legend has been in hiding for a month since the car crash that led to revelations he cheated on wife Elin Nordegren, 29, with several women. But sources told US television show Entertainment Tonight that Woods, 33, and Uchitel, 34, were spotted holding hands at a party in Palm Beach, Florida on Sunday night. It reported that the pair partied together at a club the previous evening, The Sun reports. Some sources told the show they are living together in the Florida resort.”

See-through fish: you can watch its heart beat: “First came see-through frogs. Now Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing goldfish whose beating hearts can be seen through translucent scales and skin. The transparent creatures are part of efforts to reduce the need for dissections, which have become increasingly controversial, particularly in schools. “You can see a live heart and other organs because the scales and skin have no pigments,” said Yutaka Tamaru, an associate professor in the department of life science at Mie University. “You don’t have to cut it open. You can see a tiny brain above the goldfish’s black eyes.” Meanwhile, another group of researchers who announced in 2007 they had developed see-through frogs said they planned to start selling the four-legged creatures, whose skin is transparent from the tadpole stage.”

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

Dumbest tourist questions of 2009

December 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ASKING what time the Loch Ness monster is fed and where the Boston Tea Party takes place are some the stupidest questions asked by tourists. Tourism boards from around the world have revealed their quirkiest questions of 2009.

According to Jennifer Haz, of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, one holidaymaker wanted to know “which beach is closest to the ocean?”

Paul Gauger, of VisitBritain.com office said he was asked: “Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

One tourist complained to Philadelphia Tourism that the Kennett Square mushrooms were “not square”.

Would-be visitors to Japan have also been disappointed. Nori Akashi, of the Japan tourism, says she has been asked: “How long does it take from Tokyo to Korea – by the famous bullet train?” [Now THAT would be a tunnel!]

Heather Bryant, of Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, says one tourist asked about taking a ferry around downtown. Another wanted to know what time the whales swim by.

Going to the Netherlands? Be sure to visit the tulip factory. At least that’s what one visitor wanted to do, Rosina Shiliwala, of the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions said.

Someone also wanted to know if they would end up in Holland if they drove through the Holland Tunnel in New York.

Original story here

THE NEWS

British army — More chiefs but fewer Indians: “The Army is weighed down with top brass, according to figures showing that the number of generals and brigadiers has risen since Labour came to power in 1997. Although the size of the trained Army has shrunk to about 100,000 soldiers, there are now 255 members with the rank of brigadier or above — or one for every 400 service personnel. The disclosure will put pressure on the cash-strapped Ministry of Defence to force the retirement of “desk generals”, who can earn £160,000 a year, to make more resources available for frontline troops. Privates going on their first overseas mission earn about £20,000 a year, including separation and operational allowances. “With Armed Forces spending already stretched, such a large number of top-ranking officers must be cause for concern,” said Willie Rennie, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, who obtained the figures. “The Government needs to explain whether we really need a general or brigadier for every 400 men in the Army.”

Car park for women: “A shopping centre in China has opened a car park that offers women drivers bigger-than-normal parking spaces to accommodate what it sees as their special needs. Wang Zheng, an official at the Wanxiang Tiancheng shopping centre in Hebei province’s Shijiazhuang city, told AFP the women-only parking lot aimed to address women’s “strong sense of colour and different sense of distance”. The spaces are “one metre wider than normal parking spaces” [Wow! That's over 3'], Mr Wang said, adding that the mall had “installed signs and security monitoring equipment that corresponded more to women’s needs”. Driving in China is notoriously dangerous, with nearly 73,500 people killed in road accidents last year, or just over 200 fatalities per day, according to police statistics.” [Having seen a bit of Chinese drivers in my neck of the woods, I can't say that I am surprised!]

Huge award against NY nursing home over neglect: “A nursing home will have to fork over nearly $US19m in damages to the family of a 76-year-old patient neglected so badly that he left with more than 20 bedsores. The massive award, handed down by a jury earlier this month, is the first in New York against a nursing home that includes punitive damages, lawyers said. “It was horrible,” said Margaret Whitehurst, 55, who pulled her father, John Danzy, from the Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home in New York after just nine months. “He walked in on two legs and a cane. He was 237 pounds (107.5kg). When we got him back, he was 148 pounds (67kg) and he had holes all over his body.” She and her siblings moved Danzy, a retired truck driver and butcher, to another nursing home. Six months later, in November 2003, he succumbed to an infection caused by the bedsores, according to testimony. A Brooklyn jury deliberated two full days following the four-week trial before finding Brooklyn Queens delivered substandard care. The panel awarded $US3.75m for Danzy’s pain and suffering but tacked on $US15m in punitive damages, based in part on the allegation that the home had doctored records to try to cover up the neglect”.

Morons swim into a crocodile trap: “Two men who made funny faces from inside a baited crocodile trap while their friend stood on top of the cage were criticised for their “absolute stupidity” by authorities in the Northern Territory. An image of the three men risking their lives and limbs surfaced yesterday after they were posted on Facebook. It is believed the picture was taken at Manton Dam, about 73 km south of Darwin. The photo shows one man atop the floating metal cage – designed to capture 13 foot-long saltwater crocodiles – and two men inside. Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife rangers have labelled the act as “absolute stupidity.” “It won’t be tolerated anymore,” senior ranger Peter Phillips said. “We will investigate this case and if we find out who they are, they will be fined. “The agency has zero tolerance with people interfering with croc traps.” Offenders could be fined up to $55,000 or jailed for five years for the reckless act, the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act states.”

