Irritating language I want to see banned. Literally

December 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Comment from Australia

New Year is about resolutions, and I have long kept to mine, which is not to make any. Instead, I prefer to wish the spirit of gentle resolution onto others in the hope they will, by osmosis, absorb my thoughts and act accordingly. Enter my hero of the year, John Rentoul, of The Independent, who drew up a list of key words and phrases he wants banned – a wish more likely to be ignored by the masses but, perhaps, observed by a few. In the same spirit, here is my A-Z of words and phrases to avoid in 2012.

A: A-List. This persistent term, even worse than the “movers and shakers” it replaced, has become the national noun for the people you invite first, who could be the most popular, socially noticeable or of-the-moment arrivistes. Just as bad is “A-lister”.

B: Brave – as in “brave high temperatures” (see R); also in the sense of heroism. Despite public sentiment, not everyone can be a hero. Thus cats stuck up trees are not heroic but silly for getting themselves in such a predicament.

C: Crescendo. In music, this indicates a gradual increase in volume or intensity. Therefore, you cannot “reach a crescendo”, as it is something that is in the process of being reached.

D: Deliver. Bakers and milkmen deliver (well, they used to); strategies, let alone key ones, are decided and implemented. Deliverance is usually by corporate email.

E: End of story. Or “End of stor-ee!” as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong says at the end of High Society. Nowadays, the phrase is used by anyone keen to finish a dispute: “That’s my parking space, not yours. End of story.” Calculated only to further enrage.

F: Fighting – as in “fighting for one’s life”. In truth, and however courageous this makes one seem, any fighting (or “battling”) is done strictly by a combination of doctors and drugs acting on one’s behalf.

G: Grim – as in “the grim search for bodies”. We know it’s not exactly delightful, but do we need to be reminded?

H: Hot – or “hottest”, or “what’s hot and what’s not”. The use of hot should be tempered to matters of temperature, not manufactured enthusiasm for something that’s momentarily popular. The same applies to “cool”.

I: In actual fact. A tautology, and used more than you would imagine.

J: Just got a whole lot better. Usually prefixed with “Suddenly …”, and used to indicate a significant development that has either improved the nozzle-velocity of toothpaste or increased flights between Melbourne and Devonport.

K: Knights of old and their Ladies – as in “Lady Susan Renouf” or similar. One of the all-time howlers. Susan Renouf, who happened to be married to a man who was knighted (the late Sir Frank Renouf), should be called Lady Renouf or Lady (Susan) Renouf. As The Age’s stylebook makes clear, the only ladies who can use their first name next to their Lady without parentheses are daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls. It does not apply to the wives, or widows, of knights.

L: Literally – as in She Literally Exploded, a book from The Daily Telegraph devoted to such linguistic cataclysms. I literally split my sides, but they’re on the mend.

M: Moving forward. The only thing about this wretched phrase is that it continues to, rather than move, creep its way along. It should be obliterated, like Louis the Fly, or, at the very least, treated with derision: every time someone uses it (or “going forward”), loud laughter should ensue.

N: New – as in something being the new something else. Black and white, 50 and 75, sumac and saffron (among countless others) have individual qualities and are, therefore, non-comparative in terms of popularity. Although, I must say, some hues have fallen from grace so effectively they can’t be compared with anything. For example, whatever happened to that peculiar shade known in the theatre as “bugger’s mauve”?

O: On – as in Australia on Collins. We live in Melbourne, not New York. The same applies to such ludicrous transplants as Upper West Side or Tribeca, which makes as much sense as renaming Broadway as St Kilda Road.

P: Possessives – as with the rash of book titles, such as Voltaire’s Coconuts, Flaubert’s Parrot, Shmith’s Cat, etc. This is but one example of the imitative nature of publishing and journalism, where such devices, if unchecked, can rage on for years. For example, when a story involves more than three people, out comes the Peter Greenaway effect, first used in his film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, but freely adapted to vicars and models.

Q: Or Qanda, as the ABC’s supposedly political chat-show, Q&A, has become. All those distracting Twitter messages have turned it into subtitles for the inane.

R: Rain failed to dampen their spirits. One of the worst fabrications in all journalism, which confuses people’s intentions to be at an outdoor event entirely regardless of the weather with the notion that, somehow, rain, snow or sleet might in any way put them off going. Also, how do journalists calibrate the general mood of, say, a grand final crowd? Do they ask each one, “Did rain dampen your spirits today?”

S: Suite – of ideas, thoughts, or anything other than nutcrackers or furniture.

T: Traditional. In frequent use at this time of year – everything from traditional Christmas puddings to traditional New Year’s Eve at Lorne – but also pasted on as a prefix to any item remotely associated with festive or national significance to make it synonymous with patriotism.

U: Uncertain future. Just as there is no thing as a functional family, a certain future does not, and cannot, exist. I could say I am crossing the editorial floor at The Age, intending to make the tea, only to be thwarted by a giant Monty Python foot crushing me into the carpet tiles. In truth, no future is certain; all futures are uncertain.

V: Vale. It is a peculiarly Australian habit to use this archaic word (it originally meant farewell) to let people know that someone has died. Thus: “Vale Steve Jobs”. It is also an old-fashioned word for valley, as in the Vale of York, or the vale of tears – in my case, accompanied by frenzied wailing whenever I see “vale” atop an obituary.

W: Winter wonderland. Originally a Christmas song, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard with lyrics by Richard B. Smith, but now almost universal in its use as a headline on any travel article concerning skiing, Scandinavia or St Petersburg at minus 15. Google has about 96 million results for “winter wonderland”, of which 79 million are headings from newspapers.

X: As in Gen X, Y, Z or any other letter (disclosure: mine is Gen OF, for Old Fart).

Y: Years – pronounced not to rhyme with “ears”, but “eeze”, as so many broadcasters have it. The same people who think “vunrable” does not have more than one “l”.

