Bringing Home the Bacon: The Origin of Popular Finance Sayings

September 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You’ve heard them a thousand times: cliches related to money and finance that have been uttered so often their meanings have become, well, meaningless.

However, if you stop to consider the etymology behind the sayings, you might discover why these famous words became so popular in the first place. Not every one has a concrete history behind it, but here’s our best explanation of how these popular finance sayings originated:

Keeping Up with the Joneses

This phrase is used to describe people who are compelled to compete with others financially. Keeping up with the Joneses has come to mean maintaining your economic superiority among peers. It’s spending every penny you have on the latest and greatest in material possessions.

The Joneses were a fictional couple often mentioned in an early 20th century comic strip by Arthur R. “Pops” Momad that was featured in Joseph Pulitzer’s paper, The New York World.

They have since come to represent an ideal family with everything a good American consumerist could want–the car, the television, the perfect single family home in suburbia. Though they were often the object of envy in the story, however, they weren’t really the focus of the strip itself.

As Good as Gold

It can sometimes refer to people, especially children, who are well-behaved, though it is most often used to describe something or someone as genuine. So how did gold become synonymous with authenticity?

It’s believed it has to do with the nature of original banknotes. Before paper money existed in its present form, monetary value of paper currency was originally represented by a banknote, which simply stated you promised to pay the designated amount in coins.

It was the metal money that actually held intrinsic value, though. Thus, gold could be considered the most reliable, or genuine, of all currency.

Bringing Home the Bacon

If you are bringing home the bacon, you’re living well. It usually means to pull in a big paycheck, but in the simplest sense, to experience good fortune and wealth.

This phrase’s origin is harder to nail down, but there are two theories that stand out among the rest:

The first theory is that it derived from a tradition called Dunmow Flitch that is still practiced every four years in Great Dunmow, Essex.

In 1104, the Prior of Little Dunmow was so impressed with a couple’s devotion to each other that he gave them a side of bacon (also called a flitch). There is no solid proof if this is true, however.

The first time anyone had actually been quoted as using this phrase was in 1906, when Joe Gans won a boxing match. The September 3rd Reno Evening Gazette reported the words of an announcer at the match who read a telegram from Gans’ mother aloud. She wrote, “Everybody says you ought to win. Peter Jackson will tell me the news and you bring back the bacon.”

It’s unclear whether she made it up on the spot or was repeating an already well-known phrase, but there is no hard evidence of this term’s use before that day.

Time is Money

Here’s an easy one to demystify. There are claims this expression can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, but the exact phrase was first used by Benjamin Franklin in a letter he wrote:

“Remember that TIME is Money. He can earn Ten Shillings a Day by his Labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that Day, tho’ he spends but Sixpence during his Diversion or Idleness, ought not to reckon That the only Expence; he has really spent or rather thrown away Five Shillings besides.”

So what does it mean, exactly? That was just good ol’ Ben’s way of saying your time is valuable. Sit on your butt all day and you might as well be throwing money away.

Costs an Arm and a Leg

It’s kind of a gross saying if you don’t know how it began–something so outrageously expensive you have to pay for it in body parts. Don’t worry, though, that’s not an actual scenario that generated this phrase.

In fact, it seems there really is no “story” behind this one, as the Word Detective explains. Internet users, as as they tend to do, have been propagating a myth for some time that painters used to charge by the amount of a subject in the picture. The more arms and legs, the pricier the piece and that’s how the saying came to be.

The truth is it’s just an exaggeration used to convey the sacrifice involved in meeting the steep cost of an expensive item.

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Malaysian burglar falls asleep on homeowners’ couch: “Police say a burglar broke into a house in Malaysia to steal watches and jewelry then fell asleep with his loot on the owners’ couch. The Star and the New Straits Times report when the owners returned to their home in northern Penang state Saturday, they were shocked to find the living room in a mess and a man napping upstairs. The loot was worth some 10,000 ringgit ($3,200). The burglar woke up and escaped through a window but was arrested nearby. The 42-year-old man has not been charged yet. Gan Kong Meng, a Penang district police chief, confirmed the incident. He said Sunday that the family was returning from holidays but did not immediately give more details.”

Cops fail to arrest roosters: “A Katherine woman got the fright of her life when two policemen came knocking – to arrest her roosters. Dorothy Morris, 83, said the two large roosters had been visiting her Katherine yard for the past four months. “And I don’t dislike animals – or chooks in particular – as they eat my crumbs and don’t do any harm,” the pensioner said. “I don’t know who they belonged to, they just came and visited me,” she said. “And then someone reported them to police, because they were too noisy.” The 83-year-old said the policemen were unable to catch the roosters, but she believed the RSPCA came for the birds. “I haven’t seen them since,” she said.”

Mobility mayhem: The 300,000 invalid carriages on Britain’s roads and pavements: “They are undoubtedly vital aids for those who would otherwise be housebound by disability. Yet health campaigners have become increasingly concerned that due to lack of regulation, scooters are being used by those who do not need them – and those who do may be damaging their health by becoming more and more immobile, and could be putting pedestrians and road users at risk. Bizarrely, mobility scooters are not classed as motor vehicles yet they are allowed on dual carriageways. You do not need insurance or to maintain them to any safe standard, or even have a driving licence to use one. The fastest models can go up to 10mph and can be used on all major roads and pavements. It seems you can even be blind and own one…. just nine days ago a mobility scooter belonging to 30-year-old Gaynor McEvoy was found in Bedford’s Great Ouse river. Her body was recovered nearby three days later. She is known to have suffered from epilepsy, which would have precluded her from having a driving licence.”

