Ten strangest cruise holiday complaints

March 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unhappy with your luxury cruise? You might not want to make a fuss. Because now a disgruntled travel agency has revealed the ten strangest complaints their customers made in the last 12 months.

Top of the list, compiled by bonvoyage.co.uk, was a woman who wanted a sound-proofed room because the noise of the Mediterranean kept her awake.

She was closely followed by a newly wed husband who was furious that he wasn’t offered a private butler to bring him rose petals, strawberries and champagne.

Third place went to the woman who moaned because she wasn’t sent a text prompting her to remember her passport.

And one couple were miffed when the captain ignored their note saying they would be back two hours later than departure time – and left without them.

A young woman on a Hawaiian cruise heard Gary Barlow had once been on her boat – and demanded to know why she hadn’t seen him.

One man on a cruise around Alaska even wanted compensation because the weather was not as warm as he had expected.

An elderly couple who went on a holiday around France and Spain asked for a refund because they weren’t provided with a packed lunch every day.

And a woman on a ship called Celebrity Cruises asked for a full refund last summer because she didn’t see any celebrities on board.

Rounding off the list was a couple from Yorkshire who moaned that staff were so kind it cost them too much money in tips and a woman who wanted a sea view in her windowless cabin.

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Suspected armed raider suffers heart attack in jewellery shop robbery: “An armed raider who smashed his way into a jewellery shop today had a heart attack and collapsed unconscious in front of staff. The 40-year-old man had to be given CPR by paramedics who battled to save his life before rushing him to hospital. Minutes earlier he and an accomplice had battered their way into the shop which had just opened for business, smashing the glass in three windows. The two were believed to have roared up outside a covered shopping centre in Oxford on a motorcycle. They then ran into the arcade where they smashed glass in John Gowing jewellery store. The other man ran away from the shop, empty-handed. He left his accomplice behind, along with a black and green motorcycle which was lying on the ground. A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed that the collapsed man was in a serious condition in hospital.”

The conman who just can’t stop pretending he’s a lawyer: “A bogus lawyer has been sentenced 14 years in prison for duping ‘desperate and vulnerable victims’ into thinking he was a bona fide legal professional. Giovanni di Stefano, 57, became known as the Devil’s Advocate for taking on ‘unwinnable’ cases with a client list including road rage killer Kenneth Noye and timeshare fraudster John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer. Despite no legal training, the fraudster managed to win some of his cases. But his high-flying legal career was brought to an abrupt end when he was convicted of 25 charges including deception, fraud and money laundering between 2001 and 2011. As he stepped out of the dock after hearing his sentence, di Stefano told the judge in a loud voice: ‘I am obliged, my Lord’. The harm that di Stefano inflicted was ‘in financial terms alone high’, said the judge. Today he pleaded guilty to stealing £150,000 compensation that should have gone to a man who had lost an arm in a car crash. The money was due as part of an insurance policy but di Stefano had it paid in to his business account and ‘duly stole it’.

Library made out of shipping containers opens its doors in Indonesia: “A unique library has been constructed from seven creatively-adapted shipping containers in Batu, Indonesia. The sturdy shipping containers have travelled the world in their previous incarnation, but now will be firmly on dry land as a permanent local landmark. The Amin Library has a collection of 6,000 books that local residents can read for free in the colourful new building. The Indonesian library has been constructed from 7 pieces of shipping container. Overlooking treetops and local houses, the seven different sized containers serve as focused areas of learning. The public library was designed by Indonesian firm, dpavilion architects, which specialises in recreating adventurous vessels for other purposes. The sophisticated facility is hoping to provide a better quality of living for locals in the agricultural town of Batu, who in general have little money.”

Bakelite radio bought 65 years ago still going strong: “An elderly widow is still tuning in to the radio she bought as a newlywed more than six decades ago. Poppy Butcher bought her Busch Bakelite set with her late husband John, and 65 years later the radio remains in perfect working condition. The 84-year-old, from Weymouth, Dorset, bought the set for £12 and ten shillings – two weeks wages for the young couple – in 1948. Although the radio has needed a few repairs over the last six decades it still works without a hitch and takes pride of place in Poppy’s living room. ‘It is as clear as a bell after all these years,’ Poppy said. The only problem for Poppy is that it takes about 30 seconds for any sound to come out once it is turned on, as the valves inside it have to warm up. She added: ‘In those days the radio was the only form of entertainment so we spent extra to get a good one that would last us. We had no idea it would last so long. ‘I still listen to it several times a week.’”

