30.11.06

JOKE OF THE DAY

My friend Heidi sent me this joke today
and it absolutely cracked me up!


A woman goes into a sex shop.
"How much is that green dildo?"
"That's £25"

"How about the black one?"
"That's £30"

"And the silver one?"

The sales assistant turns around and
shouts towards the back of the shop:


"Kevin, are you willing to
sell your thermos?"


CAUSE OF DEATH?
FAIRIES


Four people buried 450 years ago had
been scared to death - by fairies.

According to the burial register for the parish
of Lamplugh in Cumbria between 1656 to 1663
seven people were also 'bewitched'. And
one was led to a pond to drown by a
will o' the wisp - a ghostly light.

Archivist Anne Rowe said: "I've never
come across anything like this.

"These were insecure social times and many
folk in the 17th century would have been scared
of fairies and will o' the wisps with many a
natural death being put down to the evil
witchcraft of a harmless old widow."
The manuscript was found in
Whitehaven during a national
local history campaign.

Ms Rowe said the document was genuine
but might not be "entirely serious."
She added: "I'm not sure whether to
attribute this list to our ancestors'
superstitions - or sense of humour!"


TO BOLDLY GO

Humans must colonise planets in other solar
systems travelling there using "Star Trek"-style
propulsion or face extinction, renowned
cosmologist
Stephen Hawking
said on Thursday.


Referring to complex theories and the speed
of light, Hawking, the wheel-chair bound
Cambridge University physicist, said that
theoretical advances could revolutionise
the velocity of space travel and
make such colonies possible.

"Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid
collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out,"
said Professor Hawking, who was crippled by
a muscle disease at the age of 21 and who speaks
through a computerised voice synthesiser.

"But once we spread out into space and
establish independent colonies, our future
should be safe," said Hawking, who was due
to receive the world's oldest award for scientific
achievement, the Copley medal, from the
Royal Society on Thursday.

In order to survive, humanity would have
to venture off to other hospitable planets
orbiting another star, but conventional chemical
fuel rockets that took man to the moon on
the Apollo mission would take 50,000
years to travel there, he said.

Hawking, a 64-year-old father of three who
rarely gives interviews and who wrote the
best-selling "A Brief History of Time", suggested
propulsion like that used by the fictional starship
Enterprise "to boldly go where no man has
gone before" could help solve the problem.

"Science fiction has developed the idea of
warp drive, which takes you instantly
to your destination," said.

"Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific
law which says that nothing can travel faster
than light. However, by using "matter/antimatter
annihilation", velocities just below the speed
of light could be reached, making it possible
to reach the next star in about six years."

"It wouldn't seem so long for those on
board," he said. The scientist revealed
he also wanted to try out space travel
himself, albeit by more conventional means.
"I am not afraid of death but I'm in no
hurry to die. My next goal is to go
into space," said Hawking.

And referring to the entrepreneur and Virgin
tycoon who has set up a travel agency to take
private individuals on space flights from
2008,
Hawking said: "Maybe Richard
Branson will help me."



NUDE POTHOLING

People in a small town in Western Canada
are so fed up with the rotten state of their
main road that they came up with an
unusual form of protest - a calendar
that shows them posing nude
in the potholes.

One inhabitant of Leader, Saskatchewan,
is shown sitting in a canoe that is perched in a
pothole. Another has his dignity preserved by a
well-placed camera while a third man
covers up with a strategic hubcap.

"The initial impression when people open
the calendar for the first time is 'Oh my God!'
It's pretty dramatic," said Wayne Elhard, the
local member of the provincial legislature.
Leader, a town of just 1,000 in a largely farming
area of southwest Saskatchewan, says
it can't afford to fix all its roads.

"The potholes are not small, one-foot (30 cm)
diameter potholes. They are many feet across
and sometimes they're as deep as a foot deep
and sometimes they will stretch for
yards (meters)," Elhard told CBC
television on Wednesday.

He said that, over the summer, local authorities
had covered the worst stretch of the main
road with gravel to improve safety. "It's
been a constant problem. We've raised
it with the (provincial) government
every opportunity we had ... all to
no avail, frankly," he said.