World’s longest cucumber! “A British grandmother may be entering the record books after growing what she thinks is the world’s longest cucumber. Clare Pearce’s record breaking cucumber reached at least 47in in a straight line from top to bottom, and was about four inches longer if its curve was included in the measurement. The current world record for the longest cucumber was set almost two years ago by Frank Dimmock of Thame in Oxfordshire. His effort reached 41.25in. Although Mrs Pearce’s cucumber eventually decomposed she also has a second slightly smaller cucumber that is still longer than the current record at 42in. The 78-year-old grandmother of 12 said: “At times it was like it was growing before my eyes. I couldn’t quite believe it. “I’ve never grown cucumbers before but I knew it was massive. “I’ve no idea why they grew to be so big,” added Mrs Pearce, a retired administrator.”

The ultimate coffee machine: “At a small cafe hidden away off San Francisco’s busy Market St, James Freeman is proving that there’s no such thing as too technical when it comes to making coffee. But for perfect coffee, he says no one does it like the Japanese. To prove it, two years ago, Mr Freeman sourced a pair of Oji drip-fed machines [above] from Japan, a place where he’s been “pretty much dazzled by everything” since his first visit 26 years ago. The Oji machines fuse tradition and tech in a way that might seem ridiculous to non-coffee drinkers, but those queued around the block outside his Blue Bottle Café in Mint St give thanks for it twice a day. Twice a day because, if it’s Blue Bottle’s famous iced coffee from the taller of the two Ojis you’re after, it takes 12 hours to make a pot. Each pot starts with 3.2 litres of water in the top globe, which releases exactly 88 drips per minute through a glass cylinder holding 160g of coffee.”

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

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Archbishop of Canterbury beats the Pope hands down in the hat competition

September 19, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Pope is visiting England at the moment

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Graphic advertising

I’m sure that you have seen pharmaceutical advertising in doctor’s offices on everything from tissues to note pads. This one should get First prize….

I e-mailed it to my Chinese doctor friend; he e-mailed back: “If light stay on more than 4 hour, call erectrician

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Store worker tried to scam lottery winner out of $US14m: “A convenience store worker has been shamed after he refused to handover an elderly man’s $US14 million lottery ticket. Milledge McCassell, 72, went to Dynasty Deli and Grocery in Queens, New York, to check his ticket and “Big Winner!” flashed on the electronic scanner available to customers. However, when he handed his winning ticket to the store worker to find out how much he had won, the worker said he was not a big winner and refused to hand back the ticket. However, the store worker miraculously found the missing ticket after police paid him a visit. Lottery officials said they believe the worker was holding onto the ticket and preparing to claim for it himself”.

Testicle size ‘really is what matters’: “Testicle size is what counts for a clean bill of health and being able to produce children. Most men are unaware of how important the size of their testes is in relation to their health, Professor Rob McLachlan, director of Andrology Australia, told Fairfax newspapers. “I’ve seen men coming in with (testicles) the size of a sultana and they haven’t realised (it’s a problem) – it happens all the time,” Prof McLachlan said. Small testes can indicate there is a testosterone deficiency. This can make a man feel tired, lose muscle, gain fat, lose sex drive. Testicles measured from 15 ml to 35 ml are in the normal range.”

Lots of cross-legged Brits coming up: “Southern Railways have been branded a ‘disgrace’ today as it was revealed the company is planning to introduce MORE toilet-free trains to its network. If you travel between Brighton and Portsmouth you might find it useful to visit the smallest room first, as Southern Railway plans to withdraw all trains with toilets on board the hour and a half long service. A spokesman for Southern confirmed today that it plans to use‘refurbished’ trains with no toilets on board on the popular route as of December. The company denied that this would cause passengers any ‘discomfort’, suggesting that passengers should simply use the toilet before boarding the train.”

Britain’s traffic-reporting radio station that drivers cannot hear: “A Government-funded radio station that warns drivers about traffic jams is costing taxpayers £2.8 million a year– even though most motorists cannot listen to it in their cars. Traffic Radio, which is funded by the Highways Agency and Transport for London, broadcasts live traffic updates 24 hours a day on the internet and DAB digital radio. But of the 32 million vehicles on UK roads, less than 500,000 have a DAB radio and most drivers get their traffic news from local stations on FM. Traffic Radio is costing taxpayers £2.8 million a year- even though most motorists cannot listen to it in their cars.” Vicki Burn of the RAC questioned the need for the service when there are many private alternatives. She said: ‘With the spending review under way you have to ask if this service is really necessary.”

Dangerous game: “Columbian youths have been filmed playing a dangerous game of “chicken” by lying on [in the middle of] train tracks and allowing trains to pass over the top of them. The teenagers wait until they see a train coming and lie on the tracks just before they are hit, Sky News reports. There have been no reported deaths so far, but at least two youths have been injured in what has been dubbed “The Train Game”.

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

An elephant on two legs!