Trust your intuition! : “When faced with making a difficult life decision, many of us can spend hours agonising over what to do. But new research has discovered that this is perhaps not the best way to find a solution. Instead, we should trust our intuition and make a quick decision. Researchers in Portugal found that decisions made on the spur of the moment are just as good as when we take our time. They discovered that when rats were challenged with a series of perceptual decision problems, their performance was just as good when they decided rapidly as when they took a much longer time to respond. Despite being encouraged to slow down and try harder, the subjects of the study, led by Doctor Zachary Mainen, of the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, achieved their maximum performance in less than 300 milliseconds.

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

Greenie wisdom

March 30, 2013 at 8:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

NY: TSA agent sends self, five others to hospital in pepper spray fiasco: “A bumbling TSA agent ‘playing around’ with a pepper-spray container at Kennedy Airport fired the caustic liquid at five fellow screeners yesterday, sending all six to the hospital, a source told The Post. The agent, Chris Yves Dabel, discovered the device at the Terminal 2 security checkpoint and tried to determine if it was real, a source told The Post. He told Port Authority cops that he ‘found the canister on the floor and thought it was a laser pointer.’”

NJ: Three accused of smoking pot in police parking lot: “State troopers in northern New Jersey didn’t have to go far to make a pot bust. They didn’t even have to get in their cruisers. Police say they caught three men lighting up in a car in the parking lot of the barracks in Totowa. What gave the men away? Police say a trooper setting out for night patrol caught a whiff of marijuana. … Police say they were waiting for another man who was inside the station picking up paperwork for an impounded car. … Authorities say for some reason, the men didn’t expect to see a trooper in the parking lot of the state police barracks.”

Man, 20, who was struck by lightning four times in six months is BURIED ALIVE as a ‘cure’: “A Colombian man who keeps being struck by lightning has gone to extreme lengths to find a remedy – allowing villagers to bury him alive to try and rid him of the problem. As if being hit four times in the space of six months was not enough of an ordeal, a healer in Colombia told Alexander Mandón he must submit to being lowered in to the earth up to his neck in order to rid him of his ‘electrical charge’. Not only that, the bizarre ritual had to be carried out twice when villagers first buried the 20-year-old lying down, only to be told Mr Mandón must be buried upright in order for the ‘cure’ to take effect. A news report by Colombian outlet Noticias Uno said the former soldier was discharged from the army after being hit by lightning for a third time in the space of a few months. The report said it was thought he would be safe in his home town of Cereté, in northern Colombia, which is said to have little rainfall, but Mr Mandón was struck by lightning yet again.”

Man charged in $US200,000 cheese heist: “An Illinois man has been charged with stealing 21 tonnes of Muenster from a Wisconsin cheese company, totalling about $US200,000 ($A192,418). ABC News reported 34-year-old Veniamin Balik was arrested at a New Jersey Turnpike rest area where he allegedly attempted to sell the 1135 cases of cheese. Surprisingly, this is not the only recent dairy theft. Last year, Canadian police busted a cheese-smuggling ring. Three men, including a former NRPS constable, were charged with smuggling more than $US204,000 worth of cheese into southern Ontario.”

Would-be thief flees sex shop: “An intruder who tried to steal a blow-up doll and sex toys from an adult shop left deflated after being caught in the act. The shop owner’s son entered the store in Shepparton at 1.30am to collect some personal belongings when he stunned the browsing burglar. “I was with my girlfriend, in shock and a bit sleepy so I just thought it best to let him out. Then I saw he had two armfuls of gear on him. “I told him I wasn’t opening the locked door unless he put it down. “He dropped it at the door and then fled. “As he left he was apologising to me saying he only did it as a dare and would pay for the damage. I didn’t know what damage he was talking about and he said he had broken a shelf. Mr Broughton, 26, said the man had been attempting to steal a blow-up doll and other sex toys. “From the items he was trying to take, I’d say he is a really, really lonely man. Police are understood to have found finger prints on the items the intruder touched.”

