The latest wedding cake

April 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Researchers believe they have uncovered the mystery of the how the 1918 flu epidemic which killed 50 million people was so devastating: “They say exposure to an earlier, less dangerous strain among children caused the 1918 strain to spread so quickly. The deadly flu virus attacked more than one-third of the world’s population, and within months had killed more than 50 million people – three times as many as the World War I – and did it more quickly than any other illness in recorded history. The researchers discovered that the pandemic virus arose shortly before 1918, when a human H1 virus, which they infer had already been circulating in the human population since about 1900, picked up genetic material from a bird flu virus. The Human influenza A virus usually sees higher mortality rates for infants and the elderly, but the pandemic virus caused extensive deaths in people ages 20 to 40, primarily from secondary bacterial infections, especially pneumonia.”

Is this the dirtiest man in Europe?: “This homeless man has been labelled Europe’s dirtiest person – because he sleeps buried in a pile of hot ash. Ludvik Dolezal, 58, burns whatever he finds to create his ‘bed’ before crawling into it to sleep. He has even burnt his mattress and duvet in order to achieve the perfect mound of fiery remains. Mr Dolezal, who passers-by often refer to as a devil from fairytales, said: ‘A year ago I simply decided to quit my job. Since then I’ve staying here with the fire. ‘Every night I lay down with hot ash in my clothes and cover myself to keep warm. I look like hell then. ‘I had everything – jacket, boots, mattresses and even a duvet. But I burnt everything because there was nothing else to keep the fire going. ‘People help me, they bring some old tyres here for example and I burn them.

Black carjacker caught CLINGING to New York taxi as driver sped at 60mph down expressway: “A Bronx man was arrested after a motorist captured him hanging off the side of a speeding cab he tried to carjack early Monday morning. Matthew McCorkle, 27, hung on for dear life as the cab careened up the Bruckner Expressway as fast as 70 mph just after 2.00 a.m. Monday, witness Vlane Carter told MailOnline. McCorkle banged on the cab’s window while hanging on for dear life until jumping off and trying to steal another car, he was arrested a short time later, police sources said. The man’s terrifying ride through the Bronx almost cost him his life. ‘The man’s feet was dragging on the ground and he almost fell twice,’ said Carter. ‘The man would have been dead if he fell at that speed, especially after being run over by other cars.’ Driver Mohammed Millogo told WCBS the would-be carjacker frightened him. ‘This guy tried to get in my car. If he got in my car or he’s going to try to – I don’t know what he can have,’ said the driver. ‘He can have a weapon. He can have a knife. Anything can happen to me – my safety first.”

Flock of geese fly alongside their owner’s ultralight plane: “He may not have feathers or a beak, but that hasn’t stopped this brood of geese from believing microlight pilot Christian Moullec is their mother. After he hand-reared them from birth they are convinced he is their parent and follow him everywhere – including into the sky when he takes off in his plane. Like geese flying with their mother, they follow Mr Moullec, flying alongside him in a perfect V formation from take off to landing. It is a spectacular sight to behold and has led to him being dubbed the Birdman. But conservationist Mr Moullec, who developed the technique to enable him to film the birds in flight, says it is all down the birds. He says he thanks them after every flight for the amazing gift they have given him in enabling him to watch them in flight at such close quarters. The 52-year-old Frenchman has been flying with his birds for more than 15 years.”

Advertisement for anti-immigration party appears next to ‘No Poles Required’ billboard: “A Ukip campaign poster has appeared on a billboard beside an ad for inflatable tents that bears the slogan, “NO POLES REQUIRED!”. The advertisement is for a range of camping equipment stocked by the retailer Go Outdoors. Steve Cardownie, an SNP councillor for the area, said that given Ukip’s stance on immigration the juxtaposition was insensitive, adding: “People might think it’s funny, but it’s the kind of message Ukip are trying to get over. A spokesman for Nigel Farage’s party said there was no intent, adding: “I do not believe people are getting upset. “I think people will look at it with a wry smile. The posters are two completely different things juxtaposed in a wry way by accident.” [Immigration from Poland has been something of an issue in Britain]

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

Seen from above

April 29, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Google Earth user in Britain stumbled upon an image of A skate park which from the air resembles a giant willy. The park in Porthcawl, South Wales, has been described as a great facility by the local council and its creators, Maverick, insist the park is a commonly used design

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Arrested for quoting Winston Churchill: “A candidate in the European elections was arrested on suspicion of racial harrassment after quoting a passage about Islam, written by Winston Churchill, during a campaign speech. Paul Weston, chairman of the party Liberty GB, made the address on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, in Hampshire on Saturday. A member of the public took offence at the quote, taken from Churchill’s The River War and called police. The passage from the book, written by the wartime Prime Minister and first published in 1899, focuses on Churchill’s observations about Islam while serving during the Anglo-Egyptian reconquest of the Sudan. Mr Weston told his audience: ‘Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. Police officers arrested Mr Weston, mid-speech, for failing to comply with their request to move on under the powers of a dispersal order made against him. He was further arrested on suspicion of religious or racial harrassment.”

