Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keeping a sport alive: Sex sells – welcome to the 1st ever camel beauty pageant

Turkey's annual Selcuk camel fighting championship was hoping to draw spectators from an increasingly modern population and keep the struggling sport relevant with the addition of a beauty pageant, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Chariot, a 1,500-pound, single-humped camel with spittle hanging from his lips and pompons in his tail, recently won the first-ever beauty contest at Turkey's prized camel fighting competition.


Recently, there was a popular trend for naming camels after political leaders. Four years ago at Selcuk, George Bush fought Saddam Hussein. They tied.

Neighborhood Chicken Manages to Escape Kidnappers - Insert fowl play joke here

Residents at one San Pedro apartment building say their beloved neighborhood chicken has miraculously returned after being birdnapped six months ago.The wild chicken, affectionately known as "Kwok Kwok," came to the apartment complex in the 1100 block of 9th Street about a year ago.

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No matter how she got back, Anastasiow says, the bird is currently in good spirits and is now laying eggs.

Building owner Jackie Anastasiow says the bird appeared shortly after her husband passed away.

"I think he's in Heaven and sent me this chicken to take care of," Anastasiow said.

This summer though, tragedy struck the neighborhood.

"I heard a commotion downstairs. The chicken's making noise ... I see a pickup truck with three guys in it, and they kidnap the chicken. They put the chicken in the truck and they drove off," said resident Sal Martinez.

Residents were sure "Kwok Kwok" was destined for a finger-licking-good demise.

"It was really strange. I don't know why they took the chicken away. I figured 'Kwok' was done. I thought they were going to make either chicken soup or chicken stew or something. They were going to eat the chicken," said Martinez.

Then, three months ago, the neighborhood got a poultry miracle.

"Kwok Kwok" returned home. Read More Here

Huge parking fines inspired parking watch app

Massive parking fines inspired one Australian man to create an iPhone app that lets users warn each other when parking officers are spotted lurking near their cars.

"The idea was pretty much born out of frustration," said Joseph Darling of "ParkPatrol," the app developed by his Sydney-based firm to help users avoid tickets that cost what he said was at least $82 Australian ($81) a shot -- and often more.

The app lets users "sign in" and report sightings of parking officers with a single push of a button. Cartoon faces wearing a police cap then appear plotted on a map of the area, along with a notice thanking them.

The app will also alert users if a parking officer is spotted in their area and how close. Notification options for 500 meters (1,640 ft), 200 meters and 100 meters are available.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

Author discovers vintage video of 1950s housewife tripping on LSD during medical experiment

A housewife was filmed tripping on LSD as part of a television program on mental health issues in 1956.

Don Lattin, an author of four books including "The Harvard Psychedelic Club," found the video during his research on British writer Aldous Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard and Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who were prominent thinkers and writers about the effects of hallucinogenics in the 1950s and '60s.

Source of story & video

Batman: Artists share their visions of an iconic fictional character


by Andy Kuo


No Surprise Here Department: it’s not safe to drive with animals loose in the front seat

Who would have guessed? For years I’ve watched people driving around with animals on their laps, usually small dogs, and wondered what the hell were they were thinking?

Did they think “it was cute” and no harm would come from having a jacked-up Wire Haired terrier between them and the steering wheel? Or, was it a case of “separation anxiety” on the pet owner’s part? I never wave at these drivers (I figure they’re already distracted enough), but I admit that I often make a circular motion with my finger alongside my head.

Bad dog? Pets pose threat to safe driving

Author Stephen King suffered several broken bones and a collapsed lung in 1999 when he was hit by a driver who claimed he was distracted by his dog.

photo source

Plans being drawn up to let states declare bankruptcy

Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee Sen. John Cornyn joins fellow GOP leaders for a news conference in the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in Washington, DC. (┬ęChip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This is not good news for retired state workers. What happens to them when these states declare bankruptcy? What do you suppose that will do to the morale of current state workers?

Pensioners and investors in state bonds could lose out

“Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.”

PHOTO - Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, has asked the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, about the possibility of drawing up a bill allowing states to go bankrupt

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Optical illusions: perceptions biased by motivational state

optical illusions art

“The organizational mechanisms of vision are best demonstrated by illusions. Illusions illustrate that perception is a creative construction that the brain makes in interpreting visual data ....Learning does not prevent us from being taken in by these illusions.”

- Eric Kandel

We do not see the world as it really is; perception is always biased by the perceiver's motivational state. Individuals with Mood Disorders and Addictive Disorders are continually taken in by this soul illusion and so continue to act counter to their interests.

The images below - while limited to the visual modality - illustrate that perception is an active construction of the mind rather than a valid representation of objective reality.

optical illusions man

There are 9 figures embedded in the illustration on the right. 

optical illusions mermaid

Absents of the Mermaid Art by Octavio Ocampo  GO HERE to learn more about optical illusions

It’s time for some news that you may not see otherwise…

 Dracula goes dry as Turkey's new drink rules bite

“Guests at the Istanbul premiere of a new vampire film were among the first victims of new curbs on alcohol that have raised secularist fears Islamic strictures may be encroaching on everyday life.”

