Wednesday, April 30, 2008

$960 for this pile of crap? Sold!

I think it was in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the bad guy pointed out that something worth little or nothing, buried for several thousand years, becomes valuable when someone digs it up. Case in point:
A pile of dinosaur dung 130 million years old sold at a New York auction Wednesday for nearly $1,000.

The prehistoric deposit fetched $960, said a spokeswoman for Bonhams New York. Its pre-auction estimate was $450.

The fossilized dung is from the Jurassic era, the auction house said. It looks like a rock on the outside and a colorful mineral inside.
And what kind of person, exactly, buys a 130 million-year-old pile of crap?
The buyer was Steve Tsengas of Fairport Harbor, Ohio. The 71-year-old owns OurPets, a company that sells products to treat dog and cat waste.
Ah, a poo professional. And just think, 130 million years from now, someone will dig up the stuff he works on and sell it for hundreds of quatloos, or whatever currency they'll be using at that point.

Lesbians vs. lesbians

You know, I have a feeling that, for some reason, I'm about to get a bunch of traffic from search engines by posting about this story:
A Greek court has been asked to draw the line between the natives of the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos and the world's gay women.

Three islanders from Lesbos — home of the ancient poet Sappho, who praised love between women — have taken a gay rights group to court for using the word lesbian in its name.

One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians.

"My sister can't say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos," he said.

The three plaintiffs are seeking to have the group barred from using "lesbian" in its name and filed a lawsuit on April 10. The other two plaintiffs are women.

Also called Mytilene, after its capital, Lesbos is famed as the birthplace of Sappho. The island is a favored holiday destination for gay women, particularly the lyric poet's reputed home town of Eressos.

"This is not an aggressive act against gay women," Lambrou said. "Let them visit Lesbos and get married and whatever they like. We just want (the group) to remove the word lesbian from their title."

He said the plaintiffs targeted the group because it is the only officially registered gay group in Greece to use the word lesbian in its name. The case will be heard in an Athens court on June 10.
Why can't the Lesbians and the lesbians just get along? I mean, do we want to live in a world where lesbians fight with Lesbians?

Lesbians, lesbians, lesbians!

"Ghoulish, greedy, dangerous and criminal"

They say there's no such thing as monsters, but that ain't necessarily so:
Families who claim the corpses of more than 1,000 relatives were dismembered and sold in an illegal body-parts scandal sued funeral directors and others on Tuesday.

The class action suit represents hundreds of people who claim their relatives' body parts were harvested for medical use without their consent.

It charges seven individuals, and the funeral homes and human tissue services with which they worked, with conspiracy, negligence and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The seven were indicted by a grand jury last September and accused of harvesting bones, skin and tendons in unsanitary conditions, and selling them to hospitals with the risk that they could infect patients who received them.
And why, you might ask, would these people do something so terribly, horribly wrong?
The defendants allegedly made $3.8 million from sale of body parts obtained in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey between February 2004 and September 2005 in an operation that was "ghoulish, greedy, dangerous and criminal," the grand jury's report said. [my emphasis]
They did it for the filthy lucre, of course. And it sounds really filthy.
In all, the scheme took tissue from 1,007 bodies, including 244 from Philadelphia funeral homes.

The suit, filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common pleas, alleges that after removing parts from the corpses, the accused replaced harvested bone and tissue with foreign objects such as PVC piping "so that bodies would still appear normal for their pending visitations, funerals, or post-mortem proceedings."
Aside from this being a nasty, awful thing to do, they apparently also put hundreds of people who received tissue donations at risk of disease.

Five of the seven "people" involved also face criminal charges. I hope they go away for a long, long time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shocking campaign revelation!

I had no idea they were even married. Michelle will be crushed when she finds out her husband was, er, a bi-bigamist:
Barack Obama angrily denounced his former pastor for "divisive and destructive" remarks on race, seeking to divorce himself from the incendiary speaker and a fury that threatens to engulf his front-running Democratic presidential campaign.
Hell, I didn't even know gay marriage was legal in Illinois. You learn something new every day.

They call him the streak

I'm shocked—absolutely shocked—that alcohol was involved in an incident like this:
The captain of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins was charged with indecent exposure after a police officer saw him running naked on a downtown street early Sunday, and a teammate was arrested for public drunkenness.

Nathan Smith told the officer he acted on a bet.

Officials said Smith, a center for the AHL team, was charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct, as well as public drunkenness. He was released on $10,000 bail.

Penguins forward Ryan Stone was charged with public drunkenness.

The American Hockey League team suspended Smith for its second-round home playoff game Thursday. It was not immediately clear how Stone would be disciplined but the team said he would not be suspended.
Smith made your standard, boilerplate apology, with the usual "I made an embarrassing and regrettable decision," and "it will not happen again," which rings a little hollow, considering the fact that he was also arrested for public drunkenness six months ago. Though, to be fair, the article doesn't mention him being naked that time. And, hey, who among us can say they've never been nude and drunk in public even just one time?

