Saturday, January 31, 2009

Venice Offers E-ZPee Discount Cards Online




If you are planning a trip to Venice, you should know that many public restaurants and cafes post “No Toilet” signs, leaving the gabinetti pubblici (public toilets), or even the streets as the only other alternatives for relieving yourself.

Believe it or not, many American tourists have been using the streets or canals to pee, much to the chagrin of city officials. This has become such a huge problem, that Venice is offering weekly E-ZPee discount cards online that include the use of toilets via its “Venice Connected” service (http://www.veniceconnected.it).

Without a discount card, a single trip to a public bathroom will cost $1.33, or a single Euro coin. With the card, visitor’s only pay 7 Euros for 10 visits.

"For people who want some security, who don't want to go into a bar to buy a coffee or a roll, so they can go to the bathroom, this is a solution," a Venice city spokesman said. However, the online purchase has to be made at least 15 days before your trip.

Paying $1.33 to go to the bathroom is a bit steep, but figuring out how many times you will need to “go” 15 days before your trip, is bizarre.

We all know it depends entirely on the quality of food and fresh water, not to mention the coffee.

I suppose, you could fill a cup with water, sink it in a pot of water overnight to simulate flood conditions, then pull it up gradually, so as not to disturb the bacteria; then, zap it in the microwave, add a teaspoon of instant coffee, and gauge how fast it travels through your digestive system. That should take care of the morning toilet estimate.

Next, estimate soups, salad dressing, and linguini sauce by using the coffee number you estimated above, divided by 3 (4 if you don’t use milk), times the number of ounces of liquid in all the other foods you plan to eat each day.

If you are already in Venice and have a spur-of-the-moment drink, you are out of luck, as the local pharmacy does not sell impulse E-ZPee discount cards.

(I’m still having trouble getting the English translation at http://www.veniceconnected.it).

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Other Raoul

I hate politics, but couldn't resist this one:

CNN reports that Fidel Castro, the former Cuban president, is taking pot-shots at our new president on his blog.

I couldn’t get to his blog, www.cubadebate.cu, to read the article “Deciphering the Thinking of the New United States President," but did get the gist of the whole thing in a statement he released to the AP.

Referring to Guantanamo, which was leased to the U.S. by Cuba sometime in 1903 without an expiration date on the lease, he wants it back. Castro stated that “maintaining the military base on Cuban soil is against the will of our people, violating the most fundamental principles of international law."

Well, how about if we reinstate a Batista to political power in Cuba to compensate for the 1959 coup that Castro doesn’t remember is a violation of international law?

I already have a candidate in mind, Raoul G. Cantero, III (born Raoul Roberto Garcia-Cantero y Batista), the grandson of former Cuban president Fulgencio Batista, who was overthrown in 1959 by Fidel Castro. He is very qualified for the job, having experience as a former Florida lawyer and Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. It should solve at least one international injustice.

This is what you get for drinking and dictating at the same time:




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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Merry Men of MANuary

All across America, the month of January is being celebrated as Men’s History Month, or “MANuary.”

The movement, which began early in the Millennium, has gained in popularity and is the American male’s answer to GLBT History Month (October), Black History Month (February), and Women’s History Month (May).

It’s OK to give a guy a box of candy during MANuary, but in lieu of flowers, they prefer that twins Iris and Daisy jump out of a cake during the grand finale gala celebration on January 31st.

“Celebrating the lives of great men is important, especially for our young people who don't see many men break through the glass ceiling and lead major corporations or hold top governmental positions. Nothing against our state's two fine senators but, typically, they are two middle-aged white women,” reported Sam McManis of the SFGate.

Yes, MANuary is the month to celebrate all things Y-chromosome. There is even a “Men of Manuary” group on Facebook with over 2,000 members.

Our high school seniors actually have an itinerary. Among the MANuary things they do and don’t:

1. No shaving for the entire month, not even a trim

2. Participate in a weekly “tool guy” dress day at school

3. Take a swim in frigid water

4. Chop down a tree

5. Read "The Masculine Mystique"

6. Read Ben Franklin in American HERstory class

7. Complete a Sudoku in a sauna

8. Eat a MANwich within an allotted time frame

9. Maintain control of the TV remote, this is an apprenticeship

10. Leave the seat "up," also apprenticeship

I’m looking forward to the results of the Man Olympics scheduled for MANuary 30th -31st.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Evil Blowfish Strikes Again



Fugu, also known as blowfish, sickened several people in a Tsuroka City, Japan, restaurant this week.

