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WICKED THOUGHTS -- MIRROR




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18 April, 2014

A dubious History of the Middle Finger

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as ‘plucking the yew’ (or ‘pluck yew’).

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and they began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, ‘See, we can still pluck yew! Since ‘pluck yew’ is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental fricative ‘F’, and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as ‘giving the bird.’

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Dog called for jury duty in US: “A German Shepherd has been called for jury duty in the US, leaving its owners rather bemused: “Last week IV (pronounced “Ivy”) Griner received a jury summons from Cumberland County court in New Jersey. The five-year-old dog’s owner Barrett Griner believes the confusion took place because his full name is Barrett Griner IV, and the county’s computer must have mistaken the Roman numerals for his first name. “I’m wondering like, What is this? Something from the county office about her vaccinations or something? Like, why is my dog getting mail?” Dennis Moffa, Cumberland County Judiciary Coordinator, told NBC that the county’s jury duty notices are computer-generated and frequently include name errors.”

Daredevil, 20, drags 3tonne fully-laden van using only his jaws while walking on broken GLASS: “Many people say their commute is like pulling teeth, but Yang Dong has more reason to complain than most. The 20-year-old gripped a rope between his jaws and pulled a van laden with nine adults – while walking on broken glass. He began practicing the stunt 10 years ago and now manages to pull a van weighing three tons down the street. Meanwhile, the road under him was laden with a 13ft carpet of shattered beer bottles. Mr Yang managed to pull off the feat last week in Fuzhou, a city of 7million people and the capital of south east China’s Fujian province.

Anonymous altruist posts mystery money through Essex letterboxes: “An anonymous benefactor has sent hundreds of pounds to people in the post. Lesley Quilter, 58, and Doreen Neal, 86, who live in the same street in Colchester, Essex, received £200 and £100 through their letterboxes last month. Mrs Neal, a retired teacher, said she felt uncomfortable at the gesture. Her white envelope had a second class stamp and a south-east post mark, and it was addressed by the same person who sent the other two. She said: “I don’t like mysteries, I think it is a bit creepy actually. “I am sure they did not mean to scare me but why did they do this? “£100 is a lot of money to me but I certainly won’t be spending it — I’ll be keeping it safe.”

A MONKEY herds Indian farmer’s goats: “Mani the monkey helps the unnamed farmer in rural India keep control of his goat herd. The talented monkey jumps from goat to goat to ensure they choose the right path. Mani even manages to work despite caring for her adorable baby monkey. The monkey makes sure that each of the goats makes it home safely after their outing”

Everyone’s a winner! Chinese customs seize more than 1,000 unauthorised replicas of football World Cup (and perhaps England’s best chance of a trophy): “Customs officers have thwarted more than 1,000 shots at glory – by seizing boxes rammed full of fake trophies at a warehouse in China. The 1,020 statuettes were found in the city of Yiwu, Zhejiang province, which has among the busiest export trades in the world. The fakes, which from afar bore a remarkable resemblance to the real thing, were due to be exported to Libya. The General Administration of Customs of China launched a campaign in April to crack down on football-related copyright theft ahead of the tournament in June. Brazil’s World Cup is expected to make huge sums in merchandising, and China has a valuable dog in the fight: its factories have manufactured a million versions of the official armadillo mascot”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





17 April, 2014

Children for sale in Chicago, 1948. Some parents sold their children due to poverty


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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Indian top court recognises third sex: “India’s top court has recognised the country’s long marginalised transgender community as a third gender and, in a landmark judgment lauded by human rights groups, called on the government to ensure their equal treatment. There are hundreds of thousands of transgenders in India, say activists, but because they are not legally recognised, they are ostracised, discriminated against, abused and often forced into prostitution. The court ruling – which came after hearing a petition filed by a group of transgenders demanding equal rights – recognised the community as a marginalised group and directed authorities to implement policies to improve their socioeconomic status. Due to their lack of access to jobs and education, many male-to-female transgenders – also known as “hijras” – are forced to work as sex workers or move around in organised groups begging or demanding money. [This is a bit misreported. It was eunuchs who were recognized. Eunuchs are a traditional group in India]

Ornament used as a doorstop for 40 years turns out to be a precious Quinlong vase worth £250,000: “An intricate wooden ornament used as a doorstop for 40 years has turned out to be a Chinese relic worth over £250,000. The nine-inch-tall item is a carved brush pot dating back to the late 18th century when it would have been used to store calligraphers’ brushes. It was handed down generations until it reached the unnamed husband and wife, who used it to prop open their living room door. Hoping to buy a car, the pair invited an auctioneer to their cottage home in Hertfordshire to value some other ornaments. But expert Richard Harrison was stunned when he spotted the brush pot on the floor, instantly recognising it as a Chinese masterpiece. ‘As soon as we were able to share the details of this brush pot with our network in China, it became clear that interest in this piece was going to be phenomenal.’ The brush pot, which is 12 inches wide, is a rare example of Zitan artwork and is carved from a single piece of wood.”

Hi-tech ‘super loo’ leaves locals terrified as it unpredicably BLASTS water at them, locks them inside and pushes them off the toilet: “Women are terrified to use a town centre public toilet because they fear the door swinging open while they are perched on the loo. And an automatic ‘arm’ reaches out when it flushes which has already knocked one young woman off the toilet seat. More than four hundred people have signed a petition calling on the council to replace the button-operated WC in Woking, Surrey, with a ‘less frightening’ loo. ‘The risk of the door opening unexpectedly while it is in use, and the toilet’s unisex nature and conspicuous position puts people off visiting it’ she said. ‘And it has an unpredictable cleaning system – people are frightened of it going into a wash cycle and them not being able to get out.”

Pensioner who bought Austin Seven for £140 as a teenager restores it to its former glory 61 years on after finding it in a dusty barn: “After saving for months, 17-year-old Brian Rollings bought the car of his dreams in 1953 – a 1936 Austin Opal Tourer. The young engineer bought the second-hand car for £140, and spent hours polishing the bright red convertible, which even helped him woo his wife-to-be. The famous model – known as the ‘baby Austin’ – was wildly popular when first manufactured, and remains much-loved today. In 1955 Mr Rollings reluctantly traded the car in for a larger alternative, but never forgot about his first ride. Decades after the fateful sale his passion for classic cars led him to strike up a search to see whether he could track down the old car and buy it back. Miraculously, the search was successful and, aged 77, Mr Rollings was able to buy the Austin 7 back for £4,000. In the 56 years since he had seen it the car had decayed considerably, but after three years of loving attention, it has been restored to its formerly glory.

It’s the start of the year 2071 in Nepal: “Their faces covered in colourful powder, this is how Nepalese revellers celebrate the New Year – marking the start of 2071. The Bisket Jatra festival takes place over nine days in Bhaktapur, Nepal, with rituals and dancing – as well as symbolic offerings to god-like figures. During the celebrations, a three-storey wooden chariot carrying the revered idol of Bhairab is pulled through the narrow streets by local men, before a huge tree trunk is erected – representing the union of man and woman. The pole is then torn down in a tug of war during the celebrations, which are also known as Sindoor Jatra. The religious festival – which marks the year 2071 in the Bikram calendar – also sees locals sacrificing chickens for a statue of god-figure Lingam. Bhaktapur is one of three ancient settlements in the Kathmandu Valley, the other two being Kathmandu, the country’s capital, and Patan.”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





16 April, 2014

When dinosaurs invaded New York

Fibreglass dinosaurs are transported on the Hudson River to the 1964 World’s Fair

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Italy’s ‘haunted’ island up for auction: “The leasehold of a Venetian island described as one of the most haunted places in Italy is to be auctioned next month as the state desperately seeks to raise revenue. Poveglia, a small, uninhabited island in the Venice lagoon, minutes from St Mark’s Square, is among five prime properties, including a castle and a monastery, that will go under the hammer in an online auction. The 17-acre island was fought over by the Venetians and the Genoese in the 14th century – and still shows traces of being fortified – before it became a quarantine station for ships arriving at Venice in the 18th century. After plague was discovered on two ships, the island was sealed off and used to house people with infectious diseases, leading to legends of terminally ill Venetians waiting to die before their ghosts returned to haunt the island. The Italian government is hoping for offers to transform the hospital into a luxury hotel”

EU to ban beaches: One in ten British resorts could fail tough new safety tests: “Some of England’s best-loved beaches could be turned into no-go zones for swimmers under tough new EU rules. When the new European directive is enforced in May 2015, the rules on water safety will become twice as stringent overnight, rendering dozens of beaches which are currently safe off-limits for swimmers. One in ten of England’s 400 registered bathing beaches will fail the new tests, according to Environment Agency projections. Signposts will be erected at sites that do not meet the tough new standards, warning swimmers against entering the water. Ironically, 39 of those English beaches that could be on the EU blacklist were declared safe by the Marine Conservation Society today. Even more remarkably, seven beaches which could fail next year are deemed to have ‘excellent’ water under the existing rules and are today included in the charity’s Good Beach Guide 2014.”