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

When trains were trains …

March 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Hilarious fat burglar: “Police in California are appealing for information about hapless burgler who was caught on CCTV peering through a shop window before trying to disguise his face and smash the glass. The man, who was dressed in brightly-patterned trousers and a camouflage jacket, tried to break into a convenience store in Redding, California in the early hours of March 5. Surveillance video taken from inside the shop shows the suspect walking up to the window and looking inside, before walking away. He returns a moment later wearing a balaclava and throws a rock at the glass. The impact, which cracks but fails to break the window, triggers the shop’s burglar alarm, sending the would-be burglar fleeing. As he tries to escape from the scene, the bungling robber falls over twice in the car park before making his getaway empty-handed.” [Good video at link]

The cold caller who rang back and saved a stroke victim’s life: “They are the last voices most of us want to hear when we pick up the phone. Jessica Robbins, however, would disagree. For the 84-year-old has credited a cold caller with saving her life. Mrs Robbins happened to be the first person Simon Shepherd contacted on only his second day in a job selling solar panels over the phone. When he realised that the pensioner was finding it difficult to breathe he ended the conversation, having failed to make a sale. But he was so concerned about her condition that he dialled the number again, asked for her address and then called for an ambulance. Paramedics found Mrs Robbins slumped on the floor and paralysed after suffering a stroke in the living room of her home in Walsall, West Midlands. The great-grandmother, who is now home from hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, reckons Mr Shepherd saved her life.

How mothers field 288 questions a day: “If you feel like you’ve done 15 rounds in the Mastermind chair after a day with your young child, there’s good reason. Mothers get asked an astonishing 288 questions every day by their little ones, a study reveals. In fact, they are called on to answer more questions per hour – 23 – than David Cameron is during Prime Minister’s Questions – which average 22. Girls aged four are the most curious, asking 390 questions per day – averaging a question every one minute 56 seconds of their waking day. The report – which surveyed 1,000 mothers with children aged between two and ten – looked at a typical day at home with the children for a mother and when they have to field the most queries. Some 82 per cent of infants apparently go to their mother first rather than their father if they have a query. A quarter of children, 24 per cent, said they do this because their father will just say ‘ask your mum’. Although the number of questions children ask falls with age, they increase in difficulty – so much so that 82 per cent of mothers admit they can’t answer them.”

Muslim madness? Three Egyptian divers ‘tried to hack through internet ocean-floor cables: “Three men have been arrested by the Egyptian army for apparently trying to cut through an undersea Internet cable. A patrol stopped a fishing boat near the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and arrested three divers, an army spokesman said on his official Facebook page. It is believed they were trying to cut through an SEA-ME-WE 4 undersea cable – one of the main connections between Asia and Europe, running from France to Malaysia and linking Italy, north Africa, the middle east and south Asia. If the men had been successful, experts warned they could have taken an ‘entire continent offline’, but interruptions were reported around the region, including Dubai and India, today. The men were reportedly just 750metres off the shore of Alexandria when they were caught. The cable is owned by Telecom Egypt, the biggest web provider in the north African country and slow services were expected to be improved by the end of today.”

How stupid can you get! Man provokes one-ton bison: “When this enormous one-ton bison was going about its daily basis in Antelope Island State Park in Utah, a rather foolish man decided it would be a good idea to provoke it. However, not exactly known for their friendly nature, the bison decided to teach the man a lesson. As these incredible pictures show, it charged directly towards the man and rammed him into a fence. Incredibly, the man not only managed to escape with his life but he also did not receive any serious injuries. Speaking to Gawker, assistant park manager John Sullivan said: ‘This person is very, very, very lucky that he wasn’t killed.’ Witnesses described seeing the man looking embarrassed and shell-shocked following the incident. They also said the man seemed to go out of his way to attract the bison’s attention.”

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

Running for his life

March 28, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


He didn’t make it. The owl got him

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Prostitute who ‘died’ having sex in hotel climbs from coffin screaming at police: “The drama unfolded at the Manor Hotel in Bulawayo when the woman, identified as MaNdlo who plied her trade at the establishment, collapsed and apparantly died while with a customer. But as her body was being placed in a steel coffin, she suddenly woke up screaming: “You want to kill me, you want to kill me”. A crowd which had gathered to watch the woman’s “dead” body being removed ran for their lives when she woke. “It was like a movie. People were running away in different directions. It was a scary incident because we were all convinced that she had died because she was just cold. Miracles surely do happen,” one witness said. Police reportedly kept their cool and tried to reason with the woman.”

Kidnapped teen crashes into cop car to get attention, save her life: “SOME quick thinking by a kidnapped teenager may have saved her life after she intentionally crashed into a police car. Floribert Nava, 45, kidnapped the teenager in Wildwood, New Jersey and wanted her to drive to Philadelphia. It is believed that Nava and the girl had a dispute over the adoption of a baby and that Nava still wanted the child. The teenager, who has not been named, swiped Officer Mark Pawloski’s police car as he was out of the car helping another motorist. She then jumped out of the car and informed the officer that Nava had a gun, duct tape and latex gloves in the car and that she was trying to make her drive to Philadelphia, where the baby’s adopted parents live. Nava was arrested and is being held in Cape May County jail in lieu of $US400,000 bond.”