Priest clutching rosary beads walks down the MIDDLE of busy Swiss motorway for a mile after crashing his car… tells police he was just looking for a phone: “A Polish priest holding rosary beads did ‘not have a care in the world’ when he decided to set off on foot down a motorway after he crashed his car. Father Grzegorz Tomaszewski, 41, claimed he was looking for a petrol station where he could make a phone call to report the crash because he didn’t have a mobile phone. However, police caught him strolling down the middle of the busy A9 where cars had to swerve out of the way to avoid him. Another driver said when she called the police and told them a priest carrying a rosary was walking down the middle of the motorway, they did not believe her at first. Police confirmed the priest was involved in an incident on the A9 at Villeneuve and that his licence had been confiscated.”

Family bought Victor the ‘common’ tortoise 14 years ago only to discover he was rare giant breed who now weighs 126lb: “The creature was bought fourteen years ago by a couple from Liverpool, who were told that it was an ordinary tortoise. But the new owners were unaware that they had bought a special sulcata tortoise – which is the third largest species in the world – and has kept growing and growing. It became too large for the family home and they could no longer cope. The frantic couple were then forced to ring around zoos and rescue centres to try and find a suitable home for the giant reptile. Andy Browne, a farmer, offered to step in to rescue Victor and brought him home to his reserve in Highworth, Wiltshire. He collected the tortoise for free from the family in Liverpool and added it to his collection of unusual pets – which includes 400 other reptiles. ‘They were pretty distraught to give him away as Victor was a much-loved pet but they’ve been keeping in regular contact since I picked him up around two weeks ago.

Short Index Finger: “The old saying, “big hands, big dick,” might not actually have any weight to it, but it turns out that men whose index finger is shorter than his ring finger are more likely to have a big dick. A good conversation starter at the bar could be, “Hey can I see your index-to-ring finger ratio?” Of course, that doesn’t mean these well endowed, short-pointer-fingered men won’t be cheated on (see above). Apparently, finger length reveals a lot about someone’s sex life. Another study found that if men have “really masculine” index fingers that are significantly shorter than their ring fingers, they tended to be gay (and have a lot of older brothers). The study also found lesbians tended to have a greater difference in length between their index and ring fingers than straight girls.

Boneco the world’s first beekeeping donkey has his own suit to protect him from stings : “He is the most unlikely of beekeepers. But shielded from the stings in his custom-made protective suit, Boneco the donkey has proved to be a remarkable success. Manuel Juraci, 59, designed the head-to-toe beekeeping suit for his donkey to increase honey production in Itatira, Brazil. Of the 120 beekeepers in the rural town, Mr Juraci and his donkey Boneco harvest nine litres of honey each day – more than most farmers can manage alone. He turned to honey production 10 years ago when regular farming proved too difficult due to the region’s arid climate.”

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

Eloquent child sends a note to the captain of a plane she is on

April 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Three-year-old ‘dreamt of heaven’ as surgeons fought to save him after his appendix burst: “When three-year-old Colton Burpo was rushed to hospital with a burst appendix, doctors didn’t think he could survive the surgery needed to save him. However, not only did the little boy from Imperial, Nebraska, make an astonishingly speedy recovery, he claimed that while surgeons were fighting to keep him alive, he visited heaven, sat on Jesus’s lap and patted his rainbow-striped horse. Colton’s father Todd, a part-time fireman and Baptist preacher played by Oscar-nominee Greg Kinnear in the film, and mother, Sonja – played by English actress Kelly Reilly – at first didn’t believe their son but found themselves being won over as he recounted more details of his experience, The Mirror reports. The boy, who is now 14, told of how he rose out of his body on the surgical table and saw his father cursing God and his mother weeping – which is what they claim they were doing at the time.”

Giant Cauli: “When it comes to vegetables, Peter Glazebrook likes to think big. So the man who has already grown the world’s heaviest onion and potato has now added this colossal cauliflower to his record-breaking collection. At 60lb and a whopping 6ft wide, it would make enough cauliflower cheese to feed a family for weeks. Which is what Mr Glazebrook and his wife Mary had in mind yesterday as they hacked away at it so it could be frozen for meals. The cauliflower, which is the Darwin variety, has beaten the previous record by 6lb and is 20 times heavier than the ones we buy in the supermarkets. After planting the vegetable last July, Mr Glazebrook, 69, nurtured it in his greenhouse and fed it calcium nitrate, which aids cell growth and strengthens the plant. He then switched to a high potash feed once the weather heated up in March.”

Batty Brighton: “In 2011, the Greens ousted the Conservatives to become the largest group on the council with 23 seats. The Green honeymoon was short-lived. Take the surreal story of an elderly elm tree. First the Greens voted to upgrade a roundabout in the city called Seven Dials, but then found that there were protests to protect the 170-year-old tree beside the site. Eco-warriors camped out in the branches and pinned poems to the trunk. The national media showed an interest. So the Greens switched sides, joined the campaign to spare the 60ft elm from the chop and then spent a small fortune altering their own traffic scheme. Then there was its manifesto pledge for ‘Meat-free Mondays’, which would have banned bacon rolls and beef pies from council-run staff canteens. It led to complaints from manual workers and the proposal was ditched. Residents were similarly surprised at Green plans to introduce livestock to one of the main routes into the city as part of a ‘speed reduction package’. The scheme was deferred after protests.”

