From the days of the telegram

July 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Before there was email, there was over 150 years of telegraph service

Now the telegram has gone the same way as the smoke signal and the carrier pigeon so, for old times’ sake, here are a few celebrated exchanges from the golden age.

Famously, the editor of a magazine, keen to verify copy, sent a telegram to Cary Grant’s agent:

HOW OLD CARY GRANT?

The star replied in person:

OLD CARY GRANT FINE. HOW YOU?

When some Oxford undergraduates discovered that Rudyard Kipling earned ten shillings for every word he wrote they posted him ten shillings asking for one of his very best words in reply. Back came a telegram from Kipling reading simply: THANKS.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, claimed to have telegrammed the same message to a dozen distinguished men. It read:

ALL IS DISCOVERED. FLY AT ONCE.

According to Conan Doyle, all 12 had fled the country within 24 hours.

Another story goes that the actor Peter Sellers was at home working in his study when the doorbell rang. It was answered by his wife, Anne, who was handed a telegram which read:

BRING ME A CUP OF COFFEE. PETER

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

The tasteless two: “It’s not hard for Geoffrey Edelsten and Gabi Grecko to stand out from the crowd. But on Tuesday the colourful couple appeared to be on fire when they were spotted looking lost in Sydney wearing spectacularly clashing outfits. Perhaps the businessman, 72, was celebrating Christmas in July as he stepped out for supper in a shiny red suit and bejewelled shirt, while Gabi, 26, wore flaming orange hair and a matching dress. The unconventional man and wife duo are in town filming segments for Celebrity Apprentice and had stumbled off the set for a bite to eat after a long day shooting. Former medic Geoffrey’s questionable attire could be mistaken for the late American singer Liberace’s flamboyant taste for exaggerated collars, cuffs and knuckle dusters. For her part Maxim model flame-haired Gabi was co-ordinated, to say the least , in an orange pencil skirt slit to the thigh and matching top. She had painted her nails a garish shade of orange, too, and wore shiny boots to match Geoffrey’s gleaming shoes.”

Waging war on peeing in public: Wall coating uses nanotechnology to repel urine: “Late night revellers and heavy drinkers may think nothing of relieving themselves in public. But now walls are fighting back against the disgusting habit. Walls in San Francisco have been coated with water-repellent paint so that desperate drinkers get a nasty surprise if they urinate on them. Nine walls around the Mission and Soma districts have been treated with hydrophobic Ultra-Ever Dry paint, so that if someone wees on them, their urine sprays back over their legs and shoes, hopefully deterring them from urinating in public again. The nanotechnology spray can be applied to almost any material. The coating costs several hundred dollars per wall, The San Francisco Chronicle reported, leading some people to comment (above) that more public toilets are a better solution to the dirty problem”

Cheers! Surprise for passengers at London City Airport as crates of BEER emerge on the luggage carousel: “Passengers arriving at London City Airport got a shock when their luggage was replaced with crates of beer. But there hadn’t been a mix up with the delivery – it was a marketing stunt from beer giant Carlsberg. As passengers waited to collect their suitcases, secret filming captured the shock and delight of the giveaway. Then, as crates of Carlsberg began to circle around, passengers’ confusion is clear – some seem genuinely worried as to where their luggage is, while others begin to smile. Then, as people catch on to the message on the top of the boxes, that reads ‘take me I’m yours,’ passengers lean forward to grab a prize. Thankfully, their luggage soon followed.”

British Keystone Kops appeal to find the villains who broke two brooms: “A police appeal to find the culprits responsible for breaking into a cricket club’s storage container and breaking two brooms has swept the internet. The brooms were broken after vandals forced open the outdoors storage space in the rural village of Eyam, Derbyshire, last week. Police immediately launched an appeal for information – but few people appeared to be taking the investigation seriously, cracking jokes about it on social media. On Facebook, Simon Crossett wrote: ‘I believe the police are sweeping the area for clues.’ Joanna Carter said: ‘Whoever is doing this should expect a brush with the law soon.’ Shane Connor commented: ‘South Yorkshire crime has really got out of hand. The police really need to ‘sweep’ these criminals off the streets!’ Others said the appeal was a waste of time, saying the police should be prioritising more serious crimes ahead of broken brooms.”

How pendulum clocks ‘SPEAK’ to each other: “It is a mystery that has puzzled scientists for nearly 350 years, but now researchers claim to have solved what causes pendulum clocks to synchronise their swings. A team of physicists and mathematicians say sound from the ticking clocks transfers energy between them and eventually causes the pendulums to move in time. In effect the clocks ‘communicate’ with each other and over several days or even hours they begin to nudge each other until their swing matches. However, the researchers found the synchronisation would only occur if the clocks were both connected to a beam capable of transferring the energy between them. No matter when the clocks were started, they would eventually start to move into synchronisation over the course of around 18 hours.”

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

LATEST POLL NUMBERS

July 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Italian drivers can drink up: “Italian drivers can now drink a whole bottle of wine before driving and not lose their licence following a change in the law. Carlo Sessa, the prefect of Avellino in the south of the country, introduced the new rules in the province which mean drivers who have consumed eight glasses – about one bottle – could only be fined £560. The move has been slammed by road safety groups who say it sends the message that it is ‘OK to drive drunk’. Giving an explanation for the unusual move, Mr Sessa referred to the way the region’s judiciary cancels suspensions of licences, adding that the change in the law will relieve the ‘heavy burden on public administration’. However, Giuseppa Cassaniti, president of the Italian Association for the Families and Victims of Road Deaths, told The Telegraph: ‘It seems to me the prefect has done this because he’s sick and tired of judges reversing the law in the appeal courts.’