I mean, other than me. My mom raised me better than that.

Update: Great minds Morons think alike.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The fat and the felonious

Um, dude, you should be thanking them instead of suing them:
An inmate awaiting trial on a murder charge is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 100 pounds because of the jailhouse menu.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell says he isn't happy that he's down to 308 pounds after eight months in the Benton County jail. He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining the jail doesn't provide inmates with enough food.

According to the suit, Laswell weighed 413 pounds when he was jailed in September. Police say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set his home on fire.

"On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out," Laswell wrote in his complaint. "About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."
That's because you still weigh more than three hundred fucking pounds, you enormous fatass!

Hey, this gives me an idea. Fad diets make big money these days, so how about "The Benton County Jail Diet"? It seems to get results.

Sharia Barbie

You know, I never would have guessed that they even had Barbie dolls in Iran, but apparently they do, and at least one "high-ranking cleric" thinks the little plastic infidel is causing trouble:
Imports of Barbie dolls and other Western toys will have destructive cultural and social consequences in Iran, the Islamic Republic's top prosecutor was quoted as saying on Monday.

Iran's conservative clerical establishment often rails against the perceived dangers of U.S.-inspired culture and consumerism, branding it "Westoxication."

But young Iranians are often keen consumers of such music, films and other goods from the West. Iconic toy brands can be bought in children's shops in the capital Tehran and elsewhere.

"The appearance of personalities such as Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and ... computer games and movies are all a danger warning to the officials in the cultural arena," said Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi in a letter to Vice President Parviz Davoudi published in the Mardom Salari daily.

Najafabadi, a high-ranking cleric, said Iran was the world's third biggest importer of toys and suggested this posed a threat to the "personality and identity" of the new generation.

"The unrestrained entry of this sort of imported toys ... will bring destructive cultural and social consequences in their wake," he wrote.
What, like teaching little girls that they can do and be whatever they want to, all without getting the okay from some dude with a robe and a beard who thinks a return to the twelfth century would be pretty nifty, all while walking around with uncovered hair?



This sure looks like a little fella I know.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ten random songs, since I'm still awake

I haven't done one of these for a while, and I can't be bothered to find a story about a dumb criminal or some freaky sex this late, so here we go:

1. Foo Fighters - "Everlong (KROQ Acoustic)"
2. U2 - "All I Want Is You"
3. Patsy Cline - "I fall to Pieces"
4. Echo & the Bunnymen - "The Cutter"
5. Public Enemy - "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" (A great song, but both Chuck D. and this reviewer seem to have missed out on the fact that the draft ended sometime in the seventies. Like Chuck says during the song, "Oh, well.")
6. The Sundays - "Wild Horses"
7. Lou Reed - "Perfect Day"
8. New Order - "Here to Stay"
9. Psychedelic Furs - "Heartbreak Beat"
10. David Bowie - "It's Hard To Be A Saint In The City"

Previous random song lists here, here, and here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The one that got away--again

Man, it sounds like this guy is one slippery bastard:
The leader of a notorious gang of armed robbers in the Philippines, re-arrested by police after months on the run, escaped again on Friday in a scene straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Eight men with M16 rifles blocked a police van transporting Pedro Rodica to a Manila jail allowing him to break free of his guards.

"I must say that this particular incident is unfortunate," said Avelino Razon, the national police chief.
And I must say that you've got a real talent for understatement there, chief.
He had first escaped from his guards in December when he was being taken to court.

"The Philippine National Police will not let this pass, the long arm of the law will soon catch up with him," Razon said.
You know, chief, catching up with him doesn't really sound like the hard part.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dream job

You know, except for the fact that I don't live in England, I think I'm damn well qualified for a job like this:
Found: drinking companions to join elderly gentleman for a friendly beer at his local pub.

Mike Hammond was bombarded with offers after advertising in his village post office for someone to accompany his 88-year-old father Jack on visits to a southern England pub from a nursing home.

He offered the lucky winner 7 pounds ($14) an hour plus expenses and, after sifting through the applicants, decided on a job-share. Drinking duties are to be divided between a retired doctor and a former military man.
He was "bombarded with offers" after advertising for a job where all you have to do is sit around and drink beer? You don't say.

Mental rental

Back in the days when I was a renter, I had a couple of annoying landlords, but they were nothing like this:
A landlord couple accused of cutting the supports under a renter's San Francisco apartment are facing felony charges in an alleged campaign to terrorize tenants into leaving.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old software engineer Kip Macy and 32-year-old real estate agent Nicole Macy told workers to cut the beams supporting the tenant's floor after he successfully fought eviction in court.

