Friday, December 19, 2008

My friend SPOKE with The Goldblum!

My friend asked me if I was a "fan" of "Jeff Goldblum".

I retorted: "I am not a 'fan' of The Goldblum. I am a disciple. I study His stuttered, chaos theory-inflected vocal rhythms to gain enlightenment in order to someday learn His Lost Mantra."

In my anger at her so casually using His first name, I failed to realize she had an AMAZING story to tell me about The Goldblum, in which she not only met his physical form and gave him her screenplay, but HE CALLED HER OUT OF THE BLUE TO THANK HER!

I will, of course, interview her soon and publish every word of this riveting development.

PSA: If you save your friend from exploding, you will be sued.

This is precisely why I don't help anyone or have friends. From ABC News:
No good deed goes unpunished, or so goes the saying.

Such was the case with Lisa Torti, who is being sued for pulling a now-paralyzed friend from the wreckage of a Los Angeles car accident in 2004.

The victim's lawyers claim the Good Samaritan bumbled the rescue and caused injury by yanking her friend "like a rag doll" to safety.

But Torti -- now a 30-year-old interior designer from Las Vegas -- said she thought she had seen smoke and feared the car would explode. She claims she was only trying to help her friend, Alexandra Van Horn, and her own life has been adversely affected by the incident.

"I know [Van Horn] has a lot of financial issues and her life has changed," she said. "But it's not my fault. I can't be angry at her, only the path she has chosen to take. I can only pray it helps her."

[...] The California Supreme Court ruled this week that Van Horn may sue Torti for allegedly causing her friend's paralysis. The case -- the first of its kind -- challenges the state's liability shield law that protects people who give emergency assistance.

Sledgehammers vs. fire extinguishers in S. Korean parliament.

Coolest Congress ever? Check the link for pics of the legislative mayhem:
Brawling MPs used sledgehammers to force their way into a parliamentary committee room in South Korea.

Opposition Democratic Party members wanted to get into the room to block a free-trade agreement with the US.

Ruling Grand National Party members fought back with fire extinguishers and fists as the country's parliament descended into chaos.

Scuffles broke out as dozens of opposition MPs and their aides attempted to push their way in to the committee room.

TV footage showed people from both sides shoving, pushing and shouting in a crowded hall at the National Assembly building, amid a barrage of flashing cameras.

Protesters used a sledgehammer and other tools to tear open the room's wooden doors, only to find barricades of furniture set up inside as a second line of defence.

The cable news channel YTN showed footage of security guards spraying fire extinguishers at those trying to force their way in, and one man with blood trickling down his face.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


List: Our first Best of 2008: Mugshots!

Sad: Poisoned medicine kills dozens of children.

Awesome: Small-town Pennsylvania girl becomes huge Internet sensation in Japan.

List: Some good tips for job hunters.

Sad: Russia makes it harder for US parents to adopt.

Father offers daughter to shoe-thrower.

Hmm, 20 is a little old, but he could still get a few good goats for her. From Yahoo, and thanks to Larissa:
An Egyptian man said on Wednesday he was offering his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad on Sunday,

The daughter, Amal Saad Gumaa, said she agreed with the idea. "This is something that would honor me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero," she told Reuters by telephone.

Her father, Saad Gumaa, said he had called Dergham, Zaidi's brother, to tell him of the offer. "I find nothing more valuable than my daughter to offer to him, and I am prepared to provide her with everything needed for marriage," he added.

Zaidi's gesture has struck a chord across the Arab world, where President Bush is widely despised for invading Iraq in 2003 and for his support for Israel.

Angry neighbors keeping shooting down obnoxious advertising blimp.

Extra awesome part in bold. From the Daily Mail:

A garish advertising blimp that flies above a picturesque country park has infuriated residents so much that they keep shooting it down.

Residents took matters into their own hands arguing that the inflatable promoting Big Box Storage, which can be seen from a mile away, is a blot on the landscape.

