January 31, 2009
What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A flat miner.
Hair raisersA compilation of close calls:
Thief caught out giving policeman's address
BERLIN (Reuters) – A German teen-ager caught shoplifting tried to dupe police by lying about where he lived -- but ended up in even more trouble when the address he gave turned out to be the home of an investigating officer.
I spotted this tree in central Texas last week.
January 22, 2009
Knitters turn to graffiti artists with 'yarnbombing'
Graffiti artists have added a new tool their traditional aerosol cans – knitting needles and a ball of wool.
Hundreds of knitters around the world have begun wrapping their huge woolly creations around public property like trees, street signs and lampposts.
They then take photos of their colourful "art" and post them on internet sites for fellow knitters to view and comment on.
One of the most ambitious pieces of work saw a woman spend an entire week covering a disused single decker bus in colourful swatches.
The phenomenon, called Yarnbombing, is thought to have originated in the US but knitters are now beginning to cover British streets in woollen 'tags'.
One of 30 nice T-shirt designs from Glennz Tees.
Bang! You're dead...
Man hurt when gun blasts toilet
CENTERVILLE — A man was wounded by shrapnel from a toilet when his concealed weapon accidentally went off while he was using the bathroom, police said. [...]
"While pulling his pants up the gun fell out of the holster, striking the tile floor," Centerville Police Lt. Paul Child said Wednesday. "When the gun hit the floor, it went off, and the bullet struck the toilet, shattering it and sending sharp pieces of porcelain flying."
The man was hit by some porcelain shards, lacerating his arm. No one else was injured, but an employee of the restaurant in the next-door women's restroom heard the gunshot and panicked.
"She was shaken, she was upset and was complaining of some chest pain," Child said.
This is Hans Klok, an illusionist from the Netherlands, racing against the clock.
January 20, 2009
A hard act to follow
A magician had a gig on an Alaskan cruise ship. Since the audience was different every week, the magician got into the habit of performing the same tricks for every cruise.
But the problem with that was the captain's parrot, who saw the same show every week and began to figure out the magician's tricks. Eventually he started shouting things like, "Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?" or "It's not the same hat!" or "Look, the flowers are under the table!"
The magician was furious about this, but there was little he could do since it was the captain's parrot.
Then one day the ship had an accident and sank. The magician found himself stranded -- with the parrot -- on a piece of flotsam in the middle of the ocean. They stared at each other but neither said a word and that went on for several days.
After a week the parrot finally said, "Okay, I give up... What'd you do with the boat?"
Worth more than a thousand words
An interesting recap in PC World: Say Cheese: 12 Photos That Should Never Have Been Posted Online
You tell her, Sarge
Via Division of Labor, here's a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal that ran in early December.
In the article "A Bachelor's in Borrowing" (Personal Journal, Nov. 25), Elina Agnoli, a recent law-school graduate, says: "People have this notion of law-school graduates getting $150,000 right off the bat. But that's not the reality for the law grad in 2008. I've got friends waitressing with J.D.s . There's something wrong with that scenario."
Someone should inform the lamentable Ms. Agnoli that, despite her attempts to cloak herself in the victim's mantle, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that scenario. Even granting that America has, arguably, the strongest rule of law in the world, we still have far too many attorneys, concerned with far too much rent-seeking. By any measure -- per capita, per dollar of gross domestic product, per square foot -- we have more lawyers than any country in the world, so we may not pay any additional, freshly minted ones a very good wage. Had the feckless Ms. Agnoli gotten a degree in economics, she would understand that concept.
Sgt. Peter Cook
Forward Operating Base Falcon
An odd couple
But a cute one.
January 19, 2009
News from Oz
Club bans bowler for naked streak
A NUDE Territory man was slapped with a "stiff" ban for his stark-naked streak through a Top End sports club.
Builder James Forrest, 37, of Darwin, was served a six-month ban notice for his naked dash - which he ended with a star jump - through Nightcliff Sports Club.
An "absolutely unrepentant" Mr Forrest said he had been drinking with friends at the club recently, and had just left, when "the wonderful idea" struck him.
"(My friends) tried to talk me out of it ... (but) I got the gear off in the car park," Mr Forrest said.
"I left the car out there with the motor running.
"Did the quick bolt through, and did a star jump at the exit."
A meal to die for
Scott sends a link to this CBS report and adds, "Sounds yummy. Looks even better." I'll bet he means the 8,000 calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger.