Z: Zero tolerance. Something the Word Police will have, when formed under my dictatorship. Severe mandatory penalties will apply. End of story.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

Whales attack sharks: “The sharks had been swimming close to the shore on Boxing Day at the Blue Cliffs Beach in Tuatapere, New Zealand as the orcas – also known as killer whales – stalked them through the sea. Moments later the hungry whales sent the feared fish scattering through the waves as they sprung their assault. In a spectacular display of natural predators at work, the whales herded the sharks toward the shore to force them into shallow waters. One shark desperate to escape from the enormous beasts even beaches itself on the sand. It is seen desperately flapping around in a bid to escape the whales, which were unable to move onto the sand. The incredible feeding frenzy was captured on film by residents who said they had never seen a display of such aggression from the orcas.”

Embarrassing eye chart: “This is the moment a serious nightly news show inadvertently used crude English language abbreviations and internet slang – on an eye chart. Hopefully, not all viewers in Norway would have been familiar with the meanings – but those who were would not have believed their eyes when confronted by a segment on optical treatment for pensioners on news show Dagsrevyen. The spot featured two newsreaders flanking a graphic of an eye chart whose top most visible letters read down as ‘OMG’ and ‘WTF’. The amusing moment has now sparked an internet sensation with online aficionados pointing out what the well-known combinations of letters mean. OMG is often used in ‘text-speak’ and internet slang for the Paris Hilton-like saying ‘Oh My God’ whereas WTF is the shortening of the more offensive exclamation ‘What The F***’. Below those abbreviations was also the even more offensive STFU – which means ‘Shut The F*** up’. And below that was the phrase PWN3D – cyber-slang for ‘owned’ – meaning somebody has been miserably defeated.”

Shortage of grasshopper snacks in Uganda: “STANDING in the glare of a 250 watt light bulb in the yard of his uncle’s house, Hilary Turyamugumya peers hopefully into the night sky in search of grasshoppers. “Every evening I first pray for there to be power – and then I pray that the grasshoppers will come,” he says. Stripped of their wings and fried with onions, grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda’s central region – gobbled up by the handful and washed down with beer in bars around Kampala. This time of year should be peak season for the insect catchers but Turyamugumya – who uses bright lights to attract the flying insects before disorientating them with smoke and trapping them in disused oil drums – says that business is tough. “The problem has been power, it is on and off. Like last night, the whole night it was off,” Turyamugumya, 33, says.”

Man, 99, dumps wife over 70-year-old affair: “A 99-YEAR-old man is set to unofficially enter the record books after filing for divorce from his wife of 77 years in Rome this week. The man, known in court papers only as Antonio C, is divorcing his wife Rosa C, 96, over an affair she had in the 1940s. The affair went undiscovered for more than 50 years until Antonio was browsing through a chest of drawers at the couple’s home just days before Christmas. According to lawyers he uncovered a trove of Rosa’s love letters dating back to the affair which occurred about ten years after they were married. Antonio immediately demanded a divorce after a regretful Rosa came clean about the affair. Although more than half a century has passed since the infidelity, and they had five children and a dozen grandchildren together, Antonio was determined to call it quits. The Italian press have attributed the separation to the couple’s southern blood – he is originally from Olbia in Sardinia, while his wife was born in Naples. They met when Antonio was posted to Naples as a young carabinieri officer in the 1930s.”

Tour of ‘most hated place in Britain’ a surprise hit: “The M25 has been voted the most hated place in Britain by listeners of Radio 4, and frequently features in polls of the country’s worst places to drive. Yet one enterprising tour operator has decided to challenge prevailing perceptions by offering a coach tour right around it. Brighton & Hove, a coach operator based in Sussex, feels that this 117-mile (188 kilometres) stretch of motorway is something worth celebrating. It is now offering a new journey around the London Orbital, a trip it feels will appeal to “lovers of modern coach travel”. The tour was originally planned only for October next year but has proved so popular with customers that the operator has just announced an extra date in March. Sights on the tour, which travels up the A23 and M23 from Brighton before joining the M25 at Junction 7, include urban landmarks such Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Five, Lakeside Shopping Centre, and the “magnificent” Dartford river crossing.”

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

It pays to advertise

December 30, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment





Odd news from around the world

British Police farce: “David Cameron’s local police force is the most crime-hit in Britain, new figures revealed today. Thames Valley Police, which is responsible for the PM’s Witney constituency, has itself been the victim of 90 separate crimes over the past three years. The force suffered 88 thefts from patrol cars and two from its police stations. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act also revealed that an average of nearly one police station or patrol car in England and Wales is broken into or firebombed every day. Between 2008 and 2011, brazen thieves stole officers’ boots, helmets, CCTV cameras, cash, ink cartridges, a wheelbarrow, a Union Jack flag, a sword and even a bottle of cider. Greater Manchester Police was the second most crime-hit force with 45 thefts from its patrol cars and ten burglaries from its stations. Arsonists have also set fire to eight of the force’s police stations.”

Snake tries to suffocate Australian toddler: “A TODDLER has survived a snake attack in his backyard after neighbours rushed to pull a python off the boy as it tried to suffocate him. The boy’s mother told of her terror as she saw the python coiled around the two-year-old and trying to suffocate him. The woman was sitting on her porch when her youngest son moved off to chase after a ball about 7.45pm on Monday. “Then I heard this blood curdling scream,” she said. “The snake was biting his leg and was wrapped around his whole body, to his chest. It started constricting.”

Man wins $195,000 on Lotto the same day his father wins: “LUCK must run in the family for a Brisbane man who won a first division lottery prize the same day as his father. Both men won more than $195,000 each after they both used family birthdays as numbers for their Saturday entry. The Bayside man, who asked that he not be named, said when he told his fiancee she insisted he tell the rest of the family. “It was only then that I remembered Dad plays Lotto with the same numbers as me, so he must have won division one as well,” the man said. “When I called Dad he had no idea he was a winner; it was amazing to be able to break the good news.” He said he knows exactly where he plans to spend the money. “We’re getting married early next year, so I have a lot of expenses at the moment,” he said. “We hadn’t planned to go on a honeymoon as we couldn’t afford one, but all that’s changed now.”