The couple also allegedly shut off his electricity, cut his phone line and had workers saw a hole in his living room floor from below.
Man, it's just like what happened in this movie. Except the tenant was the bad guy there. But the landlords did cut off his utilities. And it took place in San Francisco. So, yeah.

Okay, I got nothing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The case of the missing...uhhhhh...

Sounds like some enterprising entrepreneur in Kinshasa could make a mint on a line of enchanted jockstraps:
Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

Reports of so-called penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, where belief in traditional religions and witchcraft remains widespread, and where ritual killings to obtain blood or body parts still occur.

Rumors of penis theft began circulating last week in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo's sprawling capital of some 8 million inhabitants. They quickly dominated radio call-in shows, with listeners advised to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings.

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.

"You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We've had a number of attempted lynchings. ... You see them covered in marks after being beaten," Kinshasa's police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. The 27 men have since been released.

"I'm tempted to say it's one huge joke," Oleko said.
Hey, man, a disappearing wang is no laughing matter.

Oh, wait, yes it is. It's hi-fucking-larious. That's pretty much why I posted this.

Update: I knew this sounded familiar. That's probably because the head of the Moron's Union had a similar post earlier today.

You can't make this stuff up

I've read a lot of pretentious crap in my day, and music criticism is certainly a fertile field for that sort of thing. But this review, which I came across earlier today, really takes the cake. I mean, really. Here's a sample:
Recorded with Steve Albini, the nonet that is Godspeed has issued its most mysterious recording yet. The sound over these three long cuts, like all of the band's recordings, develops slowly over time and creates layers of dynamic tension that expresses itself in waves and off-kilter, shimmering flows. Usually these elements resolve themselves in earth- and ear-shattering, dissonant intensity that leaves the listener emotionally drained -- especially live. But here, a more minimal and -- dare I say -- quiet approach is used. For over 75 minutes, no "found" voices are wafting through the mix like displaced ghosts at a musical inquiry into the nature of mass control and fascism. [my emphasis]
Give yourself a pat on the back, Thom Jurek, you magnificent bastard. If they gave a Pulitzer specifically for pretentious music reviews, you'd be a shoo-in.

If I didn't know any better (I have a friend who had some stuff from this band, "Montreal politico-art/music terrorist unit Godspeed You Black Emperor!") I'd think this was a parody.

By the way: Make sure to check out the track titles for some unintentional "politico-art/music terrorist" comedy gold. I'm guessing their influences included a hip, anti-establishment art teacher, possibly of the high school variety.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No sale

There are some products that just sell themselves, but this sure as hell ain't one of them:
A laboratory technician who allegedly tried to make a quick buck by stealing samples from the Indian sperm bank where he worked has been arrested after a doctor tipped off police, authorities said Tuesday.

The employee allegedly stole the sperm from a sperm bank in the western city of Aurangabad, and tried to sell 101 vials of it to a doctor in Mumbai for about $625, Aurangabad police chief Krishna Lal Bishnoi said.

The doctor declined and called police, who arrested the lab employee and a relative, Bishnoi told The Associated Press.

"The doctor contacted police because they (doctors) usually refer patients to infertility clinics for treatment. They are never approached with sperm vials on sale," Bishnoi said.
I think that applies to the vast majority of us, actually. I would certainly hope so, anyway.

At last, a crime-fightin' robot

I would have thought something like this would come from Japan, not Atlanta:
Cars passing O'Terrill's pub screech to a halt at the sight of a 300-pound, waist-high robot marked "SECURITY" rolling through downtown long after dark.

The regulars hardly glance outside. They've seen bar owner Rufus Terrill's invention on patrol before — its bright red lights and even brighter spotlight blazing, infrared video camera filming and water cannon at the ready in the spinning turret on top.

"You're trespassing. That's private property," Terrill scolds an older man through the robot's loudspeaker. The man is sitting at the edge of the driveway to a child care center down the street. "Go on."

The man's hands go up and he shuffles into the shadows. Almost immediately, a group of men behind him scatters too.

The Bum Bot's reputation, it seems, has preceded it.

The electronic vigilante — on the beat since September — has enraged neighborhood activists, who have threatened protests. Street people say it's intimidating. And homeless advocates question the intentions of its inventor, who uses the Bum Bot as a marketing tool and a political prop.

Terrill, a 57-year-old ex-Marine, asserts his motives are pure: He says more police now patrol the area at night, the park across the street feels safer and he's had no break-ins since the cube-shaped robot, which Terrill controls with a wireless remote, has roamed the area.


An environmental engineer by day, Terrill gathered the makings of his vigilante for three months. A three-wheel scooter gives the Bum Bot mobility. A home-alarm loudspeaker attached to a walkie-talkie gives it a voice. Its head is a former home meat-smoker. The red lights are from a 1997 Chevrolet, and it's powered by four car batteries.