These people are the U.S. diplomatic corps?
Reply-all e-mail storm hits State
WASHINGTON – Many "reply all" fiascos result in mere embarrassment, but American diplomats have been told they may be punished for sending mass responses after an e-mail storm nearly knocked out one of the State Department's main electronic communications systems.
A cable sent last week to all employees at the department's Washington headquarters and overseas missions warns of unspecified "disciplinary actions" for using the "reply to all" function on e-mail with large distribution lists.
The cable, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, was prompted by a major interruption in departmental e-mail caused by numerous diplomats hitting "reply all" to an errant message inadvertently addressed and copied to several thousand recipients.
Close ups from far away
Another great collection at The Big Picture: 23 close-ups of Earth taken from orbit.
January 17, 2009
Weekend Reading 28
A lesson in human nature from Virginia Postrel.
Are Bubbles Inevitable?
Judging from the results in the far-more-predictable circumstances of lab experiments, it seems so. My new Atlantic column looks at the research: [...]
At least that's what economists would have thought before Vernon Smith, who won a 2002 Nobel Prize for developing experimental economics, first ran the test in the mid-1980s. But that's not what happens. Again and again, in experiment after experiment, the trading price runs up way above fundamental value. Then, as the 15th round nears, it crashes. The problem doesn't seem to be that participants are bored and fooling around. The difference between a good trading performance and a bad one is about $80 for a three-hour session, enough to motivate cash-strapped students to do their best. Besides, Noussair emphasizes, "you don't just get random noise. You get bubbles and crashes." Ninety percent of the time.
January 16, 2009
More clever billboards
Thirty-nine clever ads on billboards, most of which I hadn't seen before.
University opens porn course
A university in Taiwan has opened a course to teach students how to appreciate and analyse porn movies.
The Mass Communication Department of Providence University opened the course this semester, reports United Daily News. [...]
One worried student, who did not wish to be named, commented: "If I get a very good score in this course, I don't know how I'll explain it to my parents."
A pretty clever advertisement.
Good luck getting 1549
'Lucky' No. 1549 Sells Out After NY Crash
Number Sells Out After US Airways Flight 1549 Crashes
ROCKY HILL, Conn. -- Hours after US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River, the lottery number 1549 sold out in Connecticut.
Lottery players who attempted to purchase a Play 4 ticket using the numbers 1549 Thursday night were told the number had sold out.
Diane Patterson of the Connecticut Lottery told TV station WFSB that it is possible for a number to sell out.
Patterson said the state has an $8 million liability on the game. She said if a number is picked enough times where it reaches the liability level, the machines will automatically stop the sales of the number.
January 15, 2009
Walk on in
John sends a link to this funny ad for Heineken.
The soul of discretion
Marty sends an old one that bears retelling.
Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary's apartment one afternoon when Paddy Murphy lost $500 on a single hand, clutched his chest, and fell dead right at the table.
After paying some respects to their fallen brother, Michael O'Conner looked around and asked, “Boys, someone has to tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?”
So they drew straws. Paul Gallagher picked the short one. They warned him to be discreet and not make a bad situation any worse for Mrs. Murphy.
“Discreet? I'm the most discreet Irishmen ye'll ever meet. Discretion is me middle name... jest leave it to me.”
So Gallagher went over to Murphy's house and knocked on the door. Mrs. Murphy answered and asked what he wanted.
"Well, ma'am, this is the way of it," Gallagher declared. “Your husband just lost $500 at the poker table and he's afraid to come home.”
''That man! You go tell him to drop dead!” snapped Murphy's wife.
“I'll do that, ma'am,” said Gallagher.
Summer in the Balkans
Katarina has 130 photos of Belgrade and Serbia up at flickr. It's a nice antidote to today's weather in the central US.
No pennies from Heaven
Couple Jailed After Bank Error
Couple Accused Of Keeping Money After Bank Error
Police said a central Pennsylvania couple did not call the bank when a $1,772.50 deposit showed up in their account as $177,250.
Authorities believe 50-year-old Randy Pratt and 36-year-old Melissa Marie Pratt took out the money, quit their jobs and moved to Florida.
January 14, 2009
A grand bridge
The Siduhe Grand Bridge in China is a piece of work. It's claimed to have the highest deck-to-ground clearance: 2,132 feet - high enough to put the Empire State building beneath it with room to spare. The most amazing part, though, is they placed the pilot wire for the suspension cables using rockets.
