December 29, 2007
December 21, 2007
Artist Adam Wallacavage makes these gorgeous, tentacled "Pulsatilla" chandeliers -- presently on exhibit at New York's Jonathan LeVine Gallery. LINK
December 19, 2007
Here comes the bride, all dressed in white ... two-ply, extra soft toilet paper.
Lovebirds Jennifer Cannon and Doy Nichols of Lexington, Ky., plan to get hitched Wednesday in a public restroom. She'll be wearing a gown fashioned from glue, tape and Charmin Ultra Soft and Ultra Strong toilet tissue.
The intricately detailed dress was designed by Hanah Kim, winner of the 2007 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com.
The wedding ceremony, to be attended by family and friends, will take place in Times Square at the Charmin Restrooms - temporary, free public restrooms, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.
December 15, 2007
Article from: Agence France-Presse
THE national post office and police in Canada are searching for a "rogue elf" who has been sending filthy letters to children on behalf of Santa Claus.
A handful of reply letters to children who wrote to jolly Saint Nick contained comments such as: "This letter is too long, you dumb shit."
Canada Post spokeswoman Cindy Daoust said: "We firmly believe there is just one rogue elf out there responsible for the letters. In our history, we've never had a problem of this nature."
She explained that the letters were part of a Santa letter-writing program in which postal workers across Canada reply to letters from children around the world posted to Santa Claus, the North Pole, Canada, postal code H0H0H0.
Every reply letter is identical, except for a hand-written personalized postscript added by one of 11,000 volunteers.
Last year, Canada Post replied to 1.06 million letters on behalf of Santa, and 15 million letters have been posted since the program began in 1981.
Canada Post president Moya Greene said: "We are shocked and heart-broken that this much-loved quarter-of-a-century old program has experienced an incident of this kind."
"We deeply apologize to any families affected by this," she added.
Canada Post briefly shut down the program in Ottawa after parents complained. A dozen inappropriate letters had been dropped in mailboxes throughout the Canadian capital, but there could be more, officials warned.
Previously, Canada Post had received only one complaint about the program. In 1999, a seven-year-old in Oshawa, Ontario received a Santa message from Canada Post that called him "one greedy little boy!"
December 12, 2007
Over on Boing Boing Gadgets, our Joel's spotted this skull-shaped motorcycle helmet. Joel notes, "this Skull Helmet from Santiago Chopper meets their primary criterion: open-throttle badassery." LINK
December 11, 2007
December 09, 2007
The anger stems from the belief that the film is anti-religion and pro-atheism. Some folks plan to boycott the film as a sign of protest. Ironically, searches on "atheism" and "define atheism" have both spiked in response to their efforts. Clearly, people are hearing the message, but not in the way the protesters had hoped.
So, will the boycott hurt or help the film's performance? Searches on "the golden compass" are up 50% this past week and queries on "golden compass controversy" have experienced a similar surge. Some people are looking forward to the flick while others are looking forward to convincing folks to stay home. Stay tuned to see who wins.
December 07, 2007
December 05, 2007
Alice of the Wonderland blog is systematically cataloging the best of nerdy Christmas tree ornaments available online, ranging from crocheted Alien vs Predator heads to World of Warcraft Khorium Ore ornaments, to Star Wars and Super Mario figs to tiny sculpted "Cthulumas" ornaments to recycled mouses:
December 04, 2007
December 01, 2007
November 30, 2007
Knievel's death was confirmed by his granddaughter, Krysten Knievel. He had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs.
Knievel had undergone a liver transplant in 1999 after nearly dying of hepatitis C, likely contracted through a blood transfusion after one of his bone-shattering spills. He also suffered two strokes in recent years.
Longtime friend and promoter Billy Rundle said Knievel had trouble breathing at his Clearwater condominium and died before an ambulance could get him to a hospital.
"It's been coming for years, but you just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?" Rundle said.
Immortalized in the Washington's Smithsonian Institution as "America's Legendary Daredevil," Knievel was best known for a failed 1974 attempt to jump Snake River Canyon on a rocket-powered cycle and a spectacular crash at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. He suffered nearly 40 broken bones before he retired in 1980.
"I think he lived 20 years longer than most people would have" after so many injuries, said his son Kelly Knievel, 47. "I think he willed himself into an extra five or six years."
Though Knievel dropped off the pop culture radar in the '80s, the image of the high-flying motorcyclist clad in patriotic, star-studded colors was never erased from public consciousness. He always had fans and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
His death came just two days after it was announced that he and rapper Kanye West had settled a federal lawsuit over the use of Knievel's trademarked image in a popular West music video.
Knievel made a good living selling his autographs and endorsing products. Thousands came to Butte, Mont., every year as his legend was celebrated during the "Evel Knievel Days" festival, which Rundle organizes.
"They started out watching me bust my ass, and I became part of their lives," Knievel said. "People wanted to associate with a winner, not a loser. They wanted to associate with someone who kept trying to be a winner."
For the tall, thin daredevil, the limelight was always comfortable, the gab glib. To Knievel, there always were mountains to climb, feats to conquer.
"No king or prince has lived a better life," he said in a May 2006 interview with The Associated Press. "You're looking at a guy who's really done it all. And there are things I wish I had done better, not only for me but for the ones I loved."
He had a knack for outrageous yarns: "Made $60 million, spent 61. ...Lost $250,000 at blackjack once. ... Had $3 million in the bank, though."
He began his daredevil career in 1965 when he formed a troupe called Evel Knievel's Motorcycle Daredevils, a touring show in which he performed stunts such as riding through fire walls, jumping over live rattlesnakes and mountain lions and being towed at 200 mph behind dragster race cars.
In 1966 he began touring alone, barnstorming the West and doing everything from driving the trucks, erecting the ramps and promoting the shows. In the beginning he charged $500 for a jump over two cars parked between ramps.
He steadily increased the length of the jumps until, on New Year's Day 1968, he was nearly killed when he jumped 151 feet across the fountains in front of Caesar's Palace. He cleared the fountains but the crash landing put him in the hospital in a coma for a month.
His son, Robbie, successfully completed the same jump in April 1989.
In the years after the Caesar's crash, the fee for Evel's performances increased to $1 million for his jump over 13 buses at Wembley Stadium in London — the crash landing broke his pelvis — to more than $6 million for the Sept. 8, 1974, attempt to clear the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in a rocket-powered "Skycycle." The money came from ticket sales, paid sponsors and ABC's "Wide World of Sports."