World’s tallest building’s true height still a secret: “In the annals of tall skyscrapers, there is no doubt that the soon-to-open Burj Dubai will be the world’s tallest. But how tall is known to only a few. “It’s still a secret,” William Baker of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, the tower’s structural engineer, said in an interview ahead of the Burj Dubai’s January 4 opening. “The client (Emaar Properties) will only let us say it’s more than 800 metres tall. It’s part of the mystique of the project,” he said. Baker said the architects wondered if someone would try to figure out the slender tower’s height by measuring its shadow. Chicago-based Skidmore developed the “buttressed core” structural system that resembles a gigantic “Y” to support the super-tall tower, which is nearly twice as tall as Skidmore’s 442-metre Willis Tower in Chicago. The 35-year-old Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower and once the world’s tallest building, will be bumped down to fifth spot, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which tracks such things. The current record-holder, the Taipei 101, will be dropped to second. Seven of the world’s 10 tallest towers are in Asia, all built in the past 13 years.”

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

Redneck wheelchair

December 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Second thoughts: “Olympic hurdler Jana Rawlinson is preparing to remarry her husband Chris, just as soon as their divorce is finalised. The athletic couple, who have a son, Cornelis, 3, split in April with Rawlinson declaring the marriage was over and starting divorce proceedings, the Herald Sun reports. However, last month it was revealed love had blossomed again for the pair. Rawlinson has opened up to Woman’s Day, revealing that she begged Chris for a second chance after discovering he had started seeing another woman following the end of their marriage. “I knew instantly I was about to lose my husband forever, and I’d already worked out I didn’t want that,” Rawlinson has told the magazine. “I felt sick at the thought of him with anyone else.” It took six weeks of begging a guarded Chris to give her another chance before he allowed her back into his life. “I was miserable without him, and our heartache hit me harder than losing at the Olympics or anything sport-related,” she said. “It’s just the best feeling to be back to us.” The reunited couple are so sure that their love will last this time that they are preparing to marry again, even though the divorce Rawlinson set in motion this year will only become final early next year.”

eBay to process $1 billion worth of unwanted gifts: “From socks and jocks to scented candles and novelty neck ties – nearly $1 billion was shelled out on unwanted gifts this Christmas. While many gifts are returned or exchanged, rejected presents are also flooding eBay. More than 20,000 items with “unwanted” in the title or description were listed on the online auction website since Christmas Day. A Galaxy survey commissioned by eBay found the most common unwanted gifts included scented candles, novelty neck ties and foot spas. Some of the worst examples included a dog bowl given to a friend without a dog and tandoori chicken rub given to a vegetarian. One person was particularly unimpressed after being given a brick. An eBay spokeswoman, Sian Gipslis, said eBay was a discreet way to off-load unwanted items. “Rather than re-gifting, eBay is very private, so it’s very unlikely that the gift giver will ever find out,” Ms Gipslis said. “It’s also a bit of a social faux pas to ask for the receipt, so selling something on eBay is probably the least offensive way to get back some of the value of the unwanted gift.”

So how on earth should we be pronouncing 2010?: “As an issue, you could say it’s been approaching since the start of time. But with January 1 just round the corner, some of us still haven’t decided how to handle what will be one of the first dilemmas of the new year: How to pronounce 2010. While some may consider ‘twenty-ten’, others are chewing over ‘two thousand and ten’ and even ‘two-o-one-o’. The subject reared its head on Radio 2 on Boxing Day on a programme being hosted, rather conveniently, by Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate. Tennant, 38, pronounced the year as ‘twenty ten’ when telling a listener to have a ‘wonderful new year’. Miss Tate, 41, then suggested he’d been taking notice of a BBC edict on the matter. She joked: ‘Oh twenty-ten – get you! Who’s been reading the compliance rules!’ Tennant told their guest, fellow Doctor Who star Bernard Cribbins: ‘We’re supposed to say twenty-ten.’ But Cribbins said he believed most elderly people would prefer to say two thousand and ten. The BBC has a unit which decides on uniform pronunciation. However, the BBC insists there has been no ruling on 2010. A spokesman said: ‘Prior to the show, it was decided “twenty ten” was the easiest way to pronounce the year. It was not breaking any rules to say it in an alternative way.’

Burglar found hiding in fridge: “Police officers in Poland cracked a cold case when they finally found a burglar – hiding in a fridge. The 48-year old crook, from Bytom in Poland, had broken into an office block but was spotted by a security guard and fled before police arrived. Police then received a tip off he was hiding out in his mistress’s apartment but a search showed no trace of him. But just as officers were preparing to leave they heard sneezing – coming from inside the fridge. When they opened the door of the fridge, they found Jerzy Jancewicz curled up and shivering. “I don’t know how long he’d been in there but he’d caught a cold as a result,” said police spokesman Adam Jakubiak. “Officers gave him a blanket and a pack of tissues before taking him away.”