The magnificent EIGHT keeping farming history alive: Farmer ploughs fields in the way his family has since 1885: “Eight mighty horses toil in a farmer’s field in an image that evokes an idyllic rural Britain at risk of vanishing forever. Robert Sampson is shunning modern machinery and employing old-fashioned horse power on his land in Hampshire. Five generations of his family have used this method to plough the fields since 1885. And the 58-year-old is keen to keep the tradition alive. Every day, he takes his Percherons out to plough his 256 acre plot. The method may take a little longer than using machinery, but he saves on diesel and road tax as his horses are content to munch grass at the end of a day’s labour. He said: ‘I do it because I love it. People think I’m mad?…?and there are times when I think I am too!’

British amusement park bans men’s bare chests: “An amusement park has ordered men to stay covered up even if it gets hot in a bid to banish beer bellies and bare chests. Bosses say they are copying the majority of American theme parks, which already have a similar dress code, in order to keep the park family friendly. Male visitors to Adventure Island in Southend must keep their shirts on under the new dress code. Marc Miller, managing director of the park, said “We don’t have a strict dress code as such, but would like our male customers to show some decorum. “In recent years, we’ve seen increasing numbers of lads and men whipping their tops off, eager to make the most of the sun – which is understandable, of course, as Southend is the warmest and driest part of the UK. “That’s absolutely fine in the right environment, but we try very hard to be a family-focused business and not everybody is a fan of bare chests.”

US flight attendant entertains passengers with comedy safety speech: “Flight attendant Marty Cobb found a novel way to ensure that passengers listened to safety regulations by turning her presentation into a comedy monologue. On a recent Southwest Airlines flight to Salt Lake City, Ms Cobb grabbed her captive audience’s attention with the following introduction: “If I can pretend to have your attention for just a few moments, my ex-husband, my new boyfriend and their divorce attorney are going to show you the safety features aboard this 737 800 series.” She then instructed passengers to “position your seat belt tight and low across your hips, like my grandmother wears her support bra,” before informing them that “in the unlikey event the pilot lands beside a hot tub” each passenger would get their own “teeny-weeny yellow Southwest bikini” as her colleagues held up yellow life jackets. “One size fits all. To activate the flow of oxygen, simply insert 75 cents for the first minute. If you’re travelling with more than one child, pick out the one that might have the most earning potential down the road,” she quipped. “Basically just do what we say and nobody gets hurt,” she concludes”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





15 April, 2014

Future presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush with segregationist Governor George Wallace at a BBQ in 1983

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Are we over the hill at 24? Study finds cognitive decline begins far earlier than thought: “Our brains start to slow down once we hit 24, researchers have discovered. They analysed thousands of played of the hugely popular Starcraft 2 computer game, and saw a universal slowdown far earlier than they expected. They claim that as soon as players hit the ripe old age of 25, they have already reached their peak in terms of cognitive motor performance. Their performance records, which can be readily replayed, constitute big data because they represent thousands of hours worth of strategic real-time cognitive-based moves performed at varied skill levels. Using complex statistical modeling, the researchers looked at how players responded to their opponents and more importantly, how long they took to react. ‘After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance,’ said Joe Thompson, a psychology doctoral student who led the study.

SMILE! Diver taking pictures of life underwater gets photobombed by a grinning shark in the Bahamas: “This is the incredible moment a cheeky shark photobombed a diver and even seemed to grin for the camera as it barged its way in to the shot. Photographer Jeffrey Haines, 52, was left stunned by the close encounter while diving in the Caribbean sea off the Bahamas coast. The underwater snapper, from Kerhonkson, New York, was attempting to take a picture of a fellow diver and tiger shark when the ten foot lemon shark swam into the frame. He said: ‘I was actually photographing the diver who was pointing at a rather large tiger shark, that’s why the diver is still in focus and the shark isn’t. ‘But all of a sudden this lemon shark swam into the frame and photobombed the picture. ‘It looked like it was smiling and it almost looked like it was saying ‘hey take a picture of me’. ‘Lemon sharks are really curious and this one was definitely checking me out.”

Free boobs: “Most women who decide on cosmetic surgery save up for years, take out a loan or even a second job. But for Gemini Smith, 23, from Cramlington, Northumbria, it was much easier – in fact all she had to do was sign up to MyFreeImplants.com, where users donated a dollar to her operation every time they sent her a message. After three months, Miss Smith had raised the £4,450 needed to send her from a 34A to a 34DD. Miss Smith, an undertaker, always hated her 34A breasts which, she thought, made her look like a ’12-year-old boy’. She fell into depression, but her hopes were boosted when she discovered MyFreeImplants.com, an American website where strangers donate towards cosmetic surgery.” And the operation has boosted her confidence so much she has since got engaged to a man she was previously chatting to on Facebook.”

Germans love getting naked in public: “Germans are often considered to be more at one with nature than prudish Brits. And now residents of the country’s third-largest city have been given the go ahead to strip off for all over sunbathing sessions in six designated spaces. The six Urban Naked Zones are located in parkland, offering privacy, but also only minutes away from the busy city centre. The city’s huge public park The Englischer Garten has been a nudist hang-out since the 1960s, with it’s Schonfeldweise (‘beautiful meadows’) area being earmarked by nudist travel site naturisttravel.net as one of the must-visit places in the country. ‘Whenever the sun is out, you’ll find Münchner of all ages, shapes and sizes catching some rays as nature intended. It’s considered as much the perfect lunchtime escape from the stresses of a busy day for office workers as it a place for friends and families to gather at weekends, and the atmosphere is always convivial and laid-back.”

‘Rats the size of cats are invading our cities’: Two-foot long giant rodents which are immune to poison are discovered feeding from bins in Britain: “It is the size of a small cat and enough to strike fear into anyone who sees it – but it could become a common sight in cities around the country. This giant rat was caught and photographed in Liverpool and measured two feet long from its nose to its tail. The menacing super rat was caught on an industrial estate by a brave pest controller from Whelan Services, one of the country’s largest independent pest prevention companies. Pest control experts today warned that similar rats are likely to become more common in the UK as more households get careless about how they throw out their rubbish, and discard left-over fast food. Experts say the conventional blood-thinning poison used to kill the rats is not working as it used to.”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





14 April, 2014

An Irish billboard?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

The great survivor: “A Cardiff hero whose name appears on a monument to the fallen of the First World War actually survived the conflict. Alf Norman fought in the Boer War, the Great War and worked in a munitions factory during the Second World War yet he is on the Grangetown Memorial remembering the war dead. Sergeant Norman went on to live for three decades after the memorial recording his death was built. He was serving with the Glamorgan Yeomanry, believed to be in Mesopotamia, when his wife received two telegrams – one to say he was missing presumed killed and another to say he had been killed in action. His Cork-born ‘widow’ Mary organised a traditional Irish wake in his absence. Later news came through that far from being dead her husband was still very much alive and doing his bit for king and country. For some reason, his name was still put forward in the early 1920s when the Cardiff memorial was built.”

The world’s most complete preserved mammoth will go on display: “The baby mammoth, discovered in Siberia in 2007, will be the centrepiece of a special three-month exhibition at the London museum. It will be the first time is has been shown in Western Europe. The female mammoth is a little larger than a dog and is thought to have died 42,000 years ago when it was only one month old. It was found by Siberia’s Yuribei river, several mammoth remains have been unearthed in the area. Experts believe that its body was buried in wet clay and mud which then froze, preserving it until she was found by reindeer herder Yuri Khudi and his sons while they were searching for firewood along the banks of the Yuribei river.”

Elaborate graffiti: “Mysterious street artist Banksy is thought to have unveiled his latest creation, taking aim at the thorny issue of government surveillance. The guerrilla graffiti artist is believed to be behind the image of three trenchcoat clad agents eavesdropping on a telephone box that appeared in Cheltenham in the early hours of this morning. It is believed the city was chosen for the work because it is where GCHQ, the centre of the UK’s surveillance network, is based. The graffiti is on the side of a house just three miles from the listening post. The trenchcoat clad agents seem to be listening in on the phone box on the street corner in Cheltenham. Although the artist has not officially claimed the work, it is in his characteristic style and carries a political message in line with his previous pieces.”