Entire day disappears in Samoa: “On December 29, Samoa will move its time zone a day ahead by shifting the international dateline to the east, bringing it into line with neighbouring New Zealand and Australia. The tiny nation will jump forward in time as it crossed westward over the international dateline to align itself with its main trading partners throughout the region. At the stroke of midnight on December 29, the time in Samoa will leap forward to December 31 – New Year’s Eve. For Samoa’s 186,000 citizens, Friday, December 30, 2011, will simply cease to exist. The time-jump comes 119 years after some US traders persuaded Samoan authorities to align their islands’ time with nearby US-controlled American Samoa and the US to assist their trading with California. But the time zone has proved problematic in recent years, putting Samoa nearly a full day behind neighbouring Australia and New Zealand, which are increasingly important trading partners with the island nation.”

British oldster misses Christmas to buy a $15 item: “A British pensioner spent her entire Christmas camped outside a furniture shop so she could buy a chest of drawers for just £10 ($15) when it opened for the sales. Bargain hunter Brenda Adams set up a camping chair outside Silcox Son & Wicks in Kingsmead Square, Bath at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve. The 75-year-old waited until 9am on Wednesday to pick up a chest of drawers reduced from £200 to £10 for her 20-year-old grandson Joshua. She told the Bath Chronicle newspaper: “By my stage of life you’ve seen every type of Christmas going: happy ones, sad ones, interesting ones and boring ones. I just wanted to do something different. When the doors finally opened Adams was joined by a queue of about 50 others. She snapped up the drawers and was out of the shop within 10 minutes. Adams added: “All the staff inside were lovely. It has been a lovely festive period.”

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

These chickens want books

December 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A pair of chickens walk up to the circulation desk at a public library and say, ‘Buk Buk BUK.’ The librarian decides that the chickens desire three books, and gives it to them…and the chickens leave shortly thereafter.

Around midday, the two chickens return to the circulation desk quite vexed and say,’ Buk Buk BuKKOOK!’ The librarian decides that the chickens desire another three books and gives it to them. The chickens leave as before.

The two chickens return to the library in the early afternoon, approach the librarian, looking very annoyed and say, ‘Buk Buk Buk Buk Bukkooook!’ The librarian is now a little suspicious of these chickens. She gives them what they request, and decides to follow them.

She followed them out of the library, out of the town, and to a park. At this point, she hid behind a tree, not wanting to be seen. She saw the two chickens throwing the books at a frog in a pond, to which the frog was saying, “Rrredit Rrredit Rrredit…”



Pix, Pix, Pix

I have once again uploaded a selection of “best” pictures off this blog. The latest selection is from September and October. You can access it here.




Odd news from around the world

All-girl classes at university ‘lead to better grades’ with some saying they are more comfortable without boys in the classroom: “Girls perform better at university when taught in single-sex classes, research suggests. Academics who split their students into three groups – men-only, women-only and mixed – found that the women-only class received considerably higher marks at the end of the year. The girls in the single-sex group said they felt more comfortable and confident in classes without boys. The pilot project was designed to build upon the findings of earlier experiments with school-age pupils that showed girls were more willing to take risks and be competitive after being taught in single-sex groups. For the latest study, University of Essex researchers Dr Patrick Nolen and Professor Alison Booth divided 800 first-year undergraduates into three groups for introductory courses in economics.”

Are the BBC misogynists? “The BBC has come under fire for choosing a panda as one of its Female Faces of 2011. Sweetie is one of a pair of pandas newly installed at Edinburgh Zoo joined 11 other faces on the list, including shot US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, singer Adele and Sarah Burton, who designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. Twitter users accused the BBC of trivialising women’s achievements, with many suggesting alternative names for “#realwomenoftheyear”. Labour MP Stella Creasy said: “Whilst we all love a good panda story, in a year when Christine Lagarde became head of the IMF, or Helle Thorning-Schmidt became prime minister of Denmark or even the sad death of Amy Winehouse, its frustrating the BBC couldn’t think of 12 human female faces who have made the news this year.” The furore comes after, the BBC came under fire last month after its shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year award did not include any women.”

Elephant poo paper? “Elephant poo paper is the brainchild of a push to save nearly 30 giant beasts on death row in Bali. Former Cairns zookeeper Tim Husband heads the project in Indonesia turning hundreds of tonnes of highly-fibrous elephant dung into paper. Most of the 33 elephants at Bali’s Safari and Marine Park had to be rescued at the behest of the Government after they were slated for slaughter. Under the scheme, villagers are employed to cut the grass for the elephants and collect their poo. “One elephant eats about 180kg of grass every day,” said Mr Husband, curator at the park, 40 minutes out of Kuta. “And it produces 100kg of dung a day.” Mr Husband said the pachyderm poo paper was proving to be a big hit with tourists. “This is a way of making work at both ends of the elephant for villagers. And it makes a novel gift for visitors,” he said. One pile of dung makes about 15 sheets of high-quality hand-made paper. “It is a s—ty job but someone has got to do it,” said Mr Husband.”

World’s clearest lake in New Zealand: “A lake at the top of New Zealand’s South Island has some of the clearest water in the world, a study has found. Research by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research shows that the visibility in Blue Lake in the Nelson Lakes National Park is up to 80 metres. The water is considered almost as “optically clear” as distilled water. It surpasses the renowned Te Waikoropupu, or Pupu, Springs in Golden Bay, where visibility of up to 63m has been reported. Water visibility was considered outstanding when it exceeded about 40m, Niwa said. The lake’s clarity might be bettered only by ocean waters such as those in the southeast Pacific near Easter Island. “Blue Lake is characterised by blue-violet hues seen only in the very clearest natural waters,” Niwa said.”