Parents want busty fox sacked from puppet show: “Angry parents want a big-breasted fox puppet removed from a children’s theatre performance – because she is too sexy. The fox features in the puppet show entitled Hedgehog House, at Zagreb Theatre in Croatia, in which a fox falls in love with a hedgehog – and finds herself dreaming of his sharp spines. But theatre bosses are under pressure to drop the busty fox for being “inappropriate for small children”. Parents say the fox is too voluptuous – and believe the spine dreams carry sexual connotations. Director Bozidar Violic said: “What is so unusual about a hedgehog that might give you a prick? “That is why it has sharp spines. It is not my fault if some parents see something that does not exist in the show.” In the meantime the theatre has decided to change the story and have the fox no longer dreaming about the hedgehog’s prickles.”

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

How the New York Times would have reported the birth of Jesus

December 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

(Larger image here)

THE NEWS

Sigmund Freud saved by Nazi admirer: “Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was saved from Hitler\rquote s persecution of the Jews by a long-standing Nazi who was fascinated with his work, a new book reveals. The fate of Freud and his family in Vienna hung in the balance after Hitler\rquote s forces took over Austria in 1938. The psychoanalyst was first protected, then helped to escape to Britain, by Anton Sauerwald, a Nazi who had been put in charge of his assets. In twists of Freudian complexity, Sauerwald was put on trial after the second world war accused of plundering the Freud family wealth — only to be saved after the intervention of one of Freud\rquote s daughters. The full story has emerged thanks to research by David Cohen, author of The Escape of Sigmund Freud, published by JR Books.”

Lives saved as dogs sniff out cancer: “It is the greatest affirmation of being man’s best friend: a dog which detected his owner had cancer, and ultimately saved her life. When Paula Bockman-Chato’s beloved saluki Kaspar kept sniffing and nuzzling under her arm, she thought he was just being affectionate. That is until a medical check revealed early signs of lymph node cancer. While her story is remarkable, it is not uncommon. Research reveals dogs are highly successful in sniffing out cancer in humans, and now one of Australia’s chief vets is pushing to have dogs present in GP surgeries to detect the disease. Mrs Bockman-Chato, who had already overcome breast cancer, said Kaspar kept paying particular attention to an area under her arm. “He kept putting his nose in my armpit, and sometimes he’d put his paw in there as well,” Mrs Bockman-Chato said. “I was totally unaware there was a problem until he kept focusing on that spot.”

Is this the world’s greatest Dane?: “Standing at nearly 110cm from paw to shoulder and weighing 111kg, could this be the world’s new tallest dog? George – a four-year-old blue great dane – looks more like a miniature horse than a dog. The gentle giant, who measures 2.21m from nose to tail, could be a prime contender to take the title from the former record holder, a harlequin great dane who died last August. Now George’s owners David and Christine Nasser, of Tucson Arizona, are awaiting confirmation from Guinness World Records to see if he has achieved the lofty heights. George eats about 50kg of food every month and sleeps alone in his own queen-size bed. David and Christine raised George from seven weeks but never expected him to grow so big. The couple eventually had to move their dog out of their king-size bed when he grew too large for the three of them to share the same sheets. Dr William Wallace of the Buena Pet Clinic in Tucson, who witnessed the documentation necessary for the Guinness record, said: “In my 45 years of experience working with giant breed dogs, without question, George is the tallest dog I have ever seen.”

New British estate bans cats and dogs to protect birdlife: “A property developer has banned homeowners from keeping cats or dogs to protect birdlife on nearby heathland. Residents on a new estate who fail to comply with the ban could ultimately face eviction. The prohibition applies to houses with gardens as well as people living in flats [apartments] on the 450-home estate on the edge of Farnborough, Hampshire. The development lies a mile from 32 square miles of heathland that is protected under the European Union Birds Directive. Redrow, the developer, has excluded cats and dogs to pre-empt any planning veto. The heathland is home to the endangered Dartford warbler as well as nightjars and woodlarks. The species nest on or near the ground, making them vulnerable to predators. The Mammal Society estimates that Britain\rquote s 8m domestic cats kill as many as 5m birds a month. Locals are bemused by the ban as most of the protected heathland is open to the public, who are free to roam across it with their pets.”

A toaster that works like a printer: “Burnt or underdone toast could be a thing of the past, thanks to a glass toaster that lets you see your bread as it browns. Bread is placed between two sheets of heated glass and cooked in full view so you can eject your slice at the perfect moment. Melinda Hart, of the product developer Inventables, said: \ldblquote This idea is based on a transparent heating glass technology.\rdblquote A traditional timer dial caters for users who are too busy to keep an eye on their bread, although the current design can accommodate only one slice at a time.”

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

What your surname reveals about you: The surprising – and telling – meanings of our most popular British names

December 26, 2009 at 9:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ever wondered what’s in a name? Well, we are about to find out. For a groundbreaking project promises to reveal the origins of all 150,000 surnames in use in Britain today. The study, to be undertaken by the University of the West of England, hopes to produce the largest-ever database of family names in the UK. Researchers will scour records dating back to the 11th century to produce their guide. But for those who can’t wait, Sarah Chalmers has uncovered the meanings behind some of Britain’s most popular names.

BATEMAN: A contentious man – from the Saxon word ‘Bate’ (meaning to beat).

BLUNT: A Norman name, meaning someone of fair hair or complexion.

