Odd facts about America’s Presidents

April 30, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As a rule, presidents tend to be extraordinary people, but there are just some facts about the presidents that are hard to believe. From skinny dipping to record numbers of offspring there’s a lot to learn about our past and present Commanders in Chief. Here, we’ll share an interesting fact about each of the men that have held the title

1. George Washington: Although George Washington was the first American millionaire, he had to borrow $1,500 in 1789 to travel for his inauguration.

2. John Adams: John Adams is the first president whose son became president.

3. Thomas Jefferson: After the Library of Congress was burned during the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,487 books to the Federal government to restart it.

4. James Madison: At 5′4″, James Madison was the shortest president-Lincoln was the tallest.

5. James Monroe: Once, James Monroe chased the Secretary of the Treasury out of the White House with tongs.

6. John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams liked to go skinny dipping in the Potomac.

7. Andrew Jackson: As a prank, Andrew Jackson invited prostitutes to the annual Christmas Ball.

8. Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born an American citizen-all before him were British before the American Revolution.

9. William Henry Harrison: Although he gave the longest inauguration speech of any president, William Henry Harrison died in office after serving just one month, the shortest term of any president.

10. John Tyler: John Tyler fathered more children than any other president-15 among 2 wives in his lifetime.

11. James K. Polk: It’s believed that Polk worked so hard while serving as president that he weakened himself, as he died shortly after leaving office.

12. Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor’s nickname was “Old Rough and Ready” because of his sloppy dressing.

13. Millard Fillmore: Queen Victoria once declared Millard Fillmore the most handsome man she’d ever seen.

14. Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce perfected the comb-over.

15. James Buchanan: James Buchanan never married, and was the first president to send a transatlantic telegram. It was to Queen Victoria in 1858.

16. Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln only had 18 months of schooling. After that, he was self educated and had a habit of reading.

17. Andrew Johnson: As a teenager, Andrew Johnson was sold as a servant to a tailor with his brother, and ran away 2 years later.

18. Ulysses S. Grant: By the time he was 9, Ulysses S. Grant was so good at breaking horses, many farmers came to him for assistance.

19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to have a telephone and a typewriter in the White House, and began the tradition of the Easter Egg Roll of children on the White House Lawn.

20. James Garfield: James Garfield was the first President to campaign bilingually, in both English and Spanish.

21. Chester Arthur: Chester Arthur was a sharply dressed man, owning over 80 pairs of pants, which he often changed several times a day.

22. Grover Cleveland: Grover Cleveland’s nickname was Uncle Jumbo.

23. Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison was accidentally shocked by electricity in the White House, and refused to touch a switch. He often went to bed with the lights on.

24. William McKinley: When William McKinley’s wife suffered epileptic seizures at public events and dinners, he would just drape his handkerchief over her face.

25. Teddy Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt often ate a dozen eggs for breakfast.

26. William Taft: William Taft was so large that an oversized bathtub had to be brought into the White House.

27. Woodrow Wilson: Woodrow Wilson may have had an undiagnosed learning disability, as he could not read during the first decade of his life.

28. Warren G. Harding: Harding liked to sneak off to burlesque shows.

29. Calvin Coolidge: Calvin Coolidge’s swearing-in oath was administered by his father, a Notary Public and Justice of the Peace.

30. Herbert Hoover: Herbert Hoover wanted White House servants to be “invisible,” so they had to jump into the nearest closet to avoid being seen when he or the First Lady were close.

31. Franklin D. Roosevelt: FDR was the only president ever elected to 4 terms.

32. Harry Truman: The University of Missouri’s mascot is Truman the Tiger, named after Harry Truman.

33. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Eisenhower carried 3 coins in his pocket for good luck.

34. John F. Kennedy: Before being elected President, JFK won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, “Profiles in Courage.”

35. Lyndon B. Johnson: LBJ was elected president of his 11th grade high school class.

36. Richard Nixon: Richard Nixon proposed to his wife Pat the first night he met her. She refused, but agreed after 2 years.

37. Gerald Ford: Although he loved golf, spectators had to watch out because of his wild shots.

38. Jimmy Carter: As a child, Jimmy Carter shot his sister in the rear end with a BB gun after she threw a wrench at him.

39. Ronald Reagan: The Secret Service code used for Ronald Reagan was “Rawhide.”

40. George H.W, Bush: George H.W. Bush played on a Yale baseball team that reached the finals of the College World Series twice.

41. Bill Clinton: As Governor, Clinton served all of the hired help at the Governor’s mansion Thanksgiving dinner before he and his family ate.

42. George W. Bush: George W. Bush currently holds the title as the president with both the highest and lowest approval ratings in history.

43. Barack Obama: Barack Obama worked in a Baskin-Robbins as a teen, which sparked a lifelong distaste for ice cream.

Original story here

THE NEWS

Iran: Tehran police chief says suntanned women will be arrested: “Women with suntans are violating Islamic law and will be arrested in Iran, the capital city’s police chief was reported by The Daily Telegraph as saying Wednesday. ‘The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehavior by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values,’ Brigadier Hossien Sajedinia said. ‘In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins,’ he continued. ‘We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them.’ The warning follows recent comments made by a hard-line Iranian cleric, who claimed women dressed in revealing clothing were disturbing young men and causing earthquakes.”