September 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I wouldn’t have imagined it was possible

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Beauty has men a heartbeat from death: “A racing pulse and sweaty palms are well known as the signs of attraction. Now research shows that for men just five minutes alone with a beautiful stranger can cause fatal stress. A study has found that time spent alone with an attractive woman sends levels of the hormone cortisol soaring. The effects are worst for men who might think they are not “in the same league” as the woman but try to attract her interest anyway. Their anxiety is said to be similar to jumping from a plane. Cortisol levels rise even higher, potentially causing heart attacks and strokes. It is the sort of extreme stress portrayed by Dudley Moore when encountering Bo Derek in the movie 10. While he got the girl, reality can be more painful, say experts at the University of Valencia in Spain.”

Airbus wants to build invisible passenger plane: “Aircraft manufacturer Airbus wants to build a passenger plane with a completely transparent fuselage, German news magazine Der Spiegel has reported. At the push of a button the captain would a send an electrical pulse through a hi-tech ceramic skin making the main body of the plane see-through. The extraordinary design would allow travellers to look down on cities and landscapes thousands of feet below or gaze up at the heavens, giving them the sensation of floating unassisted through the sky. “Passengers in an airplane like this would experience flight in a completely new way,” Airbus’ head of research and technology, Axel Krein, told Der Spiegel.”

Man dead in car given parking ticket: “A man who lay dead at the wheel of his 4WD in Queens, New York, was hit with a parking ticket by a passing traffic officer. Investigators said that 21-year-old Nicholas Rappold died from an apparent drug overdose at the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee on Wednesday after he left a friend’s house, the New York Daily News reported today. “It’s really messed up,” Rappold’s cousin Patrick Hill told the Daily News. “While he was dead in his car, a New York City traffic agent gave him a ticket.” A ticket left on the windshield of the dead man’s 4WD wrote him up for being illegally parked. Police investigated the traffic officer responsible, but found no evidence of wrongdoing. According to the paper, police voided the ticket and released the 4WD to the man’s family when they discovered what had happened.”

Toddler’s amazing escape: Youngster caught on camera crawling on to busy motorway: “A relieved mother is counting her lucky stars today, after her young son had an amazing mistake. The curious toddler crawled out onto a busy highway in Turkey after waking up from a nap in a nearby park. Video footage of the incident shows the child crawling at full speed into the busy road in Antalya, Southern Turkey, while traffic thunders past. Eventually a truck driver can be seen gesturing to other motorists to stop. Moments later the distressed mother arrives at the roadside and whisks the toddler out of danger. The pair had been taking a daytime nap under trees close by when the toddler woke and crawled off, the mother said. The toddler escaped unscathed from the incident, which was captured by security cameras.”

The innocent luggage that shut an airport for three hours: “The main terminal building at Manchester Airport was closed for more than three hours today after a suspect package was detected during a X-ray check [above]. Thousands of passengers and staff were evacuated from Terminal 1 at 8.50am after a bag containing a bottle, USB device and a mobile phone were scanned in the main outbound security zone. Bomb disposal officers were called to the airport and later determined the package was harmless. The building reopened shortly after midday. Police said the suspect luggage contained a bottle of gripe water positioned next to a phone charger.”

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

A Dog’s Purpose?

September 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

“Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Women reveal why they have sex: “For every woman expecting the earth to move, it would seem there are two with more practical motives. From relieving boredom to keeping the peace in a relationship or even curing a headache, the reasons for succumbing to the advances of the opposite sex are many and varied. Romance and passion, it has to be said, come low down the list, according to a new book. One woman even admitted to having sex so her husband would put the rubbish out. Cindy Meston and David Buss, authors of Why Women Have Sex, highlight 200 specific reasons. “Research has shown that most men find most women at least somewhat sexually attractive, whereas most women do not find most men sexually attractive at all,” conclude the authors, both psychology professors at the University of Texas, in the US… The research concluded, perhaps predictably, that women are attracted to tall men with a deep voice, who smell good.”

Beware of the guard bird: Jack the parrot launches savage attack and scares off gang of thieves: “A parrot is being hailed a hero after it fought off a gang of thieves when they targeted a pet shop. The exotic bird pecked and scratched the thugs as they tried to make off with thousands of pounds worth of exotic animals in the early hours of this morning. Jack the Sun Conure parrot’s attack was so ferocious that he had pieces of ripped clothing and blood on his beak – and his feathers covered Hobday’s pet shop in Coventry. ‘He must have given the thieves a hell of a nip because his beak is like a razor and his talons are very sharp too. ‘The policeman told us that the blood at the scene belonged to the thieves and Jack probably scared the intruders off. ‘There was a lot of blood so Jack must have really pecked them and clawed them hard.’ A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said: ‘Blood was found at the scene and forensic officers will be using this as part of the investigation into this burglary.

Flying white elephants: British airforce getting £10.5 billion of tanker planes that can’t fly into warzones: “The Ministry of Defence has been blasted for ‘astonishing’ failures in procuring a £10.5billion fleet of aircraft that cannot fly into warzones. The Commons Public Accounts Committee used a damning report to express ‘great concern’ over the deal to buy 14 new tankers for air-to-air refuelling and transporting troops. The aircraft, militarised versions of the Airbus A330-200 passenger jet, were acquired by the previous government… Defence chiefs were condemned for wrangling for nine years over the contracts, which has forced the RAF to continue using ageing TriStar and VC10 jets dating back to the 1960s…. Alarmingly, the jets currently will not have the necessary protection to fly operations in and out of Afghanistan.”