Monk caught with nun's skeleton at airport

“A Cypriot monk caught at a Greek airport with the skeletal remains of a nun in his baggage on the weekend told authorities he was taking the relics of a saint back to his monastery”"


Burglars snort man's ashes, thought it was cocaine

“Burglars snorted the cremated remains of a man and two dogs in the mistaken belief that they had stolen illegal drugs, Florida sheriff's deputies said on Wednesday.”

Iran bans production of Valentine’s Day gifts

TEHRAN (Reuters) – “Iran has banned the production of Valentine's Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating romantic love to combat what it sees as a spread of Western culture, Iranian media reported.”

More than 100 alleged mobsters arrested East Coast sweep

My question: why can’t they do this kind of thing with the Mexican mafia?

Holder says some are accused of murders ranging from 'classic mob hits to eliminate perceived rivals' to 'truly senseless' killings

More than 100 suspected members and associates of seven Mafia families were arrested Thursday in what was described as the biggest organized crime round-up in FBI history.

Significant leaders of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Colombo families and also the DeCavalcante of New Jersey were among those arrested, NBC New York reported.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

‘What are you lookin' at?’ A top 10 of America's rudest cities

Image: Los Angeles skyline

Los Angeles has the rudest people in America, according to a Travel+Leisure survey.

Go here to see who the other contenders were.

Have a Laugh: 12 Retro Illustrations and 7 Tongue Twisting Limericks


                                    Twimericks                SEE MORE: illustrations and text Source

As It Stands–a quick glance at where today’s readers are coming from


One unusual trend thus far today, is the lack of Canadian input. On most days there’s more viewers coming from our neighbor in the north.

New governor: Non-Christians 'not my brother,' 'not my sister'


This grinning idiot (Gov. Robert Bentley – left) is a perfect example of the Christian Right’s intolerance in the name of God. How fair do you think he’ll be to non-Christians during his administration?

Anti-Defamation League says remarks 'raise serious questions as to whether non-Christians can expect to receive equal treatment'

“Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned whether he can be fair to non-Christians.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In vino veritas: Wine cups tell history of Athenian life

'Symposia' are ancient equivalent of today's 'World's Greatest Golfer' coffee mug

“Over centuries, the ancient Athenian cocktail parties went full circle, from a practice reserved for the elite to one open to everyone and then, by the fourth century B.C., back to a luxurious display of consumption most could not afford.

The wine cups used during these gatherings, called symposia, reflect this story, according to Kathleen Lynch, a University of Cincinnati professor of classics.” Story here.

I’m excited! A new official Sherlock Holmes novel announced!

One of my favorite literary characters is Sherlock Holmes. I was delighted to find this bit of information about him. You can bet a book will accompany this new adventure.

Conan Doyle estate approves first new book about the great Baker Street detective

“Sherlock Holmes is to be brought back to life in the first new novel about the great Baker Street detective to be officially approved.

Anthony Horowitz, author of stories about teenage spy Alex Rider, has been chosen by Arthur Conan Doyle's estate to write the full-length novel, which will be published by Orion in September.

No details of the new tale or even its title have been revealed.

Here are 10 Impressive Heists that Shocked the World

If you’re a fan of the Oceans Trilogy, then you probably appreciate the complicated planning and execution required of a good heist. Just like with anything else in life, it takes quite a bit of work to come away from an endeavor with enough money, or loot, to become financially set. Only a few have had the rare combination of guts and brains that enabled to them to pull it off — at least until an enterprising investigator figured them out. Here are 10 impressive heists that shocked the world.

  1. Mona Lisa Heist: The Mona Lisa is an iconic painting that any serious art collector would love to own. On August 21, 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia , a custodian at the Musee du Louvre in Paris, took what would become his most valuable possession. He did it by hiding in the closet during closing time, eventually walking out with the painting hidden beneath his coat. The Italian immigrant later claimed that he had taken it for patriotic reasons in an effort to ensure Leonardo’s painting was put on display in his homeland, though he was caught when he tried to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The painting was displayed throughout the country before it was returned to France in 1913, and Peruggia was lauded by Italians for his supposed deed.

GO HERE TO READ THE REST at Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Monday, January 17, 2011

Warts and All - this is America on Television…

Thanks to - You Might Like This – Blog

Estranged couple win half of America’s 2nd largest lottery jackpot

What we have here are two people who are legally separated, but not divorced. The wife bought a winning lottery ticket. Some experts say the husband is entitled to half because of their martial status. They both have had run-ins with the law. Who gets what?