The robot's shell is made of steel and plywood, covered in rubber gym mats painted black and nicked by rocks, bricks and other objects people Terrill was rousting have thrown at it. Terrill programmed the Bum Bot's bulky remote himself.
Read the whole thing, especially for the utterly predictable whining from a "homeless advocate," who claims that the robot is somehow diverting attention away from the need for housing and "living wages," but is rather silent for some reason about the needles junkies are leaving at a neighborhood child care center. Go figure.

When lasers are outlawed...

...only outlaws will have lasers:
A major Australian state has banned laser pointers after a spate of incidents in which aircraft pilots have been temporarily blinded, the government said on Monday.

High-powered hand lasers, including so-called "star pointers" used by astronomers, would be listed as prohibited weapons in New South Wales state with jail terms of up to 14 years for anyone carrying them without a permit.

"It is a gutless and cowardly act that could result in an horrific outcome. It only takes a fraction of a second for a pilot to become temporarily blinded and that could have catastrophic consequences," said state Premier Morris Iemma.

Several pilots have recently reported high-intensity lasers being shone into their cockpits during take-offs and landings, and police recently enlisted intelligence agencies to help combat what papers called "laser lunatics."
Normally, I'd say that sounds pretty sensationalistic, but here, it sounds pretty accurate. I mean, what kind of whackjob tries to blind a pilot? Everybody knows that you should only blind your friends with lasers. They'll find it hilarious.

Unless, of course, they're pilots trying to take off or land aircraft.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jury repeats procedure

When I was a kid, I was very accident-prone, and I suffered several head injuries (that explains a lot, huh?), but I don't remember the people at the hospital ever doing this to me:
A hospital did nothing wrong when it tried to examine the rectum of a construction worker who had been hit on the head by a falling wooden beam, a jury found Monday.

After deliberating for about an hour, a state Supreme Court jury awarded nothing to Brian Persaud, who sued NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for unspecified damages. The panel found the hospital and its emergency room medical staff were not liable.

Persaud's lawyers, Gerard Marrone and Gary DeFilippo, said he might appeal.

"We're very disappointed," Marrone said after the two-week trial. "It's a miscarriage of justice."

The hospital's lawyer, Jeffrey Lawton, declined comment.

Marrone said Persaud, 38, was injured while working at a construction site in midtown Manhattan on May 20, 2003. Persaud received eight stitches for a cut over his eyebrow at the hospital, but denied emergency room staffers' request to examine his rectum, the lawyer said. He said doctors told Persaud the exam could help determine whether the accident caused spinal damage.

When Persaud resisted, staffers held him down while he begged, "Please don't do that," Marrone said. Persaud hit a doctor while flailing around, so the staffers gave him a powerful sedative and performed the rectal exam, he said.

Hospital witnesses testified at trial that the exam was never completed, but Marrone said that when Persaud woke up he was handcuffed to a bed and had an oxygen tube down his throat and lubricant in his rectum.
Sounds like the end of a weekend I had back in college. But perhaps I've said too much...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Do leave home without it

I can't say that I know much about what you're supposed to do when you have to visit your probation officer, but I'm pretty damn sure you're not supposed to take your weed with you:
A Dothan [Alabama] man attempting to report to his probation officer and pay some fines was re-arrested when he emptied his pockets for a metal detector at the Houston County Courthouse and laid out more than the usual coins and keys.

Two baggies full of marijuana came out, too, authorities said.

Malcom Williams, 51, tried to escape when the drugs appeared Thursday, but he was caught after a minor struggle and a failed attempt to Taser him, sheriff's officers said.

"He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful with change, U.S. currency, keys, and the marijuana was evident in his hand," Houston County Sheriff's Capt. Antonio Gonzalez said Friday. "Every now and then you have somebody who forgets what he had in his pockets."
Hmmmm...what could have possibly made the guy forget that he had he had two bags of weed in his pockets? Oh, right.

Pump it up

Last weekend, I went to fill up at the gas station and I had a couple of memorable experiences.

First of all, that was the first time the total to fill up my '99 Honda Accord (not a real gas guzzler) topped fifty bucks. It's a good thing I don't drive all that much. Seriously, I only have to fill up about twice a month, if that. But still, that really sucks. Boo to "Big Oil"! (As opposed to all the little Mom and Pop Oil Companies, which are okay, I guess.)

Secondly, while I was standing there, pumping my gas, some dude pulls up next to me in one of these, gets out, and heads into the mini-mart to buy something. Which wouldn't be all that astonishing, except for the fact that he left his window rolled down and the engine running. I was standing there, my mouth agape, thinking about how goddamn easy it would be to steal a shiny, new $70,000 car.

Aside from the fact that the most serious crime I've ever committed is probably jaywalking, I just couldn't do it because it would have been a shame to violate this guy's child-like faith in the goodness of his fellow man.

On the other hand, he might have just been a rich douche with more money than sense.