Chookzilla’s reign of evil comes to an end: “This rooster has terrorised a sleepy suburb during a three-week reign of evil – waking residents at 3am and stalking them through the day. Chookzilla moved in to the Newcastle suburb of New Lambton three weeks ago and has menaced the locals ever since. “It chases my daughter and my friend came to visit me today and it chased her too,” Gloria Smith said yesterday. Ms Smith’s 14-year-old daughter Rachel dubbed him the “evil rooster” and yesterday was among many residents happy to see him go. “I locked the gates to try and stop it going into the backyard because otherwise he poops on the clothesline,” Ms Smith said. The black rooster with the fiery red comb yesterday met its match. Chookzilla didn’t go down without a fight, but in the end the two Newcastle City Council rangers sent to evict him cornered him against a fence and captured him. He was taken to the Newcastle pound, where he’s on death row unless claimed by his owner.”

Facebook “stalker” was a 12-year-old girl: “A mother’s fear that her 12-year-old daughter was being stalked by a paedophile on Facebook sparked an in-depth, almost month-long investigation involving the Australian Federal Police. But police have been left dumbfounded by the discovery that the person who harassed and sent pornographic images to the girl via the site was another 12-year-old girl. Earlier this month this website reported that a Sydney mother of three, her daughter and daughter’s friends had been subjected to a two-week ordeal at the hands of a Facebook stalker, but had been unable to get the social networking company to act. The mother reported the matter to police. The case was dropped this week by police after finding the stalker was another girl.”

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

Facebook-fed plant killed by kindness

September 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crazy!

An Australian plant fed via Facebook has given proof to the adage “killing with kindness”, with its fans on the site literally loving it to death, researchers said.

A real plant called “Meet Eater” is watered when Facebook users become fans and post on its wall, in an interactive project at Queensland state library that aims to explore the emotions involved in using social media.

Creator Bashkim Isai said he had wanted to see whether people could care enough about a plant seen on Facebook to keep it alive, and had been overwhelmed by the response.

Since its unveiling two months ago, Isai said Meet Eater had attracted more than 5,000 fans from across the world — including a five-fold spike in the past fortnight — literally drowning it with love.

“We found that it’s been over-loved, it’s actually died two times from having too much stimulation, which is an interesting outcome for us,” said Isai, a Queensland University student in interactive design.

Visitors to its Facebook page can watch live footage of Meet Eater, now in its third incarnation. They are invited to boost its water rations by becoming a fan, or can give Meet Eater a squirt of water by writing on its wall.

“There have been some people who are very proactive with the plant’s engagement who maintain conversations with the plant over some weeks,” he told AFP.

“But there are a very large number of people who just come on there, say hello and then do nothing more, they don’t really have an interest in continuing.”

People are able to feed the plant by visiting the project at the Queensland library and literally stroking its fronds or soil, which Isai said would prompt it to “croon and purr” through a sound box. It weeps if left too long without attention.

Isai, 22, said Meet Eater’s third incarnation was a “much more water tolerant” plant species and he had adjusted the automatic programme to lower the water levels.

He said the research showed meaningful connections could be made online, but also some “needs and responses” could not be met via computers.

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Hands on learning? “The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex. The genitalia-washing program is part of a larger $12-million UCLA study examining how to better encourage Africans to undergo voluntary HIV testing and counseling – however, only the penis-washing study received money from the 2009 economic stimulus law. The washing portion of the study is set to end in 2011.”

Is he serious about you? As long as his eyes stay on your face…not your body: “Women searching for a husband should focus on their cosmetics rather than their clothing, it seems. Research shows that men wanting a serious relationship look for a pretty face, while those only interested in a one-night stand are drawn to a curvaceous figure. It is thought that a woman’s face tells a man more about her age, and thus her longterm family prospects, making it an invaluable source of information for someone ready to settle down. A young woman has the potential to provide a large family over many years, making her ideal wife material. A curvy body, in contrast, is a sign of a fertile woman, which say the researchers, is attractive to men looking for flings. This is because it presents them with the chance to spread their seed as widely as possible, boosting their odds of passing their genes on to the next generation, and they do not mind the age of the woman.”

Is this Casper the friendly ghost? CCTV captures spooky apparition in Cumbria pub that used to be funeral parlour: “When a Cumbrian landlord was spooling though his CCTV footage, a chill went down his spine and he turned white, as though he had seen a ghost. Well, Andrew Batemen, believes he had, indeed, seen a ghost. In a bizarre 35-second sequence, recorded in the middle of the night at The Wolfe Pub, Penrith, a Casper-the-Ghost-like ball of light is seen descending through the ceiling. Its outline pulsates as it moves around and at one point part of the shape appears to reach out and quickly move across a table as though polishing it. The ghostly image then appears to assume the likeness of a face before disappearing through the ceiling.”