The report from Tokyo, indicated that the chef “had no license to serve blowfish.” He might even be charged with professional negligence.

On further investigation, I found that the chef was not cooking the whole fugu. He was serving sashimi created by preparing uncooked thin slices of the fugu creature’s testicles - a rare delicacy.

Since when do you need a license to serve blowfish?

I always cooked and served the blowfish that we caught out of New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay. No one ever got sick and I never had to get chef certification; but then, I never tried to find the fish’s testicles either.

Catching the blowfish was as exciting as watching Air Jordan and the Washington Wizards. If you took them off the hook and tossed them into the back of the boat too quickly, they would often puff themselves up and bounce back into the water like a basketball. All the locals refer to them as “pesky puffers.”

We managed to catch 60 of them once. There is "no limit" on the number of pesky puffers you can keep in New Jersey. You have to get them when they are hungry though, preferably late afternoon. I caught one with a small piece of hamburger bun and a number two hook. It must have been the smell of the Dijon mustard that attracted the fish. However, it took several hours to clean enough of them for dinner.

I remember them being coarse, scaly, and messy to clean. To clean them, we used thick rubber gloves, a sharp knife, and a pair of pliers. The fish have only one small piece of flesh running down the inside of the back bone that is edible. Pliers must be used to turn the fish practically inside out, so that the flesh can be extracted. After all that, we were trying to protect ourselves from the carnivorous greenhead flies, starving, and it was really too much work to go on a testicle hunt.

Recycled blowfish skin can be fashioned into Japanese lanterns.

Since there was no wasabi in the galley, I took them home to cook. When they are breaded and fried, blowfish taste like chicken.

New Jersey anglers rock!



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Monday, January 26, 2009

Macaroni Reaches a Rolling Boil on Wall Street



Tech stocks may have been the darlings of Wall Street in the late 1990s, but considering the sad state of the American economy, macaroni is here to stay.

Forget the low-carb and protein fads of recent years, and jump on the pasta bandwagon. Consumers are now rediscovering casseroles, soup, spaghetti, and the all time favorite, macaroni and cheese; as well as nourishing cuisine at inexpensive restaurants like the New Hampshire-based Portsmouth Loaf and Ladle.

The American Italian Pasta Company (AIPC) of Kansas, and New World Pasta of Harrisburg, PA, are experiencing record sales.

New World Pasta is a leading marketer and supplier of dry pasta and noodles in the United States, and dry pasta, noodles, and rice in Canada.

AIPC stocks have risen on word that the economy sucks, but you can still feed a small family of four on just $5 a day with pasta dishes. AIPC stock closed at $23.73 last Friday, exceeding Wall Street expectations.

These days, all you need to survive are garlic, grated cheese, herbs, macaroni, olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, some green peppers, salt, tomato paste, tomatoes, a little Lambrusco, and meh! Who needs prime rib, right?

I wanted to test the $5 theory, so I went to my favorite shopping area in South Philadelphia, the Italian Market. I bought some cheese, Italian bread, olive oil, and pasta at Claudio’s; olive salad at DiBruno’s; some spice at the Spice Corner; produce at some of the open vendor stands along 9th street; and some meat at Esposito’s. I spent about $40, excluding the gallon can of olive oil, and had enough food for eight dinners. Of course, the trade-off was I had to make my own gravy – a five-hour process.

I ran into our local Moloch doctor, Mrs. Giordano, coming out of Fante’s. She still likes to buy expensive coffee beans, but chintzes on the antipasto.

“Ma! Barack he hasa big money problems,” She said. “Itsa gonna take sixa months to remova da ‘evil eye’ froma da stock market.”

“Buona giornata” (Have a nice day), I said, as she proceeded to walk down Washington Avenue, bloviating in Pugliese, while simultaneously cussing in American Sign Language.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Japanese Learn English via Presidential Speeches

A new run-away best seller in Japan, “The Speeches of Barack Obama,” was released only two months before the Inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama. It is being used as an aid to learning English.

More than 400,000 copies have already been sold.

"Speeches by presidents and presidential candidates are excellent as listening tools to learn English, because their contents are good and their words are easy to catch," said Yuzo Yamamoto of Asahi Press, which published the popular text book.