Worker wades through broken glass to save Lucky the cat who was tied up with elastic bands and dumped in bottle bank: “A supermarket worker waded through broken glass to save a pedigree cat which was tied up with elastic bands and dumped in a bottle bank. The Russian Blue, nicknamed Lucky following her ordeal, was thrown in the bin with its legs bound with elastic bands and a plastic bag tied around its head. The mother-of-two, 46, told the Sunday Express: ‘It looked like it had died but moved as it heard my voice. The alarm was raised by a shopper who informed members of staff at the supermarket. An investigation has now been launched by the RSPCA which described the incident as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty it had dealt with recently. It is believed the cat was snatched from off a street before it was dumped in the bottle bank. The cat luckily did not suffocate because there was a rip in the plastic bag.”

Dumb U.S. immigration officials: “A young French mother who was flying to New York via Switzerland for a holiday with her husband and two children was told she not allowed entry to the United States, seemingly because her name sounds suspiciously like Al Qaeda. Aida Alic arrived with her family at Geneva airport on Wednesday preparing to board a connection to JFK. However she was told by Swiss Airlines officials that her access to the country had been denied. Forced to cancel their trip and return to their house near Chambery in the French Alps, it wasn’t until the 33-year-old got home and started googling for answers that she realized her name appears surname first on her passport and reads ‘Alic Aida’. Ms Alic feels there is no other explanation for being turned away by customs. ‘When friends make the play on words to wind me up, I am used to it, but not this. ‘Especially as my name is pronounced Alitch. ‘It is of Yugoslav origin.”

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

Patient doggie

April 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Creases on duty as British army chiefs in Afghanistan recall irons, deeming them a luxury: “Being smart on duty has made generations of soldiers proud to wear their country’s uniform. But that will be much harder for troops in Afghanistan after military bosses ordered the return of all their irons. They have been deemed a luxury as British forces prepare to withdraw after 13 years. The items must be given up as part of the huge operation to scale down the last two UK bases, including Camp Bastion. Millions of pieces of equipment ranging from armoured trucks to light bulbs will come back to Britain in the biggest logistical exercise since the Second World War. Previously, troops in Afghanistan were told to iron their uniforms several times a week. Some are dismayed by the shift, saying keeping soldiers smart helps discipline and morale.

Battery powered planes?: “If you thought Tesla’s cars were the most innovative electric vehicles around, think again. Aircraft maker Airbus Group NV is learning from carmakers as it works on developing a small plane powered by hybrid electric engines that could represent its first move into the market for regional jets. The development of a regional plane, seating between 70 and 90 people, that can take off and land using electric power could take between 15 and 20 years, Airbus Group Chief Technology Officer Jean Botti told reporters in Munich. They are already working on an all-electric two-seater plane called the E-Fan, powered by two electric motors with a combined output of 60 kilowatts, hoping this technology will serve as a step to bringing electric motors on to larger aircraft. It can fly for about half an hour at 110 miles (177 kilometres) per hour. The two-seater E-Fan will be built at Bordeaux in southwest France and production could start at the end of 2017.”

Mini car starter: “The ‘Jumpr’ charger weighs only 7 ounces (0.2kg) and is 5.5 inches (14 cm) long – about the same size as a large smartphone. For comparison, a standard battery charger that can be kept in the car boot weighs in the region of 25lbs (11kg). Created by California-based JunoPower, the 6,000 mAh battery features a USB outlet for charging up mobile devices. However it also has a 12-volt 150-300-amp output and jumping cables to stop you from having to ask strangers for jumper cables. The company said there may be some limitations on the kind of vehicle the Jumpr can jump, but it should be compatible with most cars with four- and six-cylinder engines. The gadget itself can be charged up using micro USB or a cigarette power port on a vehicle.”

The death of the doorknob?: “Vancouver’s decision to phase out the doorknob may signify the beginning of the end of this most simplistically effective tool. The Canadian city passed a law banning doorknobs on new buildings, arguing that the elderly, infirm and disabled can struggle to grip them. The knob, officially invented less than 150 years ago, will be replaced by the lever – simple, sleek, and just plain easier to use. Some elderly support groups, however, have spoken in favour of the doorknob, suggesting redesign rather than removal. Simon Bottery of Independent Age said: “We know that square of oval knobs are easier to grasp than round ones. “We do need to equip homes properly so that people can remain independent as they age. If developers really do want to get a handle on things, we say, don’t scrap doorknobs – just reshape them.”

Giant robohand: “A giant robotic hand arches down and locks its metallic fingers around a car like a scene from a futuristic film. With frightening power it clamps the roof of the green Panda and uses its superhuman robot strength to hold it aloft. With frightening power it squeezes the vehicle’s frame as if it were no stronger than paper, smashing through the windows and crumpling the body work. RoboHand is the attraction that has been dazzling audiences at the Maker Faire UK, a science technology and arts and craft extravaganza at Newcastle’s Life Science Centre. The vast contraption is 30 times larger than an average human hand, with an arm measuring eight meters and weighing in at six tons.

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

Some words of wisdom

April 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

It really is thin air! Living in a high-altitude city nearly HALVES your risk of being obese: “Living at a higher altitude could help prevent obesity, a new study has found. Researchers studied overweight military personnel stationed at different altitudes across the United States, and found that those in service at high altitude were less likely to progress to obesity. The six-year-long study concluded that soldiers at high altitude were 41 per cent less likely to go from overweight to obese. The group of American researchers looked at nearly 100,000 U.S. Army or Air force servicemen and women, with at least two years of service, from January 2006 to December. The study, published in the April issue of PLOS One, followed military members stationed across the United States, some at high altitudes (1.2 miles above sea level or higher, such as around Colorado Springs) and others at low altitudes (0.6 miles or lower). They found that overweight U.S. service members are 41 per cent less likely to become obese when stationed at high altitude.”