BROWN: From the Old High German word ‘Brun’ (brown), referring to hair colour, complexion or clothing.

CAMERON: From the Old Scottish ‘Cam’ (crooked) and ‘Sron’ (nose). A nickname for someone with a crooked nose.

COLE: Derived from the Old English ‘Cola’, meaning someone of a swarthy appearance. Variations: McCool in Scotland and Ireland.

FAIRFAX: Originated in Anglo-Saxon times to refer to a blond person – the word ‘faex’ means hair.

FORSYTH: Literallly, a decent man, from the Gaelic ‘Fear’ (man), and ‘Syth’ (meaning upright or honest).

HARMAN: From the nickname ‘Heartman’, meaning a man of heart and courage. Could also be a variation of the name Herman, which combines the old words for ‘Here’ (an army) and ‘Man’ (a soldier).

LITTLE: From the Old English ‘Lytel’ (meaning small man).

LONG: Name given to a tall person.

MOORE: From the gaelic ‘Mor’, meaning great, tall, mighty or proud.

REID: From the Scots word for red and often used for someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion.

BACON: From the Saxon word ‘bacan’ (meaning ‘to dry by heat’), which later became the trade name baker.

BARNES: An Anglo-Saxon name for someone who worked in a barn, deriving from the Old English ‘Bern’ (meaning granary barn).

COHEN: From the Hebrew meaning a bishop or priest.

COOPER: Barrel-maker. Variations: Couper, Cupar.

GOLDSMITH: Someone who works with gold.

LEDBETTER: A lead worker, from old English ‘Lead’ and ‘Beatan’ (to beat). Variations: Leadbeater.

MILNER: A miller, someone who mills flour.

MURPHY: Modern form of the ancient Irish O’Murchadha, meaning ‘descendant of sea warrior’ in gaelic.

SMITH: A blacksmith, derived from the Old English ‘smitan’ (meaning to strike).

WEBB: From the Old English word ‘webba’ (meaning weaver).

WARREN: From the Old English word for ‘warden’. Also thought to have come from Norman ‘warenne’ (animal enclosure).

CHAMBERS: A Scot called Cameron gave his name a Latin twist to go to France, as De la Cameraria. In French, this translated as De La Chambre, and on his return home he became known as Chambers.

DICKENS: Son of Dick, short for Richard. Variations: Dickenson, Dicks, Dickson, Dixon.

JONES: Son of John. Variations: Johnson, Johns, Joynson.

LAWSON: Son of Law, a familiar abbreviation of Lawrence.

ROBINSON: Meaning son of Robin or Robbin.

SPENCER: From the Norman French ‘Le Despenser’, meaning a steward.

WILLIAMS: Meaning son of William. Introduced to England after the Norman Conquest, in honour of the victorious William The Conqueror, it soon became the most popular name in the country.

YOUNG: Of English and Scottish origin, and given to the younger of two bearers of the same Christian name.

BURKE: Ancient family name which came to England with William The Conqueror’s invading army. It means ‘from the fort, castle, hill or city’.

DENCH: From the Middle English ‘dench’ or ‘densch’, meaning a person from Denmark.

COWELL: English name given to people from Cowhill, of which there is a notable example in Gloucestershire. Derived from the Old English ‘Cu’ (meaning cow) and ‘Hyll’ (meaning hill).

INGLIS: A name given in Scotland to English settlers. Means ‘The Englishman’.

KAY: In Cornish, Kay means a hedge, enclosure or a fortified place. Often used to describe persons from a fort.

KIRKPATRICK: From the Scots, meaning someone who lives near the church (Kirk) of St Patrick.

LUMLEY: A Gaelic and Welsh name meaning ‘from the bare place’, derived from ‘Lum’ (meaning bare) and ‘Lle’ (meaning place).

NOAKES: Meaning ‘at the oak’ tree in Old English. This was later shortened to Noak, then Noakes.

OUTHWAITE: Of Anglo-Saxon origin. Thought to have been derived from a place – now lost beneath the River Nidd – near the North Yorkshire town of Ilkley.

PRESTON: From the Old English ‘Preost’ (meaning priest) and ‘Tun’ (meaning settlement). Thought to refer not only to the Lancashire town of the same name, but also to anyone who came from a village with a priest.

STOKES: From the Old English word ‘Stoc’ (meaning an outlying hamlet).

SYKES: From the Middle English word ‘Syke’ (meaning someone who lives near a marshy stream or damp gully).

WALSH: From Middle English ‘Walshe’ (meaning foreign). Often described those of Celtic origin.

WILLOUGHBY: From the village of Willoughby, Lincolnshire. Meaning ‘the town by the willows’, it dates back to the Norman conquest.

YATES: From the Old English word for gate. Variation: Gates.

Original story here

THE NEWS

Pornography star doesn’t like sex: “Pornographic star and Playboy magazine centrefold Tera Patrick doesn’t like sex claims her ex-husband Evan Seinfeld as the bitter war of words escalates. Seinfeld, 41, struck back after Patrick, 33, said that the musician and adult film star chose continuing to work in the pornography business over his marriage. “While it was great that we were the ‘first couple’ of porn, the fact is Tera hates the industry,” Seinfeld, a musician for hard rock band Biohazard and who starred in HBO’s Oz series, told the New York Post. “She’s not a sexual person. We barely had sex in our own marriage. She’s desperate to break into the mainstream, and just wants to generate press.” “I didn’t choose porn over her. Our marriage had a lot of holes in it, despite what she claims. I chose freedom.”