‘Not all Romanians are prostitutes’: “A ROMANIAN woman claims she was denied a hotel room because staff thought she was a prostitute. Alecsandra Puflea, 22, had booked the room at the Holiday Inn Express in Hull, UK, online. But when she arrived with her boyfriend to check in on July 6, she claims staff told her; “I’m sorry, we don’t accept Romanians”. It’s alleged that the hotel had adopted a policy of screening and turning away guests they believed could be engaging in illegal activity after discovering Romanian women were using its rooms for prostitution. “It was an awful experience and quite shocking,” Ms Puflea told the Telegraph. “He took one look at my ID and said that I could not stay in the hotel. I tried to show him my British driver’s license but he said I could not stay in the hotel because I was from Romania.” Ms Puflea later filed a complaint with the Humberside Police. They investigated and released a statement saying the hotel had since apologised to Ms Puflea and was reviewing its policy.

London Fire Brigade declares war on COBALT! “The Periodic Table may have formed an important part of the school chemistry syllabus. But the London Fire Brigade may regret not brushing up on the subject after mistakenly declaring war on cobalt in their carbon monoxide safety campaign. Ahead of the new legislation requiring landlords to fit a carbon monoxide alarm, the service launched a campaign saying: ‘Could kill you. Have you ordered your alarm yet?’ On the poster, which along with an accompanying Tweet references the hit TV show Breaking Bad, the letters ‘Co’ had been highlighted in a green box with the atomic number ’27’, a reference to Cobalt, the metal in magnets and phone batteries. The chemical formula for carbon monoxide is CO – in capitals – but as it is a compound rather than an element it doesn’t appear on the Periodic Table and does not have an atomic number. From October, homeowners will be required by law to install a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance.”

Would you pay £26 for a bottle of water? “The five-star Merchant Hotel (above) in Belfast last week announced a new dedicated water menu, with the most expensive bottle costing £26.45. The Northern Irish property has also revealed plans to employ ‘water butlers’ in the move which has been ridiculed online. And although the hotel has reminded guests that tap water will still be available should guests prefer not to splash out, the plans have been derided on social media. The company introduced their menu on Facebook, writing: ‘We’d hate to get left behind on this newest innovation in beverage retailing so here’s our brand new water list! Conveniently arranged by your own personal level of daftness.’ The priciest product among 13 bottled waters on offer at the Merchant Hotel is sourced from glacial walls in the Canadian Arctic. For a 750ml bottle, diners will need to stump up £26.45.”

Cat stripped naked: “A family has been left distraught after their fluffy cat was sheared from head to foot during a routine grooming session. Owner Natalie Thompson, 25, was furious when her cat Ollie was shaved completely bald following his £50 spruce-up at the Gateshead branch of Pets at Home. When she was reunited with her four-year-old pet she wept as Ollie looked so traumatised by what had happened. ‘He is usually an outgoing cat but that has all changed since the incident and he seems traumatised. ‘Ollie just kind of looks a little bit lost, he looks really sad. I can’t describe it – he’s just not himself. She then rang the store and demanded an explanation as to what had happened. A spokesman for Pets At Home told MailOnline: ‘Cats have a very delicate skin which can be easily torn or damaged. ‘So when a cat has a matted coat like Ollie’s it is sometimes necessary to clip the coat very close, using clippers designed specifically for use with cats, to avoid causing any damage to its skin.”

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

An educational barbershop

July 27, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.’

The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, ‘I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.’ The cop was happy and left the shop.

The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a ‘thank you ‘ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill , the barber again replied, ‘I can not accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’

The Congressman was very happy and left the shop.

The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Real estate mogul’s ‘radical solution’ to the global refugee crisis: “WHAT do you do with people the world doesn’t want? Give them an island all to themselves. That’s the radical new plan to solve the world’s refugee crisis being proposed by one man. From the US to Europe to Australia, the world is grappling with an unprecedented movement of people forced to flee their home countries due to conflict or persecution. It’s causing a massive headache for governments struggling to find a solution which balances humanitarian need with economic reality. That’s not good enough, argues real estate tycoon Jason Buzi. He’s come up with an outlandish plan to solve the global refugee crisis: create a new country for them. He proposes four options for where it could be located: carve off a sparsely populated area of a developed nation; purchase an uninhabited island from a country such as Indonesia or the Philippines; convince a sovereign, sparsely populated country such as Dominica to allow itself to be taken over; or to literally build a new island in international waters.”

Keystone helicopter Kops in Britain: “Police launched a major hunt involving a helicopter, armed response officers and a dog unit for a man brandishing a weapon in the dark – but when they got there the ‘suspect’ was just a gardner holding a rake. Stephen Hogan had been working late in his back garden with friend Wayne Dodd when police swooped on their quiet neighbourhood in Christchurch, Dorset. They had earlier received a 999 call from a member of staff at the Avondene nursing home two doors down who reported seeing a man in a T-shirt outside holding up what appeared to be a weapon. Officers attended Mr Hogan’s bungalow home at about midnight after their colleagues in the National Police Air Service helicopter circling above saw some activity in his back garden. After making their way through the property the two policemen found Mr Dodd holding up a rake from where he had been helping to landscape an unkempt area of Mr Hogan’s garden under an external light. Officers satisfied themselves that the so-called offender was 43-tear-old Mr Dodd and the ‘weapon’ was the garden rake.”