Damn it, I knew I should have stolen that car!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Slaughter rule

I'm going to go ahead and guess that relief pitching isn't something they really use in Japanese high school baseball:
A Japanese high school pleaded for a regional game to be abandoned after surrendering 66 runs in less than two innings, local media reported on Thursday.

The coach of Kawamoto technical high school threw in the towel to spare his pitcher's arm with his team losing 66-0 with just one batter out in the bottom of the second.

The hapless hurler had already sent down over 250 pitches, allowing 26 runs in the first inning and 40 in the second before Kawamoto asked for mercy.

"At that pace the pitcher would have thrown around 500 pitches in four innings," Kawamoto's coach was quoted as saying. "There was a danger he could get injured."
Dude. In the Major Leagues over here, most pitchers never throw more than a hundred pitches in a whole game, much less a couple of innings. You'd think that the coach might have suspected his pitcher was struggling after, say, the first ten or fifteen runs he gave up in the first inning.

I hope the poor kid didn't go off and do anything rash afterward.

Bad day in the Hoosier State

Man, am I glad I wasn't anywhere near Crown Point, Indiana today:
Indiana 55 has reopened after a truckload of human feces spilled onto the roadway in northwestern Indiana's Crown Point.

The driver told police he was hauling treated human feces from a water recycling plant in Portage when the load spilled about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Lake County hazardous materials response team came to clean up the mess, along with the Crown Point Fire Department and Indiana State Police.
You know, I just might not bitch about my job ever again. Because my boss never calls me up to clean a truckload of shit off a highway. Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The jinx

Real-life buddy Andy took me to the ballgame tonight as a belated birthday present. The Angels lost to the Royals, making that three in a row for me going back to last season. Like I've said before, God hates me. He hates me so much. This was also demonstrated by the bun on my Louisiana hot link, which promptly disintegrated as soon as I picked it up. The same thing happened to Andy, too.

But I had a good time with a good buddy, and we had kickass seats. They were really close to the home dugout, only about fourteen rows up from the field. This was the first time either of us had seats in the area of the stadium where hard-hit foul balls fly screaming into the area where you're sitting, petrifying Andy with fear every time one was hit near us. "Oh my God, we're going to die," he said at one point. But God must love us just a little bit, because we escaped with our lives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Better luck next time

You know, it's little coincidences like this one that lead me to believe that God exists and has a pretty good sense of humor:
Three days after stealing a rare collection of coins, a thief in Germany took them to the bank for safe keeping -- and delivered them into the hands of the man he had robbed.

"I don't think the thief was expecting that," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Dortmund on Tuesday.
No, really? You don't say.
Soon after the thief made the deposit, a bank worker handling the coins recognized them as the set worth some 50,000 euros ($80,000) that had been stolen from his house.
The article does not mention how many ladders the thief ducked under, nor how many black cats he crossed paths with, on his way to the bank.

He dresses up in women's clothing and hangs around behind bars

You know, I have no idea why a lingerie shop wouldn't hire this...uh, individual:
Police say a man dressed as a woman repeatedly crashed his car into a suburban Detroit lingerie store that had refused to hire him earlier this year.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said Jeremy McIntosh, 27, was arrested Saturday night outside the Intimate Ideas store in Commerce Township, 25 miles northwest of Detroit. Damage to the store was estimated at $3,000.

McCabe said McIntosh was wearing "facial makeup, lipstick, blue Capri pants, red 'flip-flops,' a flowery blouse and a matching flowery women's bra." McIntosh told deputies he is homeless and wanted to go to jail because he had nowhere else to go.
Click on the link to take a look at the dude what looks like a lady. Well, actually, he doesn't look all that much like a lady. More like, well...

It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Losers Day, loser

You know, I can admit that I'm not real smooth with the ladies, and I'm fine with that, but I'm not sure how a whole holiday designed specifically to remind me of that fact would really help me to feel any better. Apparently, South Koreans don't see it that way:
It was a Black Day for love in South Korea on Monday with lonely hearts trying to ease their pain by diving head first into bowls of noodles.

South Korea celebrates Valentine's Day, where local custom dictates women give gifts to men. It has taken on a popular event born in Japan but sweeping Asia known as White Day on March 14 when men return the favor with gifts for women.

But Black Day, on April 14, is a South Korean original. It is marked by people who have not found love dressing in dark colors and commiserating over meals of black food, with the dish of choice being Chinese-style noodles topped with a thick sauce of black bean paste.

"I had a miserable time on Valentine's Day, felt even lonelier on White Day and now I'm crying over a bowl of black noodles," said a young women who asked only to be identified by her family name Na out of embarrassment.

"Things better be different next year."
Or what, exactly? You'll sulk and eat black noodles again, probably.
At universities across the country on Monday, students without lunch dates ordered black noodles, dined with other lonely hearts and searched for companionship.

South Korea marketers have hatched special days for the 14th of each month to create a calendar laden with love.