Women make men stupid: “Johan C. Karremans and colleagues at Radboud University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands tested the prediction that mixed-sex interactions temporarily cause a decline in cognitive functioning. In two studies, they had participants interact with a stranger of either the same or opposite sex and complete a cognitive task both before and after the interaction. In their first study, 40 male participants tended to perform worse on a cognitive task (requiring the constant updating of working memory) following the mixed-sex interaction compared to the same-sex interaction. Interestingly, this effect held independent of whether the participants were romantically involved or single. Also, this effect was even stronger when the male participant reported higher attraction to the opposite-sex person they were interacting with.”

Man’s friends wrap all his belongings and his apartment: “A CHICAGO man could be unwrapping the hundreds of Christmas parcels spread around his apartment for days, even weeks. Trouble is, they aren’t really presents. They’re his own belongings meticulously wrapped by friends as a prank while he was out of town. Louie Saunders’ packages contain everything from couch cushions to the beer in his refrigerator. His friend Adal Rifai masterminded the scheme after Saunders gave him a spare key. It took 16 people, 35 rolls of wrapping paper and eight hours to finish the job. Saunders tells the Chicago Sun-Times he’s only been able to unwrap about 10 per cent of the packages. He jokes that the upside is that, with each package he unwraps, he finds something inside that’s just what he needs.”

Formula cracks code of Xmas crackers: “BRITISH researchers have developed a guaranteed method of pulling Christmas crackers, but be warned – it’s not for the mathematically challenged. The experts said the method for always winning the long end of the cracker, and therefore the prize inside, is in the angle that you grip it – and have released a mathematical formula to follow. Cracker-pullers are guaranteed success if they follow the formula O11xC/L+5xQ which is based on the angle, grip and quality of the cracker. You must first multiply the circumference of the cracker in inches (C) by 11 before dividing that number by the length (L) of the barrel. Take that total and add it to the figure you get when you multiply the quality (Q) – either 1, 2 or 3 depending on whether the cracker is cheap, standard or premium – by five, the Daily Mail said. The formula ought to produce a figure between 20 and 55 degrees, which is the optimum pulling angle (O). The cracker should also be pulled one inch from the end of the tail, newspapers said. A quality control team at British department store Debenhams pulled hundreds of crackers in the run-up to Christmas before discovering the winning formula. Carie Barkhuizen, of Debenhams, said: “This is a guaranteed way to pip your family rivals to the post and ensure you are the one telling the jokes over Christmas lunch.”

Locusts are smarter than you think: “Locusts use a visual guidance system previously thought to be too sophisticated for insects, scientists have discovered. In a series of experiments, researchers observed the insects climbing a ladder while a high speed camera caught every stumble and missed step. The locusts’ task was made more difficult by having one eye painted over, or having their antennae or front leg sensors removed. The scientists also watched what happened when a rung of the ladder was removed mid-step. They discovered that, rather than “feeling” their way, the insects relied on vision to pinpoint every foothold. Humans and other mammals do much the same thing, though in a more complex fashion. The locusts displayed a level visual brain processing previously thought to be too sophisticated for insects, according to the scientists. Dr Jeremy Niven, from Cambridge University, who led the study reported in the journal Current Biology, said: “Visually guided limb control is often thought to be complicated and require sophisticated computations because you have to place your limb in a position you can only see, not touch. “The visual control of limb placement in the locusts suggests that this can be achieved by much smaller-brained insects. It’s another example of insects performing a behaviour we previously thought was restricted to relatively big-brained animals with sophisticated motor control, such as humans, monkeys or octopuses.”

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

Merry Christmas and a merrier New Year!

December 25, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

From this blog I wish you all a magical Festive Season filled with Loving Wishes and Beautiful Thoughts.

May 2010 mark the beginning of a Tidal Wave of Love, Happiness and Bright Futures.

And to those who need someone special, may you find that true love

To those who need money, may your finances overflow

To those who need caring, may you find a good heart

To those who need friends, may you meet lovely people

Should you be driving during this time…..please take care and stay safe!

And please if you win the lottery, remember who sent you these lovely greetings!

THE NEWS

Liquor is a chemical, right?: “An administrator for New York University’s chemistry department was arrested Wednesday on charges he stole $400,000 from the school’s budget by allegedly submitting bogus liquor store receipts. Prosecutors said John Runowicz, 47, submitted 13,000 bogus petty cash receipts over a six-year period to line his own pockets. Runowicz ’scavenged’ the garbage of Warehouse Wines on Broadway for discarded liquor receipts, then allegedly attached those receipts to his reimbursement forms, according to investigators. He allegedly claimed the receipts were for legitimate business expenses including chemistry department supply purchases. Runowicz is charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records and is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan criminal court Wednesday afternoon.”