Super-cheap frock: “At the bottom of a plastic bag lies a very small piece of highly flammable fabric in a colour never dreamed of by Mother Nature. This is budget clothing chain Peacocks’ latest offering: a £1.99 dress. Yes, that’s right, £1.99. Forty-one pence less than a cappuccino from my nearest coffee shop. I’ve bought it online to see just how cheap and cheerful fashion has become. Mint it is, and over the head it goes. At £1.99, a dress doesn’t come with a zip. There isn’t the budget for one. But once on, there is a mini-revelation; the thing is incredibly comfortable, like wearing a comfy T-shirt or a soft nightdress. But after the grim winter, it is a serotonin boost to be back in a silly, jaunty dress. It’s short, skaterish, girlish and it makes me feel oddly?…?cheerful. The first test is the children. They are most excited by the price. At last they can afford something in the adult world — who cares if they want it or not. They say they quite like it. ‘Pretty!’ is the verdict.”

Sexier stockings?: “The stockings are laced with the chemicals which are designed to increase sexual attraction. The Hush Hush range by hosiery firm Ballerina is laced with female pheromones believed to send men as wild as Hoffman in the 1967 film. A spokesman for Ballerina said: ‘Pheromones send out subconscious signals to the opposite sex.’ But while pheromones are emitted in our sweat glands, style mavens may be relieved to know the stockings’ ones are synthetic.



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





13 April, 2014

A suffering man?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Beer joke falls flat at officious British supermarket: “A schoolteacher was refused alcohol at a supermarket for joking to his 12-year-old daughter: “That’s your beer sorted out.” Kieran O’Sullivan, 49, said an “overzealous” cashier overheard the joke as he stood in the queue at Co-op in Worthing, West Sussex, with four cans of beer and a range of groceries. The female worker then demanded to see ID for his child, Nara. The manager backed up his employee, and Mr O’Sullivan left without his shopping. He said the incident was “incredible””

Drunk burglar let down by his bowel: “A burglar was arrested on the lavatory of the house he was raiding. Mark Johnson, 41, who was drunk, was found by police with his trousers around his ankles in the upstairs bathroom of the house he had been seen entering. Johnson had caused a high-speed police chase just hours previously when he was seen speeding in a car while twice over the legal limit. Although officers lost him when he went through red lights and the wrong way around a roundabout, neighbours reported seeing him smashing a window and breaking into a house in Sunderland. The commotion woke the retired householder, who came out of his bedroom to find police officers on his landing and a burglar using his bathroom. The 64-year-old home owner confirmed he did not know the stranger using his bathroom and Johnson was arrested. Johnson, of Sunderland, was jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court.”

Elderly couple on a small income charged £900 by Virgin for watching porn they claim they didn’t order: “A couple has been handed a £900 bill from Virgin Media for pornography over a five-year period – despite the fact that they insist they have never ordered any. Ann, 72, and Ron Hayward, 75, who live in a one-bedroom bedsit in Stockport, Cheshire, now have no internet or television because the provider have accused the couple of ‘abusing’ services. The great-grandparents first received a bill for almost £200 in 2009, and another £200 last week. They were also sent another letter ordering them to pay more than £500 for blue films. Adult channels paid for through Virgin media cost £5.99 for a 16 hour period. But the pensioners, who live in a quiet housing block for elderly residents, were adamant they had never ordered, let alone watched, the pornographic films. Virgin staff have now told the Haywards that all of their services will be cancelled because ‘they are abusing the service’ – and they have until 9th May to find a new provider for their telephone, broadband and TV.

Breasts not allowed in “Miss England” comp: “A model has been kicked out of the Miss England competition because she posted a topless picture of herself online to promote a breast cancer campaign. Georgia Eden was told on Friday she could not take part in the Miss Oxfordshire heat of the competition after it was discovered she had posted a ‘selfie’ of herself to promote the fight against breast cancer. Miss Eden challenged the ruling saying she tweeted the image twice in March with the hashtags #coppafeel and #breastcancerawareness after losing a close friend to the disease last year. In the photograph she covers her breasts with one of her hands and her arm. Miss Eden said that she felt ‘demeaned’ by the ruling. ‘I have been made to feel cheap. The photo is implied topless – but there are no nipples on show,’ said Miss Eden, who lives in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.”

Baby cleared of murder: “A nine-month-old boy who appeared in Pakistan charged with attempting to murder police officers has been cleared, following a week-long police investigation. Baby Muhammad Mosa Khan was accused of being part of a ruthless gang of gas thieves who tried to kill police by hurling stones at them during a raid. Last week he was pictured at court in Lahore sitting on his grandfather’s lap, contentedly sucking on a bottle of milk as the charges against him were read out. A Pakistani lawyer said the judge announced the decision after Saturday’s court hearing during which police said it had dropped the charge against the boy. He said police had registered the case against the toddler and his family members without investigating the matter and the judge had sought an explanation. The case highlights the country’s dysfunctional criminal justice system where even children are not immune from questionable legal decisions.”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





12 April, 2014

Now just a minute ...

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Nearly a quarter of newlyweds get married EXPECTING to divorce: “‘For better or for worse’ appears to be a dying concept in modern Britain. Nearly a quarter (21 per cent) of recently married or engaged couples believe that they’re likely to get divorced at some stage in the future, with 7 per cent of these admitting to having signed a pre-nuptial agreement with a potential break-up in mind. And almost half (44 per cent) of those foreseeing divorce admitted that ‘financial implications’ were their biggest worry for the future. However, the majority (57 per cent) of the newlywed or engaged couples questioned did say that they expected their marriage to last forever. But the remaining 43 per cent had a far less rosy outlook on their union, with 22 per cent saying that they accepted ‘this might not be the case’, while the remaining 21 per cent acknowledged that they didn’t think they would stay with their partner forever.”

White wing supremacist: British swan attacks foreign students: “Warwick University has erected a fence around a campus lake to stop a spate of swan attacks on students. A 4ft tall bird, which boasts an 8ft wingspan, has been accused of behaved aggressively towards foreign students as they cross over a footbridge near its nesting place at the university’s Gibbet Hill campus in Coventry, West Midlands. The footbridge is used by hundreds of students everyday as a route between accommodation and university buildings. Undergraduates revealed that the swan only appeared to target students from ethnic minorities. One 24-year-old student from India said: “These swans are very annoying, and the students feel as though they’re being bullied. “I’m from India, and they attack me especially, they focus straight on me. “We’ve been warned that the swans will be a bit feisty at this time of year, but they go for me all year round. “I think they don’t like too many Indians in England – maybe the swans here are a little bit racist.”

Technicolor lobster: “An eye-catching two-toned lobster called Harley Quinn has become even more striking after moulting to reveal electric blue skin down one side of his body. The strangely pigmented creature was captured near Bridlington in East Yorkshire in 2010 and has been looked after by curious staff who have since monitored his colourful transition at Scarborough Sea Life Centre. The chances of a lobster being two separate colours on each half of its body is around one in 50million and Harley Quinn is arguably even rarer as his claws are the opposite colours to the corresponding sides of his body, making him look like he has been divided into four. Harley, who is thought to be five or six years old, has now shed his unique armour for the second time. ‘Whereas he was a reddish-black on one side and sandy colour on the other, he has now adopted a deep electric blue down one side,’ said Amy McFarlane, of the centre.”

Horse races man – and it’s the MAN who wins!: “He is the youngest person to have conquered 100 marathons and holds the world record for being the youngest and fastest person to run 10 marathons in 10 days. But Adam Holland has added another first to his list of achievements – beating a horse in a 10-mile race. The 27-year-old won the unusual contest, taking on Tango, a five-year-old 14.2 hands high Appaloosa Welsh Horse. The pair raced through the Devonshire countryside, taking on moorland and bridleways near Tavistock. Owner Kate Melville rode Tango, who she rescued along with another horse four years ago, in the race against Mr Holland, whose running name is Tango. And despite Tango’s four legs, Mr Holland just pipped his equine challenger to the post, winning by 10 minutes. He said: ‘I think I had an advantage on the hills – I’m a very good down hill runner but the horse had to walk down the hills.”