"Obama's is especially so. His speeches are so moving, and he also uses words such as 'yes, we can,' 'change' and 'hope' that even Japanese people can memorize," he said. “Speeches by President George W. Bush do not have the same appeal."

The problems with Bush’s speeches are innumerable, but I have listed the top five:

1. He inserts extra syllables into some words, such as "misunderestimate," "hispanically" and "subliminable."

2. He often removes syllables, such as saying "unceptable" instead of "unacceptable."

3. He tends to pluralize words, when he should use the singular. For example “Internets.”

4. He gives some words a southern pronunciation.

5. He makes other blunders, such as saying "new-cue-ler" and “tearist” instead of “nuclear” and “terrorist.”

In addition to the President Obama speech book, a Barack Obama rubber mask has also become a top-selling item in Japan. The Tokyo-based Ogawa Rubber mask factory has announced that it sold more than 2,500 Barack Obama face masks in the month preceding the inauguration.

Now, anyone can stand around in the Village of Obama, Japan, wearing an Obama mask, and correctly pronounce the village’s favorite “senbei” food in English - "wasp crackers."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goat Identified as Nigerian Scammer


Photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

In Nigeria, police have detained a goat that is suspected of armed robbery. The goat is also being investigated as a bovid of interest, in sending Nigerian Scam letters via e-mail to people, promising to send millions of dollars to the victim’s bank account, in exchange for PIN and social security numbers.

The latest victims went to a Nigerian police station and accused the suspect of stealing a getaway car, a Mazda 323; using black magic to transform itself into a goat.

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," Tunde Mohammed, a Kwara State Police spokesman told reporters.

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat," he added.

A number of bleat experts were called in to interpret a lie detector test that was given to the animal last night. They were specifically looking for a rattling noise through the nose threat that would indicate the goat failed to bleat the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Witchcraft and transformation are widespread beliefs in Nigeria. In fact, the second highest crime in the country is selling one’s mother-in-law to places like PetSmart after transforming them into reptiles.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Amateur Art – Putin Painting Fetches $1.1 Million at Auction




A snowfall painting by amateur artist and Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was recently auctioned for charity. It raised $1.1 million, or 37 million rubles.

The painting is one of a snowfall viewed by looking through a window. We are not sure if it is a scene similar to the ones he watched while earning his black belt and completing his KGB course in Okhta, Leningrad; or if it represents many sleepless nights in St. Petersburg, looking out the window, while serving on the Committee for External Relations.

News sources say that he completed the painting with the help of a professional in 20 minutes.

The bidding was exciting at the auction house, starting at only 20,000 rubles and ending in an impressive bidding frenzy.

This auction was superseded only by one other in Thailand; it was a painting that was done by an elephant, also assisted by a professional.

"Of all the paintings presented there, this was the best one," said a spokeswoman for "Our Artists," the Moscow gallery that bought the painting.

I found the Thailand video below:



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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mr. Burger’s Bushy Eyebrows



Si Burger, a retired 72-year-old jeweler from Bloomfield, IN, never shaved his eyebrows and they grew to be three inches long. Every morning, he diligently brushed them 100 strokes, but his friends and family wanted his eyebrows trimmed.

The eyebrows were not long enough to make Ripley’s Believe It or Not, but they did manage to get into the cocktail sauce at his local Rotary Club, irritating his friends; and occasionally into his windshield wipers, irritating his wife.

He couldn’t figure out why he kept getting fan mail for a Philadelphia news anchor named Joe Phipps. It turns out that Si only had Phipps by an inch on the brows.

The last straw for his wife was on a short vacation that they took to New York City. She chose to go to New York, because whenever they left Bloomfield, a town that had grown accustomed to his eyebrows, they could never enjoy themselves, as waiters kept hanging around their table with dog clippers and candle wax. One waitress offered Si a bobby pin to hold back his brows when he ordered the vichyssoise. Then, she even asked the couple if “The Shaggy Dog” was their favorite movie.

New York didn’t turn out any better, when Si’s eyebrows got caught in the escalator railing at Macys and the fire department had to be called to the scene.

Back in Bloomfield, the local Chamber of Commerce came up with a brilliant idea. Since Si has already donated $7,000 to PolioPlus over the last few years, they decided to charge people $100 each to clip his eyebrows for that charity. He could not resist raising money for his favorite charity and friends and family were champing at the bit to get rid of the brows. A total of $1,600 was raised for PolioPlus, as local businessmen joined the initiative.