Who was the man behind this amazing Roman mask?: “A Roman bronze helmet complete with face-mask – thought to be one of only three of its kind to be found in Britain – has been discovered by a metal detector enthusiast in Cumbria. The helmet, with its enigmatic and virtually intact features, would have been worn, possibly with colourful streamers attached to the object, as a mark of excellence by Roman soldiers at cavalry sport parades. The helmet has a never-seen-before griffin crest, which, with the object’s hair, would have been a golden bronze colour, contrasting with the polished white-metal surface of the face mask. Christie’s described the find as an ‘extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith’. Arrian of Nicomedia, a Roman provincial governor under Hadrian, suggested, in an appendix to his military series Ars Tactica, that Romans wore the helmets as a mark of rank or excellence in horsemanship.”

Women ‘more attracted to relaxed men’: “Men who operate at high levels of stress not only risk having poor health, they may also be damaging their love lives, according to research released today. Women, researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland found, are more attracted to calm, collected guys with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol coursing through their systems, than men who are chronically amped. The team of researchers gathered healthy young men from the university and measured their cortisol and testosterone levels. Heterosexual female students were asked to rate the men on their masculinity, health and attractiveness. As to what is so attractive about the less-stressed out males, the researchers theorize their relaxed airs suggests they have “strong” genes and can handle stressful situations – a desirable trait to pass on to offspring.”

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

Lucky crash

September 15, 2010 at 10:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This goes back a ways but I missed it at the time so maybe many readers here did too. The photo below is of an accident that occurred in Utah on State route 59 near Hurricane city on 30 December, 2006 — in which the driver of 1991 GMC pickup slid off the road onto the right shoulder, overcorrected when he turned back to the left, and crossed over the opposite lane of the highway before crashing though a barrier above a drainage culvert, and coming to rest facing opposite his original direction of travel.

You can see where the driver broke through the guardrail, on the right side of the culvert, where the people are standing on the road, pointing. The pick-up was traveling about 75 mph from right to left
when it crashed through the guardrail.

It flipped end-over-end bounced off and across the culvert outlet,
and landed right side up on the left side of the culvert, facing the opposite direction from which the driver was traveling.

The 22-year-old driver and his 18-year-old passenger were unhurt except for minor cuts and bruises. But if you think that was lucky, see the picture at the end of today’s postings, a zoomed out version of the picture above.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

California doctor carves name into woman’s uterus: “A California doctor is being sued for branding his patient’s uterus with her name after removing it. Dr Red Alinsod applied an “electrocautery device to carve and burn” Ingrid Paulicivic’s first name into her removed uterus during an operation he performed at his Orange County office in 2009, The Smoking Gun said. Dr Alinsod called the unusual act a “friendly gesture,” since the patient was a “good friend”. He told the website he “did not want to get it confused with others”. Ms Paulicivic denies knowing the gynecologist prior to the hysterectomy, although, she said she was acquainted with a receptionist in the office. The medical negligence lawsuit says the labelling had “no medically necessary purpose or reason,” and called it “inexcusably bizarre behaviour”. [Sounds like he was “high” on something, which could be a real worry]

Homosexual couple pay Indian women $80k for surrogate babies: “A gay couple in Cairns are so desperate to have children they are paying two women in India $300 for every day of pregnancy to give birth to the couple’s surrogate babies. The money paid by the Cairns couple will be equivalent to more than 10 years’ wages for each of the women. The couple announced the impending arrival of their babies – due to be born in January – on Facebook. The couple said they had faced significant hurdles in organising the surrogate pregnancies. They refused to be identified or comment further.”

US farmer fined $5K for growing too many vegetables: “An American farmer was facing up to $5000 in fines after officials cited him for growing too many vegetables on his property. According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, DeKalb County officials claim Steve Miller violated local zoning laws by growing too many crops on his land. Mr Miller, of Clarkston, Georgia, said he has had his two-acre piece of property rezoned and vowed to fight the allegations, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. County officials began ticketing Mr Miller last year for the alleged violations and for having “unpermitted employees” on his property, the report said. The farmer told the station he has spent the last 15 years growing crops that he puts up for sale at local markets. “It’s a way of life, like it’s something in my blood,” Mr Miller told WSB.”

Dopey burglar caught after leaving phone at victim’s house… and then texting police to get it back: “If there were a burglar’s handbook, chapter one would warn against leaving evidence behind. It would also probably use Anthony Gawthrop as a case study for what can happen if you ignore this basic rule. The 24-year-old managed to drop his mobile phone at a house in Cambridge where he stole a laptop. Not realising his error, he later contacted police to report his phone missing – shortly before they found it at the crime scene, checked the photos it contained, and recognised him from his three previous convictions for house-breaking.”

Court approves surgery for teenage girl to have two testicles removed: “A court has approved surgery for a 14-year-old girl to remove two testicles. The parents of the girl, known in the case as “Sally”, had to apply to the Family Court for permission for the surgery after they discovered their daughter had a rare XY genotype, which meant she did not have a uterus but had two male gonads. The court heard Sally had been an apparently healthy girl until she turned 11 and discovered two lumps, one of which was in her abdomen, and had other gender issues. Family Court judge Justice Peter Murphy said he took into account Sally’s desire to have the surgery and also approved other procedures to confirm her gender.”

I’m betting the driver went to church the Sunday following. Incident confirmed by Snopes

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

The Prime Minister of Italy is in good form

September 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says young women should follow the money when looking for a partner, noting that women seem to like him and “I’m loaded”.

Berlusconi, who was embroiled in a sex scandal last year and is known for his gaffes, also raised eyebrows with a joke about Hitler’s followers urging him to return to power.