Forget taking a little blue pill – now you can have Viagra ICE CREAM: “A British ice-cream maker has invented a dessert which can help with erectile dysfunction – by flavouring the batch with Viagra. The Arousal flavour contains around 25mg of Viagra per scoop. It was created on specific request from a celebrity customer of South Wales ice cream company, Lick Me I’m Delicious. Mr Francis says he was approached by an ‘A-list celebrity’ to create the very specific flavour for a party, and spent a few days perfecting the recipe. He said: ‘It’s all very secretive. We had to sign a confidentiality agreement so I can’t reveal the name of the client. ‘All I’m allowed to say is it was for a party and that they were very happy with the end result and that I made “the required amount””

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





11 April, 2014

Elaborate tombstone

I guess he liked company

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Scottish girls are bustiest in UK – with 34DD breasts: “Scottish girls are on average a 34DD – that’s two cup sizes bigger than their 34C English neighbours. Inverness came out on top, with the average bra size coming in at a 36F. The research reveals that Northern English women are more likely to have bigger boobs – with the average Northern lady wearing a D cup. Northern towns to top the biggest breast poll are Liverpool, Leeds, Aberdeen and Glasgow, while southern towns are at the lower end of the spectrum. A spokesperson for Debenhams Lingerie, who commissioned the research, said: ‘We have seen a dramatic difference in Scottish bust sizes vs. the rest of the UK, our fuller bust ranges have been particularly popular with Scots.’ [I think Canadian ladies are bigger than US ones too]

Parrot defends owner from attacker: “A crime-fighting parrot has saved his owner after she was pushed to the ground in a park. The female victim had been taking Wunsy the African grey for a walk and fly in Sunny Hill Park, north London, on Friday when she was grabbed by the shoulders and shoved. The parrot, who is taken to the park daily in a harness and lead, flapped his wings and squawked, causing the attacker to flee. The attacker is a white man aged 25 to 35 with short blond hair. He was wearing beige trousers and had a dark black rucksack.”

World’s oldest barmaid is celebrating her 100th birthday but has no plans to retire: “A great-grandmother who has been named the oldest bar maid in the world is celebrating her 100th birthday, but despite having pulled pints since 1940 she has no plans to retire. Dolly Saville still works three days a week at The Red Lion Hotel in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, and has been working for 74 years. She started pulling pints when she was 26, just before World War II, and she estimates that she has poured around two million pints since she began. Over the last seven decades she has served many famous faces, including James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, former Prime Minister Ted Heath, footballer Stanley Matthews, singer Vera Lynn, ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn and actress Elizabeth Taylor. Until six years ago when she was 94 she was still working at least six hours a day, six days a week and has only ever had two weeks sick leave her entire life. Now she has had to reduce her shifts to three hours a week, but still spends the time working on her feet clearing tables, serving customers and polishing glasses.

Chubby locals complain after Chinese council builds public toilet with 20-inch wide doors that only thin people can get through: “The local council has been flooded with complaints from larger locals who say they are unable to get through the 20-inch doors to access the facility. There is only enough space in the corridor for a single person to go in and out of the toilet at any one time, while queues can form during winter as people try to force themselves in while wearing thick jumpers and woolly coats. Local council official Guang Yao, whose department operates the toilet, said they had decided to put the toilet there two decades ago because there was an urgent need for more public facilities but there was very little space. He said: ‘It was less of a problem then because people were not so overweight as they are now, and there was not so many people using it so they had time to come in and go out.”

Butcher invents Scotch Creme Eggs: “A creative butcher has cooked up a unusual take on an Easter favourite – Scotch Creme Eggs. Graham Eyes created the seasonal snacks in a bid to entice more customers through the doors of his shop in Southport, Merseyside. The 53-year-old is renowned locally for his unusual concoctions and, after the success of last year’s Cadbury’s Mini Egg sausages, he was looking for another way to brighten up Easter. His latest offering is a Cadbury’s Creme Egg, wrapped in sausage meat, and flavoured with a variety of seasonings. ‘Personally I think they are really tasty, I really like them. They’ve got a really interesting taste. ‘You’ve got the sweetness from the chocolate, contrasting with the chilli and lime that we use in the coating – but the flavours go really well together.’

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





10 April, 2014

The chase

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Priest moves bride to tears with ‘Hallelujah’: “Chris and Leah O’Kane’s wedding ceremony was going perfectly to plan in Oldcastle, Co Meath in Ireland on Saturday. The band, SonLight Music Ministry had just finished singing “Be thou my vision”, and the priest and congregation were pausing for a moment of reflection, when Fr Ray Kelly stood up and went to the microphone, ostensibly to say a few words. Instead of saying the words, however, Fr Kelly burst into song, performing a personalised rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. “We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together”, he sang. Fr Kelly’s singing talent moved the “blushing” bride to tears, but we can assume they were tears of joy, as the congregation gave Fr Kelly a rousing standing ovation.”

US Navy unveils rail gun that fires at seven times speed of sound: “THE US Navy has unveiled a rail gun that fires at seven times the speed of sound — noting that “there’s not a thing in the sky that’s going to survive.” The rail gun is designed to take out incoming missiles — or possibly aircraft. It uses an electromagnetic pulse to propel a projectile down the barrel, creating a fireball of molten steel. The projectile sheds layers of its steel cladding to turn first of all into a a forearm-length missile then finally into a smaller slug that punches a hole in its target. “An electromagnetic rail gun is a gun that uses just electricity — no gun powder — and, oh, by the way, can shoot a projectile like this, well over 100 miles (160km) at Mach 7,” Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, from the Office of Naval Research, told CBS News. “So think about that. A slug that big — a slug that big going Mach 7 puts a hole through six half-inch steel plates,” he added.”

Million jars of peanut butter in landfill after Costco refuse to donate it: “NEARLY a million jars of peanut butter are being dumped at a landfill to expedite the sale of a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a 2012 salmonella outbreak and nationwide recall. Bankruptcy trustee Clarke Coll said he had no other choice after Costco Wholesale refused to take shipment of the Sunland Inc product and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. After extensive testing, Costco agreed to a court order authorising the trustee to sell it the peanut butter. But after getting eight loads, Costco rejected it as “not merchantable” because of leaky peanut oil. Coll said “all parties agreed there’s nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue”

Tough guy dies young: “WWE superstar The Ultimate Warrior has died in Arizona at the age of 54. The former pro wrestler, whose given name was James Brian Hellwig, collapsed in front of his Arizona hotel room and was pronounced dead at hospital. He died just three days after he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of Wrestlemania weekend. The wrestler was walking to his car with his wife just before 6pm when he fell to the ground, TMZ reported. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Hellwig, who started in the ring in 1987 and counted Hulk Hogan among his many victories, legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993 to match the name of his neon-faced, wild-haired alter-ego. He became a household name after besting the Hulk in 1990′s Wrestlemania VI, the highlight of a 13-year career in professional wrestling that included three stints in what was then known as the WWF.”

Telling the time with ball bearings: “Most of us take telling the time for granted. But for visually impaired people it can be a real struggle and sometimes a speaking clock just isn’t practical. However, a new tactile watch is about to hit the shops that lets people tell the time just by touching it – and it’s so stylish that many people with perfect vision are also ordering one for themselves. The Bradley Timepiece has a minimalistic titanium face with gently protruding markings, but no numbers or hands. Instead of traditional watch hands, time is indicated by two ball bearings. The one towards the centre of the watch indicates the passing minutes and one marking the hours is positioned on the side. The ball bearings are connected to a watch movement beneath the casing with magnets. If the ball bearings are pressed a little too hard and are moved accidently, a user can shake their wrist and they spring back to show the correct time.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





9 April, 2014

Redneck garage sale

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

A glass of milk a day ‘keeps arthritis at bay’ – but only if you are a woman: “A glass of milk a day could help stop women’s knees from creaking, claim researchers. A new US study found women who frequently drink fat-free or low-fat milk may have less osteoarthritis in the knee. But eating cheese increased the problem in women. Drinking milk made little difference in men, and eating yogurt did not affect progression in men or women. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips, or knee. At the start of the study dietary data was collected and joint space width was measured using X-rays, says a report in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. A total of 888 men and 1,260 women with knee arthritis took part who had follow-up checks up to four years later. There was a slight worsening of the condition among women eating cheese every day.”

Chinese ‘Chicken Cup’ sells for £19.6 million at auction: “A Shanghai collector bought a rare Ming Dynasty cup that’s touted as the “holy grail” of China’s art world for £19.6 million at a Hong Kong auction on Tuesday, smashing the previous world record price for Chinese porcelain. Sotheby’s said Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder for the small white cup, which measures just 3.1 inches in diameter and is more than 500 years old. The vessel is known as a “chicken cup” because it is decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks. The cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby’s said there are only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums. “There’s no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain,” said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia.”