‘Berlusconi’s penis’ successfully removed: “An ancient statue of Mars has lost its fake penis and his counterpart Venus her hands, in a reversal of cosmetic changes ordered by Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, a newspaper has reported. In 2010 Mr Berlusconi decided the two marble statues adorning the official residence of the prime minister were “incomplete” and ordered a swift intervention to remedy their shortcomings. In a move which horrified the art world, Mars was touched up with a fake penis, shield, hand and the point of his sword and Venus her two hands. The figures have now been restored to their original form, the daily Il Messaggero reports, without specifying when the restoration was completed. They had been lent to the Palazzo Chigi, the seat of government, but on Mr Berlusconi’s departure in May 2012 the duo were returned to the National Roman Museum.”

Chinese angler dragged to his death into river by half-ton fish after bragging to a friend about his ‘big catch’: “A giant fish got its own back on an angler when it dragged him to his death after he hooked it in southern China. The fish, believed to be a giant sturgeon, pulled Huang Wu, 58, into the water when he tried to retrieve his fishing rod, say witnesses. ‘One minute he was chatting to us about what a big fish he had, the next it was the fish that had him,’ said Chen Wan who was fishing alongside him in Nanning. Huang was pulled more than 150ft out into the river before he disappeared under the water. Rescuers found his body washed up on a bank later. Despite being endangered, sturgeons weighing between half a ton and a ton are regularly pulled out of rivers in China. ‘They might be endangered but an inexperienced angler will be the one who’s in trouble if he hooks one of these monsters,’ explained one fisherman.”

Women make better bosses than men: “Companies with female board members are more likely to make decisions that benefit everyone from investors to staff and not just themselves and other directors, the study added. Business school researchers said the findings show that having women in the boardroom is not just good for equality but good for business too. The study for the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics surveyed 600 board directors about their approach to decision making and other corporate issues. It found that when there were conflicting interests, women board members tended to make fairer decisions than men. Female directors were more likely to consider how the decision would affect others, whether it is employees, investors or stakeholders for instance. To do this, women on the board were also more likely to use others in the decision making process, which led to a much more co-operative feeling within the company itself. As a consequence, female influenced companies were generally more successful than male dominated ones, it found.”

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

What a pretty fellow!

March 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Such frogs – Agalychnis Callidryas – are found in Costa Rica as well as tropics in Central America and northern South America

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Brain scans can predict whether a criminal is likely to reoffend: “Scientists have found a way to predict whether convicted criminals are likely to re-offend by looking at their brain. According to American imaging experts, convicts showing low activity in an area of the brain associated with decision-making and action are more likely to be arrested again. A team led by Kent Kiehl, a neuroscientist at the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, studied a group of 96 male prisoners shortly before they were due to be released. They scanned prisoners brains while they were carrying out computer tasks in which subjects had to make quick decisions and inhibit impulsive reactions. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to focus on activity in a section of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) – a small region in the front of the brain involved in motor control and executive functioning. They then followed the subjects for four years. Among the ex-criminals studied, those who had lower ACC activity during the quick-decision tasks were more likely to be arrested again after getting out of prison.”

Swedish department store Åhléns reignites the body image debate as photo of their ‘normal’ sized mannequins goes global: “A Swedish department store has sparked a fresh body image debate after pictures of its ‘normal sized’ mannequins appeared on social networking sites. Åhléns introduced the new-look mannequins to all of its 76 stores back in 2010 – to widespread acclaim from customers – but a picture originally posted by blogger Rebecka Silvekroon garnered fresh interest this week. The majority of mannequins used in clothing shops, including H&M, have similar proportions to catwalk models and are usually a size 8-10, hence the huge interest in the ‘real’ sized models. So popular have the maxi mannequins proved so far, the picture had gained 50,000 ‘likes’ on the first day that it was posted and has generated comment from as far afield as the USA. The fashion industry has come under pressure in recent years, thanks to its use of very skinny shop dummies that don’t necessarily reflect the average woman.”