Some days have gained traction such as Black Day, while others such as Green Day in August, when couples are supposed to drink cheap liquor that comes in green bottles and walk in the woods, have yet to attract much of a following.
I don't know about walking in the woods, but getting liquored up on cheap booze with your sweetheart sounds like fun. You'd think that would catch on.
Black Day events have snowballed, with a major matchmaking service this year providing an evening of speed dating where the dish of choice is sushi blackened by squid ink.
Um, yeah. That sounds real appetizing.


In ordinary circumstances, it kinda sucks to leave something behind on a train, but in this case, it really, really, really (like, times four hundred thousand) sucks to have left something behind:
A retired shipping consultant said he lost an expensive 17th-century violin after forgetting it on a train. Rob Napier said he did not realize the instrument, made by master Venetian craftsman Matteo Goffriller in 1698, was still on the train's luggage rack until it began pulling out of the station.

"I think you can imagine the awful, kind of pit-in-your-stomach feeling," Napier, 67, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. "My first instinct was: Can I jump on top of the train? But that was obviously stupid."

Napier said he was on his way home to Bedwyn, some 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of London, on Jan. 29 after retrieving the violin from an expert who had valued it at about 200,000 pounds (US$390,000; euro245,000). Napier called the train company, but by the time the train reached its final destination, the instrument was gone.
Um, if I had just picked up a violin from an expert who had told me that it was worth four hundred thousand bucks, I don't think I could possibly leave it in a luggage rack. Probably because I'd be clutching it, white-knuckled, to my nerve-wracked body the entire way home. And even when I got it home, I might have trouble putting it down.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Criminally stupid

What's the worst possible place to try to pass off counterfeit money? This criminal mastermind sure found out:
Police say it was no surprise a bogus $50 bill got a Long Island man arrested: He was trying to use it to pay his bail on a traffic charge. The transaction compounded Cyheam Forney's legal problems and landed him in jail.

Police say they spotted the 31-year-old Forney making an illegal left turn in Melville on Thursday and discovered his license had been suspended.

Forney was arrested on a misdemeanor suspended license charge — until officers said he proffered the counterfeit currency as bail money. He was being held early Friday on a felony charge of possessing a forged instrument.
You know, I've been sitting here for a good five minutes trying to think of something funny to write here, but I'm drawing a blank here, foax. I've actually been struck dumb by this guy's stupidity.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate my mom's birthday (I cheated hard on my new diet, eating a New York strip steak, drinking a Martini, and having wine with the meal) and, afterward, we headed out to the parking lot. I started whistling this, which my brother informed me was a song he absolutely hates. I don't even know why that song popped into my head.

During the car ride back, we were listening to a jazz station, which was playing an instrumental version of some Stevie Wonder tune. I think it was "Isn't She Lovely." During one of the guitarist's solos, he played a riff from the chorus of...that same song.

Weird. I should have won the lottery a long time ago, except for the fact that God hates me. He hates me so much.

Ladies on lockdown

I get the symbolic gesture here, but wouldn't it be easier to just put up signs? Like, "No sex, please, we're just masseuses. No, really."
Massage parlors in an Indonesian town are asking their female masseuses to padlock their skirts and pants to make it clear that sex is not on offer. But the move has been protested by the women's affairs minister of Indonesia, where massage parlors are often a front for prostitution.

"It is not the right way to prevent promiscuity," Meutia Swasono was quoted as saying in Thursday's Jakarta Post. "It insults women ... as if they are the ones in the wrong."
Well, if they're exchanging sex for money, and if prostitution is illegal there, well, they kind of might be in the wrong there.
At least one parlor in the tourist town of Batu on Java island has required its masseuses to padlock their skirts or trousers to make it clear that the establishment does not tolerate prostitution.

Others in the town started following suit after local officials suggested it was a good idea at a recent meeting with parlor owners. TV footage and photos have shown several masseuses with small padlocks in the zip of their pants or skirts in recent days.
Well, then, problem solved.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stalk show host

Most of my friends know I've been a fan of Conan O'Brien since he took over Late Night back in 1993. That said, how did I not know about this?
A Boston priest apologized in a New York court on Tuesday for stalking U.S. television host Conan O'Brien and his family and accepted an order to stay away from the comedian's home and office for two years.

The Rev. David Ajemian, 48, a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, was arrested in November 2007 during a taping of NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" at New York City's Rockefeller Plaza.

Wearing khakis and a wrinkled overcoat, Ajemian said in court on Tuesday that from September 2006 until his arrest he sent letters, postcards and packages to O'Brien's New York home and to the NBC studio.

In one letter to the comedian, written on parish stationary, Ajemian referred to himself as "your priest stalker" and suggested he could be a guest on O'Brien's show.

"I regret my behavior that caused concern of the people that I was trying to contact," he told reporters.