How Boris silenced John Humphrys – with Latin: “This morning, on the Today Programme, John Humphrys repeatedly asked Boris Johnson whether he supported Maria Miller. Every time, Boris stonewalled until he came up with the ultimate ruse – speak Latin. “Nemo iudex in causa sua,” Boris said, quoting the old legal maxim – “No one should be a judge in his own cause”; ie Parliament shouldn’t decide the punishment of MPs like Miller. Humphrys was silenced and Boris had had the last word – that was the end of the interview. As Boris well knows, Latin is the ultimate answer. Latin gives the impression of planet-brained intelligence on the part of the Latinist. And, because there’s an odd expectation that we should all know Latin idioms, no one questions it or asks for a translation. The interviewer is silenced; the interviewee triumphs. Latin is the interviewees’ magic weapon. Res ipsa loquitur.”

Yale student says university forced her to gain weight: “A 42-KG YALE history major says the university’s health centre told her she needed to gain weight or take a leave of absence from school. She’s spent the past 6 months trying to put on pounds for her weekly weigh-ins. Frances Chan, 20, told the New Haven Register that she tried everything to gain weight, but only put on 0.9kg from September to April. “I ate ice cream twice a day. I ate cookies. I used elevators instead of walking up stairs. But I don’t really gain any weight,” she said. Yale’s health services staff also required Chan to meet with a nutritionist and a mental health professional to determine whether she had an eating disorder. Chan, who is 5’2”, says she doesn’t: Her parents and grandparents also had small frames. Chan said on Facebook that she and her parents are now working with a new doctor at Yale, who said the university made a mistake by focusing too much on Chan’s weight, and apologised for “months of anguish” caused by the mandate to put on pounds.”

The $1.5m golden nugget: World’s largest single crystal of gold discovered: “It is worth as estimated $1.5m, and was found in a river in Venezuela. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory used a neutron scanner to effectively look inside the 217.78-gram piece of gold, roughly the size of a golf ball. The crystal’s owner wanted to undergo the scans to prove its estimated $1.5m worth – while researchers were keen to study the arrangement of the crystal. Its owner, who lives in the United States, provided the samples to geologist John Rakovan to assess the crystallinity of four specimens, all of which had been found decades ago in Venezuela. Proving it was a crystal would mean it was created entirely naturally – and increase its value. Three of the four samples turned out to be single-crystal pieces of gold, rather than the commonplace multiple-crystal type. Of particular interest was a golf-ball-shaped nugget that at one time was believed to be the world’s largest trapezohedral gold crystal.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





8 April, 2014

Hidden power outlet

For the kitchen with everything

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

British Keystone Kops keep falling down stairs: “A team of fast response officers want to be moved from the top floor of a Midland police station – because they keep injuring themselves when running down three flights of slippery stairs. In what has been compared to a Keystone Cops comedy sketch, three constables have suffered serious injuries in the past year alone trying to get down the old Victorian tiled staircases. One constable, who is part of the 30-strong response team, said that his colleagues now lose vital minutes by having to walk slowly down the stairs to avoid injury. The officer, who did not want to be named, said: ‘There is a Keystone Cops element to it with officers tumbling down a flight of steps and injuring themselves before they’ve even got out of the building. ‘But on a serious note it’s a real health hazard.”

Mr Bean has trouble getting in and out of his fancy car: “It is considerably more showy than the kind of runabout most of us might pop to the supermarket in. But perhaps this metallic red £200,000, gullwinged Mercedes SLS AMG supercar is just what Rowan Atkinson needs to lift his spirits after rumours that his marriage is in trouble. Even so, the 59-year-old millionaire actor needed his torso to be as flexible as his famously rubbery face as he lowered himself into the gleaming two-seater after nipping out for some groceries at Waitrose. If getting in to the driver’s seat made him look as ungraceful as his bumbling comic creation Mr Bean, no one could argue that the SLS – which has a top speed of 199mph and does 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds – is far more impressive than that other recent addition to his car collection, a Skoda.”

Brits like cheap plonk: “Most Britons refuse to pay more than £6 for a bottle of wine while only one in three can name a single grape variety, it is claimed. The shift to cheap plonk has brought claims that Britain, which imports more wine than any other nation, is effectively dumbing down as a wine nation. Some 80 per cent of all wine sold in the UK sells for less than £6, which leaves very little profit for the producers once tax – at 60 per cent – and shipping is taken out of the equation. The research found that a third cannot name a single grape type and only four per cent can name more than 10. Overall, women were far less knowledgeable than men. A study found that eight in ten people in blind taste tests preferred a bottle of wine costing £4.99 over a £19.99 option which was made from the same grapes. Six in ten thought the £4.99 version was just so delicious that it must be the more expensive of the two, according to research by the London Wine Academy.”

Chinese mother beats son, six, with wire coat hanger for not doing his homework – but escapes arrest when police say: ‘He was a NAUGHTY boy’: “Police in China have decided not to take action against a mother who savagely beat her six-year-old son with a wire coat hanger after they agreed he had been ‘naughty’ for not doing his homework. Xiao Bing’s injuries were discovered by a teacher at the nursery school he attends in Jiangmen city in China’s southern Guangdong province while he was getting changed for a sports lesson. But despite the teacher reporting the wounds to the authorities, Xiao Bing’s mother will not face arrest after local police said the injuries were not as bad as they look, adding that they have told the woman not to beat her child so severely in future.”

World’s leading violinists CAN’T tell the difference between a Stradivarius worth millions of pounds and a modern instrument: “Worth millions of pounds, it has been dubbed the créme de la créme of string music. But a Stradivarius could be no more special than a bog-standard violin, according to a new study. Researchers found the world’s leading violinsts could not distinguish between the antique Italian instrument and its cheaper counterpart. This is despite the Stradivarius having a longstanding reputation for being tonally superior to anything you can buy today. Most musicians even prefer contemporary violins which cost a fraction of the price, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported. French and U.S. researchers asked ten experts to play 12 violins – six new and the others old, including five by Antonio Stradivari – to find out which were superior. They blindfolded the participants, before testing them each for an hour and a quarter in a rehearsal theatre, and then again in a 300-seat concert hall. At the end, six selected a new violin as their preference”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





7 April, 2014

For the wine waiter with shaky hands

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Mafia are family men, not psychopaths: “Italian researchers Schimmenti and colleagues, who are based in the birthplace of the mafia Sicily, went to a prison in Palermo to interview 30 convicted mobsters. They questioned 39 prisoners in the same institution who were jailed for non gang-related crimes. The researchers then used the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) to determine whether any of the subjects showed psychotic characteristics. The 20-item list of personality traits and recorded behaviors associated with psychopathy – such as pathological lying, lack of empathy and an impulsive nature – is a common assessment used to determine whether someone has the personality disorder. Interviewees are assessed and given a score – with those marked above 30 being deemed a psychopath. The researchers discovered that none of the Mafia members they questioned scored over 30. Conversely, 10 per cent of the comparative group did. ‘Further, during the interviews, they often expressed concerns for their children and their families, and they had never ceased to write and call them. Such expressions of attachment were less apparent among the comparison men.”

Bargain hunters buy Royal Doulton figurine at a car boot sale for £2 and sell it at auction for £4,000: “David and Helen Lambert paid for the unusual blue Royal Doulton figurine they spotted at a car boot sale in Stockport with a £2 coin. They took it to valuers from BBC’s Flog It programme and were thrilled to discover they had bought a 1922 ‘Spook’ figure believed to be worth around £300. Auctioneer, John Cook, who sold the ornament at Gerrard’s Auctions, Lytham St Anne’s, was surprised to see its blue colour and believes it is a prototype glaze. He thinks the figure could be the only one in this colour and this is why the hammer fell much higher than expected. The lucky couple from Colne, Lancashire, head to car boot sales in search of a bargain most weekends but have decided to save the cash they raised from selling the ornament. ‘I think this sort of thing is a only once in a lifetime thing to happen to people and we don’t expect it to happen again.’”

Archbishop wages war on the Devil: Payday loans “The Archbishop of Canterbury wants to take his ‘war on Wonga’ into the classroom using Britain’s network of Church of England primary schools to spearhead an educational campaign against high-cost borrowing. The strategy to teach children the dangers of sinking into expensive debt through so-called payday lenders such as Wonga is being examined by former Financial Services Authority chief and Barclays executive Sir Hector Sants, who now heads the Archbishop’s Task Group on Responsible Savings and Credit. Archbishop Justin Welby has slammed payday lending as ‘usury’ and last year said the Church would try to ‘compete them out of business’ with its own credit operation.”

Piratical British lawyers: “A law firm was yesterday accused of sending the NHS legal bills of up to 80 times the value of compensation claims awarded to patients. Rapid Response Solicitors allegedly won £2,500 for a patient scalded by a hot drink – then billed the health service £58,000, more than 20 times the pay-out. In one case the company apparently submitted a bill of £83,000 after winning a client a pay-out of just £1,000. Now NHS managers have launched a crackdown on ‘excessive’ legal bills, challenging them in court and freeing up potentially millions of pounds to be spent on patient care. In the case of the hot drink pay-out, the costs – which included a reported £800-an-hour bill for legal advisers –were successfully slashed to £5,610.”