After they shaved off his eyebrows, his wife said that he looked 20 years younger and bought a little something at Victoria’s Secret. With a broad smile, Si told reporters that he is not letting the brows grow back.

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Inauguration Day 2009 - Proud to be American



After listening to President Obama’s speech, which contained many references to American sacrifices for peace and freedom, I remembered as a child, being told of ancestors, who fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

About two years ago, I traveled to South Glastonbury, CT, and located the acid rain-damaged tombstone at Still Hill Cemetery where my 4th great grandfather, Solomon Chappell, a Revolutionary soldier, is buried. It sent chills up my spine, as I have always been an avid student of American History and a great admirer of those who have served in our military. Later, Solomon’s grandson, Ira S. Chappell, served in Company E, 1st infantry, Michigan, during the Civil War and has a marker in Portville, NY. Both men survived the wars and went on to marry and raise children. As a result of my family's military history, I felt especially moved by the following paragraphs of President Obama’s speech:

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have travelled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."


I am looking forward to the great changes that will take place in our country over the next four years and my prayers are with our new Commander in Chief:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Zimbabwe’s First Lady Slam Dunks Paparazzi

Grace Mugabe, the unpopular First Lady of Zimbabwe, was minding her own business on a great shopping spree in Hong Kong’s Kowloon peninsula, when paparazzi decided to harass and photograph her for the tabloids. They figure the country is in so much debt that photographing her spending money is fair game.

Everyone knows that Grace is also known as Zimbabwe’s “First Shopper,” as she spends mega bucks on clothes and luxury items all the time.

Richard Jones, who works as a photographer in Hong Kong for the Sunday Times, got a little carried away with himself, flashing way too many bulbs in Grace’s face. However, Grace would have nothing to do with Jones’ shenanigans; so she decked him. Actually, she got her body guard to knock him down so she could tear into him.

According to Jones, who needed medical attention after the attack, Grace “erupted into a wild rage.” "There were a lot of cuts and abrasions and they're still visible." A 15% off coupon was still sticking out of his ear and a toll ticket was lodged up a nostril. A size 7 shoe was in a secret undisclosed location.

"Everybody knows the reputation her husband has, but of course it was completely shocking when it happened. It came out of the blue," Jones added with an innocent look on his face.

No arrests were made and Jones has not decided whether to press charges against Mugabe.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Grace is promoting her line of Gucci bags:




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Who Says the Church is Not Modern? Vatican TV on YouTube



In 1995, the Vatican opened its web site www.vatican.va. Now, it is modernizing mass by securing an accord with YouTube for its own channel. Those involved in the initiative include Google, the Vatican Television Center, and Vatican Radio.

The new channel will allow Catholics to see the Pope and attend church events.

A Vatican press conference will be scheduled by Henrique de Castro, who is the managing director of media solutions for Google. It also owns YouTube.

If you log on to the Vatican website, you will first see an “I can beat you in dominoes” board game; then, when you click on the buttons, you get access to about 1000 years of church and papal history.

I snooped around looking for Fibonacci numbers, but couldn't find anything, except for a few suspicious looking characters painted on the outside walls of the Papal Basilica.

The new and imprimatur-approved videos are designed to stifle these by Remi Gaillard:



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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 800-Pound Gorilla in the ER



No one was ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room, when the Budapest Zoo performed rare gynecological surgery on Liesel, a 32-year-old female gorilla. It was the first operation of its kind in Hungary and a rarity worldwide.

I still have some unanswered questions about it: How do you knock out a full-grown gorilla and not only that, but how would you get one into the stirrups for a gynecological examination in the first place?

Budapest Zoo spokesman, Zoltan Hanga said that veterinarian doctors successfully carried out the procedure late Thursday, after Liesel was diagnosed with a malignant tumor on her right ovary.

As it turns out, no tumors were found, so much for the stirrups, I didn’t think they could pull that one off anyway.

The lumps must have been the walnuts she ate. I mean, who knows where a gorilla’s ovaries actually are? This is especially important, since Liesel has already given birth to three little gorillas named Dango, Gorka, and Ebobo; and they could have shifted anywhere. Maybe the last mammalian embryo ate them for breakfast.


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Obama Gets Down to Nuts and Bolts


Photo credit: Reuters

What do president-elect candidates do in their spare time, just before inauguration day?