The parachute malfunctioned and deployed after takeoff. Strong winds blew the cycle into the canyon, landing him close to the swirling river below.
On Oct. 25, 1975, he jumped 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island in Ohio.
Knievel decided to retire after a jump in the winter of 1976 in which he was again seriously injured. He suffered a concussion and broke both arms in an attempt to jump a tank full of live sharks in the Chicago Amphitheater. He continued to do smaller exhibitions around the country with his son, Robbie.
Many of his records have been broken by daredevil motorcyclist Bubba Blackwell.
Knievel also dabbled in movies and TV, starring as himself in "Viva Knievel" and with Lindsay Wagner in an episode of the 1980s TV series "Bionic Woman." George Hamilton and Sam Elliott each played Knievel in movies about his life.
Evel Knievel toys accounted for more than $300 million in sales for Ideal and other companies in the 1970s and '80s.
Born Robert Craig Knievel in the copper mining town of Butte on Oct. 17, 1938, Knievel was raised by his grandparents. He traced his career choice back to the time he saw Joey Chitwood's Auto Daredevil Show at age 8.
"The phrase one-of-a-kind is often used, but it probably applies best to Bobby Knievel," said former U.S. Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont., Knievel's cousin. "He was an amazing athlete... He was sharp as a tack, one of the smartest people I've ever known and finally, as the world knows, no one had more guts than Bobby. He was simply unafraid of anything."
Outstanding in track and field, ski jumping and ice hockey at Butte High School, Knievel went on to win the Northern Rocky Mountain Ski Association Class A Men's ski jumping championship in 1957 and played with the Charlotte Clippers of the Eastern Hockey League in 1959.
He also formed the Butte Bombers semiprofessional hockey team, acting as owner, manager, coach and player.
Knievel also worked in the Montana copper mines, served in the Army, ran his own hunting guide service, sold insurance and ran Honda motorcycle dealerships. As a motorcycle dealer, he drummed up business by offering $100 off the price of a motorcycle to customers who could beat him at arm wrestling.
At various times and in different interviews, Knievel claimed to have been a swindler, a card thief, a safe cracker, a holdup man.
Evel Knievel married hometown girlfriend, Linda Joan Bork, in 1959. They separated in the early 1990s. They had four children, Kelly, Robbie, Tracey and Alicia.
Robbie Knievel followed in his father's footsteps as a daredevil, jumping a moving locomotive in a 200-foot, ramp-to-ramp motorcycle stunt on live television in 2000. He also jumped a 200-foot-wide chasm of the Grand Canyon.
Knievel lived with his longtime partner, Krystal Kennedy-Knievel, splitting his time between their Clearwater condo and Butte. They married in 1999 and divorced a few years later but remained together. Knievel had 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
November 28, 2007
November 26, 2007
Posted Apr 13th, 2006 at 7:19 am in Science, Religion & Faith, Culture
Last week, Bill Nye (The Science Guy) gave a talk at McLennan Community College in Waco, TX. Everything went well at first, until…
The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”
He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.
A number of audience members left the room at that point, visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence.
“We believe in a God!” exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.
What’s funny to me is that people would get angry at this, when there are two creation stories. Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 is the first, and a new story begins in Genesis 2:4. In the second story, man is made before anything else, including women. This is in total conflict with the creation order given in the first account, and seems rather in conflict with Genesis 1:27 which, with a close literal interpretation implies that men and women were created at the same time.
You know, when I’m reading literature and I see two different stories back to back, I usually recognize a literary style other than literal history. But it seems that some, like the attendees to Nye’s lectures, wear their sensitivies on their sleeve, looking for their opportunity to cause a scene. Man, it’s embarrassing.
Nye’s website (warning, it’s the most annoying website ever, turn off your speakers or puncture your eardrums) opens with a flash animation of the evolution of man. Perhaps those audience members who got angry should have Googled him first. Then they could have gotten angry at home.
Nathan Sawaya's 2003 sculpture "Sweet Heart" is an anatomically correct 3D heart made from hundreds of Necco Conversation Hearts. Says the artist, "I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. It is a made up holiday and makes more people feel sad than happy. It can make your heart feel vulnerable. Almost edible."
November 20, 2007
November 18, 2007
Dan Hillier's Cthuloid drawings sport engraved Victorian gentlemen and ladies who are magically twisting into tentacled horrors. LINK
November 15, 2007
Officials closed the restaurant Wednesday night after it failed its second inspection in a month. An inspector spotted a live mouse and mouse droppings, fruit flies, house flies and more than 100 live cockroaches.
"Both inspections revealed rodent and fly infestation and conditions conducive to pest infestation, including stagnant water in the basement," the department said.
People stand in line for hours outside the Manhattan restaurant, known for its extravagant and expensive desserts. Its $25,000 Frrrozen Haute Chocolate features top-grade cocoa, edible gold and shavings of a luxury truffle and was declared the most expensive dessert in the world by Guinness World Records. The eatery also offers a $1,000 sundae named Golden Opulence requiring 48-hour advance notice.
He is an unlikely revolutionary but this Christmas, Santa is a rebel with a claus.
He is having the last laugh on political correctness - and it's a great big fat belly laugh.
Santas across Sydney are rebelling against attempts to ban their traditional greeting of "ho, ho, ho" in favour of "ha, ha, ha".
Recruitment firm Westaff - which supplies hundreds of Santas across the country - has told its trainees that the "ho ho ho" phrase could frighten children and could even be derogatory to women.
Two Santa hopefuls reportedly quit the course because of the hullabaloo of the ho, ho, ho.
One would-be Santa has told The Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute. He also quit.
"Gimme a break," Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids, said.
"We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they.
"Leave Santa alone."
November 10, 2007
SEATTLE - Coming soon next to the Coke and Pepsi in a store near you: ham-and latke-flavored soda to make your holiday feast complete. It even will be kosher, the company making it says — including the ham.
Jones Soda Co., the Seattle-based purveyor of offbeat fizzy water, is selling holiday-themed limited-edition packs of flavored sodas.
The Christmas pack will feature such flavors as Sugar Plum, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog and Christmas Ham. The Hanukkah pack will have Jelly Doughnut, Apple Sauce, Chocolate Coins and Latkes sodas.