Angler snares deadly fish that killed two men by biting off their testicles: “An intrepid British angler today told how he snared a predator which kills men – by biting off their testicles. Fearless Jeremy Wade, 53, spent weeks hunting for the fish in remote Papua New Guinea after locals reported a mysterious beast which was castrating young fishermen. He finally unmasked the perpetrator as the Pacu fish – known locally as ‘The Ball Cutter’ – and managed to catch one in his small wooden fishing boat. Mr Wade wrestled the 40lb monster on to the floor of his boat and opened its snapping jaws with his naked hands – to discover a jaw-dropping array of human-style teeth. ‘They are like human molars and the fish have powerful jaw muscles. They are very deep bodied and solid like a carp, with strong muscles.’ Pacu fish are usually found in the Amazon, where they need their teeth to crack into the tough cases of nuts and seeds. The previously vegetarian fish were introduced to Papua New Guinea 15 years ago to increase stocks. They quickly used their special technique to chomp meat due to a lack of suitable vegetation in the waters – making short work of human testicles.”

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

I do like to be beside the seaside

December 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Odd news from around the world

How ‘overlooked’ middle children triumph in the end: “According to the stereotype, they are usually overshadowed and overlooked. But middle children are more likely to grow up to become successful and well-adjusted adults, a study has claimed. Far from being apathetic or withdrawn, researchers found that a middle child’s place in the family helps them develop negotiation and communication skills. Psychologist Catherine Salmon claims that middle siblings are more likely to ‘become agents of change in business, politics and science’ – a conclusion that high-profile middle children such as Madonna and Bill Gates would probably support. And they are also more likely to be faithful spouses, have the drive to succeed in the workplace and be motivated by fairness.”

Painted cattle: “With their intricate patterns and bright colours, it is hardly surprising if these curious-looking painted bulls attract close attention. But the reason behind their colourful hides is actually meant to ward off intruders. Artistic residents in Jiangcheng County, Yunnan Province, China decorated their bulls for a festival, but the tradition began from a small Chinese group who believed painting their bulls would protect their village. The Hani minority tale preached that the painted bulls would scare away tigers from wandering into their homes. And this tradition now gives people the perfect excuse to show off their artistic talents. Altogether 48 teams joined this year’s China-Laos-Vietnam Bull Painting Festival. With bright blues, dazzling yellows and splashes of deep red and green, these bulls’ makeover was a bright change from their usual brown or white skin.”

Village of Stilton finally wins right to produce blue cheese that bears its name (so long as it’s called something else!): “Villagers from Stilton in Cambridgeshire are celebrating after a ban on them producing their own famous cheese was lifted, but bizarrely it must be called something else. A ‘ridiculous’ legal ruling in 1996 meant the village’s famous cheese could not be produced in Stilton as it is not in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. However, a new decision means the village’s Bell Inn, which first sold the cheese, has been allowed to produce and sell it to locals again – as long as they don’t call it Stilton. Landlord Liam McGivern, 60, said: ‘This is something to really celebrate. Stilton has come home. ‘It was ridiculous that up until now we couldn’t make Stilton in Stilton. ‘People would come in and ask for it and I’d have to explain we legally couldn’t make it. It was embarrassing.’ One of the pub’s owners in the 18th century, Cooper Thornhill, became the first Englishman to market the cheese.”

Chinese couple sit down to a dinner that glows in the dark: “Diners normally have a choice of light or dark meat when tucking into their traditional turkey at Christmas. And steak lovers who like their cow barely cooked tell restaurant waiters that they like their steak ‘blue’. But for one carnivorous couple in China, their portion of protein provided both options – meat so light that it actually glowed blue in the dark. According to the Global Post website, the couple tucked in to their tasty stir-fry at their home in Sichuan province. It was only after they had hung the remains of the carcass on their kitchen wall for safekeeping that they noticed the meat was emitting a strange, blue glow. The website joked that the meat may have been farmed on land that was once a landfill site. But the more likely cause is a type of fluorescent bacteria.”

Classic car survives 33,000-mile round-the-world trip without a scratch…only to be hit in supermarket car park: “They drove 33,000 miles around the world without mishap in a 55-year-old classic car. But when Geoffrey and Hilary Herdman got back to Britain they found a large dent in the side of the 1956 Bristol 405 Drophead Coupe after leaving it in a Sainsbury’s car park. The retired couple took 16 months to complete the trip they described as a ‘wrinkly gap year’ in the Bristol, of which only 42 were made. The convertible is believed to be worth around £90,000. Mr Herdman said while they were travelling they were constantly warned about the dangers – from theft of the vehicle to kidnap and worse – but other than a few minor repairs, including a couple of punctures, they did not have any problems. ‘The bad thing is when we got back I leave the car in Sainsbury’s car park and find there is a large dent in the nearside front wing. Someone had obviously crocked it parking next to me.’ Mr Herdman finished off the restoration of the Bristol – started by its previous owner – after buying it in 1999 and had it back on the road in 2001.”

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

Do You Have a Vagina?

December 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A woman is at home when she hears someone knock at the door. She goes to the door and opens the door to see a man standing there. He asks the lady ‘Do you have a vagina?’

She slams the door in disgust.

The next morning she hears a knock at the door and it is the same man and he asks the same question of the woman ‘Do you have a vagina’? She slams the door again.

Later that night when her husband gets home she tells him what has happened for the last two days.

The husband tells the wife in a loving and concerned voice ‘Honey I am taking tomorrow off to be home just in case this guy shows up again’.

The next morning they hear a knock at the door and both run for the door. The husband says to the wife in a whispered voice:

‘Honey, I’m going to hide behind the door and listen and if it is the same guy I want you to answer yes to the question because I want to see where the bastard is going with it’

She nods yes to her husband and opens the door. Sure enough the same fellow is standing there and asks the same question. Do you have a vagina’?

‘Yes, actually I have’ she says. The man replies.. ‘Good! Would you mind telling your husband to leave my wife’s alone and start using yours?’