But defiant bosses simply keep patching up the balloon and launching it back up in the air.

[...] The argument has been raging for the last four months during which time local farmers have used their shotguns to blast the balloon out of the sky several times.

But each time, Big Box Storage simply repairs the damage from their bullets and launches the blimp back up again.

Credit card companies add "rate-jacking" to lexicon, things I hate about them.

From CNN:
It arrived in Rich Stevens' mailbox a few weeks ago: the notice that Citibank had "rate-jacked" the Visa cards belonging to him and his wife.

"In my case, from 9.5 percent to 16.99," the 54-year-old nurse from the Long Island hamlet of Merrick, New York, told CNN. And his wife's rate zoomed from 7.95 percent to 16.99 percent, he said.

Stevens said he did not know why the rates had soared; his credit rating is great.

But, like thousands of other credit card customers around the nation, he has been notified his rate is skyrocketing.

"It almost borders on loan-sharking, from my perspective," he said.

In the blogosphere, writers are livid at the instant rate hikes -- called "rate-jacking."

Citigroup seems to be the target of most bloggers' venom -- partly because Citigroup issues so many credit cards and partly because Citi began sending the notices at about the same time it was getting a $20 billion, taxpayer-financed government bailout.

No one at Citigroup would talk on camera to CNN about the matter. Instead, the company issued a written statement, which said: "To continue funding in this difficult credit and funding environment, Citi is repricing a group of customers."

Avoiding food at night doesn't make a difference to weight gain.

I'm a smart cookie, but I also thought it was bad to eat late at night. Now I know better and can scarf muffins all night long! From the BBC:
Putting on pounds in the festive period almost seems inevitable but to avoid unwanted weight gain it has been suggested that people avoid eating late at night.

The idea is that you cannot burn off the calories if you are asleep. But this is not supported by the evidence.

A Swedish study found that obese women were more likely to eat at night, but they also ate more in general.

In another study of more than 2,500 patients, eating at night was not associated with weight gain but eating more than three meals a day was.

Ultimately, taking in more calories makes you gain weight whenever you eat them, the researchers said.

There are some other interesting debunked myths in the article. Who knew poinsettias weren't toxic?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foot massage machine strangles three.

From Japan Times:
Three people have been strangled attempting to use a foot massage machine as a neck massager, the maker of the machine said Tuesday.

Saitama-based Matoba Electric Manufacturing Co. said the three died when their clothing got caught in the rollers. The victims had removed the cloth cover from the Arubi Shape-up Roller before applying the machine to their necks.

Similar accidents could occur while using another massage machine, the Shape-up Roller II, the company warned.

The firm urged users not to use the machines with the cover off.

ZombieWatch: United States Death Map revealed!

This map is critical when the dead rise up. Northeast is safest! From Science Daily:
A map of natural hazard mortality in the United States has been produced. The map gives a county-level representation of the likelihood of dying as the result of natural events such as floods, earthquakes or extreme weather.

Susan Cutter and Kevin Borden, from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, used nationwide data going back to 1970 to create their map. According to Cutter, "This work will enable research and emergency management practitioners to examine hazard deaths through a geographic lens. Using this as a tool to identify areas with higher than average hazard deaths can justify allocation of resources to these areas with the goal of reducing loss of life".

Hazard mortality is most prominent in the South, where most people were killed by various severe weather hazards and tornadoes. Other areas of elevated risk are the northern Great Plains Region where heat and drought were the biggest killers and in the mountain west with winter weather and flooding deaths. The south central US is also a dangerous area, with floods and tornadoes posing the greatest threat.


PSA: FDA adds suicide warning to epilepsy drugs.

Trends: Throwing shoes.

Booze: On average, 10 drunk New Yorkers get hit and killed by the subway each year.

I hate the MTA: Org that can't run their business pass budget to increase fares and reduce services, which already suck.

Eats: The secret ingredient to everything is.... wait for it.... BUTTER!

Creepy: China is now watching you.