Organisers of village fruit and veg show have so few entries they allow people to enter food bought from the supermarket: “It is a tradition as British as red telephone boxes and morris dancing. Once a year, in the village hall or in a marquee on the green, locals gather to proudly enter their homemade jam or home-grown veg for judging in the annual show. Yet this cornerstone of rural life is, it seems, under threat as fewer locals enter such competitions. And so desperate is the situation that one village on the borders of the Cotswolds has even tried to drum up interest – by allowing residents to enter fruit and veg bought from supermarkets. The fruit and vegetable display competition is known as the Davenport Vernon Shield, and was described on the show’s website as: ‘A chance to buy your vegetables on a Friday, show them on Saturday and eat them on Sunday … goods need not to have been grown by the exhibitor.’”

Voyeur uses drone to spy on nudists: “Naturists on one of Britain’s most popular nudist beaches fear they are being spied on by a voyeur flying a drone. A number of naked sunbathers were left angry when they were buzzed by a radio-controlled drone that flew up and down the famous Studland nudist beach in Dorset. They feared a camera was attached to the device and that the operator, who could not be seen, had the bare cheek to take some shots of the bathers in a state of complete undress. Officials are looking into the matter and have stepped up patrols in case the drone operator returns. ‘The machine went along the whole stretch of Studland so the owner could not be identified. For obvious reasons, naturists need to know who it was.’ Studland nudist beach is a public space but the users enjoy some privacy as it is obscured by sand dunes on one side and has the sea on the other.

Council workers are slammed for leaving Tarmac roads with penis shapes: “Council workers have been slammed for leaving ‘penis-shapes’ in the road after they tried to cover old markings with the wrong paint. Residents say they are disgusted by the mess left behind by Staffordshire County Council workers, who had been using a preventative treatment to try and maintain the road in Tamworth. But the material reacted with paint that had been recently scraped from the road, leaving it covered in phallic-shapes and other offensive-looking gestures.
One angry resident, Graham Wood, who has lived in his detached home for about 11 years, was away when the work started in June but returned to the ‘complete mess’. ‘They’ve scraped off the old road markings and painted over it, but the stuff they used reacted with the white lines. ‘The paint melted the white lines underneath it so, as vehicles drove over the road, it went all over the place.”

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

Single … then married

July 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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Odd news from around the world

Mexico’s masked hero making streets safe — for pedestrians: “ON THE mean and traffic-choked streets of Mexico City, a fearless superhero is fighting to protect the planet from the worst the internal combustion engine can throw at it. The mighty Peatonito (Little Pedestrian) pushes cars blocking the path of pedestrians, creates crosswalks with spray paint, and climbs on vehicles parked on sidewalks — though his mother has begged him to stop stepping on them. “Pedestrians are happy because they finally have a defender,” Peatonito said, his face covered by a wrestling mask adorned with a pedestrian symbol and wearing a striped cape (sewn by his grandma) adorned with the black and white stripes of a pedestrian crossing. Peatonito and the clowns from the civic association the Claustrofobos (Claustrophobes) are among a wave of activists fighting uncivil behaviour and bad urban planning in this metropolis of 21 million people, four million cars and five million daily metro commuters.

Man puts SUPER GLUE in friend’s hair gel: “An online prankster decided to put his best friend through a hair-raising ordeal before he went on a hot date. Joker Ben Phillips, 22, filmed himself pouring super glue into close pal Elliot Giles’ pot of gel. The 18-year-old is seen breaking out into a cold sweat after a hair brush gets bound to his barnet. The pair, from Bridgend, Wales, then had to drive to the hospital so nurses can use solvent to remove the bristles – and Elliot had to visit a hairdresser to get his cropped mane restyled. Revealing why he decided to pull the stunt of his mate, Ben told FEMAIL: ‘Elliot’s very vain. ‘I’m joking but us lads are always doing our hair. I like doing pranks that interfere with day to day, messing with things that you don’t expect to be hacked.'”

Wheely hip or really stupid? the £1495 Solowheel: “The Solowheel is a powered wheel (gyro-stabilised) with a pair of foot plates on which the passenger stands. When the rider leans forward, the motor drives forward and a maximum speed of 10mph can be achieved. The rider has to balance side to side, in the same way as when riding a bicycle. When the rider leans back, the vehicle slows. You see? You have to STAND on this latest form of transport, for all the world as though you are a Virgin Trains customer. There are no pedals, either. I soon learned that speed is all: if you are slow, you topple over, just as you would on a bike. And as in skiing, it’s hard to turn without momentum. I find gripping the sides with my calves painful, though Robert says I will get used to this. The good thing is that when you fall off, unlike a horse, it doesn’t gallop off: the engine cuts out.”

The owl and the policeman: “Video of a Colorado deputy’s encounter with a curious, clicking baby owl delighted animal-lovers on Friday after authorities posted footage of the unusual meeting online. The deputy was driving near the small town of Nederland when she and a colleague were stopped in their tracks by the young northern saw-whet owl, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said. ‘Hi, what’s up?’ says the deputy in the footage as she approaches the small bird on a woodland road. Unfazed, the young owl clicks back in response. ‘After some curious head twisting (on both sides) it safely flew away,’ the sheriff’s office said in a statement on social media. The sheriff’s office said the cute encounter took place in the area of Rainbow Lakes Campground, a few miles northwest of Nederland, but that it was not revealing the exact location in order to protect the owl’s nest.