The billionaire businessman appeared at a convention on Sunday of the youth wing of his People of Freedom party. When questioned by one of his cabinet ministers – a woman – he joked about marriages of convenience, saying women were lining up for him because “I’m a nice guy” and “I’m loaded”.

He also recalled a much-criticised TV interview he once gave, when “I said to a girl to look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic.” He also claimed women favour older men, thinking that “he’s old. He dies and I inherit.”

The 73-year-old Berlusconi was engulfed in a sex scandal last year over his purported dalliances with young women, including an escort. Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario said last year she was seeking a divorce. They are now separated. The media baron has said he is “no saint” but denied ever paying for sex.

Berlusconi often gets criticised for his earthy sense of humour, and this time an opposition political demanded he apologise to Italy’s Jewish community for his Hitler joke. Before telling it, he said “I already know I am going to be criticised.”

Berlusconi, who claims prosecutors have led corruption investigations against him because they are left-wing, also appeared to be poking fun at himself when commenting on the loss of his AC Milan football team on Saturday. He contended the referee robbed the team of three goals and that Milan often gets “leftist referees”.

Original story here

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Trailer trash enraged over how his wife cooked his breakfast. Kills her and four others: “A row over how his eggs had been cooked for breakfast is thought to have led a man to kill his wife, stepdaughter and three neighbours. Stanley Neace went on a rampage with a shotgun while in his pyjamas in a trailer park in the rural east of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Police officer Jody Sims said Neace, 47, killed his victims in two mobile homes before shooting himself at his home on Saturday. Neighbours said Neace stormed across the lawns of about seven homes and fired dozens of shots from a 12-gauge pump shotgun. Sherri Anne Robinson, a relative of two of the victims, said witnesses told her that Neace became enraged when his wife, Sandra, 54, did not cook his breakfast to his liking.” Mrs Robinson says Neace had never appeared threatening to her, but that he was known to have a violent history.”

And the country with the world’s biggest chocolate bar is … Armenia!: “When one thinks of the world centres in the art of chocolate-making the countries that spring to mind are Belgium and Switzerland. But Armenia? The tiny country sandwiched between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Georgia has just produced the world’s biggest chocolate bar. The Grand Candy factory in Yerevan, the capital of the former republic of the Soviet Union, unveils the 9,702lb monster. Guinness World Record’s representative Elizabeth Smith presented the factory owner Karen Vardanyan with an official certificate during a ceremony today. She said she was glad to witness what she described as an ‘incredible event’. Ms Vardanyan said that the chocolate bar was produced to mark the tenth anniversary of the company.”

Newborn baby dumped in a plane toilet bin — but survives: “Airport cleaners tidying up an aircraft that had landed in Manila were shocked to find a new-born baby boy in a toilet’s rubbish bin today. A search has now begun for the mother, who investigators are convinced gave birth in the toilet as the Gulf Air jet flew to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia. Doctors at the international airport rushed to the plane and began checking the new-born baby and decided that he was in good health.”

France: African “Father” of 55 children arrested in benefits scam: “A Paris man who registered 55 children by 55 different mothers faces up to 10 years in jail and fines for suspected paternity fraud and for helping to obtain residency under false pretences, police said on Friday. The 54 year-old of African origin, who authorities did not identify, was arrested in his two-room flat in Paris during a police raid which yielded documents showing more than 50 people were registered as living at that address. Police suspect the man was involved in a social benefits scam which could have been costing the state over 1 million euros ($1.27 million) annually in claims by the mothers.”

Japanese popular art invades the Palace of Versailles: “From a big-bosomed French maid to a Pepsi-guzzling monster, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s outlandish manga visions overwhelm the Chateau of Versailles, and not everyone is happy. Unbelievably, his metal, fibreglass and acrylic sculptures manage to dominate the vast chambers of Versailles, with their marbled walls, gold leaf capitals and celestial ceiling frescoes. But while French monarchists have denounced as “illegal” the exhibition in the rococo splendour of Louis XIV’s monument to absolute power, the artist himself says that he is quite used to what he calls “Murakami-bashing.” But the man sometimes billed as the new Andy Warhol, thanks to his art “factory” outside Tokyo that churns out thousands of works, admits competing with the Sun King was “probably the most complex exhibition that I’ve done.”

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

Corporate crook gets a few surprises in jail

September 13, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rodney Adler, who grew up in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, had a rough time in jail. The disgraced business man, who is trying to rebuild his lost fortune by telling businesses how to operate ethically and avoid corporate crime, was terrified he would be sexually assaulted or attacked.

He realised the inmates knew precisely who he was. He felt targeted. But, Adler, who was jailed over the collapse of insurance giant HIH, quickly learned his biggest problem was not with the inmates but the jail wardens who he says made his time behind bars difficult.

“I believe the Department of Corrective Services held a considerable number of HIH shares in their superannuation fund and the loss that this fund sustained was translated into treating me poorly,” he said. “I was constantly moved and enjoyed the courtesy of eight prisons.

“In jail there are four things you don’t want to be: high-profile, perceived as wealthy, Jewish and educated. I won the superfecta.”

Adler says that during his more than two years in jail he was not sexually assaulted. “I was worried about that, but I wasn’t sexually assaulted – not at all,” he said.