Science: New species of prehistoric giants found in the Sahara.

Sad: Chocolate is running out!

Booze: Heroic scientists find way to make nasty wine delicious!

Lame: Pointless $24m gov agency releases idiotic report with your money.

Yipes: One-second conversation hesitations cause racial tensions.

Eats: Fast food meals are smaller, have fewer calories than "proper" restaurants.

Sad: All Woolworths stores to be shut down in a couple of weeks.

Yipes: Pilot tells stunned passengers he's not qualified to land plane, turns it around.

Bday cake denied for 3-year-old Hitler namesake.

These poor kids. They need new parents in addition to names. From Breitbart:
A supermarket is defending itself for refusing to a write out 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell's name on his birthday cake.

Deborah Campbell, 25, of nearby Hunterdon County, N.J., said she phoned in her order last week to the Greenwich ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son's name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a ShopRite spokeswoman, said the store denied similar requests from the Campbells the last two years, including a request for a swastika.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said Tuesday.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Anna Taylor told The Easton Express-Times that the store won't put anything illegal or profane on a cake but thinks it's important to respect the views of customers and employees.

"Our No. 1 priority in decorating cakes is to serve the customer to the best of our ability," Taylor said from Bentonville, Ark.

When reached by The Associated Press, Taylor said she'd call back to provide a comment.

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because "no one else in the world would have that name."

The Campbells' two other children are named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, who turns 2 in a few months, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, who will be 1 in April.

US anti-kidnapping expert kidnapped in Mexico.

From Breitbart:
MEXICO CITY (AP) - A well-known U.S. anti-kidnapping expert has himself fallen victim to the wave of abductions in Mexico as unidentified assailants snatched him from a street in the northern state of Coahuila.

Local authorities say American Felix Batista was in Mexico to give talks and offer advice against kidnapping. The former U.S. army officer sometimes serves as a negotiator with kidnappers.

Batista is a consultant for the Houston, Texas-based security firm ASI Global LLC.

ASI Global President Charlie LeBlanc says Batista was abducted on Dec. 10 in Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila.

LeBlanc said Monday that the FBI and Mexican police are working on the case, but would not say whether any ransom demand has been received.

Romantic comedies ruin relationships.

This is why I only let my wife watch the Saw movies. From BBC:

Watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, a study by a university in Edinburgh has claimed.

Rom-coms have been blamed by relationship experts at Heriot Watt University for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.

They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often fail to communicate with their partner.

Many held the view if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them.

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.

Famous Korean actress sentenced for adultery.

From BBC:

One of South Korea's best-known actresses, Ok So-ri, has been given a suspended prison sentence of eight months for adultery.

She admitted the offence and the court suspended the sentence for two years.

The trial took place after Ms Ok failed to get the constitutional court to overturn the strict law that makes adultery a criminal offence.

In her petition she said the law was an infringement of human rights and amounted to revenge.

[...] South Korea is one of the few remaining non-Muslim countries where adultery remains a criminal offence.

A person found guilty of adultery can be jailed for up to two years.

More than 1,000 people are charged each year, although, as in this case, very few are actually sent to jail.

The law has been challenged four times, but the country's top judges have always ruled that adultery is damaging to social order, and the offence should therefore remain a crime.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two cups of coffee over a pregnancy can damage kid's heart for life.

Yet one more reason why pregnancy is stupid. From EurekAlert:

A new study published online in The FASEB Journal shows that the equivalent of one dose of caffeine (just two cups of coffee) ingested during pregnancy may be enough to affect fetal heart development and then reduce heart function over the entire lifespan of the child. In addition, the researchers also found that this relatively minimal amount of exposure may lead to higher body fat among males, when compared to those who were not exposed to caffeine. Although the study was in mice, the biological cause and effect described in the research paper is plausible in humans.

According to Scott Rivkees, Yale's Associate Chair of Pediatric Research and a senior researcher on the study, "Our studies raise potential concerns about caffeine exposure during very early pregnancy, but further studies are necessary to evaluate caffeine's safety during pregnancy."