They take a factory tour and inspect oversized bolts like the one pictured above and find it interesting, thanking their lucky stars for the free time, as that is all about to change.

President-elect Barack Obama woke up yesterday with nothing on the calendar, so he got on the hook and called Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company in Bedford, OH. He hadn’t seen many nuts and bolts since he was on the campaign trail. At the time, all the nuts were rooting for the Republicans and the bolts just got bigger, like a good omen, So, Cardinal Fastener gave him a pair of plastic goggles and took him on the grand tour of its factory.

This does sound like something a candidate would normally do during the time between the primary and the election, but our new president is enjoying taking pictures with bolts instead of babies these days. He is probably a bit bored with shaking hands and kissing powder monkeys for a while.

This weekend, Obama plans to take a ceremonial train ride from 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, PA, to Washington D.C., the same route that Abraham Lincoln followed, as he prepares for the inaugural celebration weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lithuanian Debtors Face Voodoo

In Vilnius, Lithuania the new debt collector is an unconventional candidate named Vilija Lobaciuviene, who practices witchcraft.

If you happen to live in Lithuania and owe back taxes or other debts, there is a voodoo doll at the local town hall with your name on it.

"There are certain people, who are using this crisis situation and refuse to pay back banks or other companies," said Amantas Celkonas, director of the Skolu Isieskojimo Biuras, Lithuania’s debt collecting bureau.

"Our new employee will help them to understand the situation, reconsider what is right and wrong and act accordingly," he said. "We will also help those who are in real trouble, suffering from psychological impact of bankruptcy and depression."

Lobaciuviene, is well known as "Lithuania's leading witch." She is famous for being able to predict the future and cast spells. She uses hypnosis, herbal medicines, and bio-energy, to collect debt.

This is a good reason not to leave any hairs or drops of DNA rich beads of sweat behind, if you get called in to explain a debt. It is my understanding that a witch can conger up a double whammy faster than you can squeeze out an unexpected fart, by using only a single follicle.

Local critics believe that the government has returned to ancient superstitions and are kidding themselves, if they think that hiring a witch will solve their problems.

"This is return to the Dark Ages. If they really believe that this woman may help someone get money back, then there's something very wrong with this country," said newspaper columnist Monika Bonckute.


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Dung Pileup Reveals Elephant Population



I have heard of many methods scientists use to track endangered species, including barcoded identification tags and radio transmitters. However, the most ingenious tracking method comes from Bangkok, Thailand, where counting dung pileups provide an accurate count of elephants.

The dung pileup in Malaysia reveals that a total of 631 endangered Asian elephants are living in the Taman Negara National Park.

The dung tally method was developed by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and the Malaysia Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Melvin Gumal, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's conservation programs in Malaysia said that the result of the study shows Taman Negara to be "one of the great strongholds for Asian elephants in Southeast Asia."

"It is hard to estimate the number of elephants by just looking at them because the rain forest is very lush. The elephants will find you faster than you see them," Gumal said.

No one elaborated on details, such as:

1. Was any type of food coloring used in food, so that if a single elephant left three piles, of say, hot pink, it would only be counted once.

2. Does elephant dung have similar unique characteristics, like finger prints and tire treads, so you can tell which animal left the pile?

3. Can you alter the fragrance of elephant dung with food?

4. Did anyone find the likeness of anyone famous in the dung, like Mahatma Ghandi?

5. Was the recycling team called in to scoop up the counted piles for further scientific research, like manufacturing herbal memory enhancement vitamins?

6. How much does elephant dung weigh wet as opposed to dry?

7. Would Tonto be able to track an elephant by following its dung?

8. Have they ever done DNA analysis on elephant dung?

9. Can it be processed for something other than paper? If so, does it have the same building potential as a tree?

10. Can scientists remove the smell before you buy it?



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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best Creampuff Job in the World

In Sydney, Australia, a job advertisement in a major newspaper is offering 150,000 Australian dollars ($100,000 US) for an island caretaker. The duties listed include lazing around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for six months and blogging.

The tourist website’s blog billed it as the “Best Job in the World” and one lucky candidate will spend a lot of time lounging around Hamilton Island and updating the blog. Among the perks are free room and board in an ocean front luxury villa, combing white sand beaches, swimming, and snorkeling.

The job initiative, sponsored by Tourism Whitsundays, is part of a AU$1.7 million project to increase tourism to the area.