I wondered why at the time the “other winner of America’s second-largest lottery jackpot”  didn’t come forward to claim their prize. Now, I know. As Paul Harvey use to say, “And… that’s the rest of the story.”


“Mother of 2 may have to split $190 million winnings with ex-con

An Idaho woman who is splitting America's second-largest lottery jackpot may need some legal luck to hold onto all of her share, according to media reports.

Holly Lahti, 29, is the Rathdrum, Idaho, mother of two identified last week as the second of two ticketholders in the $380 million Mega Millions drawing on Jan. 4. Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Wash., came forward as holders of the first ticket almost right away.

Lahti's ex-con estranged husband learned last week from a reporter of his wife's good fortune.”

GO HERE to read the story.

PATRIOT Act To Be Quietly Renewed

The controversial USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act), signed into law in 2001, is quietly up again for renewal. The Raw Story reports that Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has introduced a bill intended to “renew controversial provisions of the Bush administration's USA Patriot Act that are due to expire this year."

In spite of FBI misuses of National Security Letters (NSLs) authorized by the Act — which allow the FBI to search telephone, e-mail, medical and financial records without a court order — and candidate Obama’s promise to support revisions that would strengthen civil liberties and prevent abuses, cases of federal intrusions are continuing to mount, including more

warrantless searches of homes and businesses without the knowledge of the owner or resident.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

As It Stands: 'Aflockalypse' Now: The world gets weirder in 2011

BY Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 01/16/2011 04:10:29 AM PST

All the signs indicate that 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for the weird books.

Thousands of dead birds have fallen out of the skies in America, Italy, Sweden, fish have died for no apparent reason by the tens of thousands in America, thousands of dead crabs have mysteriously washed up in England, and a loosely-organized group of Christians are sure that Judgment Day will come on May 21st.

 I'd say that was a pretty good start, wouldn't you? Residents of Beebe, Ark., woke up on New Year's Day to reports of 5,000 dead birds plummeting from the heavens, and other odd mass animal deaths have been reported worldwide. Some people suggested the cause was fireworks and the birds were literally “blown from the sky.”

I'll have to pass on that explanation. According to fish and game wildlife experts, a massive bird death is not that unusual. Newspapers and blogs are calling the phenomenon the “Aflockalypse,” a nice catchy name if you ask me.

Mere days after the 5,000 birds went crazy and dive-bombed terra firma at Beebe, 100,000 dead drum fish washed up along 20 miles of the Arkansas River less than 500 miles away.The experts called it a coincidence. They also were quick to say that pollutants/poisons were not involved in either case. That was without testing the carcasses. The bottom-feeding drum fish were the only ones affected in the river, which makes me suspicious of that claim.

Within five days of those two Events there was another case of birds falling out of the sky. About 500 lifeless birds dropped onto Louisiana's Highway 1 near Pointe Coupee. Officials with the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife noted that many of the birds showed signs, like broken beaks and wings, of violent injury that was not just the result of hitting the ground.

Perhaps these weird events are a coincidence. Conspiracy theorists might think otherwise. A third dead bird drop followed in Sweden days after the Louisiana event. “This is a classic example of freak events coinciding,” said Petter Boeckman, a zoologist at the Norwegian Natural History Museum, in an interview with Reuters.

Right after the Swedish event, 40,000 dead crabs washed up on the coast of Kent, England, leaving experts baffled again. And in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, a woman found dozens of dead birds in her yard. That was followed up by reports from Italy where 8,000 turtledoves fell dead out of the skies and left authorities wondering why they had a strange blue stain on their beaks.

Much closer to home, 100 birds were found dead south of Geyserville clustered on the ground off of Highway 101 on Jan. 8.

The reports of mass animal deaths around the world are galvanizing self-appointed prophets to proclaim the apocalypse is upon us. The unlikely confluence of factors may be tantalizing, but so far I haven't read anything that actually explains them.

For now, I'm putting these reports on my weird watch list of animal species dying in mass numbers for no apparent reason.

If Marie Exley, a 32-year-old Army veteran with two tours of Iraq, is right, I won't be around to see the year's end. Exley is convinced that Judgment Day is just around the corner. May 21st, to be specific.

She and a loose coalition of Christians are spreading the word. They've put together radio broadcasts and websites, independent of mainstream churches, to get their message out. Exley and others believe the Bible warns that May 21st will be the end of the world.

Frankly, I'm not expecting explanations for all of these strange events. Improbable events happen daily and go unreported. Reports of animals falling out of the skies go back hundreds of years. One of my favorite examples in this category is the famous “Kentucky Meat Shower” of 1876. Louisville residents were pelted with chunks of raw mutton and venison falling from the sky. One popular theory suggested the meat came from a flock of vomiting buzzards flying by! Talk about Aflockalypse.

As It Stands, who knows what will happen next? Republican and Democratic buzzards might cooperate with one another this year and actually do the job the public elected them for. Now that would be a sure sign of the end days!

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...