So I try to do both funny and interesting stories here, but I tell you what, a quick look at the front page of FoxNews gave me some not so funnies:
The Idiot from Watkins, CO who managed to get him and a passenger killed, flying a plane low to the ground at just after midnight in order to TAKE A SELFIE. The flash disoriented him, and now the family has a nice picture to put on top of the closed caskets.
The female juror on the Aaron Hernandez murder trial who got kicked off for lying about how big a Pats fan she was and discussing evidence that was ruled inadmissible. Leadership starts from the top, eh, Bill Belichick?
|Bet you forgot about my old Aaron Hernandez Ah-Crap award.|
And with the unfunny idiocy done, let me see if I have something better in the ol' funny file.
ITEM: Let's kick right off with the theme of the week, as Texas Tech showed what kind of an institute of higher learning they were last month by building a 12 feet tall snow penis on campus.
The University promptly sent the pictured front-loader to flatten it, and the video of the crushing deflation quickly went viral.
In a similar vein (ouch!) Ryanair officials weren't very happy when groundcrew for the airline (which boasts of catering to families with children) drew a giant snow penis near a plane waiting to go to the runway. A spokesman said, " While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25-minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.”
Yeah, and the tailfins were a bit large and rounded, too. Nice to know they take that family thing seriously.
ITEM: The Daily Mirror ran an article last week that London Mayor Boris Johnson (you remember, the guy who was going to prove water cannons were safe by being hit by one?) has a new study that suggests that British muslims are becoming Jihadis because they have no luck with the birds:
The findings of an MI5 investigation were revealed by the London Mayor, who said British Jihadis are 'badly adjusted and seeking comfort.' British jihadis watch too much porn because they have no luck with women, a secret service probe has found.
“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they will typically look at porn," Mr Johnson, 50, told The Sun.
“They are literally w***ers. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort - which of course is no comfort.”
There are a lot of cultural things that you can look at and say, hey, this kinda makes a warped kind of sense. However, I will leave it with my abysmal record with the opposite sex and I never found jihadism in the least appealing.
|Plus, at least I get to SEE what I'm missing...|
When attacked, some scorpions discard their stinger—and their anus
That's right, the old "snap off my tail when danger strikes" trick isn't the clever evolutionary trick we always thought it was. The story, by Science AAS's Nicholas Weiler, goes on:
Surviving scorpions’ stumps healed within days, researchers found, but their tails, which contain the anus and part of the digestive system, did not grow back. Tailless scorpions survived up to 8 months in the lab, but their abdomens swelled with trapped excrement within weeks. At least one lost a second segment of tail to the internal pressure. In the wild and in the lab, male scorpions were much more likely than females to snap off their tails, the team reports this week in PLOS ONE. The results raise questions about the evolutionary trade-offs faced by the two sexes. Without their stingers, males could still hunt small prey and mate successfully, the researchers found, suggesting that 8 more months of life could be worth the world’s worst case of constipation.
But if you were that, er, full of it, would you really WANT to eat/breed?
ITEM: One more animal story before we move on to human stuff. And it's a neat one, too!
Meet Tatyana the Tiger. She has a special hobby:
She rolls snowballs. Big ones.
The unknown skills of the endangered Amur tiger have been discovered by keepers at Kaliningrad Zoo in Russia's Baltic Sea exclave. At first staff thought someone was throwing giant snowballs into her cage. But then the truth emerged - their prized Siberian tigress had cleverly found a way to entertain herself in the dark by rolling snowballs, and turning them into a play toy.
The big cat is now delighting visitors with her unique wintry skills. She carefully pushes the snow around until it forms a giant snowball, big enough to make a snowman. Tanya pushes the snowball from one side of her cage to the other.
Zoo spokesperson Ekaterina Mikhailova said: 'One morning, zoologists came to work and found snowballs in Tanya's cage. Naturally, no one thought that the tigress was able to make them by herself. Zoologists decided that someone joked and threw large snowballs into the cage, but one evening she was caught.'
Zoo director Svetlana Sokolova added: 'Our staff noticed it three years ago. They say that she doesn't like making snowballs in the daylight, prefers doing this at night.'
It's beginning to look like we're going to get a "zoo story of the week", maybe I should patent that as a feature within a feature....
ITEM: Drugs and/or alcohol, story #1:
Meet Kentucky state senator Brandon Smith, GOP. He was recently pulled over for speeding and netted a DUI for his trouble. But rather than just say, yeah, I did it, I'm ashamed/apologize/ etc., he's looking at a way to fight it.
On Wednesday, Smith's lawyer filed a request that the case be dropped under a law in Section 43 in the Kentucky constitution. The section was added in 1891. It reads:
"The members of the General Assembly shall, in all cases except treason, felony, breach or surety of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance on the sessions of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other place."