Fishermen laugh as huge great white shark swims up to their boat… before it tries to tear the MOTOR off: “The fishing vessel was travelling about two miles off the coast of Pottsville in the Australian state of New South Wales, when the shark started circling. Although it launched an attack on the boat minutes later, the fishermen were not fazed, laughing as they grabbed a camera to film themselves feeding the 16 foot monster a tin of tuna, before slapping it and sending it on its way. Fisherman Daniel Flemming thought the massive great white shark may have been a dolphin at first. He realised he had made a mistake when the creature started attacking the outboard motor and bait board. The fishermen switched off their engine after the great white attacked the boat, which appeared to calm it down.”

Picturesque 750-acre Scottish island with NINE cottages, a cafe, post office and salmon farm offered for sale at £1.95m: “An island off the western Scottish coast with no shops, no roads and a population of just three, is on the market with a price ticket slashed to under £2m. Tanera Mòr, a 766-acre island a mile and a half offshore in the Inner Hebrides, was put up for sale last May with a guide price of £2.5m. Tanera is owned by the Wilder family who bought it in 1996 and run it as a tourism enterprise with holiday cottages and a sailing school. Owners Lizzie and Richard Williams and their baby daughter Rosie, are the only full-time inhabitants of Tanera Mòr. It has a salmon fish farm, several holiday cottages, a small sailing school, a café and a post office, which has operated its own local post and printed its own stamps since 1970.”

The glory of steam lives on: “With a puff of steam and the rumble of wheels on train tracks, this is the impressive sight of restored steam locomotives charging through the North Yorkshire countryside for a weekend of action. Rail enthusiasts may have been forgiven for thinking they had stepped back in time as they admired the engines and took pleasure rides at this year’s Steam Gala Weekend. The North Yorkshire Moors railway was among 5,000 miles of track and 2,300 stations closed by Dr Richard Beeching in 1963 but was brought back to life four decades later and is now the busiest heritage route in the world. The Class A4 Bittern was among the engines on show following its recent tour with sister steam trains as part of the National Railway Museum’s ‘Mallard 75’ events at York and Shildon. One of the locomotives visiting the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the first time was Roger Hibbert’s LMS Class 3F ‘Jinty’ 0-6-0 tank engine No. 47406, on loan from the Great Central Railway.”

A bird-brained idea! Goose builds its nest in the middle of a dual carriageway: “It might not seem the best place to set up home but this mother goose has done exactly that – and set up her nest right in the middle of a busy dual carriageway. The Greylag goose has bedded down in the shrubbery on the Castle Mills Bridge in York, just inches away from busy fast-flowing traffic. While the expectant mother may have chosen the camouflaged spot to lay her young, the welfare of her goslings when they hatch has become a cause for concern. Anne Pyrah, from Selby Wildlife Rescue Centre in Barlby, North Yorkshire, said: ‘My concern is that cars will swerve to avoid them if a chick is on the road’. All wild birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which states that none should be harmed nor should their nests be moved or interfered with. Ms Pyrah said that numerous people, including drivers, have called her with concerns – but said that until the eggs hatch there is little the wildlife group can do.”

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

Ominous sub-editing fail of the day

April 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

World’s first allergy-free airline to offer speciality menu and even avoid air fresheners that could irritate your nose: “Sensitive travellers will be able to travel in comfort from May as the first allergy-free planes take to the skies. Swiss Airlines is behind the unusual plan, changing fabrics, ditching air fresheners and serving up speciality food to make it the world’s first allergy-free carrier. Those with special dietary needs will be able to tuck into lactose and gluten-free meals as standard, followed by lactose-free coffee and even the iconic Swiss chococlate bar will be developed. Special snacks, from yoghurts to sweets and snacks, will also be on offer for passengers with a host of other intolerances. There will also be changes to the cabins, with synthetic pillows offered to first and business class passengers instead of the current down-filled option and a strict no flowers policy – plants are currently used to decorate the cabin. Air fresheners that could cause on -board nose and throat irritations will be ditched and even the hand wash in the toilets will be specially chosen to be gentle to skin.

Big chin was a dead giveaway: “A robber who stole £650 from a betting shop was caught by police – after they recognised his giant chin on CCTV. Ricky Loft, from Greenhithe, Kent, stormed into a William Hill bookies armed with an ‘imitation gun’, which was wrapped in a black bin liner. The 32-year-old thug pointed the weapon at staff and ordered a worker to fill a bag with cash. Loft, who was wearing a hood covering the top half of his face, then escaped from the shop on Whitstable high street. Staff from the betting shop reported the raid, which took place on November 21 last year, but could only describe the bottom half of the robber’s face. But the breakthrough came when police examined CCTV footage from the betting shop – and spotted the raider had a ‘prominent chin’. A mugshot of Loft, who was known to police before that incident, was already on police file. When police compared the mugshot to the CCTV stills, they noticed both men had a jutting chin – and that it must be the same man. Loft was arrested at his home six days after the raid.”