Odd news from around the world

Dopey thief caught after leaving his photo outside the house he burgled: “A drug addict was caught by police after he took a photo of himself on a phone he had stolen, and then dropped it infront of a house he had burgled. Jason Glennon stole the pink Nokia phone and a rucksack from an unlocked car in the Blanchardstown area in Dublin. The 36-year-old then broke into a nearby house, where the owner awoke to find him in the bedroom. As the man chased him out of the house, Glennon threw a PlayStation games console at him, but dropped the stolen rucksack and mobile phone. A month later he was arrested after police identified him using the photo he had taken of himself on the stolen phone. Glennon committed the crime just 24 hours after he had been released from prison after serving a sentence for a similar offence. The Mulhuddart resident pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three burglaries in the Blanchardstown area in June of 2010.”

Interpol launches manhunt for breast implant ‘butcher’: “The man being hunted by police over the breast implant health scandal is a former butcher, it emerged last night. Interpol is searching for Jean-Claude Mas, the 72-year-old founder of Poly Implant Prothese, which sold implants full of industrial silicone to women all over the world – including some 40,000 in the UK. It came as Patrick Baraf, a plastic surgeon in Paris, disclosed further details of Mas’s career. ‘He was a butcher and then he started making breast implants in [the French city of] Toulon,’ said Mr Baraf. PIP went on to become the third biggest company in the global trade in breast implants. Mr Baraf, who said he frequently met Mas at plastic surgery conferences around Europe, described PIP’s prices for implants as ‘unbeatable’. Investigators said the firm saved almost £1million a year by using industrial silicone instead of medical silicone in its implants.”

Cold War satellite secrets finally revealed after nearly 45 years: “For more than a decade they toiled in the strange, boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled with secrets. At one point in the 1970s there were more than 1,000 people in the Danbury area working on ‘The Secret.’ They were engineers, scientists, draftsmen and inventors. It was dubbed ‘Big Bird’ and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth’s atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks. The scale, ambition and sheer ingenuity of Hexagon KH-9 was breathtaking. The fact that 19 out of 20 launches were successful (the final mission blew up because the booster rockets failed) is astonishing.”

Snakes alive!: “A Czech man has been nabbed in Argentina for trying to board a transatlantic flight with 247 live animals including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles packed in a bulging suitcase. The man identified as Karel Abelovsky, 51, was caught while trying to board a flight for Madrid when shocked baggage X-ray technicians and staff at the Iberia Airlines desk at Ezeiza Airport in greater Buenos Aires noticed “organic substances moving inside”, local media reported. When they opened the bag, they found more than 200 reptiles and molluscs, among them nine species of poisonous snakes including South American pitvipers, packed in clear plastic containers. There were also 15 venomous vipers, including two yararas – which can measure up to 1.5 metres – and several young boas. Some of the animals were reported to be extremely rare and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.”

English champagne? “Its popularity has gone from strength to strength. Now English sparkling wine enthusiasts can look forward to the first British fizz to be made by a French champagne maker. Didier Pierson-Whitaker, owner of a grand cru vineyard in the Champagne region, has invested in grape cultivation in Hampshire – a place closely resembling the chalky geology and climate of northern France. The grapes, planted seven years ago, were grown from French rootstocks and bottles of Meonhill are now about to go on sale. The planned release of the first 5,000 bottles follows a dramatic surge in demand for the nation’s domestic bubbly. Marks & Spencer has reported a 70 per cent surge in sales of English sparkling wine in the past year. Waitrose, which is to release its own brand by 2013-14, has seen sales increase by a third.”

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

A New Zealand joke

December 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“Kiwis” is the nickname for New Zealanders. “Eden Park” is a New Zealand football ground.

There are many different pronunciations of English. Cockneys (working class Londoners), for instance, have lost the “th” sound. They say “wif” instead of “with”.

In New Zealand, however, they have lost an entire vowel sound. They have lost the “i” sound so say “fush” instead of “fish”. The story below features an attempt to represent how New Zealanders speak.

The national football team is the “All Blacks” who are in fact mostly white — but are revered nonetheless. A picture of some of the team above. Most New Zealand jokes are about sheep but this one is different

50,000 Kiwis meet in Eden Park for a “Kiwis Are Not Stupid” Convention.

Prime Minister John Key says, “We are all here today to pruv to the world thet Kiwis are not stupid. Ken I hev a volunteer?”

Ritchie McCaw the great All Black gingerly works his way through the crowd and steps up to the stage.

Key asks him, “Rutchie whut uz fufteen plus fufteen?” After fufteen or twinty seconds Ritchie says, “Eighteen!”

Obviously everyone is a little disappointed. Then all 50,000 Kiwis start chanting, “GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE! GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE!”

Key says, “Well, sunce we’ve gone to the trouble of gitting 50,000 of you un one place, end we have the world-wide priss end global broadcast media here, I thunk we ken guv hum anuther chance.”

So he asks, “Whut uz sivven plus sivven?” After nearly suxty seconds he eventually says, “Twunty!”

Key is quite perplexed, looks down and just lets out a dejected sigh and everyone is disheartened.

Ritchie starts crying and the 50,000 Kiwis begin to yell and wave their hands shouting, “GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE! GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE!”

Key, unsure whether or not he is doing more harm than damage, eventually says, “Ok! Ok! Just one more chance.Rutchie, whut uz two plus two?”

Ritchie closes his eyes, and after a whole minute eventually says, “Four!”

Throughout the stadium pandemonium breaks out as all 50,000 Kiwis jump to their feet, wave their arms, stamp their feet and scream:





Odd news from around the world

Christmas magic as little girl’s balloon message finds her a secret Santa: “When five-year-old Helen Berence Reyes Cardenas wrote a Christmas message to Santa, she didn’t really ask for much. With her family struggling financially and unable to afford a big celebration all she wanted was a doll, some clothes and a pair of shoes. So the little girl from Auburn, Washington, attached her frugal Christmas list to two balloons and set it off hoping it would somehow reach Santa in the North Pole. Little did she know that one caring family living on a small ranch almost 700 miles away would soon be making her dreams come true. Julie Sanders and her son discovered the scrap of paper while they were out on their quad bikes near their home in Laytonville, California. She told ABC news: ‘The fact that she asked for a doll, some pants, boots and nothing materialistic, I just knew it was a family in need. So kind-hearted Julie headed to the shops and bought little Helen a few outfits and toys. She addressed the package from Santa and sent it special delivery so it could be under the girl’s tree in time for Christmas.”

