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February 2005
image My cat is approaching 11. But Diane Sleeman's cat, Amber, is approaching 30. Or so Sleeman claims. If true, Amber would be the oldest cat in the world. However, Amber is missing most of her teeth, so researchers have no way to verify her age. I'd like to believe this is true, but it's a little hard to swallow. A 30-year-old cat would be like the equivalent of a 140-year-old person.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (98)
image Axe2Grind.net documents "the string of bizarre occurrences that have recently taken place in many parts of the country. The young men in these incidents share one common thread: they have all used AXE Deodorant Bodyspray." It's obviously a viral advertising campaign for AXE Bodyspray, but it's pretty amusing. I especially like the tale of Paul who is trapped in a cabin in the woods, hiding from women who have been driven insane with desire by his scent. Kind of like a 'trapped by zombies' thing, but with bodyspray. The legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page is also worth reading. (Thanks to Kathy for the link)
Categories: Advertising, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (40)
The Guardian offers their selection of the 10 greatest rock 'n' roll myths ever. Top of the list is the one about Mama Cass choking to death on a ham sandwich. It was also news to me to find out that Michael Jackson doesn't own the Elephant Man skeleton. I always thought he did.
Categories: Entertainment, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (9)
image I didn't realize that Sierra Nevada made a Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale. I'll have to try to get some and try it. One reviewer on Beer Advocate says this of it: This beer warms the gullet and obliterates the taste buds. I have had some bitter beers in my experience, but this one blows them all away. Sounds like an imposing beer, which I suppose is appropriate for a beer named after Bigfoot. So I'm now aware of Bigfoot Ale, Loch Ness Monster Ale, and Crop Circle Beer. But there's no Chupacabra Beer, as far as I know. Nor Jackalope Beer. This is an obvious oversight on the part of the beer industry.
Categories: Cryptozoology, Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 23, 2005
Comments (13)
image I just received this lovely image in my email (click the thumbnail to enlarge, and warning, it's a little gross). It comes with the caption: "Almost spring and girls start showing their bellybuttons." I have no idea if it's real or not. Sure, there are definitely people whose bellies hang way down. Bodies come in all sizes and shapes. But this woman appears to have one long tongue of flesh hanging straight down between her knees. So the anatomy is a little peculiar, which makes me think it's been photoshopped. But honestly, I have no idea.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 22, 2005
Comments (49)
image Apparently this picture (click to enlarge) has been circulating around for quite a while (over three years), but I've just seen it. It shows a happy group portrait of twenty-two brothers and sisters posing for the camera while on a family holiday, but the grinning kid whose face is circled is none other than Osama bin Laden. This picture appeared in the Sun with the caption:

the 14-year-old is Osama bin Laden - and within a few years the grinning schoolboy was on his way to becoming the world's most cold-hearted mass murderer. The bin Laden children lined up next to a pink Chrysler Imperial for this snapshot on a trip to Falun, Sweden, in 1971. The holiday was paid for by their father Mohammed, a billionaire building tycoon. Osama inherited a fortune when his dad died soon afterwards - and used it to build a worldwide network of terror.

Is it just me, or does young Osama look a tiny bit like Bill Gates? Also, I had no idea he was only 47-years-old. He looks like he's nearing 60. (via Image of the Day)
Categories: Hate Crimes/Terror, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 22, 2005
Comments (47)
Here's a story that I would have thought for sure was an April Fool's Day hoax, except that it's not April Fools. It involves four female penguins being brought from Sweden to the Bremerhaven Zoo in Germany in order to test whether the male penguins there are gay or straight. Apparently the males seem a little confused about their sexuality: "The males have been observed trying to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring out of stones." So the zoo will add the females and see what happens. But reportedly gay activists are outraged by this, arguing that "penguins had a right to form couples without human interference." A more recent article reports that after a month the 'Swedish temptresses' have failed to turn the heads of the males. But are gay activists seriously protesting this, or are the protests tongue-in-cheek? Not being able to read the German sources, I'm not sure. If the Bremerhaven penguins really do turn out to be gay, then perhaps they can run for president.
Categories: Animals, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (30)
This is the exciting news about life on Mars that the media reported on Feb. 16:

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water. The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.

This is how NASA responsed to the news two days later:

NASA Statement on False Claim of Evidence of Life on Mars
News reports on February 16, 2005, that NASA scientists from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., have found strong evidence that life may exist on Mars are incorrect. NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life.