Horse-drawn carriages are “cruel”? Sarko disagrees: “Former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy has come out along with actor Liam Neeson to support keeping New York City’s famous horse-drawn carriages as Mayor Bill De Blasio seeks to ban the industry. Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni took their young daughter Giulia in one of the carriages for a ride through Central Park on Wednesday. When asked if he thinks the carriages should stay, Sarkozy offered up an enthusiastic ‘yes’, the New York Daily News reports. The Sarkozys are in town to support singer-songwriter Bruni who is set to perform at The Town Hall Thursday night. They were joined by more than 900 horse-lovers at the park yesterday where the Daily News was handing out ‘Save Our Horses’ buttons.

Italian man, 70, hires escort and finds it was son’s girlfriend: “AN elderly man decided to hire an escort. The man, from the city of Treviso, in Italy’s north, thought it would best be discreet and hired the escort from the neighbouring city of Vicenza. When they met, he could not believe his eyes when the realised the escort was his future daughter-in-law, The Local reported, citing Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino. His 40-year-old son’s girlfriend, who is from South America, had told the family that she was a waitress. When they met, they decided not to seal the arrangement for the night. But the man, 70, decided honesty was the best policy, and told his son what had happened. The news did not go down well and the father and son fought. The incident, which happened four years ago, only became public knowledge this month when the son sued his father for injuries sustained in the fight. The hearing was postponed, however, after the judge failed to broker peace.

Spy lamp that can secretly listen in on conversations and LIVE TWEET everything you say: “You might want to think twice about leaning against a lamp post the next time you have a private conversation. That innocuous-looking light fixture could be capable of listening to what you say. Not only that, but it may also be live tweeting every single sentence. The Conversnitch lamp can covertly listen in on conversations and then post them on Twitter. The system only took a few hours to put together and cost less than £60 ($100) to make using off-the-shelf equipment. This included a Raspberry Pi mini-computer, a microphone, an LED and a plastic flower pot. The device screws into a standard bulb socket from where it also draws power. The system can upload any secretly captured audio via the nearest open Wi-Fi network, and sends it to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. Turk users are then paid a small fee to transcribe the audio and post lines of conversation to Conversnitch’s Twitter account.”

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

Canadian Words and phrases that baffle the English

April 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After residing in Canada for almost three years now, I feel it is a safe accusation that North Americans love acronyms and initialisms. Many Brits will be familiar with how orange juice is often squeezed down to a more palatable ‘OJ’, but I was slow to understand ‘ACL’ despite many of you being able to recognise this as an anterior cruciate ligament. ‘LMK’ was an odd one too: known to the less lazy as ‘let me know’. After a while, I did finally get used to the day-to-day abbreviations, but there are still a few phrases and words leaving me scratching my head today.

Two-four

This is one I encountered in my second job in Canada: doing the day-to-day work in the local pub; although it’s a term prevalent from Toronto to the Northwest Territories. When buying beer for the pub I tend for it seems I am the odd one out when it comes to requesting “a case of twenty-four bottles please”. It’s just a ‘two-four’ over here, as in “Honey, will you pick me up a two-four of Carling on your way past The Beer Store?”

And ‘two-four’ reaches beyond the doors of Ontario’s monopolised alcohol distributors: May 24th is Victoria Day, which commemorates Queen Victoria’s birthday. Canadians have their royalism rewarded with a statutory holiday on the nearest Monday, and they call it “May two-four weekend.”

Hacking darts

Darts are cigarettes. It does seem odd, but Brits leave Canadians even more confused when they invite somebody for a ‘fag’ as it is a purely homophobic term over here.

What I do find strange about this is the use of ‘hacking’. I’m not a smoker, but it does sound like a term thought up by a self-righteous non-smoker as it’s such an aggressive and damaging action. Hacking is done by people who murder trees or, if you are the killer in an American horror movie, to fell those participating in beauty contests.

While ‘hacking’ may refer to somebody relentlessly smoking, it is more often used in an invitation: “Wanna hack a dart?”

Winningest

The verb ‘winning’ has been trampled under moose hooves and smashed by Uncle Sam’s fist to create an ugly adjective; and it is unfortunately a real word. I encountered it for the first time this week as the Toronto Raptors, a National Basketball Association franchise, completed a season in which they had won more games than in any previous year. Or, as it is reported over here, they are the winningest squad in their nineteen year history. Well done to the Raptors, but that just sounds awful.

“I wrote him”

I first encountered the exclusion of ‘to’ in this phrase when I moved here, and since pawing many pages of North American literature over the past three years I have found it is commonplace in the States and Canada. “I wrote him” – it sounds like an easy spelling exercise rather than the writing of a letter or email.

Turn it the other way around, and a Canadian or American newcomer to Yorkshire must be even more confused; especially when every male recipient of a letter from your friend seems to be called Tim. I wrote t’him.

There are others. I am heckled by my partner for using ‘dressing gown’, but to me ‘housecoat’ seems overdressed and formal – something you could genuinely don while popping out for milk and not look a slob. And when you pay for your semi-skimmed (or ’2 per cent milk’ if you’re speaking Canadian) you tend to use ‘loonies’ and ‘toonies’, or one dollar and two dollar coins to me and you.

While the occasional term does make me cringe, none of them send me out hacking. I expected the odd change in speech in Canada, like a “no kiddin’” here and an “eh?” everywhere, but to feel confused after three years over here makes my conversations still feel new.