Pull down your hobbit home, couple told: Eco house made from straw and wood is harmful to countryside, say British planners: “With its gently sloping turf roof and rough-hewn timbers, it’s the kind of home Bilbo Baggins would be proud of. But this eco-friendly ‘hobbit home’ was built by a young couple desperate for somewhere to bring up their baby son. Charlie Hague and Megan Williams, both 25, had spent four years living in a damp caravan before starting work on their roundhouse last summer. It was the only way they could afford a home of their own and they completed it weeks before son Eli was born. Made from straw bales rendered in lime, it is situated on land owned by Mr Hague’s parents in Glandwr, west Wales. However despite spending £15,000 on their dream home, it was built without planning permission – and now the local council wants to pull it down. Mr Hague, a sculptor and woodworker, used timber from his own land to create his house. It nestles at the bottom of a valley next to a small pond.”

Smart cat helps to take dog for walkies: “After walkies, Ruthie the cat was filmed helping its owner out by directing the family dog home, coaxing it up a flight of stairs with a few meows and the odd tug on its leash. The adorable clip was uploaded by YouTube poster DAFNA kopelis, from Israel, who claimed she didn’t train her cat to do it. The poster said: ‘I promise you there was no training involved. Ruthi is a very smart cat, she even comes to me when I call her name. ‘I think since she lives with two dogs since she was a small kitten she might think she’s a dog also.’ [Video here]

Nine secret crypts discovered hidden beneath Coventry’s bombed cathedral: “Nine secret crypts have been uncovered under the ruins of Coventry’s bombed cathedral by restoration workers. Two crypts had already been discovered in the former cemetery grounds of St Michael’s Church when it was cleared to make way for the new cathedral building. But a further nine ancient graves have been revealed after maintenance work began when a crack appeared in part of the 14th Century ruins in September 2011. It is believed the crypts may date back to the 1350s and were used as burial places for Coventry’s nobility. Some contained human bones. Dr Jonathan Foyle, chief executive of the World Monuments Fund Britain, which is handling the work, described the find as significant. He told the BBC the discovering was like finding a ‘subterranean wonderland’. Dr Foyle added he is hopeful that the crypts can be opened to the public after they have been cleared of rubble and checked for damp.

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

Fat Guy Has Amazing Soccer Skills

March 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Background here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Scientists want to bring 24 animals back from extinction: “Scientists have met to discuss the possibility of bringing back 24 animals back from extinction. But a real life Jurassic Park is not an option, it is said, because dinosaur DNA is just too old. The so called ‘de-extinction’ of a number of species was discussed at a TEDx conference in Washington DC sponsored by National Geographic. They included the dodo bird, the Carolina Parakeet, last seen in 1904 in Florida, and the Quagga, a plains zebra which once lived in South Africa. The last wild one was shot in 1870 and the last in captivity died in 1883, the Journal reports. This month’s National Geographic explains how de-extinction works – by taking old DNA samples and reassembling them into a full genome. This is then injected into embryonic cells which have had their own DNA taken out, and a suitable living surrogate is found to give birth. According to the Washington Post, ten years ago, a team of scientists from France and Spain brought back an extinct wild goat – but it only lived for 10 minutes.”

Investigation launched after teachers hand a special needs student razor blades so they could self-harm ‘safely’: “An investigation is underway after a child at Unsted Park School – which offers education to boys and girls aged between seven and 19 years who have Asperger’s Syndrome and higher-functioning autism – was given access to blade kits. Staff were told to give the pupil access to the sterilised disposable razor and sterile wipes and escort the child to a bathroom where they would be allowed to self-harm in a ‘safe and controlled manner’. Teachers were ordered to wait outside the bathroom while the child was inside, checking on them every two minutes, before the wounds were dressed and cleaned by staff. The policy was introduced and abandoned within six days at the school in Munstead Park, Godalming, Surrey, and is understood to have sparked protests from staff. Principal Steve Dempsey and headteacher Laura Blair now face the possibility of being hauled before a Teaching Agency hearing over allegations of unacceptable professional conduct in connection with the policy.”

Invisibility cloaks are almost a reality after scientists invent ultra-thin material that hides objects from microwaves: “Scientists have developed an ultra-thin material that hides objects from microwaves – bringing the possibility of invisibility cloaks much closer. Up until now, invisibility cloaks put forward by scientists have been fairly bulky contraptions – an obvious flaw for those interested in replicating Harry Potter’s magical clothing. However, researchers have now developed a cloak that is just micrometres thick and can hide three-dimensional objects from microwaves in their natural environment, in all directions and from all of the observers’ positions. The researchers, from the University of Texas in the United States, have used a new, ultra-thin layer called a ‘metascreen’. The metascreen cloak was made by attaching strips of copper tape to a flexible polycarbonate film. It was used to cloak an 18cm cylindrical rod from microwaves and showed optimal functionality when the microwaves were at a frequency of 3.6 GHz and over a moderately broad bandwidth.”