American Ayatollahs ban thongs: “If you plan on going to Kure Beach, North Carolina, bring your sunscreen and shades, but please leave your thong behind. The seaside community has adopted a zero tolerance policy on anyone wearing the barely-there bikini by the shore on their part of North Carolina’s Pleasure Island, just south of Wilmington. ‘You can do what you want to in your own space,’ said Mayor Dean Lambeth, ‘but for public decency, keep it off the public beach.’ Lambeth told CNN he and the town supervisors last week unanimously approved the ordinance banning the skimpy bathing wear. ‘Everything we do is family oriented. We like the small town atmosphere,’ he said.” [Compare this news item with the one below]

‘Orangutan-sized raccoons’ invade Chicago: “Chicago residents say raccoons as big as orangutans and German shepherds are invading their neighbourhoods as the wild animals take shelter in homes left empty after bank foreclosures. “He looked like an orangutan swinging-swinging around. It was scary, very scary,” said Chicago resident Wilma Ward about her recent run-in with a raccoon. Ms Ward, who lives in Chicago several kilometres away from the nearest forest, found herself face to snout with a raccoon she described as being almost her height, FOXNews.com reported today. She was forced to barricade herself in an upstairs bathroom until morning, and when she emerged she discovered the raccoon had bent steel window-bars to get into her kitchen. Others in the neighbourhood have described these raccoons as being the size of German Shepherds.”

Court gives sex toys to police: “A COURT has awarded control of a brothel’s sex toys to SA Police, although prosecutors have admitted they are unsure what officers will do with them. The former manager of Snoopy’s brothel, Georgia Nicola, 45, of Unley, today pleaded guilty to keeping a brothel, living on the earnings of prostitution, and receiving money paid in a brothel. Henry Cleland, prosecuting, told Adelaide Magistrates Court that an undercover policeman had entered the South Rd brothel in November, 2008, and paid Nicola $140. Police then raided the house and seized cash and “numerous articles to do with sexual acts” before arresting Nicola. Mr Cleland asked Magistrate Terence Forrest order Nicola forfeit the items, but admitted he “did not know what police would do with them.”

Henry VIII’s opulent wine fountain returns to Hampton Court Palace: “From tomorrow a working replica of one of the Tudor monarch’s most intoxicating extravagances will be serving wine to visitors at Hampton Court Palace. The fountain will run with red and white wine at weekends and bank holidays after curators re-created a 16th-century design from a painting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The summit meeting with the young French King Francis I in 1520 was one of the highlight’s of Henry’s reign, a weeks-long festival of jousting and excess. At the centre of it, according to a Tudor painting that hangs in the Palace, was a vast wine fountain around which Royal hangers-on can be seen drinking, fighting, vomiting and sleeping it off.”

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

Renting a car in China is different

April 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FOR my road trip, I rented a Chinese-made Jeep Cherokee from a Beijing company called Capital Motors. It was a new industry; even five years earlier, almost nobody would have thought of renting a car for a weekend trip. But now the business had started to develop, and my local Capital Motors branch had a fleet of about 50 vehicles, mostly Chinese-made Volkswagen Santanas and Jettas.

They are small sedans, built on the same basic model as the VW Fox that was once sold in the US. At Capital Motors, I often rented Jettas for weekend trips, and there was an elaborate ritual to these transactions. First, I paid my $US25 ($41) a day and filled out a mountain of paperwork.

Next, the head mechanic opened the trunk to prove there was a spare tyre and a jack. Finally we toured the Jetta’s exterior, recording dents and scratches on a diagram that represented the shape of a car. This often took a while; Beijing traffic is not gentle, and it was my responsibility to sketch every door ding and bumper dent. After we documented the prenuptial damage, the mechanic turned the ignition and showed me the gas gauge. Sometimes it was half full; sometimes there was a quarter tank. Occasionally he studied it and announced: “Three-eighths.”

It was my responsibility to return the car with exactly the same amount of fuel. Week to week, it was never the same, and one day I decided to make my own contribution to the fledgling industry.

“You know,” I said, “you should rent out all the cars with a full tank, and then require the customer to bring it back full. That’s how rental companies do it in America. It’s much simpler.”

“That would never work here,” said Mr Wang , who usually handled my paperwork. He was the friendliest of the three men who sat in the Capital Motors front office, where they smoked cigarettes as if it were a competition. Behind their veil of smoke, a company evaluation sign hung on the wall:

Customer Satisfaction Rating: 90 per cent
Efficiency Rating: 97 per cent
Appropriate Service Diction
Rating: 98 per cent
Service Attitude Rating:99 per cent

“That might work in America, but it wouldn’t work here,” Mr Wang continued. “People in China would return the car empty.”

“Then you charge them a lot extra to refill it,” I explained. “Make it a standard rule. Charge extra if people don’t obey and they’ll learn to follow it.”

“Chinese people would never do that!”

“I’m sure they would,” I said.

“You don’t understand Chinese people!” Mr Wang said, laughing, and the other men nodded their heads in agreement.

As a foreigner, I often heard that, and it had a way of ending discussion. The Chinese people had invented the compass, paper, the printing press, gunpowder, the seismograph, the crossbow and the umbrella. They had sailed to Africa in the 15th century; they had constructed the Great Wall. Over the past decade they had built their economy at a rate never before seen in the developing world.

They could return a rental car with exactly three-eighths of a tank of gas, but filling it was apparently beyond the realm of cultural possibility. We had a couple more conversations about this, but finally I dropped the subject. It was impossible to argue with somebody as friendly as Mr Wang.

He seemed especially cheerful whenever I returned a freshly damaged car. In the US, I had never had an accident, but Beijing was a different story. When I first came to the capital and walked around, I was impressed by the physicality of pedestrians. I was constantly getting bumped and pushed. In a city of 13 million you learn to expect contact, and after I got my licence I realised that driving works the same way.

