As our merry elves above indicate, it's time to peruse the absurd world of life on planet earth once again. And we start with...
ITEM: Google released its top searches for 2014, and here are the top ten...
10th was the Sochi Olympics- probably weighted up by the PETA people bitching about the city's stray dog population.
9th- the movie Frozen, led by little kids having to hear that song again...
8th was all the higher that our murdering friends at ISIS could manage.
7th is a subject I have tried hard to avoid- drag queen Conchita Wurst's win in the 2014 Eurovision contest.
|At least you won't say, "Ooops, my mistake" with this one...|
5th- and I'm surprised it wasn't #1- this summer's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
4th belongs to the trials and travails of Malaysian Airlines, which means we've now hit two items (along with #8) that I actually searched (other than the Wurst picture).
3rd place goes to everybody's favorite killer virus, ebola.
This summer's World Cup came in second. Ain't that a kick!
And the number one- sadly- was Robin Williams.
ITEM: If you haven't seen it yet, go while you can to this link and watch two brain surgeons at work. The "physicians", Genard Dupree and Tarus Scott, came into a Florida Wal-Mart with intent to steal close to $400 worth of Christmas presents. The plan- Genard fakes a heart attack while Tarus walks out during the distraction. The problem: first, the store's security cameras were onto them, following them wherever they went; second, Genard, while built like a perspective heart attack victim, was a terrible actor, being a bit too obvious watching his partner leave, and getting up a little too soon thereafter.
The surveillance continued as they loaded the ill-gotten gain into their silver SUV, and they are currently guests of the Polk County, FL, corrections department- a place that they are quite at home at, according to their rap sheets.
ITEM: Maybe not quite so bright is our next contestant from the Garden State...
Brian Chellis, 23, was found passed out in his car at the store in Riverdale on Friday morning, NJ.com reported.
The motor was still running.
Dressed in an "Elf on the Shelf" costume," Chellis "seemed confused as to his whereabouts" when officers turned off his vehicle and woke him up. According to police, he had an open container in the car.
Chellis was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, careless driving and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
|"If I'd have took the reindeer instead of the car, they'd have took me home..."|
ITEM: I have to share some of The Guardian's 12 most important moments in science 2014. Not for your edification so much as my amusement. The first on the list was "The west Antarctic ice sheet goes into irreversible decline." Which is funny, because satellite data shows that the Antarctic ice sheet is currently at the LARGEST that has ever been observed.
(of course, the scientists that found this also said, "But rather than disproving global warming, scientists claim that this growth may in fact be caused by it." Sure...)
Second was the astounding news that scientists have proven dogs recognize their master's voice. You just know the government shelled out big bucks for THAT one.
Third- well, let's let the story speak for itself...
... the announcement by a team of cosmologists in March that they had detected ripples in space left over from the birth of the universe.
The results came from an experiment carried out at the South Pole called BICEP2, which detects weak microwave radiation from space using highly sensitive telescopes. I went on record saying I thought the discovery was worthy of two Nobel prizes: one for finding evidence of gravitational waves from the Big Bang and another for providing indirect evidence that our universe is not the only one, but is part of a “multiverse”.
Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long. As part of their analysis, the researchers had used preliminary data taking into account space dust floating around the galaxy. By late May, a more careful reanalysis by scientists at Princeton concluded that the result had underestimated the effect of this dust, calling the whole discovery into question. Oh well, that’s science.
|Missed it by THAT much...|
Also among the top twelve was the dance a scientist made when she saw the Rosetta lander hit the comet, a couple of scratches on a shell proving man has been around for 500,000 years, and solar panels now hit a whopping 40% efficiency!
ITEM: Other scientists have figured out the real culprit in global warming. It wasn't man's emissions, and it wasn't cow farts. It WAS....
Turns out the efforts of humankind to save beavers from extinction over the past century have had an eco-unfriendly side effect: The animals, whose population has rebounded, are contributing to climate change, researchers say at EurekAlert. Beaver dams create shallow ponds, which can host growing levels of carbon as biological material accumulates on the floor. The result is methane, a greenhouse gas that doesn't dissolve in the ponds; instead, it travels into the atmosphere. These days, beaver ponds release 200 times more methane than they did in 1900, when centuries of hunting threatened the animals with extinction.