I have bow legs, says famous model: “She has just celebrated a quarter of a century as one of the world’s most successful supermodels. But despite her illustrious reputation, Kate Moss has revealed how a rare affliction prevents her pulling off certain outfits. The 40-year-old catwalk star said that her bow legs mean she has to avoid wearing mid-calf garments. Miss Moss claims dresses and coats that fall below the knee and sit about her ankles make her appear ‘bandy’. Only around five per cent of the population are said to suffer from bow legs, a condition that means the legs curve outwards, even when standing with the ankles together. The supermodel has previously revealed that she prefers short mini-skirts, and even admitted that she once asked her assistant to cut the hem of a £40,000 mid-calf coat to shorten its length.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





6 April, 2014

A useful invention

You can find the keyhole even when drunk

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Ouch! Intruder gets thrown into cactus bushes: “Hollywood actress Julia Robert’s $9.5 million Malibu home was almost infiltrated by an intruder. Fortunately the star’s security team caught him in the act and ‘slam dunked’ him into nearby cactus bushes, according to RadarOnline. The website reports that the incident occurred in mid-January, just weeks before her sister Nancy took her own life. An eye-witness told the site: ‘By the time I got there, the man was just crawling out of the cactus bush outside her property and the security guards were talking to the police. ‘One of them was boasting saying: ‘I’m an ex-Marine and I just picked him up and threw him head first in the cactus.’ ‘The security told me that it was some crazed stalker guy. He was a brave man for even trying to get in her place, as it’s swarming with her detail.

US ATM gives man $37,000 instead of $140: “A MALFUNCTIONING automated bank machine has dispensed $37,000 in cash to a man who requested $140. Police in Maine say they responded to the TD Bank branch on Thursday morning after getting a call from a woman who said a man was spending an unusual amount of time at the ATM she was waiting to use. Officers found the man stuffing cash into a shopping bag. The money was returned to the bank. Bank officials say they don’t want to press charges but police continue to investigate. The man hasn’t been charged. A bank official describes the problem as a “code error’’ and says no customer accounts were affected.”

Could tobacco hold the key to beating cancer? Researchers say plant’s defence mechanism could work in humans to ‘explode’ invading cells: “The tobacco plant’s natural defence mechanisms could be harnessed to kill cancer cells in the human body. Scientists have identified a molecule in the flower of the plant that usually fights off fungi and bacteria – and were stunned to find it also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer. Called NaD1, it works by forming a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells and rips themopen, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode. Called NaD1, the moecule works by forming a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells. The structure then effectively rips them open, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode, rendering them unable to cause damage.”

Your ticket to Italy! Diner leaves single mom waitress a $1,000 tip: “One lucky waitress who has always dreamed of visiting Italy where her family is from is now able to do so after a customer left her a $1,000 tip for the trip. In a post on Tumblr, the daughter of the waitress recounted the story. She said that her mom was talking with a man she waited on and told him that her family is from Florence and she has always wanted to go there. ‘She’s got 8 years of art education and she’s working a waitress,’ the daughter, who is a waitress at the same restaurant, wrote. ‘It’s pretty…sad and disappointing I guess.’ The daughter, who does not identify either her, her mother or the restaurant they work at, goes on to say that her parents divorced six years ago and her mom ‘hasn’t had a real job ever.’ She adds they have been stuck in a small town. The man who tipped the mother $1,000 just walked out without saying he left the gigantic gratuity on his credit card slip. He simply wrote, ‘Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!!’

Soldiers set to wear night vision CONTACTS after researchers develop super-thin sensors: “A new, super-thin infrared light sensor could become an invaluable tool for the soldiers of the future as researchers work to develop the advance into night vision contact lenses. Created by University of Michigan researchers Ted Norris and Zhaohui Zhong, the sensor uses an atom-thin material called graphene which could be layered onto contact lenses. Graphene takes infrared rays and translates them into electrical signals. The process is similar to the way silicon chip in a digital camera work with visible light, Wired reported. However as researchers must still figure out how to produce a better light sensitivity and broader range of temperature, a useable contact model is still years away.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





5 April, 2014

Humility needed

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Pakistani baby accused of attempted murder: ” While many children his age are still learning how to crawl, a nine-month-old boy in Pakistan has been accused of attempted murder in a case observers say highlights endemic flaws in the country’s legal system. Baby Mohammad Musa along with his father and other family members was booked for throwing rocks at gas company officials in the working-class Ahata Thanedaran neighbourhood on February 1, the family’s lawyer Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq said on Friday. Inspector Kashif Muhammad, who attended the alleged crime scene and has since been suspended, wrote in his report that it was a case of attempted murder. Appearing in a packed court room with others accused in the case on Thursday, Musa was seen crying as his grandfather Muhammad Yasin held him on his shoulder. Judge Rafaqat Ali Qamar ordered the inspector to be suspended and granted the child bail, though he will have to appear at the next hearing on April 12. But Sadiq, the lawyer, said the charges against the child should have been dropped.”

Video shows cat unraveling entire roll of toilet paper – then dutifully re-rolling it back up again: “Enter Willie the cat, who stars in a video which has already clocked up over 23,000 views since it was uploaded to YouTube by his owner, Michael Thompson, on Wednesday. The video, titled Willie Is Better Than Your Cat, starts off with the adorable feline, rather irritatingly undoing an entire roll of toilet paper with his paw, before pausing and then changing his tack in a surprising and heart-warming gesture. The grey tabby then proceeds to systematically bat the dispenser in the opposite direction, conveniently restoring the roll to its former, if a little crumpled, glory. And just when it looks like he is planning to unravel it once again, he stops and decidedly withdraws from his mission. ‘That’s very helpful, thank you,’ Mr Thompson can be heard saying.”

Ladybirds that arrive in the post: Insects sold via mail order to tackle invasion of greenflies: “There can be few things more annoying for the keen gardener than greenflies munching away on your prized roses. But for those not keen on using chemical pesticides, one gardening expert has come up with a solution – delivering live ladybirds to your door. Sarah Raven, a guest presenter on Gardener’s World, has started selling the insects through her website, sarahraven.com. The ladybirds are put into tubes where they live happily on a diet of popcorn or cereal while being delivered by first class post. Mrs Raven said: ‘Ladybirds are brilliant in the garden because they feed off green and black fly, as well as other insect pests who would otherwise be munching on your home-grown flowers and produce. ‘They will get rid of pests without affecting your crops or being harmful to other wildlife. Once established, they should start breeding – and help solve your greenfly problems for years to come.”

Problem of biscuits being too big to be fully submerged into cup of tea is finally solved with ‘Little Dipper’ mug: “This must surely be the ultimate tea break accessory for those with a sweet tooth – a ‘dipper’ mug designed to perfectly accommodate and dunk a biscuit. Craig Kaplan, a 3D printing enthusiast, designed the Little Dipper to solve the problem of biscuits being too big to be fully submerged. Originally marketed in America for kids who want to dunk biscuits in a small amount of milk before bed, they could also become a hit with tea lovers in Britain. Each cup holds 100ml of fluid and is 8.5 cm long – perfect for a McVitie’s chocolate digestive – and features flared sides to allow the thumb and forefinger to be accommodated. After designing the cup it was created in ceramic by 3D printing service Shapeways, which is now selling the pale blue mug for $36.82 USD (£22).

China forces students to put their cellphones in giant classroom phone holders before lessons: “Across the globe, text slang is the bane of any teacher’s life. But this Chinese college claims to have found a simple solution. Using makeshift canvas ‘phone lockers’, teachers now order pupils to deposit their mobiles before class starts, in a desperate bid to stamp new ‘modern’ words out of exam papers. It may be a move worth considering by heads of schools in Britain, as hundreds of teachers continue to complain about students’ diminishing language skills. The lockers were introduced at the Luoyang Institute of Science and Technology, in Henan, China, after teachers said ‘most pupils’ were on Weibo (Chinese Facebook) ‘most of the time’ during lessons. Zhao Jianli, dean of the institute, said the ‘visible reminder’ encourages a ‘studying atmosphere’.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





4 April, 2014

Bravest little cat in the world: Tiny wildcat defies 4 lionesses

But still got eaten

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Deadly beans: “A young couple were given a bizarre early-morning wake up call when a sealed can of baked beans suddenly exploded in their kitchen. Ben Leo and his girlfriend Rhian Wade said they thought a bomb had gone off when they woke to the sudden noise at 3am in the morning. But they were left confused after a late-night search last Saturday failed to find the source of the loud bang. After going back to sleep, Mr Leo went to make a meal the next day and found the exploded tin of baked beans, bought from Lidl, in their kitchen cupboard. Mr Leo, 24, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: ‘We had no idea what it was and at 3am we were very confused and tired. Mr Leo said the tin was still in date and had only just been bought from a nearby store.”