Squirrels eat town’s Christmas lights – except the red ones: “Grey squirrels are ruining Christmas in the US state of New Jersey by eating all the festive lights. Well, not all of them – the red ones seem to be off-limits. Officials in the town of Fredericton say the rodents have developed a taste for the lights that decorate their downtown Christmas tree and have implemented several measures to deter them without much success. “The squirrels, I think, are getting the better of us,” Downtown Fredericton general manager Bruce McCormack told CBC News. “They seem to be very, very hungry and they like plastic and they like the LED lights and that’s all. “We just can’t fight them anymore.” The squirrels normally diet on nuts, seeds and fruits, but even replacing the lights with bigger ones hasn’t stemmed their appetite for plastic Christmas bulbs. However, a local sports team manager has discovered the squirrels only have a taste for blue and white lights. “They will take their time and they will eat through the bulbs of every light,” Dave Morell said. “Except the red ones. “I’m a little more determined than Bruce is … he’s tried it so long that he’s just given up. “Well, I don’t give up. I just keep putting up red ones.”

NY killer Tripped Up by His Own Baggy Pants: “A career criminal massacred three members of a family in their apartment but fell to his death when he tripped over his own baggy pants. The massacre occurred Thursday afternoon near a string of upscale shops on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Police said the attack apparently stemmed from botched drug ripoff. Police said Hector Quinones, 44, shot and killed Carlos Rodriguez Sr., 52, and his 24-year-old son, Carlos Rodriguez Jr., then stabbed to death the younger Rodriguez’s grandfather, Fernando Gonzalez, 87, according to reports in the Daily News and the New York Post. The elder Rodriguez’s wife, Gisela Rodriguez, 49, and her daughter, Leyanis, 28, walked in on the carnage. Quinones heard keys in the lock and opened the door for the women, police said. He shot the mother, who was grazed on the head by a bullet but managed to run from the apartment. The killer was just about the grab the daughter when his low-slung pants fell down and he tripped, the Post said. That gave the young woman the chance to run into a back room, where she found the bodies of her brother and father. Quinones yanked up his pants and scrambled after Leyanis Rodriguez, who climbed onto a fire escape, screaming for help to construction workers on the roof of a nearby building, the Post said. The attacker followed her onto the fire escape, but once again his drooping pants fell and he tripped, plunging three stories to his death.”

No penalty for man convicted of being naked in his own home: “Erick Williamson says he thought he was just having an early morning cup of coffee in the buff. He got more than coffee. On Friday, he got a criminal conviction for indecent exposure. A Fairfax County mom says Williamson made eye contact with her and intentionally exposed himself while she was walking her 7-year-old son to school one morning back in October. Yvette Dean says she and her son were walking on this path. She says she first saw Williamson over there at the door by the carport. She says they then walked down the path and she saw him again at the front window. All witnesses testified that Williamson never stepped outside his home and made no gestures. However, a judge said since Williamson was seen by more than one person over the course of several hours, the judge considered the behavior “indecent”. Young acknowledged it may have been foolish not to close the curtains. The judge responded: “I don’t fine people for being stupid. We’d all be in jail.” The judge is not requiring Williamson to serve any jail time. He and his lawyer say they will appeal based on principle.”

Premier Foods workers’ bonus is stale Christmas pudding: “Employees at a luxury UK food chain were handed a festive bonus of Christmas puddings – which went out of date nearly 10 months ago. Bosses at Premier Foods attached a letter to each of the $11 puddings assuring staff they were still safe to eat, despite the March 2 2009 expiry date shown on the packaging. “You don’t get any more ‘Bah humbug’ than trying to pass off out of date food as a Christmas present” a worker said. Premier Foods, which supplies cakes to major British supermarkets M&S and Sainsbury’s, gave the deserts to 500 staff at their factory in North England Monday. A spokesman for the firm said workers had been offered replacement puddings. “It seems that Santa was a bit careless this year,” he said.

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

A harsh winter

December 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Man with 5-inch knife stuck in chest orders coffee: “A 52-year-old man complained only about the cold weather before walking into a diner with a five-inch knife sticking out of his chest. The unnamed man called a Warren 911 operator on Sunday night to ask that an ambulance be sent to Bray’s, an eatery in neighboring Hazel Park. He said he had been stabbed during a robbery attempt half a mile away, then walked to the restaurant and called 911 from a pay phone. On a recording of the call, the man gives a vague description of his attacker before saying, “I’m gonna sit down at Bray’s ’cause they got a chair and it’s cold out here.” Restaurant employee George Mirdita told The Detroit News the man calmly ordered coffee. Police said Tuesday that the man is recovering.

UK:Drug tests to catch pie cheats: “Organisers of a world-famous pie-eating contest have been forced to introduce tests for performance-enhancing drugs. The World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan bans competitors from using gravy as a lubricant, reports Sky News.But organisers say some competitors have been using cough medicine to help the pies slide down instead.They outlawed the substance for this year’s event – held earlier this week – and warned that security would be carrying out spot checks.”

NZ cop to nude cyclists: Put on your helmets!: “Police picked up two naked men on a late night bike ride in a New Zealand town but let them off with a warning: put on helmets. ‘They were wanting to experience total freedom,’ said Senior Constable Cathy Duder, who stopped the pair about 10 p.m. on a recent night in the beach resort town of Whangamata. She told them: ‘You may experience total confinement. You should head home and get helmets.’ The duo turned tail and headed directly back to their house, Duder told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said she did not see them again during her shift, and it was not known if they donned helmets and resumed their ride.”