ITEM: Next, did you know I am disabled? At least in Europe I would be. I recently stumbled onto an article where experts discussed the newly-passed guidelines defining obesity as a disability. And this one struck me...
From Tam Fry of the UK's National Obesity forum:
When I read the preliminary ruling by the European Court of Justice in July, suggesting only morbidly obese individuals would be able to plead that their fatness was a “disability“ and be afforded protection from discrimination, I was not opposed to it.
These individuals are hugely overweight and it is highly likely that their weight could be called disabling.
But on Thursday, when the Court’s final ruling was released, I was dumbstruck.
It appeared to allow anyone who fits the World Health Organisation description of obesity [BMI 30+] to claim that they are disabled.
Which level would take in me, Laurie, Scrappy... and maybe you, too. Fry went on to observe...
In the meantime, how dare they even consider claiming “disability” for a condition which, in the most part, is self-inflicted? How could they possibly do so when around them may be workmates with truly disabling conditions which cannot be treated at all? How could they have the gall to demand a disabled parking space near the office door and thus get out of having to walk a few extra yards from the staff car park?
This has opened a can of worms for all employers. They will be required to make adjustments to their furniture and doors and whatever is needed for very large people. It will cause friction between obese people and other workers.
The Court’s decision is wrong. And it is a ruling that employers from all over the Europe should challenge and stop before it is written in tablets of stone.
However, employment lawyer Claire Dawson thinks it's a good idea...
This decision is right because it will encourage and support the complete involvement of obese people in the workplace for the first time.
I myself have worked for a supervisor who outweighed me by a good 150-200 lbs. This woman seems to think an employer needs to embrace the obese (if they can get their arms around). Instead of encouraging them to LOSE the weight that would help them become better and more healthy employees, and less of a drain on the insurance system. At least in this one thing, Michelle Obama isn't working socialism on the European model.
ITEM: I wonder how the ruling will affect protests in Belgium:
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has been bombarded with French fries and squirted with mayonnaise by ex-Femen activists angry at the government's austerity plans.
'Michel get out, austerity get out,' cried the four activists on Monday as the 38-year-old premier was beginning a speech in the southern city of Namur, according to several media present.
French fries, or chips in Britain, are a Belgian speciality, often served with a heavy dollop of mayonnaise.
The women, wearing masks and fully dressed unlike the usually topless Femen activists, were swiftly tackled by security personnel as Michel looked on, smiling in a mayo-stained suit.
After the incident, he restarted his speech apologising 'that I smell of mayonnaise'.
Food-related protests are a Belgian speciality.
In recent years, some of the world's most powerful leaders, including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, have received a custard pie in the face while on visits to the country.
My take, if you're going to throw lunch at me, at least do it topless...
ITEM: Finally, reason #5,206 on why I love this Pope...
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from "spiritual Alzheimer's" that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God.
Francis' Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.
He had some zingers: How the "terrorism of gossip" can "kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood." How cliques can "enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body" and eventually kill it by "friendly fire." About how those living hypocritical double lives are "typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that no academic degree can fill."
Is he talking the Curia or Congress?
"The Curia is called on to always improve itself and grow in communion, holiness and knowledge to fulfill its mission," Francis said. "But even it, as any human body, can suffer from ailments, dysfunctions, illnesses."
Francis, who is the first Latin American pope and never worked in the Italian-dominated Curia before he was elected, has not shied from complaining about the gossiping, careerism and bureaucratic power intrigues that afflict the Holy See. But as his reform agenda has gathered steam, he seemed even more emboldened to highlight what ails the institution.
The cardinals were not amused. The speech was met with tepid applause, and few were smiling as Francis listed one by one the 15 "Ailments of the Curia" that he had drawn up, complete with footnotes and Biblical references.
Poor Cardinals. It coulda been worse; he could have called them Pharisees... oh, wait....
Can't wait till he starts tipping tables over...