Thousands of applications are expected and due by February 22, 2009. The only skills required are creativity and the ability to post photos and videos on a weekly blog. The URL for submitting applications is http://www.islandreefjob.com

I had a similar government job once, except the pay was low and the sandy beaches were sawdust covered warehouse floors; most of the swimming and snorkeling took place under an avalanche of red tape and bureaucracy. The only perk was a tiny renegade mouse named Pepino. Pepino was a trusty scout among his peers and knew the Backplanes of every PC in the office. He and his friends would run around the inside of desks and filing cabinets at night stealing pretzels and trail mix.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Old People Rock!

Did you ever think that a 107 year old woman would be looking to marry for the first time?

Well, it’s true. In Beijing, China, this week, it was reported that 107 year old Wang Guiying is looking for a centenarian husband.

"I'm already 107 and I still haven't got married," she told the Chongqing Commercial Times. "What will happen if I don't hurry up and find a husband?"

She has been living with her nephew in Chongqing and has had other nephews and nieces taking care of her, but she worries that they are getting too old, as the youngest is 60 years old already.

Insiders claim that a tip off to how old they are getting is when Wang registered at Victoria's Secret for Sexy Little Things®, and got flannel flap pajamas from her neices.

When asked why she never married before, Wang blamed the domestic abuse in her culture. "Getting married was too frightening," she said of a culture where Chinese women had very few rights and not much social standing. Plus, she likes the natural size of her feet and didn't like the idea of wrapping them and hobbling around until they shrunk down to a perfect size 3, as desired by most Chinese men with foot fetishes.

She moved away from the city when she was young and worked on a farm until she was 74 years old. She retired without a Rand McNally surrounding her navel, wearing a size 6 Nike.

Local officials are helping Wang search for a groom in her age group, because they think old people rock!


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Presidential Spider-Man Covers – Barack Obama “Nerd-in-Chief”



By the time President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office this month, he will simultaneously join a long list of politically correct U.S. Presidents, who have been featured on the cover of “Spider-Man” Comic Book, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush.

The January inaugural issue "Spidey meets the President!" features Obama as "nerd-in-chief," a superhero, who thwarts a plot by an imposter to take Obama’s presidency.

In a pre-release drawing, Spidey hangs upside down behind Obama whispering in his ear: "Hey, if you get to be on my cover, can I be on the dollar bill?"

Marvel Comics editor in chief, Joe Quesada, told reporters that the Obama campaign had listed 10 facts about our new little known president-elect and at the top of that list was the fact that Obama collected Spider-Man comics.

Excitement over the election of America’s first black president has spawned an inundation of Barack Obama memorabilia and the January issue of Spider-Man will probably become a highly sought after collector’s item.

Marvel Comics did not specify how many copies of the inaugural issue will be printed, but did indicate that it would be a higher print run than usual.

"I think one of the reasons why Obama would be a huge Spider-Man fan is probably because of the mantra by which he lives, ... that with great power there must also come great responsibility," Joe Quesada added.

Somehow, I knew that it would come to this. When I was growing up, our elders always had a high regard for authority figures, who admitted to reading Cooper, Dickens, Douglass, Milton, Shakespeare, and Verne, while we were reading Bugs Bunny and emulating Elmer Fudd. We were told that if we were to succeed in life, we must hone our oral and written communication skills and emulate the reading habits of those role models in authority. Never in my wildest imagination, did I think I’d be encouraging my grandchildren to put Emerson aside and become a Spidey follower, so they could run for president someday.



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Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Great Lobster Liberation Movement


In this photo released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 'George,' a live 20 pound lobster rests on a plate at City Crab and Seafood in New York, Friday, Jan. 9, 2009.

When a customer spotted this 20 lb. lobster at City Crab and Seafood, a swank New York Park Avenue restaurant, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was notified, and it petitioned the restaurant owners to set the lobster free.

PETA gauged the creature’s age at about 140 years old. City Crab and Seafood had named the crustacean mascot George, as everyone including the chef was attached to him. Not many people have seen such a large lobster.

You might think that the customer was acting only in the best interest of the beast, but it was priced at $27 a pound, making George unaffordable to most diners and I suppose one of them got ticked off.

Rather than be harassed by PETA and on the advice of its public relations manager, City Crab and Seafood decided to liberate the lobster. It will release it this weekend at Kennebunkport, Maine. That particular area forbids lobster trapping, so George can roam free to pick up girls and raise a new family.