The first couple of times I dented a Jetta, I felt terrible; after the fourth or fifth time, it became routine. I bumped other cars; other cars bumped me. If there was a dent, we settled it in the street, the way everybody does in China.

Once, a driver backed into my rental car near the Lama Temple in downtown Beijing. I got out to inspect the dent; the other motorist, by way of introduction, immediately said, “One hundred yuan.” It was the equivalent of about $US12, which was generally the starting point for a mid-size Beijing dent. When this offer was relayed by telephone to Mr Wang, his response was also immediate: “Ask for 200.”

I bargained for five minutes, until the other driver finally agreed to 150. Mr Wang was satisfied; he knew you never get what you ask for. And every accident had a silver lining: dents were good business. There wasn’t any paperwork for these exchanges, and I suspected that the desk men at Capital Motors sometimes kept the cash.

Another time I hit a dog while driving in the countryside north of Beijing. The animal darted out from behind a house and lunged at the front of my Jetta; I swerved, but it was too late. That was a common problem; Chinese dogs, like everybody else in the country, weren’t quite accustomed to having automobiles around. When I returned the car, Mr Wang seemed pleased to see that the plastic cover for the right signal light had been smashed. He asked me what I had hit.

“A dog,” I said.

“The dog didn’t have a problem, did it?”

“The dog had a problem,” I said. “It died.”

Mr Wang’s smile got bigger. “Did you eat it?”

“It wasn’t that kind of dog,” I said. “It was one of those tiny little dogs.”

“Well, sometimes if a driver hits a big dog,” Mr Wang said, “he just throws it in the trunk, takes it home and cooks it.”

I couldn’t tell if he was joking; he was a dog owner, but in China that doesn’t necessarily involve dietary restrictions. He charged me 12 bucks for the light cover, the same price as a midsize dent.

They never asked where I was taking the Jeep Cherokee. The rental contract specifically forbade drivers from leaving the Beijing region, but I decided to ignore this rule; they wouldn’t figure it out until I returned the Jeep with a loaded odometer. In China, much of life involves skirting regulations, and one of the basic truths is that forgiveness comes easier than permission.

The Jeep was the biggest vehicle on the lot, a Cherokee 7250, and they gave me a special price of $US30 a day. It was white, with purple detailing along the sides; the doors were decorated with the English words “City Special”. The name was accurate — the thing would be worthless in rough terrain, because it was strictly rear-wheel drive. I figured that if I got stuck in the Gobi or ran into other problems, I’d have to rely on the assistance of other drivers.

And some of the questions I had seen on the written Chinese driver’s exam weren’t exactly reassuring: No 344: “If you see an accident and the people need help, you should a) continue driving; b) stop, do what you can to help and contact the police; c) stop, see if the people offer a reward, and then help.”

At any rate, if things got bad in the west I could always call Mr Zhang, the feng shui master. On his business card he offered to “tow cars and trucks” — service No 22, listed between “collecting bones” and “playing horns and drums”.

Original story here

THE NEWS

Woman bites man after being called fat’: “Police say a 24-year-old Nebraska man is missing a chunk of his right ear that was bitten off by a woman who didn’t like being called “fat”. Police spokeswoman Katie Flood said officers were called to a Nebraska hospital around 3.25am local time yesterday to talk to the injured man. He told them that he’d been bitten at a party. Ms Flood said officers later learned that the injured man and two others had been arguing with other people at the birthday party. Ms Flood says the man told 21-year-old Anna Godfrey that she was fat. Officers said Ms Godfrey then tackled the man and took a bite. Ms Flood said the ear chunk was not found. Ms Godfrey was arrested on suspicion of felony assault and remained in custody yesterday.”

Gay dwarf activist killed by New York taxi: “A dwarf activist for gay rights and issues affecting the disabled was hit and killed by a taxi as he left a community board meeting on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The New York Post said Harry Wieder, 57, walked with crutches and was leaving a community board meeting last night when he crossed in the middle of the block and was hit by a yellow taxi cab. “We had all just left the (board) meeting and his car was parked across the street. It was laborious for him to walk. For him to walk to the corner and cross the street would have been extremely difficult. He was crossing the street in the middle of the block,” said district manager Susan Stetzer. “The cab driver was very distraught.” Mr Wieder was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

Russian model accused of being Kremlin secret agent: “A Russian amateur model has been accused of being a secret agent for the Kremlin, allegedly luring government critics with the promise of sex and drugs. Ekaterina “Katya” Gerasimova, 19, has been described as a modern-day Mata Hari after reportedly luring at least six of Vladimir Putin’s detractors into embarrassing sex “honeytraps” or online stings aimed at destroying their reputations, The Daily Mail said. Radio journalist Viktor Shenderovich, 52, who is married with a daughter, has admitted cheating on his wife, but blasted the secret services for setting him up, the paper said. He said: “I did have Katya – without much pleasure though, as she was as boring as your whole dull Gestapo.”

Indonesia: 28 detained in beach “gigolo” raid: “Police on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali detained 28 people this week in a crackdown on ‘beach gigolos,’ who scout for foreign female tourists, officials said on Tuesday. The raids began on Monday after the release of a trailer for a documentary on Bali’s ‘Kuta cowboys,’ the muscular and tanned Kuta beach surfers who develop short-term romantic relationships with foreign women in return for gifts. ‘Cowboys in Paradise’ follows the trials and tribulations of several beach boys, their families and their female patrons. The documentary’s Singapore-based director, Amit Virmani, said he found the arrests deplorable. ‘A witch hunt for men with tanned and muscular bodies on the beach is the last thing anybody wants,’ he said.”