A simple answer to full employment
This story comes from a post titled Making Work, Destroying Wealth at cato-at-liberty.org.
I am reminded of a story that a businessman told me a few years ago. While touring China, he came upon a team of nearly 100 workers building an earthen dam with shovels. The businessman commented to a local official that, with an earth-moving machine, a single worker could create the dam in an afternoon. The official’s curious response was, “Yes, but think of all the unemployment that would create.” “Oh,” said the businessman, “I thought you were building a dam. If it’s jobs you want to create, then take away their shovels and give them spoons!”
An interesting clip by Philip Brocoum
How many angels on the head of a pin?
U.S. scientists learn how to levitate tiny objects
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. scientists have found a way to levitate the very smallest objects using the strange forces of quantum mechanics, and said on Wednesday they might use it to help make tiny nanotechnology machines.
They said they had detected and measured a force that comes into play at the molecular level using certain combinations of molecules that repel one another.
The repulsion can be used to hold molecules aloft, in essence levitating them, creating virtually friction-free parts for tiny devices, the researchers said.
January 13, 2009
In Saturn's shadow
A beautiful shot of Saturn eclipsing the sun, taken from the Cassini craft.
In your dreams
Having reached the end of the job interview, the HR person asked the young engineer fresh out of school, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"
"Something In the neighborhood of $125,000 a year," the interviewee replied, "depending on the benefits package."
The interviewer said, "Well, then, what would you say to a package that includes 5 weeks of vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental coverage, a company matching retirement fund for 50% of your salary, and a company car leased every 2 years... A red Corvette, say?"
The engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?"
"Of course I am," said the interviewer. "But you started it."
Lamest excuse ever
Worker shoots himself in arm without a gun
DELAND — DeLand police are investigating a bizarre shooting at a cemetery that involved bullets used in a military funeral service but no gun. [...]
Sheppard, who works at DeLand Memorial Gardens, told a nurse he picked up six rounds of ammunition and one of them discharged and struck him in the arm, Hudson said. When Sheppard said the other five rounds were in his shirt pocket, a security guard took the shirt and called police.
Sheppard initially said the ammunition was on a shelf and one of the bullets may have discharged because he threw a hammer and a string trimmer on the shelf, police said. After being pressed, he told Hudson that he secured the sixth bullet in a vise clamp, placed a metal punch into the cartridge primer and hit the punch with a hammer.
January 12, 2009
How to peel a potato
And now a video version of Hints from Heloise.
A cheap date
Normal, Ill., Couple Weds At Taco Bell
NORMAL, Ill. -- An Illinois couple may live in Normal, but their wedding venue is far from it.
Paul and Caragh Brooks were married Friday while sitting at a booth inside a Taco Bell in Normal, Ill.
The groom acknowledged the couple has "an offbeat relationship." [...]
A friend of the couple's, who was ordained online, administered the vows. The bride wore a $15 hot pink dress and the entire wedding cost about $200.
All geeked out
CES 2009: TriSpecs all-in-one sunglasses, headphones, Bluetooth headset
This is a bit wonky, but TriSpecs thinks there's a market out there for those who want what I'll call integration of head-devices - sunglasses, stereo headphones, Bluetooth headset, and even power and volume controls for your MP3 player.
I don't think a wristphone is news, but one that does video? And has 7Mb bandwidth? Pretty slick.
LG debuts wristwatch phone at CES
Touch Watch Phone to ship in Europe later this year
January 7, 2009 (Computerworld) LAS VEGAS -- LG Electronics Inc. announced today a high-speed wireless wristwatch phone with video chat and text messaging capabilities at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
And CNet UK has a page of their favorites at CES09, one of which is an electronically pimped '56 Chevy Bel Air.
Plain-spoken in Polk County
Polk City businessman says it's his right to use sign for city hall fight
Anthony Herman understands that you might not appreciate the way he fights City Hall.
He realizes that some people tend to look askance when they see 8-inch-tall letters calling city leaders names not generally popular with the chamber of commerce.
But Herman, a car salesman now embroiled in a three-year legal battle with Polk City officials, insists he doesn't have any choice.
"This isn't what I want to be," said the owner of Mighty Good Used Cars, as well as an adjoining lube shop and a car wash. "I don't want to be the crazy person with the crazy sign out front. ... What else am I supposed to do?"