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A gentleman is always on time and makes love on his elbows… but doesn’t tweet or own a cat: “A list of rules – compiled by Country Life magazine – say the 21st c. gentleman must not own a cat, and never use Twitter. Real gentleman also ‘curtail his drinking’ before he becomes disorderly and ‘only makes love on his elbows’. The list was developed after consultation with authors, journalists and writers – including Jeremy Paxman. The Newsnight presenter warned that ‘a gentleman doesn’t dispense unsolicited advice’ while Joan Collins said that a modern gentleman wouldn’t ever wear brown shoes at night. But for Richard E. Grant it is a simple matter of manners. He said: ‘Courtesy costs nothing — rudeness is exorbitant and never forgotten.’ Jilly Cooper – one of the judging panel for the awards – told the BBC that a real man ‘drives you home after he’s been to bed with you. He wouldn’t jump on you without asking and he wouldn’t jump off buses without paying.’ ‘A gentleman is never unkind, they put people at their ease, they are honorable and gallant.'”

Did vitamin B come from outer space? Meteors may have brought nutrient to Earth and helped sparked life on the planet: “Ancient Earth may have had an extra-terrestrial supply of vitamin B3 delivered by carbon-rich meteorites. This is according to Nasa-funded scientists who have been exploring the potential mix of ingredients brought to the planet from space. The study supports the theory that life on Earth may have been kick-started by a supply of molecules created in space which hitched a ride to the planet on meteorites. While scientists aren’t yet sure exactly how these ingredients were cooked up, they predict radiation-blasted ice powered the chemical reactions that produced vitamin B3. ‘Vitamin B3, also called nicotinic acid or niacin, is a precursor to Nad (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which is essential to metabolism and likely very ancient in origin,’ said Karen Smith of Pennsylvania State University. This isn’t the first time vitamin B3 has been found in meteorites. In 2001 a team led by Sandra Pizzarello of Arizona State University discovered it in the Tagish Lake meteorite.”

One that did not get away: “A FISHERMAN has caught a monster 3.35m mako shark from the waterfront in Florida, in what may be a record for land-based fishing. Joey Polk reeled in the shark after an hourlong intense work out in which the shark pulled out 800 metres of line. Makos are the fastest of all sharks and can swim at speeds up to 95km/h. Mr Polk from Milton, Florida, told the Houston Chronicle : “She was pulling line out of my reel at easily 60 miles an hour (95km/h). We call that ‘smokin’ the drag’ round here.” “When I saw it, I knew it was a big fish. I’ve been fishing since I was a little kid, but I thought it was maybe 700 pounds (317kg) or so, then when we weighed it, it came in at 805 (365kg)! It was amazing,” said Mr Polk. Mr Polk took the fish home and cooked it for the community, providing for around 200 people. He said he returns most of his catches to the sea but that this was one was too injured to be released.”

Trunk and disorderly! Tipsy elephants staggering around South African park after eating huge quantities of fermented fruit: “These comical pictures were taken after a herd of young elephants ate a fruit which is said to make large mammals drunk when eaten in huge quantities. Marula fruit – said to be sweet, tart and refreshing – apparently has an intoxicating effect when consumed after it has ripened and fallen to the ground. Ross Couper, a field guide at Singita Kruger National Park in South Africa, saw the elephants begin to stumble around and fall over their siblings. He said: ‘We watched in awe because the youngsters definitely seemed to display signs of being rather tipsy.’ However, it has also been claimed that the unusual behaviour is actually caused by eating beetle pupae that live in the bark of marula trees.

The ghostly Chinese town filled with luxury properties that nobody lives in: “Locals call it ‘The City of the Dead’, a ghostly urban landscape with no residents to fill it. More than 100 villas stand empty after they were built six years ago for locals in the Chinese city of Beihai, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They were built to cater to a new rising class of wealthy people who, it was hoped, would invest in real estate and snap up the properties, many of which are priced at over three million yuan (£285,900). Some workers, who can earn as little as $2 (£1.18) a day, have invested savings from up to to three generations of one family just to buy the properties, but can’t make use of them as they are too far from key city centres, meaning they are left with no residents at all. Most hope the growth in property values will make the investment worth the risk, despite being unable to afford to live the houses they have invested in, however, observers believe China is over-building, which could cause a housing bubble of vacant properties.”

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

Leaping to conclusions

April 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There comes a time when a woman just has to trust her husband. For example….

The wife comes home late at night and quietly opens the door to her bedroom. From under the sheets she sees four legs instead of two. She reaches for a baseball bat and starts hitting the sheet as hard as she can.

Leaving the covered bodies groaning, she goes to the kitchen to have a drink.

As she enters, she sees her husband there, reading a magazine.

“Hi, sweetheart”, he says. “Your parents have come to visit us, so I let them stay in our bedroom. Did you say, Hi?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

African kid survives flight in the wheel compartment of a jet: “A 16-year-old boy who apparently survived unscathed freezing temperatures and a lack of oxygen after a five-hour flight from California to Hawaii stowed away in the wheel well left medical and aviation experts perplexed and divided on Monday night. While experts questioned how the boy had survived, the FBI said that security camera footage had shown the unnamed teenager scaling the perimeter fence at California’s San Jose airport on Sunday morning and walking towards a Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767 that took off shortly afterwards for Kahului airport on Maui island. Five hours later airline officials said the boy was found dazed but otherwise unhurt wandering on the tarmac at Kahului, after flying halfway across the pacific at a maximum altitude of 38,000ft where outside temperatures descended as low as minus 80F.”