‘We gave our sofa to a charity shop – with our missing CAT hiding in it’: “He disappeared for five days embarking on a 17-mile trip, leaving his owners distraught. But the couple, both 66, never imagined just what their treasured pet had been up to. For the adventurous grey tabby had indulged in a little sofa surfing, getting trapped inside an old three-seater destined for the charity shop. There he lay for four days quietly hiding in the piece of furniture donated to the St Luke’s Hospice charity in Grays Essex, by the 66-year-olds. The trapped cat was only discovered when the new owners, who asked not to be named, noticed meowing sounds coming from inside the three-seater. The bemused couple called the hospice shop to alert them to their unexpected free gift. Crockett is now back at home and has now been given a clean bill of health after his sofa surfing adventure.

Kind garbologists: “KNOX garbage collectors could not refuse a chance to make a little girl’s dream come true. Contractors aren’t usually in the business of granting wishes, but they didn’t waste a moment to help Sarah, 13, who has one great love — garbage trucks. The Rowville resident, who is clinically blind and has a learning disability, lives with her mum, Robyn Hutchinson, an Australian Army medic and widow. “They’re (garbage trucks) really good fun, they take away all our rubbish and they’re very responsible — but they’re a bit stinky,” Sarah told Knox Leader. Sgt Hutchinson said her daughter had loved the noisy trucks for years. “I don’t know where she got the fascination from, possibly one of her uncles,” Sgt Hutchinson said. Contractors gave Sarah the VIP treatment on collection day, complete with a high-visibility vest, truck tour and ride around the street to empty bins. Ms Lee said it was exhilarating to watch her niece. “She was ridiculously happy and it answered all her questions (about garbage trucks),” Ms Lee said.”

Meet ‘Robo-roo’, the bizarre bionic KANGAROO: “For the past two years, the German group has been secretly working emulating the jumping behaviour of the kangaroo in robot form. It’s one of their most ambitious bio-inspired robots yet and could help improve industrial automation systems that manufacture products such as cars and computers. Dubbed BionicKangaroo, the robot is controlled by gestures and can efficiently recover energy from one jump to help it make the next. It does this by using an elastic spring, which partially ‘charges’ the legs on landing, according to a report by Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum.”

Was Jesus crucified with his arms ABOVE his head?: “For centuries the Church has largely depicted the crucifixion of Christ with his arms outstretched horizontally on a cross. But scientists believe that death by crucifixion may have been even crueller, and that a victim’s arms were probably nailed above their head. An international team studying the Shroud of Turin, which appears to depict a man who was put to death by crucifixion, said that no matter who created it, the artefact suggests that the practice involved a victim who was suspended in a Y-shape. They came to this conclusion after studying lines of ‘blood’ down the arms. Whatever the case, the linen cloth, which is imprinted with the faint image of a naked man, seems to show lines of blood that have streamed down his arms as well as other wounds. The duo found that the ‘blood’ marks on the shroud correspond to a crucifixion – but only if a person was nailed onto a cross in a ‘Y’ position instead of a ‘T’ position, as depicted in most Christian art.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





3 April, 2014

An honest message

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Man wins court battle against parking firm who tried to fine him £100 for CIRCLING car park without stopping: “A motorist has won a court battle against a parking firm who tried to fine him £100 for circling a car park – without stopping. Dave Hotchin, 49, spent half an hour waiting for a space without success before driving away from Fistral Beach car park in Newquay, Cornwall. Two months later shocked Mr Hotchin received a demand for £100 saying the couple had been caught without a ticket by an automatic number plate reader. After sending four further warnings to Mr Hotchin and his wife bosses at car park firm Parking Eye launched a court action to get the money. But a judge threw out the claim because the 31 minutes the pair from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, spent driving around the car park in May last year did not classify as ‘parking’.”

How all chefs should peel their apples: “A chef in the Netherlands has come up with a novel solution for peeling apples when in a hurry. After receiving a large order for his tarte tatin, Jasper van Ramhorst turned to DIY when he could not find a kitchen appliance to do the job. Colleagues at the Eetcafé de Gribus restaurant filmed the head chef using a power drill to peel his way through a pile of apples in seconds. The video shows him sticking the apples on the end of the drill and resting a peeler against them as they spin at high speed. With the unorthodox technique cutting peel time down to just a few seconds per apple, this could be the ultimate solution for harried dieters trying to increase their 5-a-day intake to the new recomended 10-a-day.”

Found: Two paintings worth £30m – including one by Gaugin – that were stolen from London home in 1970: “Two paintings worth millions of euros by the French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard which were stolen in London in 1970 then abandoned on a train have been recovered in Italy. Gauguin’s ‘Fruit on a table or small dog’ and Bonnard’s ‘Woman with two chairs’ which were taken from a family house in the British capital, were recovered from an Italian factory worker who had hung them in his kitchen for almost 40 years. The Gauguin painting is worth between 10 and 30 million euros (£8million and £24million) while the Bonnard is valued at some 600,000 euros (£500,000), Italy’s heritage police said at a press conference on Wednesday. The paintings turned up in a lost property department at a train station and were sold at auction in 1975 to a worker at a Fiat factory, who bought them for 45,000 Italian lire or 23 euros (£20, equivalent to about £300 today). He hung them on the wall of his kitchen”.

Parenting, Chinese Style: Couple chain their son to a concrete block: “Chinese parents have admitted to putting their son in chains and refusing to let him go as a punishment for constant stealing. Father Wen Yuan, 47, chained up his son, Chuang, 24, because he believed his thieving habits had brought shame on the family. As a result he tied his son to his bedroom in their house in Xibianban village in south China’s Jiangxi province, for fear that if he didn’t stop his son from stealing, he would soon end up in jail. Chuang was chained by the neck to a heavy concrete block, which he placed in the boy’s bedroom so that he couldn’t do anything but move around the room and sit in his bed. Wen Yuan said: ‘It isn’t exactly a large community here, when something is stolen everybody knows who’s to blame. ‘I always had to compensate my neighbours and apologise for what he had stolen if I couldn’t return it and I just got fed up with it.’”

Spam breaks out: “Spam is back in vogue say New York restaurateurs, who are serving the wartime staple atop of sushi, salads and even straight up out of the tin as a side. John Daley, the head chef and co-owner of New York Sushi Ko, told the Gothamist that he likes to use the tinned meat mix – which retails for around $2.50 per 12oz – when rustling up his fancy $150 tasting menu. One diner who tried his ‘Spam fried rice’ creation topped with seared tuna and pineapple, described it as ‘so good’, ‘savory’ and a ‘little bit [like] oxtail’. Mr Daley says his Spam concoctions have created quite a buzz and indeed, as he sat talking, someone popped in and asked if he was ‘still doing the Spam thing.’ Mike Briones, who runs Suzume in Brooklyn, has also witnessed unprecedented demand for the ‘pink stuff’ – named after the shortened version of ‘spiced ham’. He serves it, like Mr Daley, as sushi. Thick slices of the processed ham are placed on sticky rice, with a ribbon of dried seaweed holding it all together.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





2 April, 2014

WHY?

Why do supermarkets make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?

Why do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters?

Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveways and put our useless junk in the garage?

EVER WONDER… Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why can’t women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?

Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?

Why is it that doctors and attorneys call what they do ‘practice’?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring, and dish washing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff??

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Tattoo regret: “A new survey found that four in ten people with tattoos end up regretting having at least one of them done. And one in six hate their tattoos so much they want them surgically removed. The most prevalent reason for the change of heart is fear of the so-called ‘tramp stamps’ as fifty per cent worry they will be considered ‘common, uncultured or a bit of a chav’. A further 34% express regret for fear of how they’ll look as they get older (and saggier) and half of those surveyed admitted that a person with prominent tattoos was less likely to succeed in business. Perceived promiscuity is also a worry for the tattooed masses. One in six of those surveyed said people with tattoos are seen as more likely to have one-night stands. Splitting from a partner is another trigger that propels people into laser action. Heidi Klum felt compelled to wipe her tattoo slate clean after she split from husband Seal in 2012.”