"As always, both packs are kosher and contain zero caffeine," Jones said in a statement.
The packs will go on sale Sunday, with a portion of the proceeds to be given to charity, the company said.
Jones' products feature original label art and frequently odd flavors. Last year's seasonal pack was-themed, with Green Pea, Sweet Potato, Dinner Roll, Turkey and Gravy, and Antacid sodas.
For its contract to supply soda to Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, Jones came up with Perspiration, Dirt, Sports Cream and Natural Field Turf. The company — fortunately or unfortunately — prides itself on the accuracy of the taste.
Jones also makes more traditional flavors, including root beer, cherry and strawberry sodas.
November 08, 2007
In this photo combo provided by the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007, actor Mickey Rourke is shown. Rourke was arrested Thursday for driving under the influence on a green scooter, in Miami Beach, Fla., authorities said. (AP Photo/Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department)
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A scooter-riding Mickey Rourke was arrested Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Rourke, star of "Sin City," "Diner" and "9 1/2 Weeks," was arrested at 4:20 a.m. and booked at the Miami-Dade County Jail, said Janelle Hall, a jail spokeswoman. He was released on a $1,000 bond, she said.
A telephone message left at the office of Rourke's agent wasn't immediately returned.
A Miami Beach Police report said Rourke made a U-turn with a red light and then swerved several times while on a green scooter. He had a flushed face and bloodshot, watery eyes, his speech was slurred, and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, the report said.
"I'm not drunk, I didn't even drink that much," the report quoted Rourke as saying.
Rourke, 51, allegedly failed field-sobriety tests before being taken to headquarters. He also failed an alcohol breath test, police said.
October 29, 2007
CLICK THE PIC!
New Yorkers may want to break out the orange vests: Vice President Cheney is going hunting in the Empire State next week.
Cheney became fodder for late-night comics last year when he accidentally shot a companion during a hunting trip in Texas. He called it called it "one of the worst days of my life." Attorney Harry Whittington was hospitalized for six days for treatment of wounds in his torso, neck and face
On Monday, Cheney will be picking up his shotgun for an outing in New York's Hudson River Valley. He's expected back in Washington the same day.
October 28, 2007
October 26, 2007
October 22, 2007
Make your very own U.S. Senator Larry Craig Paper Bag Mask this Halloween, and scare the bejeebus out of all those you encounter in the men's room. "For the back of the mask there's an official U.S. Senate Seal to let others know who you are, and that you are here to stay."
Downloadable paper bag mugshot costume offered as a PDF by Ethan
Persoff and Scott Marshall. LINK
October 19, 2007
Claire sez, "Maybe I've seen one too many horror movies already this year, but I'm totally into the idea of a Halloween cupcake that bleeds when you bite into it. Especially since they bleed cherry filling (actual blood would probably put me right off cupcakes)."
I baked my cupcakes, used the cupcake-filling technique I used on my devil's food cupcakes to fill the cakes up with pureed cherry pie filling (canned or homemade) and topped them off with white icing to best accentuate the red bite marks. I made the marks using a skewer dipped in leftover cherry filling, making sure to leave a clear impression of a fang bite, rather than just a red streak on top of the cake.
UglyShyla on Craftster made this handsome little custom zombie wedding cake topper: "A zombie portrait wedding cake topper I did for my friend Rebecca's wedding cake. She wanted a topper of her and her groom with her eating his brains,so I did just that."
October 18, 2007
Vosges Haut-Chocolate offers a milk chocolate bar laced with smoked Applewood bacon bits. From the product description:
Crisp, buttery, compulsively irresistible bacon and milk chocolate combination has long been a favorite of mine. I started playing with this combination at the tender age of six while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of fried bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. Just a bite of the bacon was too salty and yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate syrup. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point, for on that plate something magical happened: the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it--chocolate.
October 17, 2007
Have you ever wished you could do downward dog with a decomposing body? Well, City Room hasn’t (doing the crow with an intact body is still an insurmountable challenge), but this combination apparently has been a niche fantasy with some population of New Yorkers.
About 75 people showed up in Williamsburg’s East River State Park for an (online) open casting call for the filming of a yoga zombie video on Sunday. “The zombie blogs were only mildly interested in it, it was the yoga blogs,” said Jason Wishnow, the director of the video.
“The R.S.V.P. responses from the yoga blogs were like: ‘I love yoga and I love zombie movies. I’ve been waiting for this!’ It was the chocolate and the peanut butter thing for all these people.”
While the crew had a make-up artist on set, many of the yoga practitioners showed up in their zombie get-ups, ready to go. Mr. Wishnow was impressed by his extras, saying: “Everyone took zombiedom very seriously. There was a lot of groaning and discomfort of their decomposing bodies as they would attempt yoga maneuvers.”
Want to do the corpse pose yourself? Here’s how.
October 09, 2007
Origins: As purportedly demonstrated in the video clip shown above, mixing small amounts of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into some Mountain Dew will produce a brilliantly glowing solution. Is this for real, or has someone employed a bit of video flimflammery to send hopeful imitators off on a
We volunteered to undertake that errand ourselves by replicating the process and filming the results. Since this is our first excursion into the video format, we're not going to give the ending away by describing it here or listing it in the status line — watch the video clip linked to find out the answer.
October 08, 2007
Eric sez, "Finally! I have been waiting all my life for this (OK, a few months). This site is translating the Bible into LOLcat and it's a wiki!"
1. In teh beginnin Invisible Man was invisible, and he maded the skiez and da earths, but he did not eated it.
2. The earths wus witout shapez and wus dark and scary and stuffs, and he rode invisible bike over teh waterz.
3. And Invisible Man sayz, i can has light, and teh light wuz...
18. And Invisible Man sawed it wus the goodz, so wai.
October 03, 2007
October 02, 2007
Just before John Waters gave a recent talk at Duke University, the Independent Weekly ran an article featuring the filmmaker's hysterical and brilliant take on such topics as gay culture and Britney Spears. In my opinion, Waters is at his best when he's commenting on the absurdity in everyday life, like in his amazing 1995 autobiography Shock Value.
From the Independent Weekly:
While the over-the-top camp of Waters' films still holds up, the writer-director admits that the "mainstreaming" of gay culture in recent years has made it harder to be shocking. "I had more fun when it was illegal to be gay," says Waters, who adds that he's also "anti-separatist." "I don't want to get married and I don't want to go into the army and all that stuff, though I understand people's right to want that. I am for gay trouble. I like gay troublemakers. I am most gay when I am in a voting booth...."