Indian holy man claims he ate, drank nothing for 70 years: Scientists are studying an 82-year-old man who claims he has not had any food or drink for 70 years. Prahlad Jani’s claims are being put to the test at a hospital in Ahmedabad, where he is being closely monitored and studied by India’s Defence Research Development Organisation, which believes he may have a quality which could help save lives, The Telegraph reports. He has so far spent six days without food or water under the strict observation of doctors who say his body is yet to show any signs of hunger or dehydration. Mr Jani is regarded as a “breatharian” who can live a “spiritual life-force” alone. He believes he is sustained by the “elixir” of a goddess.”

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

It’s all a matter of perspective

April 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yesterday I was having some work done on my car at the local garage. While I was talking to Bert, the Mechanic, a woman came in and asked for a seven-hundred-ten….

We all looked at each other, and the Bert asked, ‘What is a seven-hundred-ten?’

She replied, ‘You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine. I lost it and need a new one. It had always been there.’

Bert gave the woman a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like. She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710.

He then took her over to another car which had the hood up and asked, ‘Is there a 710 on this car ?’ She pointed and said, ‘Of course, its right there.’

THE NEWS

Brazil: Health minister prescribes more sex: “Brazil’s health minister has a remedy for the nation’s high-blood-pressure problem: More sex. Minister Jose Temporao says adults should be exercising more to help keep their blood pressure down, and he says a good cardiovascular workout includes sex, ‘always with protection, obviously.’ Temporao also recommends dancing, a healthy diet and regular blood-pressure checks.”

TN: Jail mistakenly releases man serving life: “The convicted murderer who took a bathroom break in February just before the jury’s verdict — and wasn’t recaptured until a month later — is gone again. Dearick Stokes, who was sentenced to life in prison, was released by mistake Thursday from the Shelby County Jail, and Criminal Court Judge James Lammey Jr. wants to know why. ‘This is totally unacceptable,’ an angry Lammey told several jail officials this morning in his courtroom. ‘Something needs to be done — like yesterday. I am concerned because we have a convicted murderer back on the streets again.’ Lammey issued a warrant for Stokes’s arrest and said he wanted the fugitive squad, the FBI and whoever else was needed to take him back into custody.”

Young drivers lack brainpower: “YOUNG drivers have underdeveloped brains that make them more impulsive and less able to properly assess risks – reasons why they are involved in so many crashes. Dr Lisa Wundersitz, from the Centre for Automotive Research, said brain development was one of three key issues behind the high number of young people injured or killed on our roads. She said research has shown that inexperience, distractions from modern technology and a cultural tendency to “take risks” were the reason for most accidents. “There is a biological element the prefrontal cortex of the brain is not fully developed until they are in their 20s,” she said. “This means their long-term planning skills, reasoning and impulse skills are all lacking.”

Computer Stress Syndrome: “Crashing machines, slow boot times, and agony dealing with technical support have Digital Age people suffering from Computer Stress Syndrome, a study available online today found. “Today’s digitally-dependent consumers are increasingly overwhelmed and upset with technical glitches and problems in their daily lives,” a communications industry think tank said in a report entitled Combating Computer Stress Syndrome. The report identified sources of peoples’ pain as “frustrating, complex computers and devices, technical failures, viral infections, and long waits to resolve support issues”. Findings were based on a survey of more than 1000 people in North America… “The reality is that numerous, persistent problems are troubling most computer users, creating unnecessary anguish and anxiety as a result,” the study found.”

Man sues store for refusing to sell him winning lottery ticket: “A 70-YEAR-old retired chemist is suing a convenience store chain for more than $12 million, claiming its employees cheated him out of a large jackpot by refusing to sell him a lottery ticket. Charles Andrews says in his lawsuit that he picked the winning numbers for the February 2008 Hoosier Lotto drawing in the US state of Indiana, but that a clerk at a Speedway store in Indianapolis refused to sell him a ticket with a few minutes left before the 10:40pm official sales cutoff. Andrews, of Indianapolis, says the clerk told him the lottery terminal wasn’t working but later printed out a list of winning numbers when he asked, proving the machine was operating. “They had an obligation to issue him a ticket because he was there before 10:40,” said Bob Burkett, one of Andrews’ attorneys.”

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

Potent stuff

April 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Sex wonder pill Priligy released for sale in the UK: “The first pill to prevent premature ejaculation launches in the U.K. tomorrow. The Sun reported the drug, taken one to three hours before sex, is shown to make men last three times as long. It works by altering levels of a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which helps a man to have more control over his moment of climax. But it is costly – at £76 ($126) for a pack of three Priligy 30mg tablets. Premature ejaculation affects 30 percent of British men, but half of sufferers wrongly believe they can’t be helped. Priligy, which is available for men aged 18 to 64, is already on sale in some European countries. It will be sold exclusively online, for private prescriptions only, and should not be taken in conjunction with alcohol.”

Indonesia: Police barred from penis enlargement: “Forget about getting a job as a police officer in Indonesia’s Papua if you have had your penis enlarged. You won’t get it, according to local media reports citing the Papua police chief. An applicant ‘will be asked whether or not his vital organ has been enlarged,’ said Papua police chief Bekto Suprapto, quoted on local website Kompas.com. ‘If he has, he will be considered unfit to join the police or the military.’”