Rare 17-foot deep water whale washes up: “The carcass of a rarely-seen deep water whale washed up on a Massachusetts beach on Friday, offering a rare research opportunity for marine biologists. The 17-foot toothed female whale was found on Jones Beach in Plymouth. Biologists with the New England Aquarium are investigating what may have caused the whale to wash ashore. A necropsy of the whale, which weighs nearly a ton, will be performed by the biologists alongside staff from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Aquarium officials believe the whale is a Sowerby’s beaked whale, which is known for having a long, slender snout and feeds on small fish in cold, deep water. WBZ reported that the whale’s carcass was in fairly good condition when it was discovered. A number of species of beaked whales can be found about 200 miles offshore in the North Atlantic. Since they spend most of their time in deep water little is known about them.

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

Hair we go

July 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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Odd news from around the world

10,000 tonne freight train plows into a stretch limo: “This is the shocking moment a 10,000-tonne train plowed into a limousine that was stuck on a level crossing. A photographer captured a video of the moment of impact after the high-speed freight carrier slammed into the vehicle. Teenagers celebrating a friend’s birthday were in the vehicle in Indiana when it stopped on the lines. They managed to get out, and used a red piece of cloth to try and warn the conductor. A local photographer, Norman Noe, who is thought to have been travelling with the party, filmed the moment of impact. The conductor of the train was constantly sounding its whistle as it approached the limousine. When it slammed into the vehicle, it pushed it along the tracks several hundred feet before grinding to a halt. The photographer ran to the front of the train still filming and asked the driver: ‘Did you see me?’ ‘I sure did,’ he replied. ‘I’ve got 10,000 tonnes behind me, though.’

Giant statue of Lenin’s head which stood in East Germany is to be dug up and put on display: “Buried and long forgotten, the head of a giant Lenin statue is set to make a comeback in the German capital a quarter-century after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Soviet leader will gaze again on the people when the 3.5 tonne piece is resurrected from its current grave – a sandpit under a pile of rocks which is home to a colony of lizards. The goateed head of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin, is to be unearthed, trucked across Berlin and displayed in a line-up of historical sculptures marking the end of an odyssey that started in the Cold War. ‘Lenin was always set to be part of the exhibition because it’s a special statue, given its size alone,’ said Andrea Theissen, curator of the Citadel Spandau hosting the exhibition from September. Once upon a time, the 1.7 metre (5ft) high head was part of a Lenin statue carved from Ukrainian pink granite that towered 19 metres (62ft) above East Berlin, framed by Soviet pre-fab apartment tower blocks.”

Glamorous Argentinian MP decides to breastfeed her 8-month-old daughter during parliamentary session: “In any other setting, an image of a breastfeeding mother reclining into her chair with her baby’s scattered messy table in front of her would be quite unremarkable. Except this mother was an Argentinian MP who was attending a parliamentary session and surrounded by her peers at the time. The photograph of Victoria Donda Perez feeding her eight-month-old daughter has since gone viral since the incident was filmed at the Congressional Palace in the capital Buenos Aires earlier this month. Although many have praised the 37-year-old for feeding her baby girl right there and then, others feel her actions were inappropriate. The human rights activist and lawyer became the youngest woman ever to become a member of the Argentine National Congress in December 2007. Since then, the glamorous politician has been nicknamed ‘Dipusex’ – or sexy MP.”

Land of mutant daisies: Flowers grow strangely near site of Fukushima nuclear power plant: “It will surprise no one but mutant daisies with two connected flowers and four stems have been found growing near the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Four years after the tragic disaster saw the meltdown of six nuclear reactors at the plant following a tsunami, the area is still being affected by radiation that came after the tragedy. Known as fasciation (or cresting) the hormonal imbalance in vascular plants is a rare condition causing plants to increase in weight and volume. The sprouting of abnormal flowers at the site of Fukushima however is not a shock with deformed fruit growing within the area as well. So it is no surprise that the abnormal flowers have started growing in Fukushima but they can occur anywhere. The condition is also one without treatment. Critics reacted to the images on social media claiming them to be a scam when in fact the condition is real.

Still a kid at heart: “A man has built a high-tech treehouse, complete with finger-print entry, an app-controlled beer dispenser and voice-controlled LED lights – and it’s all solar powered. Jono Williams, a 28-year-old man from Palmerston North in New Zealand’s North Island, dreamt up the plans three years ago over drinks with a friend. His feat is up and running $67,000 later, Domain is reporting. With 360-degree views from 10 metres up, an in-couch beer dispenser, high-speed wifi, wireless sound system fingerprint entry, projector, dimmable coloured LED lighting from solar-powered, app and voice-controlled mechanics, The Skyphere is the perfect bachelor pad. ‘My favourite part of the tower by far is my smartphone activated, refrigerated, in-couch beer dispenser,’ Mr Williams told Daily Mail Australia. A plastics engineer, graphic and web designer, Mr Williams was an amateur in steel construction before developing The Skysphere. ‘From an early age I have always liked to make things. The only difference these days is I import four tonnes of steel from China,’ he says on The Skyphere website.