But he lived in fear as fellow inmates frequently took condoms from vending machines. “I kept seeing these big, burly men going to the condom machine and taking one or two every day,” he said. “I lived in fear that their use would involve me.”

“One day I worked up the courage to ask a big Tongan man who I had become moderately friendly with and said timidly, ‘Excuse me, bro,’ because everyone is bro in jail. ‘I see you’re taking a condom every day, and I cannot believe that you would be using it as is the intention – you don’t seem that sort of guy and I am confused.’ ”

Adler was told the inmates were discarding the condom and using the lubricant as hair gel. “The jail population is quite poor and they would prefer not to spend their limited money on hair gel when it can be retrieved from the condom packet – thank goodness,” he said. “I had no idea; I’ve never had the need to use a condom in my life.”

Adler also insisted that he had never lost faith in God while in prison.

Original story here

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Those who marry in haste DO repent at leisure: “It’s a well-known piece of traditional wisdom – and now an academic study has shown that couples who rush into marriage really are more likely to split up. Researchers who tracked the relationships of 168 couples over 14 years found that those who had the shortest courtships were more likely to split up than those who had spent an extended period of time together before they married. In his study, published in the US journal Personal Relationships, ­Professor Huston concludes that ‘the central task of courtship is for the two partners to make a sound choice, to be drawn into marriage for reasons that will prove out over the long haul. Professor Huston, who has been married for 36 years, said the seeds of divorce could often be detected from the beginning of a relationship. ‘The courtships and marriages that are successful are the “best friend” ones, the ones that are slow and steady and unfold over time.

Women go for looks too: “Women have criticised men for being overly concerned with good looks and sex appeal. But a new survey shows that the ladies can be just as shallow. A national study of 2800 women found that the characteristics they secretly find most desirable in a man are sex appeal, physical attractiveness and masculinity, along with shared similar interests, beliefs and values. Derek Jones, managing director of D&M Research, which did the study, said the intention of the survey was to unearth qualities women find attractive in a man, but won’t admit to. “Women rarely nominate physical attraction when asked what they want in a male partner but clearly it is important to them even if they are not necessarily that open about it,” he said.”

Another car goes for a swim: “A man had to rescue two women trapped and screaming in their sinking car after it ploughed into his pool. The electric windows failed once the car hit the water but the driver’s window was down a couple of centimetres. Mr Sclater and a neighbour managed to pull the window outward from the frame before snapping it to free the panicked women. “I had to smash the drivers’ side window to pull them out. “It was just lucky the car didn’t roll upside down and the front of the car landed in the shallow end. Both women, 28 and 23, were taken to Gold Coast Hospital with minor injuries.” [Lesson: Avoid electric windows]

From the rough to the smooth: “Gemma Arterton [above], the A-List star has said she had to remake herself to kickstart her career in movies. The 24-year-old actress – who grew up in Gravesend, Kent – admits she had a tough upbringing and had to learn to be “posh” while studying acting at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). She said: “I was quite rough when I was younger. I had an attitude. And at RADA they just said, ‘It doesn’t match your casting,’ so I had to learn to be posh in a way. “I’ve had problems with people thinking I’m common and making judgements. It really angers me, it’s terrible, but people do. So you have to adapt, otherwise you’ll be limited.”

Police impound two cars off one dumb driver overnight: “Police have impounded two vehicles from one man overnight after catching him drink-driving without a licence in both vehicles. Police involved in Operation Unite, a national crackdown on alcohol-fuelled behaviour, stopped a Ford Falcon in suburban Subiaco about 9pm last night. The driver failed a breath test and was charged with being unlicensed, driving under the influence of alcohol, and possession of a prohibited drug and weapon. The car was impounded for 28 days before the man was bailed around midnight. But two hours later, police stopped the same driver – again in Subiaco. This time he was at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer. The driver again failed a breath test and was again charged with unlicensed driving. That car also was impounded.”

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

Friday prayers stop the traffic

September 12, 2010 at 10:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Muslims praying in the street but where? Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Somalia or Yemen? No. It’s in New York City on Madison Avenue. It happens once a year

More pics here.

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Belgian jail tells barrister ‘babes’ to remove their bras: “Angry female lawyers have complained that bored Belgian prison guards are forcing them to remove their bras by pretending that metal wiring and clasps in their underwear is setting off security scanners. Guards at Hasselt jail insist that the metal detectors used for their security checks on all visitors are so sensitive that even bras can set the scanners beeping. Joseph Rowies, a representative of criminal barristers in the Flemish city, stressed that while women lawyers have no problem with the security checks they had spotted that the prettier the visitor, the more sensitive the scanner became. “The metal detection checks seem very difficult to carry out when a pretty, young lawyer or visitor reports to the prison gate. And then it becomes a little something to amuse the guards.”

Truck full of pig manure explodes in Germany: “A Dutch tanker truck carrying 20 tons of pig manure exploded in the German city of Cologne, splattering a number of houses and cars, the ANP news agency reported on Thursday. The manure had become too warm, creating too much pressure in the tank and eventually bursting a glass panel, local fire officials said. The manure was sprayed over a large area. Some 30 firefighters were involved in the cleanup operation and some houses will have to be repainted. The Netherlands exported some 700,000 tons of manure last year, 80% of which went to Germany.”