Noah’s Ark discovered again: “CHINESE and Turkish evangelical explorers believe they may have found Noah’s Ark – 4000m up a mountain in Turkey. The team said it had recovered wooden specimens from a structure on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey that carbon dating proved was 4800 years old, around the same time the ark is said to have been afloat. The structure had several compartments, some with wooden beams, which were believed to house animals, he said. The group of evangelical archaeologists ruled out an established human settlement on the grounds that one had never been found above 3500m in the vicinity, Mr Yeung said. After the flood waters receded, the Bible says, the ark came to rest on a mountain. Many believe that Mount Ararat, the highest point in the region, is where the ark and her inhabitants came aground.

Rats invade New York’s Upper East Side: “An army of rats is overrrunning apartments, stores and even cars in New York’s Upper East Side – and locals blame a massive new subway project. The infestation has left residents of the East 90s along Second Avenue, where the subway is being built, with what they say is the worst rat problem in decades. Things get especially ugly at night, said Walter Johnson, a 60-year-old maintenance worker. “It looks like the street’s moving,” said Johnson, who has lived on 93rd Street east of Second Avenue since 1976. “It’s just wild. You can’t imagine how infested this place has become.”

Girl saved by horse: “A terrified teenage girl was forced to flee on her horse after an attempted abduction. Mikaela, 17, was riding in Warrandyte, Victoria, at about 4.25pm on Thursday when two men in a four-door ute [pickup] approached from behind. She said yesterday that she initially thought they were trying to get past her on the road but then they stopped the car, jumped out and tried to pull her off her horse. Mikaela said the men grabbed her leg and her arm, but she managed to kick her horse into action. She said her usually lazy horse knew something was wrong because he jumped a fence and she was able to ride him to a nearby bush area and hide. “He never runs or canters, so he obviously knew something was going on,” she said.”

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

The computer age

April 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

A lower tone when speaking to the opposite sex is a ‘sure sign of attraction’: “A scientific study has concluded that lowering your voice is an instinctive means of demonstrating attraction to the opposite sex. In a test, men and women were asked to phone three people after only seeing their photographs. One target was described as ‘attractive’, one ‘unattractive’ and one ‘average-attractive’. When they called the person rated most attractive they lowered their voice the most. ‘We found that both sexes used a lower-pitched voice and showed a higher level of physiological arousal when speaking to the more attractive opposite-sex target,’ said the study by American psychologists from Albright College, in Pennsylvania, and the University of Baltimore.”

Drunken driver lynched: “A Brazilian housewife celebrating her 24th birthday was shot and lynched after running over a pregnant woman and her daughter while driving drunk. Pamela de Souza Costa was shot five times after being caught by a group of residents in the town of Macae, 160km northeast of Rio de Janeiro, immediately after the accident on Friday. According to reports, Costa had been driving home after drinking at her birthday party when she lost control of her car and ran into Rodrigues and her daughter, who were slammed against a wall. She tried to leave the scene of the accident but crashed into a post. A group of angry locals pulled her out of her car and one person shot her several times before running away. Costa, who lived in the neighbourhood, had three children of her own. She was buried on Saturday.”

Papal condoms part of British government ‘brainstorm’: “The Vatican has moved to calm the waters after a British official document suggested the Pope should open an abortion clinic and bless a gay marriage during his visit later this year. “For us the case is closed,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi after Britain’s Foreign Office issued an apology following the publication of the internal document by the British newspaper the Sunday Telegraph. A cover note on the document said it was produced in a brainstorming session and accepted that some of the ideas – which also suggested Pope Benedict XVI should launch a line of condoms – were “far-fetched”. The Foreign Office apologised for what it described as a “foolish” document and said the individual responsible – a junior civil servant in his 20s – had been transferred to other duties.”

British reality TV: “This weekend, around 11 million people sat down to watch Britain’s Got Talent as another parade of frankly odd people exhibited themselves on the stage in the hope of convincing the judges they have what it takes to be a star, as if they knew the real meaning of the word. Lest we forget, the motley crew included former porn star fire-eater Tia Brodie, who performed topless while passing naked flames over her body, a guitar-playing dog and a cross-dressing Lady Gaga impersonator.”

Aliens almost certainly exist but unsafe to try to contact them: “One of the world’s leading scientists makes the claim in a new television documentary series, beginning on the Discovery Channel next month. Hawking says that in a universe with 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars, it is unlikely that earth is the only place where life has evolved. “The real challenge is working out what aliens might actually be like.” “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,” Hawking said. “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.” The scientist, who is paralysed by motor neurone disease, warned that contact with alien life could spell disaster for the human race.”

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

Some signs

April 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sign over a Gynecologist’s Office: “Dr. Jones, at your cervix.”

In a Podiatrist’s office: “Time wounds all heels.”

On a Septic Tank Truck: Yesterday’s Meals on Wheels

At a Proctologist’s door: “To expedite your visit, please back in.”

At an Optometrist’s Office: “If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a Plumber’s truck: “We repair what your husband fixed.”

On another Plumber’s truck: “Don’t sleep with a drip Call your plumber.”

On a Church’s Billboard: “7 days without God makes one weak.”

At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: “Invite us to your next blowout.”

At a Towing company: “We don’t charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.”

On an Electrician’s truck: “Let us remove your shorts.”

In a Non-smoking Area: “If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.”

On a Maternity Room door: “Push. Push. Push.”

On a Taxidermist’s window: “We really know our stuff.”

On a Fence: “Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!”

At a Car Dealership: “The best way to get back on your feet – miss a car payment.”

Outside a Muffler Shop: “No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.”

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room: “Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

At the Electric Company: “We would be delighted if you send in your payment However, if you don’t, you will be.”

In a Restaurant window: “Don’t stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.”

In the front yard of a Funeral Home: “Drive carefully. We’ll wait.”