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

Cowboy wisdom

July 24, 2015 at 11:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Montana cowboy, a Native American and a Muslim are waiting for their plane in a small Montana airport.

The Montana cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his boots on a magazine table and tips his big sweat-stained hat forward over his face.

The wind outside is blowing tumbleweeds around and the old windsock is flapping, but still no plane comes.

The American Indian clears his throat and softly speaks. “At onetime here, my people were many, but sadly, now we are few.”

The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans forward, “Once my people were few,” he sneers, and now we are many. Why do you suppose that is?”

The Montana cowboy shifts his toothpick to one side of his mouth, and from the darkness beneath his Stetson says in a drawl :

“That’s cause we ain’t played Cowboys & Muslims yet, but I do believe it’s a-comin”.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Horny Canadians?: “One in five Ottawa residents are allegedly subscribed to the cheating website, according to figures provided by the Toronto-based company, whose slogan is “Life Is Short. Have an Affair”. In February, 189,810 Ashley Madison users were registered in the Canadian city, which has a population of about 883,000. It’s the biggest affair city in Canada and potentially the highest globally per capita, Reuters reports. Noel Biderman, chief executive of Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, told a Canadian newspaper earlier this year that Ottawa was the marriage infidelity hotbed of the world. He claims the top postcode for Ashley Madison members is Parliament Hill, the home of Canada’s parliament. Ottawa marriage counsellor Nataxja Cini said the city was full of professionals with demanding careers, many in government, which could put a strain on relationships. But being part of a stable family was still seen as a badge of success, and so an Ashley Madison subscription may be preferable to a divorce”

Clueless owner uses $2 million painting as kitchen pinboard: “AN eagle-eyed art expert is helping a clueless painting owner enjoy a brush with Lady Luck. It’s rare enough to find a $2 million masterpiece hanging in someone’s kitchen. It is even rarer to find a $2 million masterpiece hanging in someone’s kitchen where it’s being used as a bulletin board. Yet that is exactly what happened when Hannah O’Leary, Bonhams auction house’s head of South African Art, walked into a London apartment to appraise a client’s art collection. “I was undertaking a routine valuation when I spotted this masterpiece hanging in the kitchen covered in letters, postcards and bills,” O’Leary said. “It was a hugely exciting find even before I learned of its political significance.” The painting in question is the Arab in Black by Irma Stern, one of South Africa’s most important artists. The painting is set to be auctioned off in London in September where it is expected to fetch between $1.3-2 million.

Airline loses a bag filled with $900K in cash: “YOU think losing your suitcase full of new holiday clothes was bad? This week, Cathay Pacific airline lost a bag filled with $900,000 in cash at Hong Kong International airport. According to Shanghaiist, the bag was one of 12 carrying a total of $10 million New Zealand dollars on their way from New Zealand to Hong Kong, destined for deposit at the Bank of China. The flight arrived at 9:10pm, and thanks to surveillance cameras, authorities know that bags made their way to a cargo transfer service provided by a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. The bags were put onto a trailer, but then the truck turned a corner — and three bags fell out. Pesky corners. Ten minutes later, the driver arrived at the station, realised three bags of money were missing and, we imagine, promptly freaked out. Fortunately, two sacks were found on the tarmac, but the third one is still MIA. According to reports, police are still investigating the disappearance and are listing it as a theft.”

Controversial dessert: “WHAT’S wrong with this photo? A lot, according to a Japanese tourist who sparked a McFlurry of activity on Twitter after complaining about the dessert she received in Paris. In fact, she said it looked more like “garbage” than a tasty treat. The Tweet received a mixed response. While many people agreed that it looked unappetising, others jumped to the defence of the iconic ice cream and chocolate snack and praised McDonalds for being generous with the amount of chocolate on top. Meanwhile, it seems the treat has a lot of fans and it can be hard to live up to their high expectations!

Newly discovered winged dinosaur was related to Jurassic Park’s Velociraptor: “ZHENYUANLONG sunis might be the new Velociraptor. Palaeontologists in China discovered a new and nearly complete dinosaur fossil in the country’s Liaoning Province. The skeleton, named Zhenyuanlong suni, is a relative of the Velociraptors made famous is “Jurassic Park,” and lived around 125 million years ago. Scientists described the species as being around six feet long, with big, dense feathers on its tail and wings, and short arms. “It’s the biggest dinosaur that has ever been found with wings,” said Steve Brusatte, a palaeontologist at Edinburgh University, who co-authored the discovery’s study published in Scientific Reports. However, scientist believe the creature most likely used the wings for show, rather than flight.”

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

British news

July 23, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A Japanese zoo is putting on an exhibition of one of the world’s most hated insects: “A JAPANESE zoo is trying to do the impossible — improve the image of cockroaches, putting on an exhibition of one of the world’s most hated insects. With a whopping — and disgusting — 4,000 species around the planet, the hardy creature can survive almost anywhere, but is most commonly encountered by city-dwellers in grubby corners of the kitchen, or roaming around the floor at night. Staff at Shunanshi Tokuyama Zoo in Yamaguchi, western Japan, say the cockroach gets a bad press and actually performs a vital job. Important, but not very pleasant-sounding: eating rotting carcasses and dead plants on forest floors. One highlight of the exhibition will be a five-way race among cockroaches, where visitors can watch the worryingly speedy bugs whiz down a track. If that’s not entertainment enough — hard to credit — the zoo is offering the chance to get your hands on a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, which can grow as long as 7 centimetres. No need to worry about this, though, assures the zoo — Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches can’t fly. But they can hiss.”