Ajemian pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct after prosecutors withdrew charges of aggravated harassment and stalking, misdemeanors that are punishable by up to 90 days in jail. The guilty plea allowed him to avoid a trial.
The article doesn't say what motivated the priest to stalk Conan, but I hope to God it wasn't a sexual thing. I mean, I think the guy is one of the funniest people on television, but...


This is why you have a few after work

It's always a bad idea to drive while you're drunk, but sometimes the idea is a really bad one. Like when you're driving to your job at a police station:
The Oregon State Police arrest drunken drivers on the road every day. But it's not often when the drivers show up drunk at a state police office.

Troopers charged Ruby Ann Pederson, 42, of Newport with driving under the influence of intoxicants after she came to work to clean the state police office.

A trooper said she showed signs of being intoxicated after driving to the office with her 12-year-old son. A blood-alcohol test showed her level was 0.19 percent — more than twice the legal limit.
Along with the DUI, she was also charged with reckless endangerment. Being a dumbass is not against the law in Oregon, so she wasn't charged with that.

I guess the good part of this is that they didn't have to go too far to lock her up.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion

If science fiction movies have taught us anything (and of course they have) then I'm pretty sure that this is a really, really bad idea:
Robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in graying Japan by 2025, a thinktank says, helping to avert worker shortages as the country's population shrinks.

Japan faces a 16 percent slide in the size of its workforce by 2030 while the number of elderly will mushroom, the government estimates, raising worries about who will do the work in a country unused to, and unwilling to contemplate, large-scale immigration.

The thinktank, the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation, says robots could help fill the gaps, ranging from microsized capsules that detect lesions to high-tech vacuum cleaners.

Rather than each robot replacing one person, the foundation said in a report that robots could make time for people to focus on more important things.

Japan could save 2.1 trillion yen ($21 billion) of elderly insurance payments in 2025 by using robots that monitor the health of older people, so they don't have to rely on human nursing care, the foundation said in its report.

Caregivers would save more than an hour a day if robots helped look after children, older people and did some housework, it added. Robotic duties could include reading books out loud or helping bathe the elderly.

"Seniors are pushing back their retirement until they are 65 years old, day care centers are being built so that more women can work during the day, and there is a move to increase the quota of foreign laborers. But none of these can beat the shrinking workforce," said Takao Kobayashi, who worked on the study.

"Robots are important because they could help in some ways to alleviate such shortage of the labor force."
Yeah? Well, Mr. Kobayashi, don't come crying to me when they decide to go on a rampage and destroy humanity. Or enslave us. There's really no way this will end well, people.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Bad hair day

I don't know much of anything about the way they cut hair in China, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the standard way of doing things. At least I hope not.
A Chinese hair salon has been shut down and fined 500,000 yuan ($71,280) for holding two customers hostage and charging wildly excessive fees for haircuts, a newspaper reported on Monday.

College students Zhang Yi and Yuan Sha Sha went for a haircut at Baolou International Beauty Salon in Zhengzhou, in the central province of Henan, expecting to pay the 38 yuan ($5.42) advertised on the window.

But when the barbers were done, they produced a joint bill for 12,000 yuan ($1,700), enough to make anyone's hair curl, the Beijing News reported.

"After borrowing from 16 people, the two were only able to come up with 9,800 yuan and it wasn't until after 10 pm were they allowed to leave the hair salon," it reported.
The amazing thing about this is that it's not the first time this has happened:
One was slapped with a bill for 4,776 yuan when she came in for a haircut last September. In December, another customer opted for a 68 yuan haircut, but was asked to pay 5,670 yuan.
Um, didn't anyone think to alert the police the first time these people held their customers hostage and demanded exorbitant amounts of money from them? Or at least the Chinese version of the Better Business Bureau?

Can't drive 55...on the roof

Let's see...drugs, alcohol, crazy, or a combination of all three?
A Reading man whose minivan crashed after he climbed on its roof while driving about 55 miles per hour is in fair condition this weekend. Police in West Reading say the 38-year-old man later stripped naked and led them on a chase along the highway.


Police say they used Taser jolts and pepper spray during the chase Friday but only subdued the man when they tackled him.
You know, I have a lot of respect for law enforcement officers, but there are certain aspects of their jobs that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. Like tackling nude wackos.

Sounds unpleasant.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The wisdom of Solomon or spite?

I'm going to go ahead and guess spite on this one:
A Serb farmer used a grinding machine to cut in half his farm tools and machines to comply with a court ruling that he must share all his property with his ex-wife, local media reported on Thursday.

Branko Zivkov, 76, told Belgrade daily Kurir he had been ready to give his wife Vukadinka her equal share of everything earned during their 45-year marriage, but was furious at being asked to give away half his farming equipment.

Instead, he bought a grinder and cut in two all his tools, including large items such as cattle scales, a harrow and a sowing machine.
You know, if you just gave her half of the equipment in working order, you'd still be able to do at least half of your farming chores. Now, you won't be able to do any of them, and you'll probably starve to death.