At a Propane Filling Station: “Thank heaven for little grills.”

And don’t forget the sign at a CHICAGO RADIATOR SHOP: “Best place in town to take a leak.”

Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck: “Caution – This Truck is full of Political Promises”

THE NEWS

Gay dogs not welcome, diner told: “A restaurant in a northwest suburb of Adelaide that refused a blind man entry because it thought his guide dog was “gay” was ordered by the Equal Opportunity Tribunal to pay him $1500. The (Adelaide) Sunday Mail said Ian Jolly, 57, was barred from dining at the Thai Spice restaurant in May 2009 after a staff member mistook his guide dog Nudge for a “gay dog,” a tribunal heard this week. Mr Jolly and Ms Lawrence were refused entry to the restaurant – which displays a “guide dogs welcome” sign – even after providing staff with a guide dogs fact card. “The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog,” a statement from the hearing said.”

Porn star helps New York pizza guy escape jail sentence in Puerto Rico: “A NEW York City man dodged the threat of a 20-year prison sentence thanks to the kindness of a porn star. Carlos Simon-Timmerman, a pizza delivery man from Brooklyn, was put on trial in Puerto Rico for allegedly transporting child pornography, the New York Post said today. US customs agents found a dirty DVD called Little Lupe the Innocent in his bags as he passed through San Juan Airport security in Puerto Rico on his way back to New York. The agents said the actress in the video, porn star Lupe Fuentes, was underage, and they arrested him. But Mr Simon-Timmerman was sprung earlier this month after Ms Fuentes flew to Puerto Rico and proved in court that she was 19 at the time the film was made. At his trial this month, a pediatrician insisted Lupe Fuentes was underage.” [So much for "experts"]

Fortune telling can be a risky business: “A woman convicted of murdering a fortune teller and her daughter was today sentenced to death by a judge in Orange County, California. She still denies committing the crimes, but in March a jury recommended the death penalty for Nelson, who resided in North Carolina, for the April 23, 2005, stabbing of Ha Smith, 52, and her 23-year-old daughter Anita Vo. Nelson had been a long time client and friend of Mr Smith, who she allegedly murdered because a fortune did not come true. Philippe Zamora, 55, told the court that Nelson felt cheated because Mr Smith told her that her business would do well if she re-located to North Carolina, but instead it went bust.”

Musical Instrument Museum ready to make some noise: “One man’s dream to build a museum dedicated to musical instruments from around the world becomes a reality today as a $US250 million global musical instrument museum rises out of the Sonoran desert in north Phoenix. From bagpipes to bongos, the World’s First Global Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, features sax appeal and more than 12,000 instruments and objects collected by the museum. Former Target stores chairman Bob Ulrich founded the MIM, inspired by a visit to a musical instrument museum in Brussels, Belgium. “We’ve got about 280-some exhibits that relate to every country in the world, relate to some of the famous celebrity and artist instruments that we have,” said Bill DeWalt, president and director of the Musical Instrument Museum.”

Slimmers who are served food by a fat person are more likely to over-indulge: “For those desperate to stay slim, the answer is simple. Never mind faddy diets and exercise – just avoid restaurants where the waiting staff are overweight. A study has discovered that people on diets are more likely to over-indulge if the person serving them looks fat, but that non-dieters will have second thoughts about tucking in. If the waiters are skinny, however, slimmers will stick to their eating regimes, while non-dieters will feel free to order what they want. The conclusions come from a team at the universities of British Columbia and Arizona and the school of business at Duke University, North Carolina.”

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

Faking the old masters

April 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sometimes, though, scientific analysis can raise the status of a hitherto unloved work. This year a grubby, disputed Florentine picture of The Virgin and Child with Two Angels was revealed in The Times, cleaned and glorious, as perhaps the finest painting by the great Renaissance artist Andrea Del Verrocchio, with help from his assistant Lorenzo di Credi. [See above]

Detailed analysis and painstaking restoration over the previous two years mean that now, if it were ever to come to auction, this previously rather tatty picture could even beat the £49.5 million record for an Old Master painting achieved in 2002 by Rubens’s The Massacre of the Innocents.

Original story here. (The above is just a detail from the full picture but amply reveals its great charm)

THE NEWS

Burglars break into prison to rob absent inmates: “It would make a good gag for a comedy if it weren’t actually true: thieves have broken into a Dutch prison to steal the inmates’ televisions. Twice in the last six weeks, burglars broke into a minimum-security prison and stole TVs from cells while prisoners were on weekend furloughs, a spokesman for the justice ministry said on Wednesday. The prison, in the town of Hoorn 42 km (26 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, is for inmates near the end of their sentences. The facility is what the Dutch government calls a “very modestly protected environment,” where prisoners transition back into society. They are typically allowed weekend leave, which is when the burglars decided to take advantage. The thefts happened on two separate weekends about a month apart in March and April. The ministry spokesman said it has still not been able to confirm how the burglars gained access.”

‘Narrow’-minded ABC refuses to air ad with buxom babe, clothing line claims: “ABC is issuing a “fat”-wa against full-figured models, plus-size label Lane Bryant says. The Disney-owned network refused to air the brand’s lingerie ad during its hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” saying it bared too much cleavage, a Lane Bryant insider said. And Lane Bryant thinks the net’s executives are a bunch of prejudiced boobs. “The cleavage of the plus-size models, they said, was excessive, and we don’t think that’s the case,” said the source. “It certainly appears to be discrimination against full-sized women.” Lane Bryant had been set to launch its campaign for Cacique, its new lingerie line, during “Dancing” this week.”