The big picture: “A huge 143-year-old painting that had been rolled up in storage for 70 years has been restored and put on display for the first time. The artwork – which weighs half a tonne in its huge frame – spent several decades in storage on the same custom wooden cylinder artist John Rogers Herbert used to transported it from London in 1878. The painting, titled Moses bringing down the Tables of the law, took 10 weeks and a team of 25 people to restore it to its former glory. Its six metre by four metre frame made it impossible to fit through any doors or lifts in the National Gallery of Victoria. It had to be rolled in on large cylinders and the heavy frame was pulled apart into six pieces. The restoration required specially made equipment to stabilise, clean, repair and reattach the artwork. The painting was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria in 1872, but it took Herbert another six years to complete the artwork. This is the first time Moses bringing down the Tables of the law will be displayed in the National Gallery of Victoria.

Aging sex symbol defends wild cats: “She may have been called a sex kitten in the 1960s, but Brigitte Bardot is now better known as an animal rights activist and she’s got her claws stuck into an Australian plan to cull two million feral cats. The government proposal is aimed at stopping the cats from harming native animals, and although stressing that the cats purge will be carried out humanely, Bardot urged the government to reconsider the plan which she said was ‘appalling’ to the international community. ‘Your country is sullied by the blood of millions of innocent animals so please, don’t add cats to this morbid record,’ the 80-year-old said in the English translation of the open letter to Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Feral cats have been identified as the main culprit behind Australia’s high rate of mammal extinction, with more than 10 percent of species wiped out since Europeans settled there two centuries ago.

Golfer hits a real birdie: “This is the horrible moment a golfer killed a seagull when the bird was hit with a wayward shot. Footage shows the bird landing on the fairway moments before the man hit a tee shot that went directly for it. The bird doesn’t have enough time to react and is struck by the ball, which delivers a fatal blow. The clip, posted to YouTube by user Jordan Wright, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, begins with the man getting into position for his tee shot as a friend records the moment. It hits the bird head on and rather tragically causes it to explode into a ball of feathers upon impact. The golfer reacts by recoiling and turning his head away in horror before backing off towards the videomaker, who can also be heard voicing his shock.

‘Walkie-talkie’ building blamed for creating wind tunnels in London city: “AN ICONIC building that has melted the metal on cars is now being blamed for producing ferocious wind gusts that have knocked people off their feet. The ‘Walkie-talkie’ at 20 Fenchurch St, London cost $345 million to build but earned the nickname the ‘walkie scorchie’ after it melted the wing mirrors and panels of a Jaguar parked underneath it for an hour in 2013. Driver Martin Lindsay said he was “gutted” at the time, while developers were forced to investigate how the unique design produced such dazzling beams of light. Now locals and workers have complained about huge draughts created by the 34-storey building that have bowled over pedestrians and blown trolleys out of the way. Earlier in the year locals told City AM they were “scared to go back” to the site and had to keep the doors closed to avoid clothes being blown off the shelves in retail stores. Architect Rafael Vinoly has admitted his design, which contains a rooftop garden and city views, has “a lot of mistakes””

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

Unjust!

July 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

An inmate’s prison sentence can drop dramatically if they appear trustworthy: “If anyone should care about appearances, it’s a criminal, researchers have found. A new study reveals prison sentences can drop dramatically if the person in the stand appears to have a ‘trustworthy’ face. Convicts whose lips naturally turn upwards are in luck, whereas a natural frown can be damning. And according to Drs John Paul Wilson and Nicholas Rule, who authored the report, race is barely a factor: it all rests on the face. Upturned eyebrows, an upward curving mouth, and wide eyes give the impression of being open, kind and reliable. However, a recent study that came to that conclusion also found there’s little you can do to appear competent – that all rests on the structure of your face. Using mugshots of 371 convicted murderers in Florida – which still holds the death penalty – they asked 208 people to rate each one on a scale of one to eight, eight being the most trustworthy. Those rated least trustworthy were the ones who had received the death sentence. Participants tended to favour those who were handed the lesser sentence of life imprisonment.”

Smart toddler saves the day: “A terrified mother has revealed the shocking ordeal she faced when her child was accidentally locked inside her family car and was told by police it was not an emergency. Bella Clegg, from Hervey Bay in Queensland’s south-east, had returned to her car after shopping and had gone to put her one-year-old daughter, Cleopatra, in her baby seat on Monday just before 1pm. When she shut the door, she realised she had left the keys on the backseat next to her toddler, who turns two next month, after the four-wheel-drive’s automatic locking feature kicked in. But the incident became increasingly worse following a call to the police who turned her away. ‘I said: “I’ve locked my baby in the car, I can’t get into the car”,’ Ms Clegg told Daily Mail Australia. ‘He said something like: “You need to get a locksmith love.”‘ But little Cleopatra showed she was no damsel-in-distress. The toddler picked up the keys and used her tiny fingers to press down on the unlock button to the relief of her panicked mother.”