Wow, Kentucky. Carte Blanche for state government? Me, I think that two things will happen: 1- he will find that the judge will consider driving drunk " breach or surety of the peace"; and 2- a certain 1891 statute will find itself in next years "Ten laws so stupid they were taken off the books in 2015" stories. At least, though, you have to admit Smith is an honest drunk. He never denied the crime. Next time, maybe he'll take care of things the Chinese way and get his 7-y-o to drive him home on his electric tricycle.
ITEM: Drugs and/or alcohol, story #2:
An Alamogordo, NM, granny had a family friend fix a door handle in her used van ( that she'd been driving for for years)- and is she glad she did:
A baffled gran uncovered 13 pounds of cannabis hidden in her van - more than a decade after she bought it. Police believe the stash, found in a hole in the door of Melodie Peil's 1990 brown Chevrolet, was put there by the van's previous owner 15 years ago and was so well-hidden it remained undetected until last week.
Innocent Melodie bought the van from a local dealership in 2001 and spent years ferrying her grandchildren to sports matches without being any the wiser. She passed through at least 10 border checks by police near her home in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and none of them noticed either.
It was only uncovered when a family friend took the passenger door apart to repair a broken handle and found the five bricks of drugs.
She immediately called police, who used sniffer dogs to check there wasn't anything else hidden inside the car.
Apparently it was so old (est. 15 years), it "didn't even smell like pot" according to the police. Wanna bet that the depositor of the once-upon-a-time $3,300 worth of smoke might not have survived the "What the hell did I do with it" phase of THAT job?
ITEM: Truly bizarre world leaders- and not from North Korea- part one:
From a distance, (Indian Prime Minister) Narendra Modi's traditional bandhgala suit appeared to be a classic navy blue pinstripe design. But closer inspection by social media users revealed the stripes were actually tiny letters spelling out the prime minister's name over and over again, the India Today website reports. Mr Modi was snapped in the suit during meetings with President Obama, who's on a three-day state visit to India.
Apparently, Modi got the idea from former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who boasted one in 2011:
You can get your where they did- from Tom James custom suits. It might be a bit salty- a high end place like this never tells you outright, but a commenter on a review site said, "I have gotten top end 140 suits for well under $2k with vesting. There are price ranges from the hundreds to the ten thousands".
ITEM: Truly bizarre world leaders- and not from North Korea- part two:
This time we go to Turkmenistan where the BBC tells us it's all about the color:
Customs officials in the Central Asian country have reportedly refused to allow the importation of black vehicles, according to Chrono-tm.org, a Vienna-based opposition website. They haven't given a reason for the decision, but are advising importers to buy white vehicles instead because it's considered a lucky colour, the website says. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov recently started using a convoy of white limousines to travel to public events, and about 160 top-ranking officials, including the heads of the country's main media outlets, promptly followed suit, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported in September. The paintwork restrictions are just the latest in a long list of rules, which includes a ban on the importation of coupes, supercars and vehicles with personalised number plates or tinted windows.
Turkmens have become accustomed to eccentric restrictions on daily life, which often seem to be imposed at the president's whim. In 2014, residents in the capital, Ashgabat, protested after authorities demanded they remove air-conditioning units from blocks of flats in order to improve the city's appearance. The government has also been spending billions of dollars remodelling the capital into a "white city" by covering all the major buildings with marble.
But what would you expect from someone named Gurbanguly...
ITEM: Finally, since I haven't found a good list in a while, I got this link off FB, I think. The 2015 index of economic freedom came out recently. It judges a nation's economic freedom on ten factors:
Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption);
Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending);
Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and
Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).
On this basis, Hong Kong, despite the political protests, ranks at the top, followed by Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland (ranked "free"), then Canada, Chile, Estonia, Ireland, and Mauritius.
|In case you were like, "WTH is Mauritius?"|
Canada through St. Lucia (look it up, I ain't posting maps all day) at 35 are listed as "mostly free." The US of A fits in here, at #12. This groups have mostly countries you would expect to be here- the UK, Germany, Israel- and a couple surprises- the U.A.E, Columbia. Then you have 36-90 as "moderately free"; France was slumming down there, with Spain and others like Guatemala, Bulgaria, and Mexico. Then comes, from 91-152, "mostly unfree", where you find Greece, Brazil, India, and a bunch of the countries whose names you can't pronounce or spell. Finally, you get the "repressed" category, where you find the upstanding world citizens such as Argentina, North Korea, Cuba, and Iran. And at the end, you get the crew who were not ranked, either due to being all messed up (Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and Iraq), or just plain don't really have an economy (Kosovo, Liechtenstein). How Liechtenstein got an entry when Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican did not (presumably considered part of the economies of France/Italy), I'm not quite sure.
Oh, and our Russian and Chinese friends? Why, they made the "mostly unfree" category, the nether end of. China at 139 (between Togo and Tajikistan); Russia at 143, in the midst of a swarm of low-level African countries who all managed to still beat out Vietnam at 148.
And that's the show for this week!