What happened to rogue American union leader? “The disappearance of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa remains one of America’s most enduring mysteries. But now, nearly four decades after Hoffa vanished, his driver has claimed he knows where he is buried – and how he got there. Marvin Elkind said Hoffa was killed by a mob enforcer and buried in the foundations of the towering General Motors’ HQ in Detroit, Michigan. ‘It was his own people who did it,’ Mr Elkind said in excerpts of a new book published in the New York Post, adding Mafia member Tony Jack insinuated he was responsible. The startling claim comes 36 years after Hoffa, who led the labour union for 13 years, vanished while on his way to meet two mobsters he knew well, Anthony Provenzano and Tony Jack – real name Anthony Giacalone. The Renaissance Center was under construction when he disappeared. He also describes the rush to build the Renaissance Center following the disappearance of Hoffa – and claims the body was buried in wet cement.”

Windy vegetable: “As if there wasn’t enough hot air passing between relatives this Christmas, we also have to contend with the inevitable expulsion of gas induced by our binge at lunch. But if you want to do your best to avoid any embarassing ‘who dunnit?’ moments, a supermarket has produced a handy table of the most fart-prompting vegetables. The worst offender is the Jerusalem artichoke [also called the sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour], beating, surprisingly, the much-condemned Brussels sprout, which came in third. Second was the parsnip with cabbage in fourth and cauliflower in fifth. A spokesman for Sainsbury’s, which has revealed its ‘top of the pops’ league, said: ‘Winter is an amazing time for colourful, fibrous vegetables that are fantastically healthy, but which have predictable results in the human digestive system. ‘Really it’s the very things that make them good for us – lots of fibre and complex carbohydrates – that are the culprits and it’s a small price to pay for the health benefits.”

UPS as bad as FedEx: “A UPS delivery man was caught on surveillance video flipping the middle finger at the camera before throwing the package roughly on the door step. The worker in question was fired after the video went viral. He was making the delivery to a home in Long Island on December 15. UPS spokeswoman Natalie Godwin said: ‘We don’t tolerate such conduct. And yes, he was fired.’ She said he was a seasonal employee. He was delivering a white box from Zappos. As he cooly strides up the path, he flips the middle finger at the camera before flinging the heavy parcel at the door and walking off. The video was published just days after a video of a Fedex employee heaving a computer monitor over a fence to a southern California home went live. After the FedEx employee’s conduct became a hit on the internet, a company vice president issued his own YouTube video apologizing and promising the delivery employee would no longer work with customers.” [Video at link]

Too much turkey? Dessert may be the cure, Norwegian researchers suggest: “Take two cookies, and call me in the morning. That’s the advice from Norwegian researchers who say a sugary snack can actually ease the pain of a gut-busting holiday feast. “A sweet taste can allow the stomach to hold more, and we can eat a little more without experiencing discomfort,” said Dr Arnold Berstad, of Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital in Oslo. In a paper published this month in The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, Dr Berstad and Dr Jorgen Valeur said sugar appears to stimulate the vagus nerve, which controls digestion, speech, breathing and other functions. The tickled nerve signals the stomach muscle to loosen up and allow a bit more food to fit in. At the same time, the looser stomach muscle lets the food you’ve already eaten settle comfortably. But Dr Berstad wouldn’t sugarcoat the findings, noting the effects last “long enough to influence the current meal but maybe not more.”

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

Dogs upstage Christmas photo

December 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Odd news from around the world

Terrifying frosted cupcake: “The “gel-like” frosting of a cupcake one woman tried to bring on a plane at a Las Vegas Airport crossed the line for Transportation Security Administration officers, who say it constituted a security risk, and denied allowing the woman to take the cupcake back home to Boston. Rebecca Hains of Peabody tells the Associated Press that a TSA agent in Las Vegas confiscated her frosted cupcake because he thought the icing could be explosive. The TSA has restrictions on taking liquids and gels onto flights to prevent them from being used as explosives. Hains says she had passed through security at Boston’s Logan International Airport with two cupcakes packaged in jars on her orignal trip out west, enjoying the first cupcake so much that she decided to save the second for her return flight.”

An ancient Homer Simpson: “Whoever carved the statue would not have had TV’s favourite cartoon anti-hero in mind – but there is no doubting the resemblance of this stone head to Homer Simpson. It was found by Rosalind and Donald McIntyre when they were clearing the bottom of their garden at their home in Fife, Scotland, earlier this year. The couple were working in their garden when Mrs McIntyre picked up the head. She took it to St Andrews Museum, and the discovery has been referred to the National Committee for Carved Stones of Scotland. The head that looks like Homer could have been a gargoyle. Experts on the committee held a meeting last week to try to shed more light on the discovery, but at the moment remain ‘completely baffled’. Mrs McIntyre, 46, from Cupar, believes it could be a gargoyle from a former church in the area built in the 1200s.”

America’s dumbest criminals?: “An hour after burglarising a store in Pittsburgh, three suspects and another teen posted their bounty on Facebook. Too bad police use the social media site too. Officers found images of four teens posing with about $8,000 cash and goods an hour after they allegedly looted when a family member of one of the burglars tipped them off. In the pictures, the teens proudly display their plunder – they hold up fanned-out bundles of cash and pose by boxes of candy and cigarettes. Sgt Kevin Gasiorowski of the Pittsburgh Police told KDKA-TV: ‘We received information the day after the burglary that these pictures were posted on Facebook. ‘If you look at the pictures, you can see that the individuals are holding a large amount of cash.’ Police said a family member led them to the incriminating photos after she spotted them on the popular social networking site. ‘She found it very concerning and she also knew of the burglary of the business so she did her civic duty and gave us a call,’ Sgt Gasiorowski said. Three of the bandits – two aged 14 and the other 17 – were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy.”