‘Very smart’ piglet helps train guide dogs: “A three-month-old Australian piglet could be the world’s first pig to help canines train to become guide dogs. Gidget the piglet attends training sessions at the Association of Australian Assistance Dogs in Mareeba, northern Queensland, for the past three weeks as a training distraction for the dogs. Director of training Liz Oehm said she always wanted to train a pig, and Gidget taught the guide dogs to work with an unusual distraction. She said pigs were used in training for other animals, but in Australia it was definitely a first for a pig to be in training with about 10 dogs. “They (dogs) just think she’s another one of them except she snorts,” Oehm said. “Pigs smell differently to dogs and are very, very smart.”

Budget airline Spirit Airways scraps reclining seats: “Budget US airline Spirit Airlines is facing passenger outrage after it began installing seats that are unable to recline on its newest planes. The airline’s two new A320 planes feature “pre-reclines” seats, spokeswoman Misty Pinson said. The move means that even passengers who would be willing to pay extra for reclining seats won’t have that option. Some passengers have complained that the new planes leave them more cramped than ever. “It felt cheap and uncomfortable,” Eve Greene, who recently travelled on Spirit’s new A-320, told the Sun Sentinel. It is the latest move by an airline in the battle to find new ways to cut costs.”

Not homosexual enough!: “Three bisexual men were disqualified from participating in a major softball championship because “they were not gay enough”. Steven Apilado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ, claim their softball team, D2, was disqualified from participating in the Gay softball World Series because the alliance ruled they were “non-gay.” The Californian men are now suing the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) claiming they were discriminated against for not being gay enough to take part. After D2 qualified for the 2008 championship series, the NAGAAA held a hearing to determine the sexual orientation of D2 players, The Seattle Times reported. The three men claim they were asked “personal and intrusive questions” about their sexual attractions and desires. The men are asking for $75,000 each for emotional distress, are seeking to invalidate the alliance’s findings on the men’s sexual orientations and to reinstate D2′s second-place World Series finish.”

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

Noah thinks again

April 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Eating chicken makes men bald?: “BOLIVIAN President Evo Morales says men should stay away from chicken if they want to maintain their hair and virility. Mr Morales told an environmental conference that chicken producers inject the birds with female hormones “and because of that, men who consume them have problems being men”. He also suggested eating too much chicken for too long could make men go bald. Mr Morales’ warning may be out of date: Chicken producers in Europe, the United States and many other countries say they abandoned the use of hormones in poultry several decades ago and many if not most Western nations ban them outright.”

Mother of bride delivers passer-by’s baby: “A US woman who went into labour on the way to a hospital got some help from the mother of a bride at a nearby wedding party. Ben Sherwood was driving his wife Kimberly to the hospital when she told him they wouldn’t make it. They saw a police officer by the Milwaukee Art Museum and flagged him down. Mr Sherwood told WTMJ-TV the officer had the same frightened look he had. So Mr Sherwood turned to a nearby wedding party and starting yelling for a doctor. A woman in a peach dress and high heels ran over. It was Annette Soborowicz, an emergency room nurse. A few pushes later and Ms Soborowicz was holding little Lincoln Sherwood. Ms Soborowicz said Saturday was an amazing day – the Sherwoods had a son and she gained a wonderful son-in-law.”

The latest from Australia’s wild North: “A water aerobics class had to be called off after a 1.5m crocodile was found doing laps in a Darwin swimming pool. Howard Springs Holiday Park manager Geoff Thompson, 52, told the newspaper he was about to test the water in the pool at 8.15am when he spotted the freshwater crocodile, the Northern Territory News reported. “I bent down to the water and there it was, staring at me, less than 3m away.” Paula Martin, of Gunn, Palmerston, said she had been a water aerobics instructor for 20 years but it was the first time a class had to be canceled because of a crocodile in the pool. The crocodile is believed to have wandered into the pool from a nearby lagoon. Crocodile catcher Robbie Risk caught the reptile under the eyes of the cheering water aerobics class.”

Lethal boobs: “A ONE-WOMAN mission to prove breasts don’t cause earthquakes has swollen into a shirt-straining global movement preparing for the inaugural “Boobquake”. Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi angered womens’ groups around the world on Monday when he claimed that promiscuous women were responsible for literally making the earth move. Jennifer McCreight is determined to prove him wrong. Since launching the “Boobquake” Facebook page two days ago, she has enlisted more than 20,000 women promising to show as much cleavage as possible on Monday, April 26. If the world doesn’t then disappear into an apocalyptic fiery chasm, then Sedighi will have no option but to admit he was wrong.”

Coke as a fire-extinguisher? “A teenager saved his dad’s life by using a bottle of Coca-Cola as a fire extinguisher. Flames erupted over Andrew Wythe’s head and body after he tipped petrol on a garden fire at his home in Cornwall, southern England, The Sun reported. As Mr Wythe screamed in agony, his son Nicholas, 15, grabbed a bottle of Coke, violently shook it and then sprayed the contents all over him, extinguishing the flames. Mr Wythe, 52, was left with burns to his neck, chest and ears and will have to undergo skin grafts. Doctors told him he was lucky to be alive.”

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

It depends on your point of view

April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

THE NEWS

British rowers urge Queen to remove ‘demented’ swan from river: “Frightened rowers have begged the Queen to get rid of a vicious swan that continually attacks them on a river in eastern England. The Sun reported that the bird has recently stepped up its aggressive stance towards boaters on the River Cam in Cambridge. Bill Key, president of the Cambridgeshire Rowing Association, which led the plea, said: “The swan situation is most serious. Injuries have occurred.” One female rower was left too scared to go into the water after the swan swooped at her, leaving her bruised, he added. “Somebody needs to sort it out before there is a serious accident,” a local resident said. The Queen has the right to ownership of all swans in the UK. Removal requires royal approval.”