That'll show her!

Take the money and roll

My aunt, who has worked all her life in special education, always taught me not to underestimate people with disabilities. She said that they can often do things just as well as able-bodied people. I don't think, however, that this was exactly what she had in mind:
Palo Alto police are looking for a bank robber who favors a decidedly slow-speed getaway vehicle — an electric wheelchair. Police said a man in his 60s with gray hair and a beard held up the Wachovia Bank branch at the Stanford Shopping Center late this afternoon with a black handgun.

After the stickup, he left in his wheelchair and was last seen motoring down a nearby street toward El Camino Real, a major thoroughfare.

Witnesses say the man's legs were wrapped in bandages and his right leg was sticking straight out while he zoomed away.

Police are looking for a white Ford van that the suspect may have been hoisted into after the robbery.
Assuming that whoever hoisted him into the van wasn't also in a wheelchair, wouldn't it have been easier for that person to go in and commit the robbery?

Oops. My aunt would be disappointed if she found out I'd made an assumption like that.

It's looking like a lovely day outside

What? It's not like I have to be bitter and sarcastic all the time, right?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Criminal mastermind tripped up somehow

You know how in certain movies and teevee shows, a criminal will leave behind a calling card to taunt the police? Well, usually, they're not quite this specific:
A would-be bank robber came away empty-handed, but left behind something useful for police — her photo identification. Police Commissioner William Dwyer said the woman was arrested on an attempted armed robbery charge less than an hour later.

Dwyer told The Detroit News that the woman filled out an account application Thursday morning, then pulled a handgun and demanded cash. But she panicked and fled without getting any money. Police found an address on the account application, along with her photo ID.
Needless to say, they arrested her dumb ass.

Do the cops even get paid for something like that? I mean, it's like they didn't even have to do any work. I bet they had all kinds of cool CSI-style equipment and chemicals they didn't get to use, either.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thai government to doctors: go easy on the snippety-snip, okay?

What's the only thing that the Commander of our Army of Morons loves more than Val-U-Rite vodka or murdering hobos? Why, Thai tranny hookers, of course. Having noted that, I think he'll be outraged when he hears about this:
Thailand's health chiefs barred hospitals and clinics on Wednesday from castrating would-be "ladyboys" amid growing concern about the operation being seen as a cheap and quick alternative to a full sex-change.

In a letter to 16,000 private health units, the Public Health Ministry said doctors performing the operation outside formal sex-change therapy -- which requires rigorous physical and mental evaluation of the patient -- faced up to six months in jail.

However, senior health official Tara Chinakarn admitted that policing the temporary ban might be difficult as cosmetic removal of the testicles was such a quick operation and easy to conduct in secret.
Well, I would hope they didn't do it, you know, out in public.
The tolerance shown towards the "third sex," as it is often referred to, has led to the country becoming a world leader in sex-change surgery.

However, at the lower end of the market, clinics have responded to demand from teenage boys to look more like girls by posting Internet advertisements offering castration for as little as 4,000 baht ($125).
You know, I've never had an operation on my junk (and I hope that trend continues), but if I had to, I don't think I'd be looking for the kind of place that does it for a discount. But maybe that's just me.

Update: Check out the blogad that showed up here right after I posted this:

God, that's so friggin' awesome.

That darn cat

When you've got a house full of illegal narcotics, it's probably not a good idea to attract attention to yourself in any fashion. But it's a really bad idea to attract the attention of police, as this dumbass found out:
When a police officer went to the home of a Ridgefield [Washington] man who had complained about a neighbor's cat, the officer smelled marijuana.

A drug task force returned with a search warrant last weekend and found 84 plants in a raid on the man's home.
Reached for comment, the neighbor's cat had this to say:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Changing my e-mail address

If you feel like sending me tips, questions, or accolades, you can now send them to breacanyonmonument at yahoo dot com.

Now, make with the accolades, people!

Inmate through the out door

If I was this guy, I'm not sure whether I'd feel lucky or unimportant. Okay, that's a lie. I'd feel lucky, for now:
Law enforcement officials are trying to understand how a convicted felon managed to escape from a privately owned jail across the street from the police headquarters without anyone noticing his absence for a full day.

Esequiel Pena, 35, escaped from a private San Antonio jail sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. He remained at large Tuesday but was thought to be in the San Antonio area, said U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Thomas J. Smith.

Pena apparently escaped by pulling back chain-link fencing around a rooftop recreation yard and climbing down an eight-story fire escape, Smith said.
I have a feeling a few people are going to be looking for a new line of work sometime very soon. I say they start with the guy who designed such a suck-ass jail and work their way down the list.

Appropriate video link

You know, I could so totally Rickroll* you here, but I'm not a jerk like that.

You're welcome.