Sausage bombs: “Chinese police were held in a hour-long stand-off with a suspected suicide bomber only to find the man was armed with sausages. Police believed that the straps and bulky items around Sing He’s waist were dynamite and detonators. Mr He, 23, threatened to blow up a restaurant and its customers in Benxi, northern China, unless the staff handed over the contents of the till. But a specialist bomb unit called to the scene quickly determined that the device was assembled with pork products. “When we saw what he had round his waist we couldn’t help laughing. Some of the sausages still had the wrappers on them,” said one bomb squad officer. “It must have been terrifying for the customers but those things would only have gone off if you’d kept them past their sell by date.” Mr He told police he had planned the raid because he was depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend. He said: “I needed some excitement in my life and to that extent it was a success.”

Giant turkeys cause Christmas nightmare: “Tasmanian butchers say they are facing the nightmare of irate customers and financial losses thanks to over-sized turkeys. The state’s turkey supplier Nichols says its Christmas birds are up to 2kg heavier than expected this year thanks mostly to a cooler growing season, according to a report in The Mercury. Home cooks who ordered a 3kg turkey for Christmas Day are likely to find themselves battling to get a bird that will fit in the oven. “It’s a nightmare,” Shane Mundy of Hill Street Gourmet Meats said. Customers were furious and many had cancelled entire orders of up to $500, including hams and barbecue meats. “We’ve had cancelled orders and it means more turkeys that we’re going to have to freeze or make sausages with, so we lose money,” Mr Mundy said yesterday. “It’s caused mass panic and hysteria. People don’t know what they’re going to do.”

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

Watch out!

December 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Either this is photoshopping or there are TWO photographers in big trouble!

THE NEWS

Christmas injuries: “More bizarre accidents medics have seen include: exploding Christmas tree lights, which caused small burns to eyelids and eyeballs, and zips caught on eyelids as people struggled to try on a new jumper. Also on the list are burns from the oven, older people choking on their turkey and nasty hand and limb injuries caused by people trying to get stones out of avocados – something that is becoming an increasing issue. Others can turn up at accident & emergency with eye injuries from poking themselves with Christmas tree branches while getting presents from under it. Eye unit staff commonly see children suffering after poking themselves or others in the eye with new toys and glitter fragments in the eye from cards or craft activities. Dry eyes from sleeping with eyes open after excess alcohol consumption is common. Mr Heyworth said: “Every Christmas without fail we see the same injuries caused by preparing and cooking the Christmas dinner. “People are likely to burn themselves on the oven or cut themselves as they carve the turkey – particularly if they have been drinking alcohol. “We will always see someone who chokes over Christmas, often the elderly. They will choke on a piece of meat because they don’t chew it properly,” he said. “If people are looking after or hosting elderly people for Christmas dinner, it is important to take extra care of them. It seems like a basic thing, but someone will choke on turkey over Christmas – it happens every single year.” Rob Crouch, an emergency nurse, said: “Last year I remember incidents with people trying to get stones out of avocados. “Instead of putting a knife across the stone and twisting, people tend to stab down and then either go through or slip off into the hand, often resulting in a nasty injury.”

Was Shakespeare a Catholic? “Three mysterious signatures on pages of parchment bound in leather and kept under lock and key may prove the theory that William Shakespeare was a secret Catholic who spent his “lost years” in Italy. An exhibition at the Venerable English College, the seminary in Rome for English Catholic priests, has revealed cryptic names in its guest books for visiting pilgrims, suggesting that the playwright sought refuge there. “Arthurus Stratfordus Wigomniensis” signed the book in 1585, while “Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis” arrived in 1589. According to Father Andrew Headon, vice-rector of the college and organiser of the exhibition, the names can be deciphered as “[King] Arthur’s [compatriot] from Stratford [in the diocese] of Worcester” and “William the Clerk from Stratford”. A third entry in 1587, “Shfordus Cestriensis”, may stand for “Sh[akespeare from Strat]ford [in the diocese] of Chester”, he said. The entries fall within the playwright’s “missing years” between 1585, when he left Stratford abruptly, and 1592, when he began his career as playwright in London. “There are several years which are unaccounted for in Shakespeare’s life,” Father Headon said, adding that it was very likely that the playwright had visited Rome and was a covert Catholic.”

Scottish seaside town voted world’s second favourite tourist destination: “The sleepy seaside town of Nairn is looking forward to a bumper summer season after it was voted second in a survey of the world’s top five holiday destinations for 2010 in a poll of American tourists. The Victorian town, nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth, may long have been overlooked by Scots but it came second only to Troncones, a fashionable beach resort in Mexico, in a sample of 3,000 holildaymakers, carried out by the website Tripadvisor. Resorts in Patagonia, Turkey and Germany were also rated highly. The old-world charms of Nairn appealed most to respondents on the US-based website. “The rooms were good, the staff was pleasant, the breakfast excellent and the location perfect,” one correspondent wrote. “You can walk a few blocks to quaint downtown Nairn or drive a couple of minutes to the Cawdor Tavern for a great Scottish dinner or go right next door to the Cawdor Castle, where Lady Cawdor still inhabits this inspiration for Macbeth.” Another couple wrote: “We met many nice locals in their ‘Late’ bar and the two championship [golf] courses were simply immaculate.” These days Nairn enjoys a certain celebrity cachet beause among its 3,000 inhabitants is the Holywood actress Tilda Swinton. Even from Victorian times its sunny — if not always warm — climate and beautiful beaches attracted tourists from far and wide, including many inspired by Queen Victoria’s love of Scotland. Notable visitors in the 20th century included Charlie Chaplin, Burt Lancaster and Charlton Heston. The Cairngorms National Park sits close to the town while the Culloden battlefield offers visitors a chance to look back at a bloody period in Scotland’s history.”