Cops seek tiara-wearing thief.

A princess on Long Island? Sorry, you have to be more specific... From the NY Post:

A tiara-wearing New Yorker may miss the royal treatment she desires if she ends up behind bars for credit card theft.

Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County police are asking for the public's help in identifying the woman, who stole a purse at a bar in Centerreach, Long Island on Halloween.

The woman wore the tiara as an accessory to a formal dress. Her companion, a man, wore a dress shirt and tie.

The stolen credit cards were used at gas stations and a convenience store.

A video from a security camera shows the woman leaning over the counter, apparently flaunting her chest, to the attendant. After several minutes she leaves the store.

NYS adding nearly 100 new taxes.

Rich Wall Street assholes burn the world and I have to pay more for an iTune? FTS. From the Daily News:
Gov. Paterson released a $121 billion slash-and-burn budget Tuesday morning that slams New Yorkers with 88 new fees and taxes - even on their iPods.

Calling the budget the "greatest economic and fiscal challenge of our lifetimes," Paterson acknowledged his spending plan cuts deep. But he said the pain must be shared to deal with the fallout from the Wall Street collapse.

The budget will cost the city an estimated $650 million in aid. But it's the $4 billion in new fees and taxes that are sure to aggravate everyday New Yorkers, who would be paying more for a host of services:

* An "iPod tax" that charges state and local sales tax for "digitally delivered entertainment services" - in other words, that new Beyonce song you download.

* State sales tax at movie theaters, sporting events, taxis, buses, limousines and cable and satellite TV and radio.

* Costlier driving with the repeal of the 8-cents-per-gallon sales tax cap on motor and diesel motor fuel, plus and increase in the auto rental tax.

* Tuition increases as SUNY and CUNY, $620 and $600 a year respectively.

* A 50 cent tax on cigars. The current tax is equal to 37% of the wholesale price, or 34 cents a cigar.

* No more sales tax break on clothes and shoes worth $110 or less, except during two weeks a year.

* Higher taxes on wine, beer and flavored malt beverages. He would also impose an 18% tax on non-nutritional drinks like soda.

* The rich would pay more for luxury items through an additional 5% tax imposed on cars costing more than $60,000, aircraft costing more than $500,000, yachts costing at least $200,000 and jewelry and furs costing in excess of $20,000.

* In addition, a host of a fees, including those related to motor vehicle licensing and registration, parks and auto insurance, would go up, as would various state-imposed fines.

Trend Spotting: Attacking women with sandwiches.

A fad has swept Floridian homes - beating your loved one with a ciabatta! I love the last line of this story. From Breitbart:
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - Police said a Port St. Lucie man was arrested for throwing a sandwich at his girlfriend, the second food attack that sent a man to jail in about a month. According to a police report released Monday, the 20-year-old man threw the sandwich at his girlfriend's face during an argument about auto insurance and then hit her head with his fist.

The man admitted to throwing the food but not hitting her. He was arrested Friday and faces a battery charge.

Last month, another man was arrested on a battery charge for hitting his girlfriend with a sandwich, knocking her glasses off and nearly causing a traffic crash.

Police reports did not say what type of sandwich was used in either attack.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Swiss watch found in ancient Chinese tomb.

Just what we need. Time-traveling mummies. From Ananova:
Archeologists in China are baffled after finding a tiny Swiss watch in a 400-year-old tomb.

The watch ring was discovered as archeologists were making a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.

"When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound," said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.

"We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch."

The time was stopped at 10:06am, and on the back was engraved the word "Swiss", reports the People's Daily.

Local experts say they are confused as they believe the tomb had been undisturbed since it was created during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago.

They have suspended the dig and are waiting for experts to arrive from Beijing and help them unravel the mystery.

Man's pet "dog" actually rare fox.

