Monday, August 24, 2009

We've all done it. It's the middle of the night and you wake up with a thick head following an evening of trying to see how close you can get to alcohol poisoning without actually dying, and you fancy a snack. Fearing the wrath of the local law enforcers, you wisely avoid a trip to the fast-food place and head instead for the fridge. But all you can see is a carton of milk, three eggs of indeterminate age, and a large green mound of something that has possibly evolved from a piece of abandoned food from the last Ice Age.

So what do you do? You eat the dog!

Well, maybe you haven't done this, but Paea Taufu, a Tongan-born New Zealand resident was caught by animal protection agencies in the process of pit-roasting his pit bull. Apparently in Tonga, it's not unusual to eat dogs - or other animals. according to Taufu's wife, Lupi, "Dog, horse, we eat it in Tonga. It's good food for us." Especially when roasted in the traditional Umi pit-barbecue style.

Fortunately for Taufu - but not the dog - he committed no crime, except infringing on his neighbor's sense of taste. Derek Haddy of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said, "I find it quite disturbing that someone would kill a pet and then eat it. I'm not okay with that but unfortunately the law allows you to do it."

Claiming he was unaware that eating dogs is not a common feature if the Kiwi lifestyle, Taufu has promised not to eat any more dogs in the future.

He said nothing about cats.

In an article by Yahoo News on this topic, the unnamed writer described the SPCA as the "Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals." Now there's a Freudian slip to savor!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Using cell phones while driving has been shown to be a major contributor to road accidents. But it's not just while you're on the move that danger lurks just behind you.

55-year-old Romanian road construction engineer, Gheorghe Christinel, was working on laying down the asphalt on a new road in the town of Timisoara. But during what appears to have been an unsanctioned break, he whipped out his cell phone to chat with some.

Tragically, he was so engrossed in the conversation that he failed to near an approaching road roller - 20 tons of metal that was reversing in his direction. The driver failed to see Christinel and the inevitable happened; he was killed under the rollers.

A posthumous (aren't they all?) award is probably in the offing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Everyone loves a good magic trick. Whether it involves the close-up manipulation of a few cards or the dismemberment and scattering of 300 elephants in Central Park, we are all suckers for illusions. However, it pays for the magician to be a little sensitive when it comes to audience participation.

Not so Rajeev Patel, a street magician from Berhampur in India. As a small crowd gathered, eager with anticipation to be thrilled by some amazing feat of prestidigitation, Patel invited a young boy to help him with a trick. The magic was to turn a simple piece of clay into a delicious sweet. And to make this happen, Patel pulled the boys trousers down.

Apparently, Patel was practicing some unfamiliar brand of Indian magic that only works when genitals are exposed. Young boys' genitals at that.

It seems that although Patel was blithely indifferent to exposing some kids meat and two veg in public, the assembled crowd turned ugly. It might have been OK if the trick had actually worked, but after a number of attempts, all the boy had to show for all the trouble was his tackle, tush, and a lump of mud.

The watchers got angry and a riot ensued and the police had to be called in. Patel was escorted away and had to leave town.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It seems that education in the UK is not quite as hard as it used to be. Apparently students can get certified not only in mathematics, physic, biochemistry, and English literature, but also receive an award for catching a bus.

The Youth Support Services in Bury, England, offer a course called Using Public Transport (Unit 1), which tests an individual's ability to (a) walk to the local bus stop, (b) stand or sit at a bus stop, (c) wait for the arrival of a public bus, (d) sit on the bus and (e) observe through the windows. A comprehensive education indeed.

According to a recent article in the UK's Daily Telegraph, Bobby McHale was one of 920 pupils on the council-run Bury and Rochdale Activity Generation outdoor activities scheme who managed to become proficient in catching a bus. Presumably unsuccessful candidates are those who do such things as (a) walk under a bus, (b) wait, but fail to get on, (c) hang upside down from the hand bars rather than use a chair, or (d) fail to get off a bus and who are presumably found dead once the smell causes passengers to complain.

Which is less funny when you realize that Bobby's 13-year-old brother, Joe, failed to get the qualification. Presumably he doesn't got around much.

In an effort to justify the certification, Youth Support Services Manager, Barbara Lewis, said: "This certificate isn't just about getting on the bus, it's about time management, working out bus routes and for some people, traveling alone for the first time."

I suppose after managing to use a train you can get a Masters degree, and taking a flight gets you your Doctorate. And having caught a train to an airport and then successfully flown on two flights, I'm expecting my full Professorship to be arriving in the mail very soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The recent pairing of the Fruit of the Loom guys with Vince Gill to sing "Apple of my Eye" has to be one of the smartest ads of the past few months at least. The slow, emotional build-up to the chorus that gets interrupted by a cell phone is hilarious.

Now if you want to see the full song minus the phone, here it is, courtesy of YouTube.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Chicago Tribune recently reported on the case of one Clifton Williams, a 33-year-old who was watching cousin Jason Mayfield plead guilty to a drug charge. Unlike TV and movie court cases, where thins are exciting and happen in under 60 minutes, real court cases can be a little... tepid. So at one point, Williams let out a yawn that was loud enough to catch the attention and ire of the judge.

So while Judge Daniel Rozak sentenced Mayfield to two years' probation for the drug charge, he then sentenced Williams to six months in jail. That's right, six months for yawning - and the guy wasn't even on trial!

While the unjailed Mayfield commented that it was "not an outrageous yawn," Chuck Pelkie, from the state's attorney office, insisted: "It was not a simple yawn - it was a loud and boisterous attempt to disrupt the proceedings."

And although there is a belief that (a) the Law is impartial and (b) there is liberty and justice available for all, all this case shows - yet again - is that a judge can pretty well do whatever he or she wants without censure. And if folks can get probation for drugs and jail for yawning, then that pretty much puts paid to any idea of "justice" and "let the punishment fit the crime."

Granted Williams was released after three weeks, but not without a "stern lecture" from the "judge," who is presumably accustomed to getting his way and enjoys the power being able to do as he pleases to other people. Williams shouldn't have spent a day in jail.

So if you ever find yourself at the trial of a serial killer, make sure you don't have a cold or you could find yourself sneezing your way to the electric chair.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Nigeria is not just the home of Internet scammers but kinky sex partners. One Nigerian couple has been fined for having sex on the altar of their local church. According to the Daily Metro newspaper, Tolu Akintepe, 30, and wife Bunmi, 28, told a judge they were trying to spice up their love life.

They were caught in the act by the pastor of the small Pentecostal church in Ikeja, a suburb of Lagos. Pastor Gbenga Akhiomu demanded they pay £100 damages for desecrating the altar. He also wanted them to clean the altar and pray for forgiveness.

To courtroom laughter, the couple told Judge Ifeanyinwa Okenwa that they had been married for four years and their love life had gone stale.

"My wife was always saying she wanted me to spice up our sex life in an unusual way," said Mr Akintepe. "I thought it would be thrilling if we did it in the church, having the big guy upstairs watching us. I thought it was a little adventurous. I told my wife, and she loved the idea."

Judge Ifeanyinwa Okenwa warned the couple to have more respect for religious institutions.

He ordered them to pay £100 compensation. The couple volunteered to also clean the whole church for one week. Clean the whole church? What sort of mess did they make?!