U.S. Army general makes pregnancy a punishable offense: “A high-ranking Army official’s new policy making pregnancy among troops in Iraq an offense punishable by court-martial is raising eyebrows, even though experts say he is well within his rights to do so. According to the Nov. 4 general order of Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III, a commander in northern Iraq, the punishment would apply not only to the female soldiers who become pregnant, but also to the male soldiers who impregnate them, even if the couple is married.”

Man commandeers NYC garage, collects parking fees: “A Brooklyn man is in trouble over a plan to make money off a city-owned garage. Authorities said he broke in to the closed garage near the old seaport district and Wall Street, reopened it and began charging people for parking. The scam didn’t last long. The city’s Department of Investigation said police chased him off the site on just his second day, then lifted his DNA from a soda can to prove he was there. He now faces charges of burglary and criminal impersonation”.

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

BAD CHRISTMAS ATTITUDE

December 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Once again, I was disqualified from my neighborhood’s “Best Decorated House” contest due to my bad attitude! See below

THE NEWS

Fatties not welcome in snooty British Department store: “Britain’s bigger girls have a bone to pick with Selfridges… for SQUEEZING them out of their snooty stores. Larger ladies are asking what’s your beef, after the flagship Oxford Street store decided their faces didn’t fit and CLOSED its plus size section. Half the women in the country are size 16 and above, yet you’ll be hard pushed to find anything in those sizes on display in Selfridges. An assistant at the London store admitted: “The biggest we sell in Selfridges is a size 16. We stopped our plus size range a couple of weeks ago.” Shopper Karen Segal, 51, said: “I am a size 22 and I loved Selfridges’ plus size collection at Marina Rinaldi. “But they closed it down. I was told they wanted to change their image. They are saying plus size clothing doesn’t fit their image – and therefore neither do I.” Cheryl Hughes, who runs plus size modelling agency Hughes Models, said: “Half the country need size 16 or bigger. It’s disgusting that Selfridges won’t sell them.” An assistant in the central Manchester store told us: “We did have a bigger range but now we just have a few 16s.”

World’s best hotel named: “South Africa’s Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve was voted the world’s best hotel in 2009 in a survey by travel website Travel+Leisure that showed luxury still had its place in the economic downturn. The survey, released this week, ranks the tops 500 places to stay across the globe, and was compiled based on the opinions of the website’s experts and thousands of readers. Located in the Cederberg Mountains area some 3 hours away from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof, where double rooms start at US$715 (A$803) a night, unseated last year’s top hotel, Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. India’s deluxe Oberoi Vanyavilas in Rajasthan, where double rooms begin at US$875, took second place, and in the third spot was Jade Mountain in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where room rates start at US$1150. Travel+Leisure, however, said that 66 out of the top 500 hotels cost US$250 or less a night, which showed luxury doesn’t always have to cost too much, especially as people across the globe have cut back on travel due to the downturn.”

Man dressed in animal skin shot dead during hunt: “A Greek man dressed in animal hide was mistakenly shot dead while out hunting wild boar for a Christmas dinner. Police said members of a shooting party made up of families opened fire when Christos Constantinou, 49, moved through the undergrowth. They are thought to have been confused by the fact the victim was disguised in dark goat skins, which are used to camouflage and to mislead their prey. The groups had fanned out in pairs of two to track down an animal for the traditional festive dinner when the accident happened. Police in the northern Greek town of Nemea, Chalkidiki, said Mr Constantinou was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital. Two unidentified men, aged 25 and 28, were detained and were being questioned.”

Germany: Billy the Kid behind bars: “A goat is behind bars in a German police cell after he was ‘arrested’ for disrupting traffic. Billy the kid was caught by cops in Bremen after it blocked traffic by standing in the middle of a road crossing. The goat then led cops and locals on a chase across town when officers — called in by drivers — tried to catch it. It was eventually caught by police after several patrol cars had to be called in to help. But police have so far failed to find Billy’s owner despite its distinctive earmark. The only remarks on the arrest papers were ’smells very bad.’”

Sperm shortage: “Tasmania’s Health Minister Lara Giddings has called on the state’s men to help end the state’s sperm drought. The Sunday Tasmanian reported that Tasmania was down to its last four sperm donors and for the first time in the program’s 35-year history women will have to go on a waiting list. The state’s IVF director Bill Watkins said fewer men donating sperm, and more interstate women draining the state’s dwindling stocks, had caused the problem. Ms Giddings said yesterday: “I would encourage males who are prepared to look at donating sperm to do exactly that because there are many couples in the community struggling to have a child.” About 60 per cent of women using the service are in heterosexual relationships, 30 per cent in lesbian relationships and 10 per cent were single.”

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

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