Pity. Though, of course, it's probably all just a cover-up. wink
Categories: Extraterrestrial Life, Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (21)
image Here's a fun account of a prank involving an attempt to bring a touch of class to a New York City McDonalds:

The idea was to deck out a fast food joint with all the trappings of a five star restaurant. There would be a Maitre D’ standing behind a podium asking for your reservation, a hostess to seat you, a waiter to take your order, and an attendant in the bathroom. The obvious problem with this idea is that it would very likely be shut down as soon as it begins. I decided to focus on the bathroom attendant aspect, figuring that we could last much longer in a secluded men’s room.

My favorite part is how incredibly excited the group of British kids on a school trip were to find an attendant in the bathroom: "They've got a butler in the bathroom and he gave us sweets!" Also check out the video of the interaction with the store manager (about 3/4 of the way down the page).
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (3)
image A sensational archaeological hoax has been exposed in Germany. It's been revealed that Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a professor at a University in Frankfurt, has been systematically lying about the ages of skulls he found, claiming that they were far older than they actually were. In one instance he said that a skull was 21,300-years-old, although it was only 1300-years-old. As the Guardian reports:

"Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago," said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. "Prof Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish."

Apparently Prof. Protsch began his career as a forger when he returned from studying in America decades ago and discovered that he was unable to work a carbon-dating machine. So he just started making up the ages of things.
Categories: Science
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 21, 2005
Comments (41)
image Iron Hymen is obviously a spoof, but it's still funny. It pretends to be the homepage of the "Abstinence-Only Education Program... produced by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services and the White House Office of Youth Purity." It offers the First Lady's list of 'Ten Things Every Girl Should Know About Boys And Their Vile Private Parts', as well as testimonials such as this one: "thanks to Iron Hymen, my baby cave is better guarded than a maximum security prison". It seems to be a spin-off of the WhiteHouse.org parody site. Probably not safe for work because of the general subject matter.
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (8)
A new shock site called Forsake Our Troops is doing the rounds. It purports to be the homepage of an organization "dedicated to the notion that our nation's military is grossly overcompensated, at the expense of the American taxpayers." In actuality, it's just an attempt to be outrageous. Apparently it was created by a White Power activist called Michael Crook (according to the True or Better blog). Crook seems to have a history of doing things like this. Last year he created a fake group called Citizens Against the Troops. Seems like a charming fellow. Of course, this character could insist that he sincerely believes everything he's saying. But I would contend that he only sincerely wants to be obnoxious. (via Malkin Watch)
Update: This is the same Michael Crooks who once claimed to find a soldier's digital camera at a football game and told the media that he would return it for a 'finder's fee' of $1000.
Categories: Military
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (99)
image I just saw this on J-Walk Blog. A picture of a house painted to look like Microsoft Windows (click the thumbnail to enlarge). It would be cute if someone actually did this to their house. But in this particular case, I don't think the house in the picture is real. The compression blurring around the letters and icons is pretty obvious. I'm guessing that the lime-green coloring of the house is also fake. You can't see the license plates on the cars, so it's impossible to know in what country this house is located. But it definitely appears to be in Europe somewhere.
Update: The bottom-right word on the house is 'Modien'. What language is that?
Categories: Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (11)
image A guy on eBay, inspired by the forehead advertising auction, attempted to sell his will. The winner of the auction would, upon his death, receive everything he owns. Since the seller is a young guy, the winner could be waiting for a while before they get anything. Two other things occurred to me. First, if the guy dies heavily in debt, all you're going to inherit is a bunch of bills. He fails to mention this possibility (and he would have an incentive to die in debt). Second, I'm not sure how you would make this arrangement legally binding. Perhaps it can be done. I'm not sure. But it seems possible that the guy could change his will later and create a difficult situation. I've heard of universities that arrange for people to will their estates to them, and in return the university gives them a certain amount of money until they die. But that seems different from what this eBay guy is proposing (and probably involves better lawyers). Anyway, the auction closed yesterday with no bidders, so I guess it's all a moot point.
Categories: Death, eBay
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 20, 2005
Comments (9)
image Dawn in the UK sent me this curious item that appeared in today's edition of the Daily Express. It's about an orange that shopper Patrick Hurt found inside of an apple.

Mr. Hurt, 36, from Kiveton Park, South Yorks, said: "Apart from what was inside the apple looked perfectly normal. I have no idea how the orange got in there and I have never seen anything like it in my life." Greg Tucker, professor of plant biochemistry at Nottingham University, said: "The effect may have arisen through developmental mutation. It's not unheard of for flowers to become misformed. It is caused by mutations in some key genes. It is conceivable that a similar mutation occurred in this fruit."

Now I could understand if the interior of the apple was simply deformed so that it resembled an orange. That might be developmental mutation. But an actual orange spontaneously growing inside of an apple due to a gene mutation doesn't seem believable. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view of the scanned article.
Categories: Food, Science
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 19, 2005
Comments (21)
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