Chilean illusionists stage amazing levitation for over EIGHT HOURS: “A pair of Chilean twins have broken the world levitation record by hovering above the ground for an extraordinary 200 minutes. Nicolas Luisetti and John Paul Olhaberry staged the event in Chile’s capital Santiago to mark the country’s 200th anniversary. The magic twins stunned thousands of passers-by as they floated above the city’s streets for over eight hours. Their only visible support was a post which each had one hand placed on. The feat, which involved the pair levitating seven metres above the ground, was broadcast on a giant screen as traffic was brought to standstill. The crowd gathered below suggested a number of different explanations for how the twins may have carried out the stunt, including having some sort of iron bar through their clothing and attached to the pole.”

Amazing survival: 3 weeks adrift: “Benedict Jor was fishing alone for tuna between two islands when a wind shift swept his tiny runabout out to sea. The 20-year-old sheltered under banana leaves and survived on coconuts and rain water he caught in a small container as he drifted helplessly in the St Andrew Strait north of New Britain island. Miraculously he was spotted by a deck hand from ANL Wangaratta – a container ship carrying electrical goods from China to Melbourne – about 350 nautical miles off the coast. Having endured lashing rain, tropical sun and more than three weeks at sea Mr Jor’s jubilation almost turned to despair when the wake of the passing ship tossed him into the water. A spokesman for ANL Wangaratta said he was “dead lucky” to be found floating in a shipping channel about midday on September 2.”

Woman, 21, owes $32,000 in parking fines: “A Geelong woman racked up a whopping $32,105 in warrants after ignoring 152 parking fines from the City of Greater Geelong, a court heard. Melissa Jaworski, 21, has agreed to pay the fines at $150 each fortnight, meaning she will be in debt to the court for almost 12 years, the Geelong Advertiser reports. Mary Foley, for Jaworski, told Geelong Magistrates’ Court that the sheriff had also agreed to let Jaworski convert some of the warrants to community work orders, allowing her to do unpaid work on weekends in blocks of 81 hours. “There is some $30,000 owing, the price of a car and she has not got the money to pay,” Ms Foley said.”

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

Man and dog

September 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An ancient relationship

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

From sandwich shop to medal of honor: “The first living service member to receive a Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan risked his life by braving enemy fire to rescue a comrade who had been captured by Taliban fighters. On Oct. 25, 2007, Giunta – who was serving as a rifle team leader – and his squad were ambushed by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Giunta and his comrades fought back against the enemy position with grenades as they tried to reconnect with the separated soldiers, and when Giunta saw two of the insurgents dragging a wounded Sgt Brennan down a hill, he braved enemy fire and ran after them. Giunta shot at the Taliban fighters, killing one. He was able to reach Sgt Brennan and provide medical care. Sgt Giunta reportedly felt the pull of the military when he heard an Army radio commercial while working at a Subway sandwich shop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

Playboy bunny tries to exit jet in mid-flight: “A PLAYBOY centerfold tried to bust out – midair – from a jet amid a bad case of high anxiety. Model Tiffany Livingston [above], 21, was aboard JetBlue Flight 522 from Orlando, Florida, to Newark, New Jersey, yesterday when she bolted from her seat and tried to open the door of the plane, a law-enforcement official told the New York Post. “She said she’s gone through this before, but never this bad, and didn’t have … her medication,” one source said. Livingston was detained and placed in federal custody, with charges pending, last night. Last year, Livingston, a brunette from Merrimac, Rhode Island, was featured as the centerfold for the debut edition of VIP, the Singapore version of Playboy, in which she was described as “not just another pretty face”.”

Giant goldfish: “A GIANT goldfish, weighing almost 14kg, that had evaded fishermen for six years, has finally been caught. Fisherman Raphael Biagini, 30, took 10 minutes to reel the giant orange koi carp, which weighs the same as an average three-year-old girl, from a lake in the south of France. The fish, too large for any bowl, is thought to be one of the largest of its kind ever captured.”

Couple spend $25,000 to save family cat: “A Melbourne moggy is a $25,000 medical miracle. Il Gato has twice died on the operating table – and twice been brought back to life by a desperate vet who massaged his heart until it began beating again. The cat has survived delicate brain surgery and life-threatening encephalitis, meningitis and two apparently fatal heart attacks. Yet he remains purring proof that some cats really can have nine lives. The former street stray’s devoted owners drew on their house deposit savings, cancelled plans for an overseas holiday and have delayed parenthood to pay their pampered pet’s vet bills. Charmion Phillips, 35, has given up her job as a scientific photographer to stay at home to be a full-time carer to the five-year-old tabby.”

Texas woman has world’s largest breast implants removed: “Sheyla Hershey’s fight to save her M cup breast implants came to an end yesterday, as she underwent surgery in Richmond, Texas, to have them removed. Hershey – who was trying to achieve fame for having the largest breasts in the world and has had over 30 plastic surgeries – was plagued by severe infections and high fevers after her most recent implant surgery in Brazil in June 2010. Because implants as large as Hershey’s are illegal in the US, the Brazilian-born Houston, resident went to her home country earlier this year for the surgery. But after the operation, Hershey became seriously ill and has since been closely monitored by a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Ron Bucek, and an infectious disease expert, Dr. Shazia Gill.”

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

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