LINK to Independent Weekly.
September 28, 2007
It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.
Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.
September 27, 2007
VBS.TV recently did a story on Scopolamine, a substance commonly referred to as "Devils Breath" in Colombia, where it is a common street drug.
This stuff is as close to pure evil as it gets, a tiny amount of the powder administered to the victim causes one of two effects, a) death, or b) complete loss of free will. Criminals are usually hoping for the latter, as it enables them to tell victims to empty their bank accounts, give away their car, perform sex acts, basically whatever the criminal dictates.
This is where Scopolamine has got its reputation as the "zombie drug", victims appear completely sober and rational, but they're really just automatons.
Video Link to VBS.tv story, which documents contributor Ryan Duffy's scopolamine investigation in 9 parts (Flash 9 required). Here's a CNN followup piece.
I'm more familiar with scopolamine as an anti-motion sickness remedy. It's half of a legal drug cocktail known as "ScopeDex" (Scopolamine + Dexedrine), sometimes taken by astronauts and those in training to prevent nausea and vomiting in altered gravity environments. For instance, on "vomit comet" flights. When I flew on an inaugural Zero-G flight for press and celebs a few years ago, ScopeDex was recommended as one way to avoid puking during the flight. I didn't do it, because anything that comes from jimson weed (and other datura relatives) has gotta be evil. But others who've done zero gravity flights (with NASA and otherwise) teased me for passing it up, and joked that scopedex was like a "legal speedball," and not to be missed.
Scopolamine recently popped up in the news as a treatment for bipolar disorder and depression: Link. The drug also has history as a sort of truth serum administered in interrogation environments -- it was used by the CIA in the 1960s, during the MKULTRA program. Woohoo, good times!
Halo 3 is only one day old and has already earned its wings. The long-awaited third installment of one of the world's biggest video game titles was a force to be reckoned with Tuesday, racking up $170 million in opening-day sales—a figure that does not even include overseas numbers. According to Microsoft, which makes Halo 3's only compatible console, the Xbox 360, the threequel accounted for the biggest entertainment launch in history, besting the previous record set by Spider-Man 3, which earned $151 million at the box office during its opening weekend. Hence, Halo 3 obviously smashed Spidey's single-day earnings of $59.8 million, not to mention Halo 2's 24-hour take of $125 million in 2004. "The initial demand we've seen for Halo 3 has been astounding, and the game is on track to become the number one gaming title of all time," Best Buy VP Jill Hamburger told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. More than 1 million copies of the game were preordered in anticipation of Monday night's launch. Subsequently, about 10,000 retailers opened their doors at midnight to welcome the throngs of gamers eager to get their hands on a copy of the first-person shooter extravaganza, which features a host of new weapons and vehicles, reoptimized graphics, more dialog and better sound and myriad other features meant to one-up Halo 2. "It's the last part of our Halo trilogy," Bungie Studios game developer Frank O'Conner told Voice of America. "It is confidently the best game we ever made as a studio. We're really happy with it. Our review scores came in yesterday, we're really happy with those, but most importantly we're looking forward to actually playing with real people." Microsoft said in a statement Wednesday that upwards of 1 million members of its Xbox Live gaming service played Halo 3 online during its first 20 hours out of the gate, making Tuesday the most active day ever for the platform. Meanwhile, despite its both widespread and cultish popularity and the fact that millions of people are going to shell out $59.99 to continue the raging war between the Covenant and the Master Chief in their living rooms, a feature film version of Halo is having trouble getting off the ground—even though game-to-movie adaptations such as Resident Evil have done big business. Peter Jackson was originally attached to helm Halo's first foray onto the big screen, but he and Microsoft backed away from the project in October after Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox unexpectedly pulled their financing. But perhaps Microsoft finally ending up in the black at the end of the year will be enough of an indicator to Hollywood that the demand for a Halo film is out there. In other glowing Halo news, Microsoft said today that it will gladly replace any new Halo 3 disc that came out of the box scratched or otherwise damaged free of charge until the end of 2007.
September 22, 2007
Above is an updated picture of ‘Zombie’, the young Montreal gentleman previously featured here on Neatorama for his radical facial skull tattoo. The tattoo has developed to encompass his entire cranium and has crept down his neck. The effect is as remarkable as it is creepy.
It's a little early to be getting ready for Halloween, but I really enjoyed this tutorial on making "witches' jars" for your Halloween decor. They'd work just as well on the back shelf of your rec-room bar, after all.
September 20, 2007
Romanian MPs have become embroiled in a row over the ownership of Bran Castle - the 14th-Century building famous for its links to the Count Dracula story.
It was returned to New York architect Dominic Habsburg, a descendant of the country's former rulers, last year after 60 years under state control. Some MPs say that process was illegal and want to stop the castle being sold. Mr Habsburg has threatened legal action, saying it would be a "dreadful injustice" to strip him of ownership. The infamous Prince Vlad "the impaler", the real-life inspiration for Dracula, is reputed to have spent a night at Castle Bran. This connection has been a boon to the tourist industry in Romania, and MPs are keen to hold on to a prized asset. Earlier this year, Mr Habsburg said he would be willing to sell it back to the Romanian authorities for $78m (£40m) - but ministers said the price was too high. During a parliamentary debate this week, opposition MP Dumitru Ioan Puchianu said the return of the castle had been illegal because of procedural errors. He said Mr Habsburg, whose family was thrown out of the castle after World War II, should not be allowed to sell it. In response, Mr Habsburg issued a letter through his lawyers threatening to sue for damages of some $200m if the MPs stripped him of his right to sell the castle. "I live once more with the feeling of dread in which I once lived, as a child, when my family and I were forced out of our home and thrown out into the streets in mid-winter," the letter said. The castle rises dramatically from the forests in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains, 170km (105 miles) north of the capital Bucharest. About 450,000 tourists are said to visit each year.
September 19, 2007
"The gist of it is, members pay a hefty fee at the door to be allowed to... have sex with the animal of their choice - which is subsequently killed, cooked and served to the violator and his party for dinner!"
September 16, 2007
Pitzer College this fall began offering what may be the first course about the video-sharing site. About 35 students meet in a classroom but work mostly online, where they view YouTube content and post their comments.