The bird that can speak JAPANESE: “Can talking birds speak languages other than English? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’, highlighted in this video where a Common Hill Myna is seen chatting in Japanese. Called Abe Chan, the bird has become an internet sensation thanks to his grasp of the language, although whether it understands what it is saying remains to be seen. The bird can be seen responding to a phone call. Ohno then engages in conversation with the bird, showing off its surprisingly competent grasp of words and phases in Japanese. This particular species of bird it known as the Common Hill Myna. It is an animal of ‘least concern’ in terms of conservation according to the IUCN. The bird is known for its distinctive jet-black feathers in contrast to its orange beak and yellow markings on its head.”

Girl sleeping in bed killed by car: “A 16-YEAR-OLD girl was killed by a suspected drunk driver who slammed his car into her apartment as she slept in bed. It is believed that 20-year-old Roberto Rodriguez was drunk when he slammed into two apartments in Palmdale, Los Angeles, killing Giselle Mendoza, 16. A 14-year-old girl who lives in the adjoining apartment to Giselle had a very lucky escape with her father saying she had fallen asleep on the couch that night instead of in her bedroom, which Rodriguez’s car also slammed into. One eyewitness who called 911 said he helped detain Rodriguez until police arrived. “I saw a car coming down 10th, east, about 80-85 mph, and it didn’t stop or hesitate. Just right into the building. Boom,” James Fisher King said. “You would hear her moaning, kind of, inside the wall. He went through two apartments.”

Cashpoint thieves swarm around middle-aged tourist near Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and take his money: “With the bells of Notre Dame heralding a glorious Easter Sunday morning, a tourist uses a cash point a short stroll from the ancient Paris cathedral. Within seconds he is surrounded by an aggressive gang of Roma sneak thieves, who make no secret of what they want from him. Feeling hands on his back and arms, the middle age man turns around in horror to see the utterly fearless gang casually trying to help themselves to his money. Such scenes have become so common in the French capital that police last week called for the ‘systematic eviction’ of Roma. Groups of thieves, many of them teenagers, swarm around the main tourist landmarks day and night. ‘They respect nobody – they just want money or anything else they can steal,’ said another tourist who witnessed the incident at the cashpoint between Notre Dame and the Louvre museum, in the 1st arrondissement.”

Council slammed by cyclists after bike lane of just 13 FEET is painted on street: “Cyclists have criticised a new bike lane – for being just 13 feet long. The cycle lane was painted in Beetwell Street in Chesterfield earlier this month. But it has already been slammed by the town’s cycling community, some of whom have branded it an ’embarrassment’. Measuring 13 feet, it means the cyclist has to cycle off the path almost immediately after they have got on. Bike commuter Will Jones, 22, said: ‘It makes the council a laughing stock really. ‘Why on earth would anybody need a cycle lane so short? It’s stupid.'”

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

An expert babysitter

April 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Lie detection expert reveals the top ten signs which indicate someone is lying to you: “Sloan is trained in micro face detection; micro expressions are facial expressions that flash onto a person’s face for just a fraction of a second and reveal true emotions. Sloan explains: ‘Typically if your boyfriend is lying his micro-expression will be an emotion of distress, characterised by the eyebrows being drawn upwards towards the middle of the forehead, causing short, deep set lines to appear across the skin of the forehead. When present, the following can also signal deceit; false smiles, holding the smile for too long, mistakes in the timing of expressions, blushing and asymmetry. ‘The main principle is that there is not a face for lying. There are faces that show the subject is uncomfortable, stressed, guilty or doesn’t believe his own story. Symmetry plays and important part, the more symmetrical a gesture the more genuine. ‘The eyes can also be very telling as an increased blink rate is often consistent with telling lies.”

Street lights that make you ill: “Hounslow council had installed LED lamp-heads on the street lights along their quiet residential road. The gentle, golden glow of the old lamps has been replaced by a harsh beam which, they say, makes it impossible for them to sleep. But why are the objections so strong? If the lights can, as Hounslow council promises, be dimmed if necessary — and if they use less energy, save money and reduce crime — what is so wrong with the new system? Rather a lot, it turns out. Because, it seems that in their rush to embrace the new ‘green’ technology, Britain’s councils have ignored several serious health issues. Studies have indicated that LED lights disrupt sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone which governs our sleep patterns. Too much ‘blue light’ suppresses our biological clock, resulting in lower-quality sleep. This in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It damages the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to depression and anxiety. It has even been suggested that too much exposure to LED light causes blindness.”

Old fashioned apples making a comeback: “There might not be many traditional English apples to be found in your supermarket any more – but you’ll certainly find them cropping up in gardens. Record sales of ‘heritage’ fruit trees have been reported this year – with one of the country’s finest apples, Cox’s Orange Pippin, the most popular. The figures suggest there is still a great appetite for fruit varieties native to Britain, despite claims that supermarkets tend to rely on more consistent varieties from abroad. The latest sales figures from Homebase have revealed a 30 per cent increase in sales of fruit trees this year. According to the retailer, the number one choice was Cox’s Orange Pippin – widely regarded as the finest eating apple in the world. Worcester Pearmain – a small, classic English apple renowned for its strawberry-like flavour – came in second place. It was closely followed in third by Laxton’s Superb, the definitive late-Victorian dessert apple.