Rare violin lost and found: “It was a tale of despair that left a budding musician without her most prized possession, but the saga has a happy ending. Muchen Hsieh’s violin, which is worth nearly $200,000, has found its way back to her. Miss Hsieh made a desperate appeal to the public last night to find the instrument, which she left in an overhead bin on a Megabus late Tuesday. She realized she didn’t have the violin after getting picked up by the family hosting her visit to the Philadelphia area. She admitted that she was extremely tired from her travels, and blames her fatigue as the reason for leaving the rare instrument behind. The violin, which is in pristine condition, was made in 1835 by Vincenzo Jorio in Naples.”

Poisonous bracelets: “An alert has gone out for the recall of thousands of beaded bracelets sold in tourist attractions after it emerged they are made from a highly toxic seed. The Eden Project in Cornwall, which sold 2,800 in a year, is one of 36 retailers urging customers to return the red and black wrist charms. They are made from the Jequirity bean – a deadly seed of the plant abrus precatorious which contains the toxin abrin, a controlled substance under the Terrorism Act. It can kill if just 3 micrograms is swallowed, 75 times smaller than a fatal dose of ricin to which it is related. It is twice as toxic as the chemical warfare agent. People who have bought the bracelets are being urged to bag them and then wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes. They are being offered refunds by the stores.”

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

Gone fishin’

December 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The sign on the truck says “Energex”, which is an electricity company owned by an Australian State government. Public employees worldwide seem to have a lot in common




Odd news from around the world

Vietnam store makes Christmas tree from cellphones: “Southeast Asia is closer to the equator than the North Pole, but an electronics store in Vietnam is ringing in the holidays with a 15-foot Christmas tree made from more than 2500 unusable cellular phones. Nguyen Trai, a store manager at Westcom Electronics in the southern city of My Tho, says 10 workers spent two weeks building the cellular Christmas tree that he hopes will raise awareness about hazardous waste and promote environmental responsibility. Cellphones are ubiquitous in Vietnam, where more than 60 percent of the population is under 30 and hordes of young people flaunt flashy electronics to mark their rising wealth even as the country struggles to contain one of Asia’s highest inflation rates. Although the majority of communist Vietnam’s 87 million people are Buddhist, there is a sizable Catholic minority and an enthusiastic general embrace of all things Christmas.”

People more likely to lie when texting, study finds: “A new paper to be published next year in the Journal of Business Ethics finds that people are more likely to lie via text compared to face-to-face communications, video conferencing or audio chat. The paper is based on a study of 140 students who were grouped into pairs and asked to engage in a role-playing game. One student took on the role of a stockbroker, the other student played a buyer. Researchers found that the stockbrokers were most likely to engage in duplicitous behavior – either lying about the quality of the stock, or not mentioning how bad it was – if they conducted the buy/sell conversation via text message. They were most likely to be honest about the quality of the stock if the conversation happened via video, which beat out both face-to-face communication and audio chat.”

Avoid carjacking, buy a manual: “Locking your doors and carrying capsicum spray is all well and good for thwarting carjackers, but drivers in the US have another potent weapon at their disposal – choosing a car with a manual transmission. It seems that driving a manual is likely to reduce your risk of being held at gunpoint and forced to hand your car over to criminals. The theory was borne out in two separate cases in the US recently where would-be car thieves put their plans on hold after realising the car they’d targeted didn’t shift gears on its own. A woman leaving a petrol station was stopped at gunpoint earlier this week by a would-be car thief in Denver, Colorado. After taking the woman’s purse and keys to her late-model Audi, the perpetrator got into the car and attempted to drive off … until it became clear that he did not know how to use the manual gearbox. The humiliated hoodlum chose to flee the scene rather than ask for a quick driving lesson.”

Taking its cue from ‘Seinfeld,’ Illinois District celebrates Festivus: “Ever since it was introduced to the public in a 1997 “Seinfeld” episode, Festivus has been a humorous holiday alternative for fans of the show as well as some non-fans. And The District of Rock Island will celebrate that Friday with its first Festivus. “This is more of a promotion than an organized event,” District executive director Catherine Rodgers-Ingles said Wednesday. It takes place from lunchtime through closing time for bars in The District. Taking its cue from “Seinfeld,” there will be an unadorned aluminum pole at the corner of 18th Street and 2nd Avenue, which is being sponsored by the latex division of Vandelay Industries (a fake business frequently referenced on the sitcom). The official Festivus meal, meatloaf, will be on special at the nearby Blue Cat Brew Pub.”

Handbag thieves snared after walking into a bar … where police were having their Christmas party: “A pair of handbag thieves were caught after they walked into a pub and were greeted by a police Christmas party. The 25 off-duty officers were tucking into their turkey at The Merchant pub in Battersea, South London, when they recognised the wanted teenagers. They quickly grabbed the 19-year-olds and called for back-up – before returning to their table in time for pudding. Heroic PC Lucy Blackmore, Sergeant Richard Cloke and community support officer Craig Mulgrew pounced on the criminals after they were seen acting suspiciously. The officers blocked the exit as the suspects tried to leave.”

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

Is this the tackiest tourist souvenir ever?

December 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment




Odd news from around the world

Mexico disbands entire police force in top port of Veracruz: “The entire police force in the major Gulf coast port city of Veracruz was dissolved on Wednesday and Mexican officials sent the Navy in to patrol. The Veracruz state government said the decision is part of an effort to root out police corruption and start from zero in the state’s largest city.”

A cat that regularly catches buses: “A pet cat named Dodger is living up to his name – by catching free bus trips from his home town. The ginger moggy, who was named after the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist, has taken to hopping on and off the public transport at the bus station near his home. The 15-year-old Tom even sits on bemused passengers’ laps as the bus makes up to 10 mile round trips from Bridport to Charmouth in Dorset. Dodger is such a regular customer that some of the drivers take tins of cat food to work with them to give to him. They even know what stop to let him off at. At the end of his journies the roving moggy returns to his home and owner Fee Jeanes. Mrs Jeanes, 44, believes Dodger first took a liking to the buses as they are warm like greenhouses when the sun is on them. A spokesman for bus firm First said they didn’t mind Dodger on their buses but didn’t actively encourage him.”