Beloved tollbooth worker sacked for paying toll out of his own pocket: “A BELOVED tollbooth operator, who had worked on a bridge for 29 years, has been sacked after he was caught paying a truck driver’s $6 toll. Military veteran Sam (Vladislav) Samsonov, aged 77, was caught on video taking cash out of his own pocket earlier this month to help out a trucker who was short on cash to pay his toll on Boca Grande Causeway at Placida in Charlotte County, Florida. The truck driver paid him back the $6 fee the next day. “In my eyes there was no crime committed, I just helped somebody out,” Samsonov told NBC2. “They were my family.” Samsonov had paid the toll for motorists before but had never formally been warned by Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority. He handed out treats for dogs and lollipops for children. “After 29 years, you can’t help it. I gave children suckers 20 years ago. Now I’m giving those children suckers for their children,” Samsonov said. This time he was caught on video and was punished.”

Whale with a sense of humor: “The young crowd at this aquarium had a novel way of cooling down on the hottest day of the year. As temperatures hit 93.2F (34C) on the first day after rainy season in Japan this playful beluga whale rose out of the pool and sprayed them with water. Children among the crowd were left wincing after it blasted them as though it were a water hose, while others could be seen scrambling in a desperate bid to escape the drenching. The beluga whale is a favourite attraction at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. Located amid the port of Yokohama Bay, the relatively new site has fast become one of the country’s premier visitor attractions thanks to its cheeky beluga whale. Commonly referred to as the melonhead, the beluga is an Arctic and sub-Arctic cetacean. It is also known as a sea canary due to its high-pitched twitter. It is adapted to life in the Arctic with its unmistakable all-white colour and the absence of a dorsal fin.”

Great-grandmother, 99, is sent a letter telling her she is PREGNANT: “A great-grandmother was astonished to be told she is pregnant by an NHS hospital even through she is nearing her 100th birthday. Doris Ayling, who has seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, received a letter telling her to attend an antenatal appointment. After she complained, the health service was forced to admit that it was all a mistake – but it is still unclear how the blunder happened. The 99-year-old, from Bognor Regis in Sussex, was sent a letter from Fareham Community Hospital in Hampshire. The document – which accurately stated that Mrs Ayling was born in 1915 – claimed that she was booked in for an antenatal consultation. After her 76-year-old son Brian contacted the hospital, they apologised for the error.

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

Too friendly?

July 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Another double-decker disaster: “Seven people have been injured after a double decker bus crashed into a bridge in south London, ripping its roof clean off. Pictures from the scene of devastation show the entire roof of the bus left at the entrance to the 12ft-high railway bridge on Portland Road in South Norwood. Paramedics treated seven passengers but remarkably nobody was seriously hurt in the smash yesterday evening. The 197 bus to Peckham does not usually pass the bridge on its route, police said, meaning it may have been on diversion at the time. Of the seven injured, four were taken to Croydon University Hospital including three patients who had minor injuries. Astonished members of the public can be seen staring at what remains of the double decker after the crash, which was also attended by London Fire Brigade. Lemra Styles tweeted: ‘I really want to know what went through the bus drivers [sic] head when he decided to drive the double decker bus under South Norwood bridge?'”

Disgusting food in British government hospitals: “NHS patients have been sharing their unappetizing experiences of hospital food, including everything from rock-hard Yorkshire puddings and ‘poo sample’ chocolate orange dessert. This follows a report earlier this week that more than 30 million patient meals are being thrown away each year at NHS hospitals. Patients have been posting snaps of their hospital dinners on social media, showing that despite efforts by the Department of Health to improve standards, there is still much work to be done. A woman being treated for Crohn’s Disease snapped her depressing looking roast dinner, joking that it was a good job she did not have false teeth. Speaking to MailOnline, she added that, as a Crohn’s patient, green vegetables and red meat trigger her symptoms, but despite informing staff of this, she was served a full roast dinner.”

How to win at Monopoly: “It has been the battleground for a thousand family rows every Christmas. But if you don’t care about upsetting the in-laws and just have to win, the secrets of Monopoly have been revealed by the game’s latest champion – a woman so ruthless she even knocked out her husband on the way to victory. The winner, who beat her husband in the heats before going on to win the final, says the way to win is to stay locked up in jail and avoid Park Lane. And there are more winning tips from the champion that go against the grain of what people usually do to claim victory. Instead of splashing out on hotels and lavish addresses, Natalie recommends avoiding Park Lane as it is the least landed on square, and sticking to just three or four houses. She said: ‘Once you’ve reached three houses, the amount that the rent increases each house maxes out. Natalie also recommended mortgaging everything to buy more property, and landing yourself in jail. ‘As soon as you get a monopoly yourself, mortgage everything else and spend every penny on houses.”

Sausages lose sizzle: “They have been a favourite on our dining tables and barbecues for generations. But now, it seems, sausages are falling out of favour as shoppers opt for healthier options. Consumers have turned instead to chicken and steak as they become more aware of foods seen as fuelling the obesity epidemic. The mystery which has traditionally surrounded the ingredients of sausages also seems to have dampened demand. They are often bulked up with cheap fillers, like breadcrumbs or wheat rusk, with an off-putting list of chemicals and preservatives. Health campaigners have also long demonised bangers for having high fat and salt levels. But until recently, diners have turned a blind eye to this because they loved them in everything from the breakfast fry-up to sandwiches as well as the barbecue. In contrast, sales of beef, especially steak, have soared by £1billion to £3billion – or 50 per cent – since 2008. During the First World War, food shortages led to a big reduction in meat levels in sausages, which were then packed with scraps, cereal and water. This made them pop and hiss when cooked over open fires in the trenches, giving them the nickname bangers.”