The suit that can banish B.O. – using gas mask technology: “Embarrassing body odour could become a thing of the past thanks to a new range of summer clothing for men from Marks and Spencer. The High Street store are incorporating Odegon DeoTags into the under arms of their latest suits and blazers. The innovative patches are made from nano-porous material that is designed to absorb body odour molecules and then neutralise them to avoid unpleasant smells. But while fashion with the material is only just hitting the shops, it has had a lifesaving use for decades. During the Second World War when chemical attacks were feared, the material was patented by the Ministry of Defence for use in gas masks. The material can absorb and neutralise harmful gases so has been used in the production of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear suits and gas masks since 1942.”

The loudest woof in the world: “Charlie doesn’t bark very often, but when he does you’ll definitely know about it. The six-year-old golden retriever recently earned the Guinness World Record for the loudest bark, registering an incredible 113.1 decibels, the same as a loud rock concert. It is even louder than the average human pain threshold, 110 decibels. Charlie is owned by Belinda Freebairn, from Adelaide in Australia, who says he developed his deep and very loud bark when he was only a year old, according to World Record Academy. Fortunately for Adelaide’s postal workers, Charlie only barks on command. ‘He doesn’t bark at home at all really, he’s really quiet,’ the mother-of-three said. Charlie’s bark is louder than a jet taking off from 300 metres away, a pneumatic drill or a helicopter hovering 100 ft overhead.”

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

An Irish cottage in bygone days

March 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Got a song stuck in your head? Solving an anagram can help get rid of it: “It may not be the most serious of life’s problems, but an incredibly irritating one nonetheless – getting a pop song ‘stuck’ in your head, playing over and over. And much like for a bout of the hiccups, there seem to be few cures for ‘stuck-song syndrome’. Even listening to other music can fail to expel the offending tune which, ironically, tends to be one we didn’t even like much in the first place. Now scientists believe the phenomenon, technically known as an ‘earworm’, could have a remedy after all. They found that solving a simple verbal puzzles, such as anagrams, forces the annoying music out of our working memory. Researchers at Western Washington University played catchy pop songs to volunteers and then gave them puzzles to work on. They found these made the ‘earworms’ disappear – with simple five-letter anagram puzzles, giving the best results. While Sudoku could help also stop annoying tunes getting stuck, the puzzles had little effect if they were too difficult.”

Bungling British security bureaucrats needed a newpaper to alert them to their bungle: “An SAS chief responsible for planning top-secret operations in the Middle East was under armed protection last night after a life-threatening security blunder led to his identity being exposed on the internet. The commander met high-ranking officers from a Middle Eastern country earlier this month to discuss joint operations between UK Special Forces and local troops. During the get-together a photograph was taken of the officers in their desert uniforms. This image and a report of the event should have been vetted by British officials before being released to the media in the host country. Astonishingly, the leaking of the officer’s name and his role were discovered not by the Ministry of Defence or the Foreign Office but by this newspaper. Due to his status, the man is considered a prime target for Islamic terrorist groups. The Mail on Sunday’s intervention triggered a tightening of his personal security arrangements.”

Whale with a cheesy grin: “This giant of the sea cracks a killer smile as he has a whale of a time catching his lunch in the wild. The false killer whale may be ‘saying cheese’ for the photographer swimming alongside him or putting on the friendly face so he does not to scare away his prey. The marine mammal has been given its name because of its striking resemblance to the killer whale. But any similarities with the ferocious beast are quickly forgotten once you catch sight of the cute creature grinning from ear to ear. Like their namesakes, false killer whales are actually dolphins and not whales. But their friendly looks are deceiving, as they attack and eat other cetaceans. Adult males can grow to nearly 20ft long, weigh up to two tonnes and live for around 60 years. False killer whales typically grow between 16 and 22 large, conical teeth on each jaw. They measure around 0.75ins in diameter from the gum line.”