British woman ‘healed by church leader’s miracle touch’ after spending 10 years in a wheelchair: “A disabled dwarf who spent ten years in a wheelchair claims she has been miraculously ‘healed’ by a church leader’s touch. Maya Joseph, 35, was ‘instantly cured’ of the pain in her legs that had left her unable to walk for a decade after Reverend George Booty placed his hands on her while she prayed to God. She was wheeled into St George’s, an independent Anglican church in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, before walking out unassisted just minutes later. She said: ‘I got up and walked and I’ve continued to walk ever since. I feel fantastic. I was healed.’ Ms Joseph, who has dwarfism and is registered blind, has been unable to walk since she was 25 due to curvature of the spine. But despite doctors saying she would probably never walk again, she can now stroll to the local shops and hop on a bus to get around her hometown of Luton. Ms Joseph, who is 4ft 7in tall, said her leg was twisted but has now started to straighten since the ‘healing service’ in early October.”

Looks are as important as brains to career success, says new study: “Good-looking people worried about higher education shouldn’t worry. Beauty is every bit as good as a BA when it comes to getting on, a new study says. Researchers at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in northern Germany have found wages, promotions and perks at work are linked to a person’s attractiveness. While looks have long been thought essential for women to climb the corporate ladder, they say, they are even more important for men. The team, headed by Professor Christian Pfeifer, questioned more than 3,000 people about their careers and compared them with rankings of how attractive they were. Researchers themselves gauged their subjects’ looks on a scale of one to 11. Professor Pfeifer said: ‘The results showed that just one point above average on the attractiveness scale and the chance of getting employed rises by three percent. ‘Five points more – that is about the difference between an ordinary face and downright beauty – helps in getting a job as much as a university degree.'”

FedEx delivery man hurls fragile computer package over fence: “FEDEX has vowed to track down the deliveryman who was caught on video carelessly chucking a computer monitor over a fence during a delivery. Leordeanu said company executives were ‘shocked’ when they saw the video and called the handling of the package ‘unacceptable.’ The 21-second clip, uploaded to YouTube by user goobie55 on December 19, shows the delivery man taking the package from the back of a FedEx-branded van parked outside of the home’s front lawn. Taking the package out, he walks alongside an iron gate enclosing the residence and past what appears to be a security keypad that might buzz him in. Without missing a beat, its fragile contents are tossed onto a driveway on the other side of the gate. Goobie55 says on the clip: “The sad part is that I was home at the time with the front door wide open. All he would have had to do was ring the bell on the gate. Now I have to return my monitor since it is broken.” [Update: FeDEx have replaced the monitor but the deliveryman has NOT been fired! Unimpressive! Video at link]

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

Unusual menu

December 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Odd news from around the world

Man wins Lamborghini and then crashes it: “A MAN won a $378,000 Lamborghini in a contest and crashed it just six hours later. The lime green Murcielago Roadster is on its way to a Las Vegas body shop for repairs. “Yeah, I got it on Saturday and I wrecked it on Saturday,” David Dopp told local television. Mr Dopp said he was taking friends and family on rides on Saturday evening on the outskirts of town when the vehicle hit ice or loose gravel and started spinning. The car crashed through fence posts before coming to rest in a field. Mr Dopp wasn’t injured, but his wife said she was shocked. The Lamborghini has front-end damage, a punctured wheel and scratches along the passenger side. The vehicle is insured.”

‘Careless’ smugglers lose $75m drug haul hidden in shipping containers: “TRAFFICKERS lost track of drugs hidden in shipping containers which were then sold to innocent businesses across NSW with the narcotics still inside. A NSW council was among almost a dozen businesses caught up in the million-dollar drug bust revealed today. Police this morning seized more than 300kg of pseudoephedrine hidden in 15 shipping containers across several sites in NSW. The pseudoephedrine, which had been packed into metal tubes and then hidden in the containers’ frames, had the potential to make up to $75 million worth of the illegal drug ice. Police said the containers, seemingly unbeknown to the traffickers, were emptied of their cargo and sold to legitimate businesses in NSW with the drugs still inside.”

Cocaine curves model caught at airport: “Italian airport police eyeing up a busty Spanish model’s curves made a startling discovery – 2.5 kilograms of pure cocaine stashed as implants in her bust and backside. The 33-year-old woman arriving in Rome from Sao Paulo in Brazil was wearing tight-fitting clothes to enhance her voluptuousness, hoping that her looks might distract the attention of border police, ANSA news agency reported on Wednesday. The report said the woman drew suspicion however after giving unclear answers to questions about the reasons for her trip to Italy to an officer. The discovery was made when two female investigators conducted a strip search.”

Portuguese police chief fired over sexy Christmas email: “A Portuguese city suspended its police chief for sending a Christmas email greeting to its entire municipal workforce which contained images of scantily clad women and seasonal wishes for a great sex life. Euclides Santos, police chief in the central Portuguese city of Coimbra, accidentally emailed his colleagues a PowerPoint presentation that wished them a merry Christmas and then displayed several women wearing lingerie and bikinis. “Enough with insincere and useless words. What I wish you from the bottom of my heart, is that you have incredible sexual relations, live a merry and happy life, work hard and get well paid,” read one of the final slides of the presentation shown on Portuguese television.”

Man faces caning over allegedly groping flight attendant: “A Ukranian man could be caned as punishment for allegedly groping a female flight attendant during a Singapore Airlines flight. Singapore’s Straits Times reports that the man, 35-year-old sales manager Sierkov Sergii, allegedly groped the breasts and buttocks of the 34-year-old flight attendant on November 15 during a Moscow-Singapore flight. The Straits Times said Mr Sergii works in Singapore. Sergii reportedly faces up to two year’s jail, a fine or a caning. Singapore boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates and highest standards of living in the world, but human rights groups often criticise the government for severe punishments, such as a mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers. People who are caned are strapped to a wooden frame and lashed across the bare buttocks with a long rattan stick.”

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

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