Student who couldn’t afford rent spent a year camping in a woman’s back garden: “One cash-strapped Canadian decided to spend a year camping in a tent in a Stockport so he could save money on living costs while he studied in Manchester. Evan Eames, from Montreal, asked strangers online if he could camp in their back gardens when he realised he could not afford to pay rent on top of international tuition fees for a Masters in Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. The 24-year-old went on to spend 10 months camping in the backgarden of Charley Mantack in the Stockport suburb of Heaton Chapel for free. In exchange, he tutored the 34-year-old in maths and physics as she was studying for GCSEs at Stockport College. Mr Eames said: ‘It was a really fun experience, I am super glad I did it. ‘There was some days I would wake up, there was birds around and reeds blowing in the wind, or you could hear the pitter-pattering on top of the tent some days of the rain. In the winter months he wore two pairs of thermal pants, a sweater, a onesie and a jacket.”

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

Psychological warfare

July 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Brutal British bureaucracy: “A disabled father died two weeks after being judged fit for work as he lay in hospital with pneumonia, it has been revealed. Diabetic David O’Mar, of Cardiff, Wales, was stripped of his disability benefits in April after a work capability assessment for the Department for Work and Pensions. The 58-year-old was bed-bound in hospital on the date of a tribunal to decide whether he should carry on receiving the benefits or was well enough to look for a job. Despite family pleas to reschedule, the court ruled the former radio DJ fit for work. He died of pneumonia on April 29. His daughter Alexandra said: ‘It affected him. I think it’s disgusting they stopped somebody’s benefits who genuinely needed them.’ He found out the date of his appeal when his daughter went to pick up things from his flat and found a summons. Shop worker Alexandra, 26, called the court and was told to write requesting a postponement, which she did. She said: ‘I explained the situation and he’d had notes from the doctors about his condition. But then I received a letter saying it wasn’t a good enough reason.”

Secret tunnels of the White Cliffs of Dover: “An incredible labyrinth of forgotten Second World War tunnels built beneath the White Cliffs of Dover will reopen to the public today for the first time in 40 years. The Fan Bay Deep Shelter was carved out of chalk in just 100 days in the 1940s as part of Dover’s connected gun battery armaments aimed at foiling Nazi shipping movements in the Channel. The shelter was carved out of the chalk by Royal Engineers from the 172nd Tunnelling Company and had a hospital, secure store and five large chambers providing bomb-proof accommodation. Bullets, including British .303 cartridges and American 30 calibre ammunition rounds, were also found throughout the tunnels, often tucked into small gaps in metal sheeting. Two rare First World War sound mirrors also form part of the site. Regarded as one of the first early warning devices invented in Britain, sound mirrors gave advanced notice of approaching enemy aircraft but became obsolete with the invention of radar technology in the 1930s.

Incredible moment a pilot soft-landed his Spitfire without any WHEELS: “The aircraft was flying above Sibson Airfield when the worried pilot radioed airfield bosses to say he could not release his landing gear. Skydivers jumping at the airfield in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, were grounded as the brave pilot circled for more than 20 minutes in a bid to burn fuel. Emergency services arrived at the scene just as the replica plane was carefully flown towards the ground in strong winds. But amazingly he managed to land the aircraft without his landing gear – skillfully skimming the aircraft over the grass on its belly. The pilot was completely unharmed after the dramatic touch down on Saturday morning and, apart from a broken propeller, the plane appeared largely undamaged. He put the tail end down first and then the rest down and came to a full stop”

A dog with 9 lives: “A plucky Jack Russell miraculously survived a 120ft cliff plunge while chasing a rabbit after he landed in the sea. Spott was being walked by its owners along the Jurassic Coast near Swanage, Dorset, when he bolted over the side of the cliff while running after the animal. Fearing the worst his horrified owners called for help – but miraculously Spott was discovered alive and well at the bottom of the cliff. It is thought Spott survived the drop because he landed in the sea below, breaking his fall. A recreational climber made his way down the chalk cliff at Anvil Point to comfort Spott before a local lifeboat crew plucked the pooch to safety. Spott was taken to the RNLI station at Swanage before an emotional reunion with his relieved owners on Saturday afternoon. Ian Brown, Swanage Coastguard station officer, said: ‘The cliff is about 120ft at Anvil Point and there was a real concern that the dog, called Spott, had come to harm.” ‘He had been off the lead and seen a rabbit and bolted after it over the side of the cliff.

Surfer fights off shark: “Surfing legend Mick Fanning fought off the great white during the final round of the J-Bay Open in South Africa. The 34-year-old described the moment he realised the shark was behind him as terrifying, saying: ‘I was waiting for the teeth to come at me.’ Footage released by the World Surf League (WSL) shows the shark’s fin emerge from the water before following Fanning as he paddled out of the shallows. The three-time world champion, who was competing against fellow Australian Julian Wilson in the final, can be seen being knocked off his board before he attempts to use it as a shield to stop the shark biting him. Speaking after the incident, Fanning – who was miraculously uninjured and only lost a leg rope in the incident – said: ‘It came up and got stuck in my leg rope. ‘I instantly just jumped away. It kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. ‘I just saw fins. I punched it in the back.’

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

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