Now that’s REAL multiculturalism “A man has been left without genitals and with three missing toes after a witch doctor told him that losing his body parts would make him rich. Chamangeni Zulu, from Malawi, has been hospitalised at Chipata General Hospital in Zambia, near the Malawi border, after he allowed the hyena to eat his manhood. ‘I met some business persons who told me the best way to become rich was to sacrifice parts of my body,’ he told the paper. At around 4am on Monday last week, the man went into the Zambian bush. Mr Zulu said: ‘I was instructed to be naked and a hyena came to me and started eating my toes and eventually my manhood was eaten.’ Yet despite the horrific ordeal, Mr Zulu admitted he was still hopeful of becoming rich. ‘Even if I have lost some important parts of my body, I still want to get rich,’ he said. Chipata Hospital described the man’s condition as stable and said that he had been brought to the hospital by police officers.”

Jewel-encrusted goblet found gathering dust in tiny Spanish museum ‘touched the lips of Jesus and is in fact the HOLY GRAIL’: “The onyx chalice has been sat in the Basilica of San Isidoro in Leon, north Spain, for 1000 years – touted to visitors as a goblet belonging to 11th century Queen Urraca. But in fact, there is ‘no doubt’ it contains the cup which touched the lips of Jesus Christ, two historians claim. In an explosive book charting three years of ‘scientific research’, Margarita Torres and Jose Ortiza del Rio reveal there is conclusive evidence from scrolls in Egypt that confirm their theory. The onyx vessel made between 200 BC and 100 AD, they claim, is trapped inside a bejewelled medieval chalice. According to two medieval documents written in Arabic, it was stolen from Jerusalem by Muslims, who gave it to the Christian community in Egypt. The cup was used by Jesus then centuries later gifted to Spain by Egyptian royalty as a thank you for sending aid during a famine, they claim”

New Zealand guest house that looks like a giant boot: “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe… and now it turns out that you can too. Described as a size 318 boot, this whimsical guest house is owned by husband and wife Steve and Judy Van-Den Yssel-Richards. Located on the very north tip of New Zealand’s South Island, this one-bedroom cottage nestled in picturesque hazelnut groves looks as though it has appeared straight from the pages of a fairytale book. But it was hand-built by the couple, who spent over a year perfecting their unusual home – and have now opened it to guests too. Despite looking like an old boot, the luxury cottage packs in a shower built for two, courtyard and open fireplace in the living room. And wannabe boot-dwellers can live out the dream for just £150 a night.”

Britain’s oldest red postbox is still in use after 161 YEARS – and still bears Queen Victoria’s initials: “It has survived two world wars and seen five monarchs rule Britain. The country’s oldest postbox is still in use after 161 years, and still bears the initials of Queen Victoria. The red box has been given a new lease of life after locals in Holwell, near Sherborne in Dorset decided it needed a makeover. The unusual octagonal design was commissioned in 1853 before it was made by John M Butt & Co, of Gloucester, just a year after roadside pillar boxes were first introduced. Chris Loder, West Dorset district councillor, asked Royal Mail to give the box some attention at the end of last year. He said: ‘The Barnes Cross post box is an icon of the village with huge historical significance. Roadside pillar boxes first appeared in 1852. Since then there have been hundreds of different varieties bearing the ciphers of six reigning monarchs. Up until standardisation in 1859 each area had a different designs for its postboxes.



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





1 April, 2014

Interpreting Asian Mothers

They sound a lot like Yiddisher Mommas

1. Your Asian Mother Says: “Mummy’s getting old.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “Tell me how young I look. Compliment me on my skin.”

2. Your Asian Mother Says: “Mummy’s meal is not so good.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “I’ve spent hours slaving away on this meal. It’s possible it contains my actual sweat. Praise it or I will end you.”

3. Your Asian Mother Says: “Mummy’s drunk!”

Your Asian Mother Means: “I have consumed exactly one glass of wine.”

4. Your Asian Mother Says: “You are getting fat.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “You may possibly have gained more than 500gms since I saw you last.”

5. Your Asian Mother Says: “Did you get Mummy’s voicemail?”

Your Asian Mother Means: “You will be sorry when I’m dead.”

6. Your Asian Mother Says: “I love all my children equally.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “I prefer your brother.”

7. Your Asian Mother says: “Do you know the party host very well?”

Your Asian Mother Means: “You are going to get raped.”

8. Your Asian Mother says: “[Your Asian Mother] ‘likes’ your status.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “I don’t remember doing that? I was trying to check my Gmail.”

9. Your Asian Mother Says: “You are so successful in your job! Mummy’s so proud.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “Pay for my meal.”

10. Your Asian Mother Says: “You look just like Mummy when she was your age.”

Your Asian Mother Means: “You will secure love and happiness thanks to my genes so essentially you owe me everything.”


She’s heard it all

Original story here

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

Number of British women having a baby after turning 50 DOUBLES in just five years: “The number women aged over 50 who have given birth has more doubled in just five years, new figures show. Almost three babies were born to a woman in her fifties every week, raising fears about the impact on the mothers and their children. Midwives warned older mothers are more likely to suffer miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies while their children could be born with genetic problems. In 2012, there were 154 babies born to mothers over the age of 50, up by a third in just a year. The figure has more than doubled since 2008 when there were just 69 births to women aged 50 and over. In 2000 the number was just 44. The number of births to mothers aged 40 and over has also risen, up 13 per cent from 26,419 in 2008 to 29,994 in 2012. It means 1 in 25 births are to mothers who have turned 40. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has warned that those over the age of 40 are up to three times more likely to lose their baby than younger mothers.” [The over-50s births will all be with donor eggs -- which is like having someone else's baby]

Balinese men lash burning coconut husks off each other in Hindu ritual to symbolise the purification of the human body: “It is a spectacular – albeit, painful – Hindu tradition that symbolises the purification of the human body. These photos show Indonesian men lashing burning coconut husks off each other today as part of the annual Mesabatan Api ritual. The bare-chested men can be seen picking up and swinging the blazing husks in Gianyar, Bali – before throwing them at others’ bodies. The captivating images, taken by photographer Agung Parameswara, show an array of sparkling embers lighting up the dark night’s sky. The national holiday, which is commemorated every Saka new year according to the Balinese calendar, promotes self-reflection, fasting and meditation. Meanwhile, activities such as working, watching television and travelling are restricted between the hours of 6am and 6pm.”

Council spends £2,000 on lamppost which emits no light: “Birmingham City Council spent £2,000 of taxpayers’ money on the new lamppost – which is completely blocked by a conifer tree. Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, paid highways contractor Amey around £2,000 to install the new lamppost as part of a major upgrade of the city’s 95,000 street lamps. Rob Pocock, a Birmingham councillor, said the lamppost on Eastern Road in Boldmere, was “perfectly concealed” by the tree. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what the contractors had done. It must have taken a superhuman effort to get it so well hidden inside those trees. “The old lamppost protruded out from the trees so despite the conifers being quite thick the light still reached the pavement. “This new lamppost is utterly pointless.” Amey are now contacting the homeowner who owns the trees to discuss trimming the foliage back.”

Two-year-old saves mother’s life by dialling 999: “A two-year-old boy has saved his mother’s life by managing to call 999 when she collapsed, telling operators: “Mummy’s on the floor.” Paramedics rushed to their home in Barrow Upon Soar, Leicestershire where they discovered his mother Dana Henry, who had collapsed due to a dangerous blood clot after waking up with stomach pains. At 11.31am, Riley rang 999 and said: “Mummy’s asleep,” after which the call was passed to the ambulance service who managed to trace the address. He repeatedly said ‘hello’ and kept operators on the line, trying to explain that his mum was on the floor. Dana said she and partner, Rob Ward, 30, had always drilled it into Riley and his sister, Caitlin, five, that they should ring 999 if ever they could not wake either of them.”

Deadly weed: “A doctor bludgeoned his wife to death before killing himself over fears their home was blighted by Japanese knotweed, an inquest heard. In a suicide note, he said he killed his wife because the balance of his mind had been ‘disturbed’ by knotweed at their home in Rowley Regis, West Midlands. He wrote: ‘I believe I was not an evil man, until the balance of my mind was disturbed by the fact there is a patch of Japanese Knotweed which has been growing over our boundary fence on the Rowley Regis Golf Course.’ The doctor claimed golf course managers had been made aware of the problem but nothing had been done. After trying to curb the weed’s growth unsuccessfully, he said the risk of structural damage and legal battles ‘led to my growing madness.’ Black Country coroner Robin Balmain said it appeared Dr McRae had suffered from paranoia over the knotweed, which was not found on their property, although a patch of the invasive plant had been discovered nearby.”



And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.





March, 2014 and earlier postings from this site now archived HERE or here or here


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