Classy driving: “A man is fighting for his life after crashing his Audi TT into a house in the early hours of this morning. The male driver, believed to be in his twenties, embedded the red sports car into the side of the house in Lowestoft, Suffolk, at 1.45am after coming off the road and crashing through a fence. Three people inside the house, including the homeowners, were asleep at the time of the accident but were unharmed, besides shock. Keith Shales, 66, who lives in nearby Cotmer Road, told the BBC: ‘When I got there and saw the car through the hole in the hedge I thought that looks serious. ‘I’ve seen photos of cars going into people’s houses before but from the pavement, through the bushes and the cars behind it – it was like a launch pad – it must have been for him to get that high. ‘I reckon he must be about four feet off the ground, I’ve never seen anything like it.’ The driver also clipped an Audi estate car and BMW estate parked near the house”

So, this is how adrenaline junkies relax!: “Carefully tiptoeing almost 3000ft above Rio de Janeiro on a thin wire got a bit too much for this adrenaline junkie – so he decided to have a lie down. Fearless Brian Mosbaugh is so used to the perilous heights he decided he deserved a short break and relaxed over the famous Brazilian city. Balancing his whole body on the wire, he lies completely horizontal on the precarious rope before getting back up and strolling across the rest of the highline at Pedra da Gavea.”

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

One up for the Irish

March 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Father O’Malley rose from his bed one morning. It was a fine spring day in his new west Texas mission parish. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside. He then noticed there was a jackass lying dead in the middle of his front lawn.

He promptly called the local police station. The conversation went like this: “Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?” “And the best of the day te yerself. This is Father O’Malley at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. There’s a jackass lying dead in me front lawn and would ye be so kind as to send a couple o’yer lads to take care of the matter?”

Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit and recognizing the foreign accent, thought he would have a little fun with the good father, replied, “Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of the last rites!”

There was dead silence on the line for a moment… Father O’Malley then replied: “Aye,’ tis certainly true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin first, which is the reason for me call.”

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Jonesboro man fakes knife attack to impress his date: “According to a police report with the Jonesboro Police Department, a man and woman were attacked by a man with a large knife out near Pavilion #5 at Craighead Forest Park. While the female victim ran off, the man, 26-year-old Tyler Siegel stayed back to fight the attacker, sustaining a cut to his wrist and chest in the process. Turns out, that “attacker” was more friend than foe as Siegel asked his friend to attack them so he could impress the girl. The cuts he sustained were self-inflicted to make it look like he’d been injured. KAIT spoke with the female by phone. She said in her attempt to run away, she lost a shoe and hurt her leg trying to get away. She said the whole experience was “very real” but didn’t once think the incident showed Siegel in a heroic light. Siegel told police the incident “just really got out of hand very fast.” He is not facing any charges. While speaking with the female victim, she said she told Mr. Siegel that after this incident, they would no longer be talking.”

Man turns face into tattoo billboard for Internet porn sites, regrets it: “Before legally changing his name to “Hostgator Dotcom,” Billy Gibby called himself “Billy the Billboard” because of his willingness to tattoo brand logos on his face and body. After receiving sums in the range of $75 – $1,000, Gibby (Dotcom?) tattooed the logos for several Internet porn sites on his face. And now he really, really regrets it. Gibby told the Anchorage Press that he was suffering from untreated bipolar disorder when he made the decision to get the facial tattoos, and that his decision to do so was motivated by his “biggest fear” at the time — not being able to pay the rent and support his family of seven. Now on medication for his bipolar, Gibby is hoping to remove the 20 tattoos covering his face. But in order to afford the expensive laser surgery, he needs a better job. But because of his facial tattoos, he is pretty unemployable, he told the Press. So he is auctioning off more advertising space on his body to finance the procedure. “I have space on my arms, hands, chest and the legs,” Gibby told the Huffintgon Post.”

Facebook Money Pics Bust Dad for Allegedly Dodging Child Support: “Facebook helped the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office charge a wayward father for failing to pay child support. Christopher Robinson, 23, is facing three felony counts of failure to support his 3-year-old child, according to a complaint filed with the criminal division of the Wisconsin Circuit Court. The complaint indicates that for three years, Robinson never made any of the required $150 monthly child support payments. But pictures that Robinson posted to Facebook that show him posing with cash and bottles of liquor helped the district attorney’s office build a case against him. Robinson was served with an arrest warrant in February and failed to appear in court. The arrest warrant is still active, but the DA’s office would not comment on whether it was actively looking for him, or if he had a lawyer.”

Businessman banned from labelling his gelato as ice cream because its low fat content makes it TOO HEALTHY: “A businessman has been told to re-label his healthy ice cream because it does not contain enough fat. Trading standards inspectors told Tim Coffey that he cannot describe his product as ice cream because its fat content is only 4.8 per cent. Food labelling regulations state that the food must have a fat content of five per cent or higher to qualify as ice cream. Mr Coffey, 40, makes his products with local milk and cream, selling the dessert at his Real Italian Ice Cream Co stores in Bath, Somerset. The traditional Italian gelato-style technique he employs results in a higher milk to cream ratio than British processes. Mr Coffey said that ice cream-makers should be encouraged to reduce the fat content of their product.”