Boy nearly hit by laptop which fell from sky: “A boy, 10, escapes serious injury after a laptop which fell from a medical helicopter narrowly misses him. UPI reports the family of Grayson Peterka were having a barbie in St Cloud, Minnesota, when the computer crashed to the ground in front of the boy. “I heard the helicopter going by. It was pretty low and then they made like a turn. When that happened it fell to the ground,” Grayson Peterka said on WCCO-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul. Life Link officials confirmed the laptop was mistakenly left on the helicopter’s skids by a crew when it left St Cloud Hospital. The hospital said it is investigating the incident”

Princesses not allowed in Disneyland: “A mother has been barred from Disneyland for looking too much like a princess. Natasha Narula, 36, was left “stunned and humiliated” after being ordered to return to her hotel and change after attempting to enter Disneyland Paris with her young daughter – both in fancy dress. The mother-of-two from Coventry in England wore a “silly, puffy sleeved” old wedding dress, while eight-year-old Drew was dressed in a white and gold bridesmaid dress with a tiara. Ms Narula, who was on a $1650 three-night break to celebrate her 35th birthday, said the security guard told her the dress was “too pretty” and may cause her to be confused with a member of staff in character. “I spoke to a manager and she said they were concerned children would think I worked there and wanted to have their picture with me,”

Italy: “Hencredible” cockerel changed sex: “Scientists are to study a cockerel which swapped sex after a fox raid on his enclosure wiped out all his hens. Gianni’s Italian owners say he started life as a red-blooded rooster on his farm in Tuscany. But within days of the fox raid, ‘he’ was laying eggs and trying to hatch them as he brooded over his new life in the hen house. Now scientists at UN’s Farm and Agriculture Organisation are to study the bird’s DNA to see what made him change. ‘It may be a primitive species survival gene. With all the females gone he could only ensure the future of his line by becoming female,’ said one expert.”

Medical test kills man: “A former policeman being treated in hospital for chest pains died two hours after undergoing a medical test on an exercise treadmill, an inquest has been told. Harry Coxell, 61, was admitted to Blacktown Hospital in Sydney’s west with heart problems, but died a day later on November 1, 2006. He died about two hours after collapsing from fatigue caused by seven minutes of a 20-minute treadmill exercise stress test. Glebe Coroner’s Court was told yesterday that Mr Coxell’s port-mortem examination revealed that he died from a ruptured aortic dissection – a tear in the wall of the aorta. Counsel assisting the coroner David Hirsch said the inquest would investigate questions surrounding Mr Coxell’s treatment plan, pain management, why an echocardiogram was not performed and whether a stress test was appropriate.”

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

A broad hint

April 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NEWS

Earthquakes caused by promiscuous women: “A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. Iran is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric’s unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate. “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi said.”

Migraine left British woman with Chinese accent: “A woman, 35, has picked up a Chinese accent after being treated in hospital for a migraine attack. The Mirror reports Sarah Colwill’s West Country accent has switched to a Chinese accent. She told the paper yesterday: “I have never been to China. It is very frustrating and I just want my own voice back but I don’t know if I ever will. “I moved to Plymouth aged 18 months so I have always spoken like a local. But when I had my attack last month an ambulance crew told me that I sounded Chinese. “Since then I’ve had friends hang up on me as they think I’m a hoax caller. I speak in a much higher tone, my voice is all squeaky. I’m having speech therapy but don’t know if the Chinese accent will ever go away.”

Britain exports food!: “Exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by 4.4pc to a record £9.65bn in 2009, bucking the overall decline in manufacturing exports last year. Still, growth was considerably slower than the 19.8pc rise in 2008. Big brands such as Typhoo tea and McVitie’s digestive biscuits are in demand in North America and Australia, and smaller companies are also thriving on export success, such as Dorset breakfast cereals and Angelsey Sea Salt Company, whose smoked salt is used in the salted caramels favoured by US President Barack Obama. The best-performing sector was soft drinks, where exports increased by 20.6pc to £318.6m last year. The other category to grow by more than 10pc was fish and seafood, which increased by 15pc to £1.16bn. Fresh salmon exports jumped 42pc. The biggest customer is Europe” [Maybe British food is not so awful after all!]

Thief Caught With Fish Hooks in Backside: “A German thief who broke into an angling shop had some bad luck when he fell and sat on a number of fish hooks. He was quickly caught because he was in too much pain to run. Police said their job was made even easier because the store’s price tags were still attached to the hooks embedded in his bottom. “He couldn’t run because he was in a lot of pain and was drunk,” Gunda Dreesmann a spokeswoman for the Cloppenburg police, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. One of the hooks later had to be removed in hospital.”

Genitals caught in flying fox but man remains stoic: “A New Zealand man got a very personal part of his anatomy stuck in a flying fox at a children’s playground in Christchurch this week, sparking a series of safety checks by the local council to avoid a repeat of the incident, according to reports. The 30-year-old became entangled in the equipment when a malfunction caused the mechanism to move on the impact of the man hitting the end of the flying fox line – trapping his nether regions, The Star reported. Fire crews called to the playground at Bishopdale Park had to dismantle the flying fox seat to free the man. They said he had remained “stoic” despite being in quite a lot of pain. A flying fox is an aerial conveyor belt or suspended carrier operating on cables.”

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

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