"We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace," said Ingrid E. Newkirk, President of PETA.

Another PETA spokesman, Michael McGraw, said “there have been at least a half-dozen other lobster liberations in restaurants around the country.”


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tips for the Skiing Impaired



No one likes to be embarrassed at a luxury ski resort, like this unfortunate gentleman, so I suggest that you brush up on your skills in the Poconos with close friends before accepting an invitation to Colorado’s Vail Blue Sky basin.

According to the Smoking Gun website, the man pictured above “was stuck in the undignified position for about 15 minutes before Vail personnel were able to back the lift up and rescue him.”

Of course, his son was with him when it happened, so this guy is going to have one tough time convincing his kid that dad knows best.

Tips:
• Make sure that the belt on your pants is tightly fastened in case you fall out of the lift.
• Ensure that the fold-down seat is in the correct raised position and not lowered.
• If you do fall, make sure that all those who are photographing the event get signed release forms, and you get compensated for exposing your butt, before putting your embarrassing moment on YouTube.

See also, How to Ski, Where to Ski, Learn to Ski, and Skiing Tips By Mike Doyle, About.com

This video contains another batch of potential hazards to avoid:



Source

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knut - Latest Victim of Celebrity Betrayal


Polar bear Knut eats his 'birthday cake' during his second birthday celebrations in his enclosure at the Berlin Zoo December 5, 2008.(Johannes Eisele/Reuters)

Knut, the celebrity polar bear that was nurtured and raised at the Berlin Zoo, after his mother rejected him at birth, has been betrayed by the son of his late keeper.

He now joins the ranks of Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Ireland Baldwin, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston, and Drew Barrymore. All of whom have had “tell all” books written about them by close family members for money.

Knut did not suffer disloyalty because of a tabloid or a sleazy book detailing his sexual prowess or illicit romances with bears of the same or opposite sex. No DUIs or paternity suits have been filed, or cubs coming out of the woodwork to steal his thunder. No altercations with Paparazzi. He is not practicing Scientology or on steroids. Worse, his keeper and surrogate father’s personal property is being auctioned off on eBay.

Thomas Doerflein, Knut’s keeper, died suddenly last September. Now, his 18-year-old-son is capitalizing on Knut’s celebrity by auctioning off his father’s belongings. Among the Powerseller items are a sleeping bag, which the keeper slept in, while caring for Knut; a 10-year-old car; a belt; a book with a CD that Doerflein used to sing to Knut; a pocket knife; as well as other seller's miscellaneous items.

So far, the items brought $10,000, but Doerflein's former fiancée described the sale of his possessions as totally "tasteless."

Knut has generated millions of dollars for the Berlin Zoo within the last two years, but is expected to be evicted as soon as they can find another one that wants to take care of him.

Another child star with a thankless entourage.



Source: Yahoo News

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mutilated Monkey Meat - A Federal Offense

If you were born and raised in the Philadelphia area and move into other parts of the country, you often find yourself craving food found only in the place of your birth. There’s Philadelphia soft pretzels, cream cheese, scrapple, cheese steak sandwiches, hoagies, Lancaster Brand treats; and veal from lambs that were sledge hammered at the Italian market; not to mention imported cheeses and olive oil directly from southern Italy to the Philadelphia Food Distribution Center. Yummy!

Native Philadelphians perceive any other cravings as weird.

Apparently, New York Judges feel the same way. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Deanie rejected a plea by a Liberian woman’s lawyer that she smuggled mutilated monkey meat into NY to be consumed for religious and nostalgic reasons.

He didn’t appreciate the delicacy, as he grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and only remembered the “Smell My Feet” song that the kids in his neighborhood sang at Halloween and the association between "trick or treat" and "mutilated monkey meat."

Mamie Manneh, the defendant, can cook and eat fried primate parts, better than Emeril does Creole fried chicken.

She has been arrested and charged with smuggling the monkey meat into the country and will get deportation or five years in prison, if convicted. She should get a Presidential pardon.

No one knows whether she bought the stuff on eBay.

Why should American tax payers have to pay for five years worth of vegetarian meals, or a one-way ticket to Liberia, because this woman likes to eat monkey meat?

I personally believe that our country is so diverse, thanks to Lady Liberty, that it should be mandatory for all NY judges to take a class from Andrew Zimmern, the Food Network writer, chef, and teacher. Then, do something intelligent with our tax dollars.