Class lessons also are posted and students are encouraged to post videos. One class member, for instance, posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling.
Alexandra Juhasz, a media studies professor at the liberal arts college, said she was "underwhelmed" by the content on YouTube but set up the course, "Learning from YouTube," to explore the role of the popular site.
Class members control most of the class content and YouTube watchers from around the world are encouraged to comment, Juhasz said.
She hopes the course will raise serious issues about YouTube, such as the role of "corporate-sponsored democratic media expression."
YouTube is "a phenomenon that should be studied," student Darren Grose said. "You can learn a lot about American culture and just Internet culture in general."
September 12, 2007
These cassette skull (and skeletons) from artist Brian Dettmer are fantastic - [via] Link (photos by Andrew Huff).
September 06, 2007
OhMyFuckingGod, Slap This Woman!
Child Services should step in and bitch-slap this insane Neanderthal woman into next week!
Holy Retarded 1810 Thinking, Batman!
September 03, 2007
Dude, talk about blessed be. Meet Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett, teacher of Wicca, winner of gajillions:
He and his wife, Denise, were on their way to the shop where he occasionally teaches Wicca and Reiki healing when they stopped at a liquor store and bought two $5 Mega Millions tickets for Friday night's estimated $330 million jackpot.
On Sunday, he said one of his tickets was a winner.
"If it wasn't for this place I wouldn't have won the lottery," Bartlett said Sunday at Mystickal Voyage, the New Age shop.
Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, said he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs: "You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." Both tickets he purchased had numbers chosen randomly from the computer.
CNN News Link. If you'd like to up your mojo before buying your next lottery ticket, you may want to visit Mystickal Voyage yourself -- it's in the Walther Shopping Center mini-mall in Nottingham, Maryland, kinda next door to the Food Lion. Mystickal Voyage Link.
September 01, 2007
Loving these anatomically correct knee-socks -- they remind me of Grade Six Halloween skeleton costumes.
Click To See El Chupacabra!
CUERO, Texas - Phylis Canion lived in Africa for four years. She's been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it. But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra.
"It is one ugly creature," Canion said, holding the head of the mammal, which has big ears, large fanged teeth and grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin.
Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 80 miles southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.
She suspects, as have many rural denizens over the years, that a chupacabra may have killed as many as 26 of her chickens in the past couple of years.
"I've seen a lot of nasty stuff. I've never seen anything like this," she said.
What tipped Canion to the possibility that this was no ugly coyote, but perhaps the vampire-like beast, is that the chickens weren't eaten or carried off — all the blood was drained from them, she said.
Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Canion thinks recent heavy rains ran them right out of their dens.
"I think it could have wolf in it," Canion said. "It has to be a cross between two or three different things."
She said the finding has captured the imagination of locals, just like purported sightings of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster have elsewhere.
But what folks are calling a chupacabra is probably just a strange breed of dog, said veterinarian Travis Schaar of the Main Street Animal Hospital in nearby Victoria.
"I'm not going to tell you that's not a chupacabra. I just think in my opinion a chupacabra is a dog," said Schaar, who has seen Canion's find.
The "chupacabras" could have all been part of a mutated litter of dogs, or they may be a new kind of mutt, he said.
As for the bloodsucking, Schaar said that this particular canine may simply have a preference for blood, letting its prey bleed out and licking it up.
Chupacabra or not, the discovery has spawned a local and international craze. Canion has started selling T-shirts that read: "2007, The Summer of the Chupacabra, Cuero, Texas," accompanied by a caricature of the creature. The $5 shirts have gone all over the world, including Japan, Australia and Brunei. Schaar also said he has one.
"If everyone has a fun time with it, we'll keep doing it," she said. "It's good for Cuero."
August 29, 2007
An intrepid Wikipedian named Nikola Smolenski has calculated how much paper it would take to print out the English entries in Wikipedia and produced this handy chart showing the relative sizes of the pile of paper and an adult male. This doesn't include the History or Discuss pages, which would make it a lot less useful than electronic Wikipedia (nevermind the lack of a search interface!). I think that Wikipedia is one of those documents that is inherently electronic.
Here's Nikola's assumptions: "Using volumes 25cm high and 5cm thick (some 400 leaves), each page having two columns, each columns having 80 rows, and each row having 50 characters, ≈ 6MB per volume. As English Wikipedia has 4.4GB of text (October 2006) ≈ 750 volumes. Note that this is conservative estimate, as it doesn't include images, tables etc. which take up more surface than the text which describes them."
August 23, 2007
LINK to a Flickr set of old photos, mostly nudes, all in stereoscopic 3D. Some appear to be very old (1900s?), others from the '50s and '60s.
posted by Xeni Jardin | BOING BOING
August 21, 2007
Over at Worldchanging, Micki Krimmel has written a comprehensive roundup of what individuals, camps and the Burning Man organization are doing to make this year's festival more ecologically responsible: Link. See also the Burning Man environmental blog: Link.
Image: Burning Man playa tableau, with lots of bikes and a tripped out mannequin. Xeni Jardin, 2003.
posted by Xeni Jardin
August 16, 2007
This gallery of artistic sandwiches features many gems -- this one bears a striking resemblance to a damned soul in a Bosch painting!
Link to JibJab
(via IZ Reloaded)
posted by Cory Doctorow: BOING BOINGpermalink
August 13, 2007
Police first arrested the man, 20, a week ago.
"We arrested the same blind man driving his car again on Saturday in the town of Torvandi, near Tartu (in southern Estonia)," said Marge Kohtla, a spokeswoman for Tartu police district.
"He was drunk. There were three people in the car with him giving him instructions."
She said police wanted the court to jail the man for 30 days and confiscate his car.
August 12, 2007
By Neel Shah
During his eight-year stint as a cop inTexas—two of them as head of narcotics for the Gladewater Police Department—Barry Cooper made over 800 drug-related arrests, impounded more than 50 vehicles, and seized at least $500,000 in cash and assets. He worked with everyone from the DEA to the FBI to border patrol, earning a reputation as the "best narcotics officer in the state, and perhaps the country," according to a former colleague. So what did Cooper, now married with four kids, learn from his experience?
"The war on drugs is an utterly losing proposition," he tells Radar. "We caused more harm breaking up families to put non-violent drug offenders in jail than the drugs ever did. And for what? To eradicate 1/10th of a percent of drugs on the street."