Colorful slugs: “They may look like creatures from another universe, but these multi-coloured sea slugs are in fact one of the marvels of our oceans. Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine molluscs that shed their shells after their larval stage, revealing their brightly-coloured exteriors. Scientists believe they may have evolved such extraordinary anatomy as a form of camouflage to mimick their surroundings and avoid predators. Another theory is that they are an example of aposematism, an attempt to warn potential predators that they could be poisonous to eat. Even their egg masses are often red, pink, orange or any other colour depending on the species. In tropical waters, beachwalkers can find nudibranchs in tidal pools at low tide.”

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

An amazing photo

March 23, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A cat and a rat?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Croc warrior a real worry in Australia’s wild North: “A DRUNK who fell off Darwin’s Stokes Hill Wharf told police he had been fighting crocodiles. The 42-year-old man plunged 12m into the sea below but managed to swim to a platform at the bottom of a stairwell. He was found by Customs officers. Senior Sergeant Debbie Gabolinscy said: “He suffered a few scrapes, bumps and soreness. “He was a bit confused and thought he had got his injuries wrestling crocodiles.” The incident happened about 9.15pm yesterday.”

Grandmother left with gaping holes in her roof after vortex from passing JET blasts the tiles off: “Heathrow Airport today promised to repair a widow’s house after a passing jet created a rare and powerful ‘vortex’ that blasted tiles off of her roof. Grandmother-of-four Patricia Hills was left with three large holes – with shattered tiles thrown as far as 20ft away from her home. Some even smashed the headlights and dented the front of a neighbour’s car. Mrs Hills, who is in her seventies, said the ‘vortex’ gust left the scene outside her home looking like a ‘warzone’. She now fears for her safety at the house in Old Windsor, Berkshire – which is under Heathrow’s flightpath. Describing the incident – which happened at about 6pm – the retired concert pianist said: ‘I heard this huge explosion and thought it was a clap of thunder. A spokesman for BAA said an assessor had been to Mrs Hills’ house and the company will now send men around to replace her damaged roof.”

$300m ‘Michelangelo painting’ found behind sofa: “A dusty old painting stored behind a family sofa could be a Michelangelo worth up to $300 million (£190 million) and potentially one of the art finds of the century, according to an expert. The unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary has long been in the family of US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober, who lives in Buffalo, New York. He and his relatives nicknamed it “The Mike” because of a family legend that it had been painted by the Renaissance artist. The painting had hung in the Kober home but was knocked off the wall by a stray tennis ball 27 years ago, so it was wrapped it up and put behind the couch. In 2003 Mr Kober decided to research the origins of the 25in by 19in work and eventually took it to Antonio Forcellino, an Italian art restorer and historian. Mr Forcellino is convinced it is a genuine, painted depiction of the Pieta, Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of the body of Jesus on his mother’s lap, which is housed in St Peter’s Basilica.

Australian driver races for his life against massive tornado in Victoria: “Two Australian men made a dramatic escape from a tornado in New South Wales after the twister touched down only metres from their car. Daniel Clarke, 24, told Australia’s 7 News channel how he was driving from the town of Mulwala to nearby Barooga when the tornado, which was around 50 metres wide at its base, appeared in a field next to them. Nearby power lines exploded with a blue flash as they were hit by the whirling column of air. With rain and debris hammering the windscreen as the tornado advances towards them, Mr Clarke reverses at speed before performing a hand-brake turn in the road. But the twister continues to barrel through the adjoining field, travelling almost parallel to their car at a speed of approximately 50mph. “I’ve never seen a demonstration of Mother Nature like that, it was just very intense and very scary,” said Mr Clarke, who subsequently uploaded footage of the incident to his YouTube channel.”

Family forced out of NYC over pet pig: “A family living in Queens, New York are being forced to move after authorities told them they could not keep their beloved pet pig in the city. Danielle Forgione, the owner of a Juliana Pig named Petey has started a petition to make pig ownership legal in New York City. The Forgione family, who cannot bear to part with their pet, are being forced to move to Long Island or upstate New York where they would be allowed to keep the creature. City officials say pigs are a public health risk because they cannot be vaccinated for rabies and can become aggressive, especially during their first few years.” [Video of the lovable critter at link. It even wags its tail!]

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

Pictures! Pictures!

March 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I have got a bit slack with my postings of what I see as the “best” pictures off this blog — but I am catching up!. See here or here for the pictures from September and October of last year.

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