Fingerprints may be a flawed way of identifying criminals as they aren’t as unique as first thought: “Human fingerprints may not be unique, according to the Home Office’s first Forensic Science Regulator. This cornerstone of criminal investigation and identification may be flawed, as Mike Silverman claims that human error, partial prints and false positives mean that fingerprints evidence is not as reliable as is widely believed. Mr Silverman, who introduced the first automated fingerprint detection system to the Metropolitan Police, said: ‘No two fingerprints are ever exactly alike in every detail; even two impressions recorded immediately after each other from the same finger. ‘And the fingerprint often isn’t perfect, particularly at a crime scene. It might be dirty or smudged. There are all sorts of things that reduce the accuracy. ‘And not everyone’s fingerprints have been recorded so it’s impossible to prove that no two are the same.”

Stuck dog: “A golden retriever had to be rescued by firemen after getting her head stuck in a hole in a garden wall. Nine-year-old Sunny became wedged in the gap as she tried to greet a neighbour’s new puppy on the other side. Her owner Shelley Jones, 22, found her in the garden of her home in Gelding, Nottinghamshire, with her head through the block at around 11am on Sunday. Sunny was so firmly stuck in the six inch gap that even with Miss Jones, her brother Ivan Bishop, 28, and neighbour Gemma Beck, 30, pushing they were unable to free her. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service then attended the scene where they spent 20 minutes freeing the stricken pooch by cutting her free. ‘It took about 20 minutes in total and the wall had to be completely taken down. There is just a board up at the moment.”

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

Canadian billboard

April 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Italian senior, 75, accused in court of being ‘sex mad’ by his wife… 50 years younger than him: “An Italian pensioner aged 75 has been accused of being ‘sex mad’ – by his wife who is 50 years younger than him. Elderly Efisio Manfrin appeared in court in Naples accused by his spouse of being a ‘maniac that wanted sex all the time’. And she told the court that the constant pressure to get into bed was driving her mad. The two of them ended up before judges because police were called to a fight at the family home, and both accused the other of assault. Wife Iglesia Guerero, 25, and originally from Cuba, said the fight was about his ‘non-stop demands for nookie’. But her husband hit back in the court row claiming the fight was over money. He told court: ‘The fight started because I realised she cared more about money than sex and affection.”

The death of soup spoons: “It is the kind of faux pas that not so long ago would have been unthinkable. But it seems today’s families are more likely to eat their soup with – shock, horror – a dessert spoon. In what etiquette aficionados will fear is the death knell for table manners, sales of soup spoons have slumped in favour of the ‘jack-of-all trades’ dessert spoon. And 70 per cent of all cutlery sets sold do not contain a soup spoon either, according to Homebase. Analysts believe the trend may be down to simple cost-saving rather than a loss of etiquette, but as it is a buying pattern prominent in young people, the soup spoon could well be on its way out. Emma Jordan at Homebase said: ‘Many young couples are buying just the bare essentials. Soup spoons are seen as a luxury which they can do without for the time being.’

Rat steals dentures; dog kills rat: “A grandmother who lost her false teeth finally discovered them hidden behind her fridge- after a rodent stole them from her kitchen. Margaret Lowe, 77, put the teeth in a glass of water before going to bed. But the next morning Mrs Lowe was stunned when she could not find the plastic dentures. When her son came to visit, he heard a strange scratching noise from behind the fridge. When Stephen Lowe, 53 pulled out the fridge, at his mother’s house in Grove Park, south east London, he found her dentures hidden. The dirty dentures were buried alongside a knife, tea bags and dog biscuits – and dozens of rat droppings. Mrs Lowe was astounded when she discovered that a rodent was behind the theft. But pet dog Denis, quickly came to the rescue when it killed the rat as it ran across the kitchen floor.

Little lady with a big capacity: “Easter is the favourite time of year for this petite blonde who loves eating Cadbury Creme eggs so much that she can devour 50 in just six minutes and 15 seconds. Miki Sudo, 28, from Las Vegas Nevada, who weighs just eight stone, consumed a staggering 8,100 calories in one sitting by eating the Creme Eggs – the same as four days’ worth of food for a normal woman. Miss Sudo can eat grown men under the table and is ranked as one of the best female competitive eaters in the world-raking in £15,000 by stuffing her face. The blonde American spends her days travelling the world taking part in monstrous food challenges and competitions.

After half a century of golfing, widow, 85, hits her first hole in one: “In failing health and reliant on a buggy to get around the course, pensioner Doreen Banks thought her best golfing moments were behind her. But more than five decades after taking up the game, the jubilant widow is celebrating her first hole-in-one – at the grand old age of 85. The achievement makes Mrs Banks one of the oldest golfers in the country to score a hole-in-one – and the octogenarian triumphed despite the fact she is slowly going blind. Mrs Banks managed the feat on a 110-yard par three hole at Oxley Park Golf Club in Wolverhampton earlier this month. She aced the course’s tricky sixth hole using a five wood, watched by playing partner Pat Rogers, 71. Mrs Banks said she originally thought she had lost the ball until her friend found it in the hole. She added: ‘Fellow golfers will laugh, but I actually used my five wood because I don’t hit the ball very far these days. ‘But it does go straight so I just gripped down the club shaft and hit it more in hope than judgement.”

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

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