January 09, 2009
Ice and snow
The Big Picture has 34 images of ice and snow, most of it in carefully-arranged forms. Many of the pix (including the one below) are from a Chinese ice and snow festival.
And I'm not even thinking of making any lame jokes about cream.
Topless Coffee Shop Gets Approval
Planning Board OKs Application 5-0
VASSALBORO, Maine -- Planning officials in Vassalboro, Maine, approved a proposal for a topless coffee shop.
The planning board reviewed the application and deemed it meets all of the ordinances regarding traffic, parking and lighting. The panel voted 5-0 late Tuesday to approve the project, Portland, Maine television station WMTW reported.
Milky Way Transit Authority
Oliver writes, "I realized as I was watching the space station flash that you posted that you might enjoy this diagram of the Milky Way by Harvard postdoctoral fellow Samuel Arbesman, done in the Harry Beck/London Transit style."
With friends like this...
Woman Sells Friend's Furniture In Garage Sale
CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A South Florida woman was supposed to house sit for a friend, but instead she sold everything inside in a garage sale.
When Mary Benavidez returned to her Cape Coral home all of her furniture was gone. Benavidez said her former friend, Stephanie McDowell, was supposed to be watching the house.
A quick year
The Bleeping Blagojevich burger
I'm getting a little tired of poking fun at Hair Boy. But today's special -- it's not everyday a guy becomes the first governor of his state to be impeached.
Meet the Blagojevich burger: meat, cheese and a hefty slice of bologna
The #!@%¿ Blagojevich Burger at Kuma's Corner is a &%$! valuable hamburger. This thing is &!%$ golden.
I mean, they're not just &^%$# giving it away. It costs $10. But as a note on the chalkboard of this popular Avondale burger joint on Chicago's Northwest Side makes plain: "Price is negotiable." Which is generous, for the #!@%¿ Blagojevich Burger — also known as the "Bleeping Blagojevich Burger" — is genius, not merely named in honor of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with a vague metaphorical connection, like most sandwiches named for politicians or celebrities.
January 08, 2009
Assembling the ISS
Here's a nice Flash animation (with dates) of the building of the International Space Station.
A man in the wrong line of work
New York Man Arrested for Posing as Doctor and Convincing People To Given Themselves Rectal Examinations
New York police have arrested construction worker, John Brady, 49, in a rather odd crime. Brady is accused of calling people and posing as a doctor. He would then convinced them to give themselves a rectal examination while he was on the telephone. He has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.
Brady was finally apprehended after a 34-year-old woman became suspicious after giving herself a rectal examination when she realized later that Brady "did not represent a medical establishment." She then called police. [...]
It is unclear why Brady is in construction and not telemarketing.
Could be a messy divorce
NY man wants kidney back in divorce
LONG ISLAND, New York (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Divorces can get ugly, especially when you're not ready to let go.
"There is no deeper pain you can ever express than betrayal from someone who you loved and devoted your whole life to. And I saved her life," said Dr. Richard Batista.
Dr. Batista says his wife broke his heart. Now he wants her kidney.
Back in 2001 Batista's wife needed a kidney transplant. He turned out to be a match and ended up saving her life.
But now that there is trouble in paradise, he wants the kidney back.
January 07, 2009
Dog on the lam
It can always be worse
A father passing by his son’s bedroom was astonished to see that the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope that was addressed to ‘Dad’ propped up prominently against the pillow. With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.
It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new girl friend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it’s not only the passion… Dad, she's pregnant.
Stacy says that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children. Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and Ecstasy. In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.
Don’t worry Dad. I’m 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I’m sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.
Your Son John
P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Tommy’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the report card that’s in my center desk drawer.
I love you. Call me when it’s safe to come home.
No argument from me
One serious six-year-old
Boy, 6, Misses Bus, Steals Family Sedan
WICOMICO CHURCH, Va. -- The parents of a 6-year-old Virginia boy who tried to drive to school in his family's sedan after missing the bus are facing charges of child endangerment. [...]
Police said he made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off the rural two-lane road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole about a mile and a half from school.
The boy told police he learned to drive playing Grand Theft Auto and other video games.
January 06, 2009
New motto for Illinois
So much for the 'Land of Lincoln.' If Blagojevich is convicted, that will be two successive Illinois governors who went from the State House to the Big House. (Click for a larger view.)
H.T. Tucson John
Speed cam pimping
This might be an urban legend but, if not, it's a clever prank. (That is, until someone plays it on me.)