Tips for potheads looking to avoid the po-po, breezily narrated by the man formerly tasked with putting them behind barsCooper's epiphany stems in part from a few legal skirmishes of his own—he's been arrested five times (all non-drug-related offenses), though convicted only once, of a misdemeanor verbal assault charge. Plenty of cops lose faith in the system, but Cooper's 180 was so complete, he's now helping people to subvert it. Never Get Busted Again, in stores this September (or available now through his website), is a DVD compendium of advice for potheads looking to avoid the po-po, breezily narrated by the man formerly tasked with putting them behind bars. "I really just felt guilty about what I had done with my life," says Cooper. "This was the least I could do."
Because potheads have notoriously short attention spans, we asked Cooper to boil down his DVD into easy-to-read bullet points. Safe toking.
TRAVELING WITH MARIJUANA
• The best advice I can give you is this: Never carry more marijuana than you can eat. If the police turn on the red and blues, just eat it. It's not illegal to smell like pot—it's just illegal to possess it.
• Don't think that by hiding pot in coffee grounds, or masking the scent with Bounce fabric softener or vanilla extract, you're gonna be okay. Police dogs are trained to cut through these scents. Petroleum and cayenne pepper don't work either—a dog may jerk back after smelling it, but humans will recognize the reaction.
• If you are going to travel with marijuana, place it in a non-contamined container right before you leave. The drug odor won't have time to permeate through the plastic. If you are handling pot at your house, wear latex gloves or wash your hands—marijuana dust can reside on your fingers, and dogs can smell it. You'd be surprised at how many people get busted when dogs start sniffing around car door handles.
• Hiding your drugs in food is also a wise move. The mixed smells will throw off a dog.
August 10, 2007
Sioux Falls police Tuesday arrested a 60-year-old man for burglary and for what they believe is at least two years worth of video-taped public sex acts.
Verle Peter Dills was arrested at his home at 2613 W. Bailey St. after a man who lives in the 1200 block of North Kiwanis Avenue chased Dills out of his yard Monday evening, police spokesman Loren McManus said.
The man saw Dills with a video camera and tripod and chased him for a short distance, McManus said. When the man returned home, Dills also returned with his camera and again was chased from the yard. He was seen entering the garage at 2613 W. Bailey St., McManus said.
There police found the video camera and a “large amount” of 8mm and VHS video of Dills engaged in masturbation and sex acts with traffic signs near his home, McManus said.
“We don’t know how long he’s been doing this,” he said.
He is charged with burglary, unlawful occupancy and six charges of indecent exposure.
He is being held in the Minnehaha County jail on $100,000 cash bond.
August 09, 2007
LONDON (Reuters) - British condom maker Futura Medical Plc said on Thursday that results of a study showed its new condom helped men have firmer and bigger erections, as well as a longer-lasting sexual experience.
Shares in the company, which specializes in sexual healthcare and pain relief, rose 14.5 percent to 59.25 pence on hopes the condom, which will be marketed by Durex condom-maker SSL International, could go on sale next year.
Futura said the study of 108 healthy couples showed its CSD500 condom helped men to get a firmer erection compared with a standard condom, increased penis size and made the sexual experience last longer, delivering statistically significant results.
The condom has a small amount of gel in its peak that dilates the arteries and increases blood flow to the penis.
Chief Executive James Barder said the study results underpinned hopes the contraceptive will start generating revenues in 2008.
"We expect to get regulatory EU approval later this year and then it is a question of launching the product soon after, so the revenues are really going to hit us in 2008," he told Reuters.
Market research has shown so far that interest in the condom is enormous, Barder said.
"Up to 80 percent of existing condom users would be interested in trying the product and, more importantly, 49 percent of non-condom users would be interested in using it as it will help them maintain an erection," he said.
Barder said global consumption of condoms was around 14 billion per year, of which half are branded condoms that are actually sold, with the rest being condoms distributed to promote safer sex and in developing countries.
August 07, 2007
Police say 35-year-old Sherri Ferns was working in a concession stand. Her son is on the Concord All-Star team, which lost a close game on July 11. A league investigation said Concord parents and Little League volunteers taunted the umps and tried to provoke them.
Police say Ferns tossed pizza that hit one ump and a parent. She's charged with two counts of simple assault.
The league disciplined nine parents, board members and volunteers, asking some to resign from the board. Ferns was one of the nine.
July 31, 2007
July 30, 2007
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The Sale Is Over On Aug. 1, 2007
Over the next few months a birth control product called OvoControl P, which interferes with egg development, will be placed in bird food in new rooftop feeders.
"We think we've got a good solution to a bad situation," said Laura Dodson, president of the Argyle Civic Association, the group leading the effort to try the new contraceptive. "The poop problem has become unmanageable and this could be the answer."
Community leaders planned to announce the OvoControl P pilot program, which Dodson believes is the first of its kind in the nation, at a news conference Monday.
Dodson said representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals contacted her group with the idea to use OvoControl P. Other animal rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, support the contraceptive over electric shock gates, spiked rooftops, poisons or other methods.
It's estimated about 5,000 pigeons call the area home. Their population boom is blamed in part on people feeding the birds, including a woman known as the Bird Lady, who was responsible for dumping 25-pound bags of seed in 29 spots around Hollywood.
OvoControl P has been registered with the state Department of Pesticide Regulation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Developed by Rancho Santa Fe-based Innolytics, the substance contains nicarbazin, which interferes with an egg's ability to develop or hatch, said Erick Wolf, Innolytics chief executive.
The pilot program was expected to show results within a year, and the Hollywood area's pigeon population is expected to shrink by at least half by 2012, Dodson said.
July 25, 2007
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.
The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.
Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill
She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn't eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.
Oscar wouldn't stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor's prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient's final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.
Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.
No one's certain if Oscar's behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.
Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa's article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.
If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it's also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.
Nursing home staffers aren't concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.
Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."
Science writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
On the Net:
New England Journal of Medicine: http://content.nejm.org/
MONTEREY, Calif. - Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds is invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a study published Tuesday.
An aggressive predator, the Humboldt squid — or Dosidicus gigas — can change its eating habits to consume the food supply favored by tuna and sharks, its closest competitors, according to an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.
"Having a new, voracious predator set up shop here in California may be yet another thing for fishermen to compete with," said the study's co-author, Stanford University researcher Louis Zeidberg. "That said, if a squid saw a human they would jet the other way."