How would Judge Deanie like to be arrested in Liberia for smuggling in an Original Nathan’s Coney Island hot dog?

Not to mention all the great Liberian restaurants we will never enjoy in the Big Apple, unless they change legislation and we can have FDA approved mutilated monkey meat.



Source

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The $8 Million Ugly Car Auction



On February 7, 2009 there will be an exciting Bonham’s Retromobile auction and a 1937 Bugatti 57S will be among the cars represented. Dr. Harold Carr, bought the Bugatti 57S over 50 years ago as an investment, and it is expected to bring $8 million at auction – unrestored, but with pedigree papers.

Just the other day, I got an e-mail from a relative, who was lamenting over a depleted 401k.

“40 years ago, I should have been buying 1957 Chevrolet convertibles and extending the garage” he said. “I would have made money on my investments.”

“Yes,” I said, but it’s all guess work. “I used to have a 1984 white Buick Regal with T-tops that looked like an albino Grand National, but at least it was pretty. I held on to it for 20 years and only got $300. My original investment was $12,500. Who’s going to buy classic cars during a recession?”

Anyway, this auction is going to be interesting. I want to know who coughs up the $8 million for an ugly Bugatti needing a face lift. The thing was so ugly that the owner quit driving it after only 26,284 miles and stashed it in the garage. I don’t know many people, who could pick up a date in a car like that either. It has a face and body only a mother could love. You’d have to sneak it out of the garage in the middle of the night to go joy riding. If the police ever spotted it in broad daylight, you’d be profiled for sure. Either that, or they’d think you were recycling stolen automobile parts, like in the “Body Snatchers.”

You definitely wouldn't want it in your passport photo and just like a painting, if you stand and look at it from a distance, it makes you want to install "Moms Mabley" vanity plates and a Pigmeat bumper sticker.

I asked someone what the “S” stood for in 57S and was told either "surbaissĂ©," which means lowered, or “sport.” Well, it’s not on the lower side of $8 million, so I guess it means sport. A bloke would have to be a sport to bid in this auction.

The modern Bugatti is much more appealing, yes?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions in One Year - Out the Other

It’s that time of the year when we stop to reflect on our bad habits of the previous 12 months and strive to improve ourselves and our lives. I went surfing online to find the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2009, and just like the bubbles on bubble pack, I found a cornucopia of poppers:

1. Lose weight and get in better physical shape - This is the resolution that is broken most often after “quit smoking.” It is also fun to break this one by eating: candy, ice cream, chocolate, etc.; and sitting around the house like a slug. I recommend coming up with a plan and taping a picture of a 600 lb. person with lots of cellulite on your refrigerator as a deterrent.

2. Stick to a budget – This is an impossible resolution to keep, given the impulse purchase displays that you run into in every store on earth. At the supermarket, its candy, gum, tabloids with headlines you can’t resist, like “So and So’s Sordid Affair with the Babysitter” and club membership sale signs. At the car wash, its cranberry air freshener and audio books for the kids.

3. Debt reduction – This won’t work, unless you lick #2.

4. Enjoy more quality time with family and friends – This only works if your family and friends like each other, which is highly unlikely. So, you might have to have two or three monthly get-togethers with a fraction of each. After a few months, you will probably ditch everybody and go buy a cat.

5. Find my soul mate – Yes, if you also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; otherwise, just look for a compatible companion to have food fights with.

6. Quit smoking – You might live through this for about two-three weeks, and then you’re going to have to get hypnotized or something to keep from becoming a fly person, putting Silly Putty on the soles of your shoes, and climbing the walls.

7. Find a better job – Again, Yes, if you also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; otherwise, just look for a palatable one that pays more.

8. Learn something new – This one should be easy to master. Just gather up everyone in the family under the age of 10, who has an electronic toy. I recommend starting with a Wii game, although I know a person who ended up in the ER trying to bowl a good score.

9. Volunteer and help others – The only time you should volunteer for anything is if there is a good answer to “What’s in it for me?” Otherwise, this shouldn’t even be on the list, unless a cute guest from way out-of-town needs a date and, staying within budget, you’ve been itching to treat someone to a Mickey D’s.

10. Get organized – You will spend at least three weeks preparing to pull this one off, but then you will figure out a way to spend some quality time with family and friends and revert back to your old cluttering habits.