Local teens claim pranks on county's Speed Cams
As a prank, students from local high schools have been taking advantage of the county's Speed Camera Program in order to exact revenge on people who they believe have wronged them in the past, including other students and even teachers.
Students from Richard Montgomery High School dubbed the prank the Speed Camera "Pimping" game, according to a parent of a student enrolled at one of the high schools.
Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.
A combination of parasailing and skiing that I'd like to see Scott try.
Bon summited 22,841-foot Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere, after an 11-day approach and climb in early-winter conditions. Skiing off the snowfields on top, he descended the 9,000-foot south face in 4 minutes 50 seconds.
At the lawyers' talent show
Wis. Lawyer Dubbed Best Liar Of 2008
Devious Baby Lie Takes Top Honors
BURLINGTON, Wis. -- Garth Seehawer is a good liar -- and proud of it. His yarn about his grandson's dirty diaper wins as the top lie of 2008, from the Liars Club of Burlington, Wis. [...]
And the winner is: "My grandson is the most persuasive liar I have ever met. By the time he was two years old he could dirty his diaper and make his mother believe someone else had done it."
Seehawer is a retired lawyer. He jokes his profession has nothing to do with his ability to bend the truth.
January 05, 2009
The stunt man
I don't know who this fellow is (or was) but he must have (had) incredibly strong fingers.
Mutual of Connecticut
Which is riskier these days: a policy with Met Life or the lottery?
Widow Wins Lottery On Late Husband's Ticket
Connecticut Woman Wins $10 Million
DANBURY, Conn. -- One of Donald Peters' final acts is bringing a multimillion-dollar legacy to his wife of 59 years and their family.
The Connecticut man died suddenly of heart attack on Nov. 1. A few hours earlier, he'd purchased two Connecticut Lottery tickets. It was part of a 20-year tradition he shared with his wife, Charlotte.
On Friday (Jan 2 - JdJ), 78-year-old Charlotte Peters cashed in one of the tickets. It was a $10 million winner which, in her grief, she had put aside and almost thrown out. Recently, she checked the numbers.
Hong Kong at night
A very high resolution image (4670 x 2000).
Calcium chloride isn't nearly as quick but it's a heck of a lot cheaper.
Man Melting Snow With Blowtorch Burns Home
Fire officials in New Bedford, Mass., said a man using a blowtorch to melt ice on his back porch ended up setting his house on fire, causing up to $30,000 in damage.
January 02, 2009
One of many uber-cute posts at ZooBorns.
Ariz. Traffic Cams Get Coal From Santas
4 Santa Impersonators Wrap Redlight Cameras In YouTube Video
Arizona law enforcement officials have apparently made Santa's naughty list.
A group of four Santa impersonators covered up three speed and red light enforcement cameras in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, in an effort that was captured on video and posted on YouTube.
The impersonators were decked out in full Santa gear, white beards and red hats included.
The sky in motion
Here's an interesting time lapse clip about the sky (via Astronomy Picture of the Day).
A novel excuse
Police: Barkley In Hurry To Get Sex
Ex-NBA Star Was Arrested On DUI Suspension
According to a police report, former NBA star Charles Barkley told police he ran a stop sign because he was in a hurry to receive oral sex from a female passenger, the Arizona Republic reported.
The 11-time All-Star was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI. According to the newspaper, police Officer Pete Smith, who was in an unmarked patrol car, pulled Barkley's SUV over after it allegedly rolled through a stop sign at about 10 mph.
January 01, 2009
More vanity plates
A collection of 50 funny vanity plates.
Hang up and live?
The most definitive study yet could finally determine whether cellphone use causes cancer [...]
Interphone researchers are pooling and analyzing the results gathered from studies on 6,400 tumors sampled from patients in 13 countries. If the final results mirror the preliminary ones, the world's three billion cellphone users might want to dial back their talk time.
Save a lifestyle
Carol sends a link to this updated, video version of an old joke.
Man Calls 911 During Traffic Stop To Lure Cops Away
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Authorities say a Sarasota man about to be pulled over by police tried to lure officers away by making a fake 911 call.
Officers say they were following 28-year-old Charles Armstrong's car Monday to make a traffic stop when they got a 911 call for an armed robbery happening several blocks away. Armstrong's plan seemed to work at first when the officers cut off their chase to answer the call. But then other officers in the area followed him into a parking lot and saw a gun in his car.