The jumbo squid used to be found only in the Pacific Ocean's warmest stretches near the equator. In the last 16 years, it has expanded its territory throughout California waters, and squid have even been found in the icy waters off Alaska, Zeidberg said.
Zeidberg's co-author, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute senior scientist Bruce Robison, first spotted the jumbo squid here in 1997, when one swam past the lens of a camera mounted on a submersible thousands of feet below the ocean's surface.
More were observed through 1999, but the squid weren't seen again locally until the fall of 2002. Since their return, scientists have noted a corresponding drop in the population of Pacific hake, a whitefish the squid feeds on that is often used in fish sticks, Zeidberg said.
"As they've come and gone, the hake have dropped off," Zeidberg said. "We're just beginning to figure out how the pieces fit together, but this is most likely going to shake things up."
Before the 1970s, the giant squid were typically found in the Eastern Pacific, and in coastal waters spanning from Peru to Costa Rica. But as the populations of its natural predators — like large tuna, sharks and swordfish — declined because of fishing, the squids moved northward and started eating different species that thrive in colder waters.
Local marine mammals needn't worry about the squid's arrival since they're higher up on the food chain, but lanternfish, krill, anchovies and rockfish are all fair game, Zeidberg said.
A fishermen's organization said Tuesday they were monitoring the squid's impact on commercial fisheries.
"In years of high upwellings, when the ocean is just bountiful, it probably wouldn't do anything," Zeke Grader, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "But in bad years it could be a problem to have a new predator competing at the top of the food chain."
July 21, 2007
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July 17, 2007
It's time for the big reveal for our unretouched cover-image contest, and, well, our winner is the July cover of Redbook, on which country singer Faith Hill (and, on a separate cover, her hubby Tim McGraw) appeared, well, as beautiful and accessible-seeming as usual. What's uncanny about this cover is that when the image was passed our way, we had just been flipping through Redbook, reminding ourselves that we'd stop hating women's magazines as soon as our lives became shitty enough to warrant reading Redbook and our husbands and immune systems suddenly replaced celebrities and consumerism on our personal Most Toxic lists, when we paused to think, "Wow, Faith Hill is really hot." We'd had this thought before about Faith Hill, probably in the context of a Revlon display at the CVS or something, but reading this spread in the July Redbook we had one of those moments we often have with Katie Holmes wherein we were like, "Wow. She is just really really really pretty. Although we don't much like her taste in men." Anyway, after the jump, we present the before and after of Faith Hill, Redbook magazine, July 2007. We'll be posting more on this throughout the day, including a point-by-point annotation (read: close-ups!) of just what Redbook editors/art directors found so abhorrent about an already-above-average 39-year-old country music star and mom to three that they had to retouch her into something more befitting the cover of Cosmopolitan.
Update: Some of you are complaining about the animation above, animation we worked long and hard to bring you. So ungrateful! But we anticipated that. That's why we've just put up this, uh, numerically-annotated version of the unretouched photo without animation. Compare, contrast, cackle, cry... whatever it is you guys do.
Update: Why we hate the fact that Redbook did this.
July 16, 2007
Addiction to the Internet and the online version of the fantasy role-playing game "Dungeons & Dragons" is what led a Reno couple to nearly starve to death their young children, authorities said.
Michael and Iana Straw, 25 and 23, are accused of losing themselves in a virtual world of monster-slaying missions while their children suffered starvation and sickness.
One child is 11 months, and the other nearly 2 years old.
Friday morning, the Straws pleaded guilty to two counts of child neglect. Both face a maximum 12-year sentence. Through jail officials, they declined an interview for this article. Their attorneys in the public defender's office could not be reached.
While child abuse because of methamphetamine addiction or alcoholism is common in Washoe County, abuse rooted in computer and video game addiction is rare, said Deputy District Attorney Kelli Ann Viloria, who is prosecuting the Straws.
Last month, addiction experts at an American Medical Association meeting backed away from a proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder, saying it had to be studied further. Some said the issue is similar to alcoholism while others said there was no concrete evidence it's a psychological disease.
Patrick Killen, spokesman for Nevada Child Abuse Prevention, said video game addiction's correlation to child abuse is "a new spin on an old problem." He said there has not been much research on how it impacts child abuse but said it likely goes unreported.
Killen explained that child neglect cases comprise most of the child abuse cases in the state and mistakenly are considered less serious than actual physical abuse inflicted upon a child.
"As we become more technologically advanced, there's more distractions," Killen said. "It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it's video games or meth, it's a serious issue, and Nevada needs to become more aware of it."
The Straw case was cracked open after a neighbor complained to police about a baby's constant crying. An officer's visit prompted social workers to investigate and ultimately take the children to the hospital where doctors said they were severely malnourished and were on the verge of death, police said.
Both children are in foster care and are doing well and gaining weight, Viloria said.
Michael Straw in September received a $50,000 inheritance which he spent by December on computer equipment and a large plasma television screen that displayed their video games, namely Dungeons & Dragons, authorities said. A relative told law enforcement that Michael Straw met his wife online when she was 16, and both were obsessed with computers and the Internet.
"Instead of providing health care or food for their children, they bought computer equipment," Viloria said.
According to court records, Michael Straw said he was an unemployed cashier while his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work.
Their daughter, who weighed six pounds at birth, weighed 10 pounds, could not lift her head or sit up because she had no muscle development when social workers found her.
Her hair was matted with cat urine and she had an infection in her mouth, dry skin and was so dehydrated at that point she could not cry or urinate.
Her brother also was severely starved. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking.
Neither child had received immunizations, and the baby had not received any medical care since her birth, police said.
According to a police report, when the officer responded to the neighbor's complaint, the inside of the Straw's apartment was filled with trash bags of garbage, and pathways were made to navigate around the home. It smelled like garbage, and there were several cats inside.
The children were dressed only in diapers. Iana Straw said her baby cried so much because she was premature. Dirty dishes and food were found in the kitchen. The refrigerator and cupboards contained food and formula for the children.
"They had food, they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria said.
Social workers told the Straws they needed to leave the home so it could be cleaned. They stayed at a motel. When social workers checked on the couple two days after the officer's visit, they immediately removed the children and took them to the hospital.
When questioned at the hospital, the couple claimed the children ate a lot, so much that Viloria said it would have been impossible for children in their condition to have consumed that much food or formula.