From Ananova:
A Chinese man was shocked to discover the dog he had raised from a pup was actually a rare Arctic fox.

Zhang, of Tunkou, bought what he thought was an all-white Pomeranian dog for £60 a year ago on a business trip.

But he found the dog hard to tame, it would often bite him and had several unusual traits, he told the Wuhan Evening Post.

"It can't bark but instead makes little 'em em' noises, and its tail has been growing longer and longer," he said.

"The most annoying thing is that starting this summer, the dog became very smelly. Even when we gave it a daily shampoo bath, the smell was still strong."

Zhang took his 'dog' to a local zoo for answers, and it turned out the dog is actually an Arctic fox, a protected rare species.

He has now donated the animal to the zoo.

Greek rioters using lasers against police.

Futuristic AND anti-authoritarian! From the Daily Mail:

Protesters in Athens targeted police officers with lasers yesterday as riots sparked by the police killing of a 15-year-old boy continued into a second week.

Although the intensity of protests has tailed off in recent days pockets of violence are still occurring and more rallies have been planned for this week.

Today, around 50 demonstrators hurled eggs at police outside the main Athens court, where a hearing took place for dozens of people arrested during Greece's worst riots in decades, sparked by the killing of Alexandros Grigoropoulos on December 6.

Brain found in 2,000-year-old skull.

From CNN:
Archaeologists have discovered what they say is the oldest surviving human brain in Britain, dating back at least 2,000 years to the Iron Age.

The remains of the brain were found in a skull unearthed during excavations at York University in northern England, a statement from the university said Friday.

The dig site was described by investigators from York Archaeological Trust as being in an extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, track ways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC.

They believe the skull, which was found on its own in a muddy pit, may have been a ritual offering.

Mom sells her twin babies to pay for liposuction.

Interesting that she can be charged with fraud, but not with selling babies. From the Daily Mail:

A mother accused of selling her newborn twin boys for £9,000 to pay for a liposuction operation was involved in an online rent-a-womb trade with women desperate to have children, it was claimed today.

Restaurant worker Sonia Ringoir, 31, has been accused by police at Ghent, Belgium with treating her twins in a 'degrading' way and with fraud after a Dutch couple alleged that she had conned them.

[...] Ringoir can't be charged with trading in her babies as this is not a crime under Belgian law. She now faces between one month and five years in jail if convicted. The case had shocked Belgium and there are now calls by politicians to change the law.

Moscow police detain 90 protesters.

In Mother Russia, police protest YOU! From Moscow Times:
Police thwarted an anti-Kremlin protest organized by the Other Russia opposition group on Sunday, seizing demonstrators and shoving them into trucks. Moscow police detained 90 people, including the group's co-leader and a Moscow Times reporter.

About 60 protesters also were detained in St. Petersburg, Interfax reported.

There was no sign of former chess champion Garry Kasparov, one Other Russia co-leader, at Triumfalnaya Ploshchad, on Tverskaya Ulitsa, where he had vowed to hold a demonstration despite being denied permission.

Kasparov and his allies in the Other Russia said they want to draw attention to Russia's economic troubles and to protest Kremlin plans to extend the presidential term from four years to six. Kremlin critics say the planned constitutional change is the latest step in a retreat from democracy and is designed to allow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to return for another 12 years as president.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sydney's taxis running over pedestrians in fierce competition.


SYDNEY'S taxis are knocking down pedestrians as fierce competition for passengers intensifies during the busy festive season.

Latest figures from the CBD's busiest hospital emergency department reveals about one in five pedestrians involved in road accidents are being hit by cabs.

To reduce the number of victims, doctors are issuing an alert to cab drivers, Christmas shoppers and revellers to take extra precautions on roadways.

[...] "Taxis are in a very competitive market," he said.

"If you go down Oxford St, you have this incredible race where taxis want to be the first in line.

"Obviously, it's a tough business, and now with the financial recession, it's even more tough.

"(Drivers) are trying very hard to get a fare, so their concentration's not as good."