July 14, 2007
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT - A man who was sentenced to 30 days in jail for taking his daily run while wearing only a stocking cap, gloves and reflective tape said that the nude jogging made him "feel alive," according to police.
Russell Rotta, 49, told police that he had been running naked since he was a teenager and that he generally woke up each day around 4 a.m. to conceal the activity from his wife.
Rotta reported running in the nude six miles a day every day, weather permitting.
"That is the one wild, crazy thing that I do that makes me feel alive," police quoted him as saying.
Rotta pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent exposure May 22 in Jackson County district court. Judge Joseph Filip sentenced him Tuesday to 24 months probation and $1,500 in fines and court costs.
Rotta was arrested early April 4 after a caller reported seeing a naked man running in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 127 in Blackman Township, about 70 miles west of Detroit.
In the police report, the responding officer wrote that he recalled several reports over the years of a naked man running in the area. The officer said he spotted Rotta by his shoe reflectors as he attempted to cross a road.
Rotta told police he didn't indulge his habit to disturb anyone or receive sexual gratification. He said he generally confined his running to open fields and wooded areas away from roads.
He wore reflective tape around his arms, ankles, waist and thighs to avoid being hit when he crossed roads, the police report said.
July 13, 2007
In the animals' stomachs, enzymes in the gastric juices massage the beans, smoothing off the harsh edges that make coffee bitter and produce caffeine jitters. Humans then separate the greenish-brown beans from the rest of the dung, and once a thin outer layer is removed, they are ready for roasting....
Days before the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, Marcone was in Indonesia's Sumatran rain forest, where he collected about 10 pounds of civet droppings laced with coffee beans. He now uses it as "the gold standard" to rate other kopi luwaks in his lab at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
Like a forensic scientist reading a bullet's markings, Marcone stares at kopi luwak under an electron microscope, searching for striations that tell him that a civet excreted it. His studies found that kopi luwak drinkers need to be careful to avoid being duped.
"About 42% of all the kopi luwaks that are presently on sale are either adulterated or complete fakes, unfortunately," he said.
Real kopi luwak has a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy, the scientist said. An Indonesian coffee lover described the scent as the smell of moist earth after a rainfall, with hints of vanilla, that teases the palate for hours after the cup is empty.
Link to Los Angeles Times, Link to buy In Bad Taste (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
July 11, 2007
NEW YORK -
Tori Spelling is now available for weddings. "Yep, that's right. ... Reverend Tori Spelling! I did it last week online and my official certificate is in the mail. I'm so proud," the 34-year-old actress said in a posting Monday on the MySpace.com site she shares with her husband, Dean McDermott.
Spelling officiated at a same-sex union last weekend at Chateau La Rue, the bed-and-breakfast that she and McDermott run in Fallbrook, Calif., on their Oxygen network unscripted series, "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," her spokeswoman, Meghan Prophet, said Tuesday.
"I was so honored when the couple asked me to officiate. We did it on the front steps of the Chateau as 40 of their friends looked on seated in a loungelike atmosphere," Spelling wrote.
Spelling and McDermott, who were married in May 2006, will reprise their innkeeper duties for the show's second season, which premieres Aug. 14.
"It was so beautiful as I united Tony and Dex as life partners in love. They wrote their own beautiful vows and there was so much love surrounding them that there wasn't a dry eye in the driveway!" wrote Spelling, adding that she was "beyond nervous."
"I've done live theater and presented at the Emmys and this by far was my scariest moment simply because they had bestowed such an honor upon me and I didn't want to let them down."
Spelling and McDermott took their 4-month-old son, Liam, out for a spin on the dance floor at the wedding reception. "The three of us swayed and smiled to Madonna," she said. "It was a magical evening of pure love."
Spelling starred on the long-running '90s TV series "Beverly Hills, 90210," produced by her father, Aaron Spelling, who died in June 2006.
July 10, 2007
Police arrested the 33-year-old in the couple's hotel room in April while her wedding reception continued downstairs, prosecutor Alan Townsend said Tuesday at Aberdeen Sheriff Court. She spent the rest of her wedding weekend in a cell.
The distraught groom, Mark Allerton, 40, staggered to the front desk, clutching a bloody towel to his head, Townsend said.
"He indicated that his wife had struck him over the head with a stiletto heel," the prosecutor said.
Police found Brown, a real estate agent's assistant, sitting on the hotel room bed, surrounded by broken glass.
Brown told police she and her husband had "been accusing each other of different things," the prosecutor said, without going into details. Brown said she hit him on the head because he had taken a hold of her, he added.
Brown's lawyer Stuart Beveridge said the newlyweds began throwing things at each other after an argument in their room turned physical. He said Brown had been on antidepressants at the time and had been drinking.
"She and her husband are still together although this incident has not helped," he said, adding she is receiving counseling.
Sheriff James Tierney let Brown off on the assault charge with a warning and fined her 250 pounds ($505) for damaging the hotel room and ordered her to pay the hotel 500 pounds ($1,150) in compensation.
Hilton Treetops said in a statement that they were happy the case has closed.
"This has been a very unusual case," the hotel said.
July 09, 2007
Officials said the boy had been offered a place at the St. Peter the Apostle school in the southern city of Melbourne after discussions between the principal, the parish priest and the family over his name.
But Alex Hell said he would rather send 5-year-old Max elsewhere because the school balked at taking the boy over his family name.
"We are the victims of our name," Hell said Monday.
Hell said he and his wife approached St. Peter the Apostle school about enrolling Max because the boy was being bullied at his current school because of his name, the Herald Sun newspaper reported on its Web site.
The Catholic school supported a plan to enroll Max using his mother's maiden name, Wembridge, but then withdrew its invitation when the parents changed their minds about the name, Hell said. The school backed down and offered Max a place only when Hell took the issue to the media, he said.
"The school has turned around and said Max can go there, but why would you want to go there after being victimized?" Hell said.
The family was considering moving to his wife's hometown to find a different school, he said.
Director of Catholic Education in Victoria state, Stephen Elder, said using the boy's mother's name was the parents' idea to "assist the child in the transition of schools."
"After discussions between the parish priest and principal, St. Peter the Apostle School has made an offer of enrollment to the student," Elder said in a statement. "The school is working with the family in the best interests of the child."
Hell said he had Austrian heritage and that the name means "bright."