29.11.06

MAKE A SPLASH,
MAKE A WISH


Ever wondered how much money the
world's wishing wells contain?


One in five adults regularly throws a copper or
two into wishing wells and fountains, a study
shows, spending an average of 31 pence at
tourist sites such as Rome's

Trevi Fountain (below)

That means those making a wish with their
spare change literally throw away just under
3 million pounds every year, according
to the "Fountain Money Mountain" report.


Financial services marketing agency Teamspirit,
which commissioned the study, called for
the funds to go to good causes. "Some wishing
wells and fountains are already used by
charities as a means of securing funds,"
said managing director Joanne Parker.
"But it would be great if the profits from every
single one of them were used for good causes.

"For me personally, and for many others I'm sure,
to combine the thrill of making a secret wish
with the knowledge that your money is going
to help others would be very rewarding."

Megan Pacey, director of policy and campaigns
at the Institute of Fundraising, added:
"When money is quite literally 'thrown away'
into wishing wells and fountains, it would
be to everyone's benefit if those responsible
for the upkeep of such sites could nominate
an appropriate UK charity to
receive these funds."


28.11.06

ELE GRANDE!

Europe's tallest artificial Christmas tree
came to life on Saturday in a blaze of over
two million lights and a fireworks
display before a crowd of thousands
in the Portuguese capital.

It took workers 44 days to set up the 72-metre,
180-tonne tree in Lisbon's Praca do Comercio
in the historic centre of the city. It will be
on display till the 8th of January.

We saw the tree when we were in Lisbon
in the beginning of the month
and I must say it is huge!


THE BEE SQUAD

Scientists at a U.S. weapons laboratory say
they have trained bees to sniff out explosives
in a project they say could have far-reaching
applications for U.S. homeland
security and the Iraq war.


Researchers at the Los Alamos
National Laboratory in New Mexico
said they trained honeybees to stick out
their proboscis -the tube they use to feed
on nectar - when they smell explosives in
anything from cars and roadside bombs
to belts similar to those used
by suicide bombers.

By exposing the insects to the odour of
explosives followed by a sugar water reward,
researchers said they trained bees to recognise
substances ranging from dynamite and
C-4 plastic explosives to the Howitzer
propellant grains used in improvised
explosive devices in Iraq.

"When bees detect the presence of explosives,
they simply stick their proboscis out," research
scientist Tim Haarmann said. "You don't
have to be an expert in animal behaviour
to understand it as there is no ambiguity."

While scientists have trained wasps to
respond to the trace of explosives, Haarmann
said research with bees appeared
to show more promise.

Haarmann said the bees could be carried in
hand-held detectors the size of a shoe box,
and could be used to sniff out explosives in
airports, roadside security checks, or even
placed in robot bomb disposal equipment.
The next step would be to manufacture
the bee boxes and train security
guards in their use.


27.11.06

MOUSETRAP STILL CATCHING
A FULL HOUSE AT 55

The producer of Agatha Christie's thriller
"The Mousetrap" predicted today
that the world's longest running
play would never close.


As the classic whodunnit embarked on its
55th year, current producer Stephen
Waley-Cohen said he couldn't see an end
in sight for the popular London tourist draw.


"On first night Agatha Christie said she thought
it might get a nice little run. Now it's an
institution," he said.
"I don't see why
it shouldn't run forever."


London theatre audiences are notoriously
fickle but he said that the Mousetraphas never
suffered at the box office.
"We have not
had a losing week in 55 years. Half the
audience are British, a quarter
are American and the rest come
from around the world."


The play, which traditionally ends every night
with theatregoers being urged not to tell
anyone who the killer is, boasts three
Guinness World Records.

As well as enjoying "the longest continuous
run of any show in the world", it also lays
claim to the world's most durable actor -
David Raven played the role of Major
Metcalfe for 4,575 performances.


Nancy Seabrooke is the world's longest-serving
understudy - for 6,240 performances over 15 years.
She would sit in the wings patiently
doing embroidery and crochet.


Christie gave the stage rights to her grandson
Mathew Prichard on his ninth birthday.
She died in 1976.
"It has survived
because it is a bloody good play," said Oscar-
winning director
Richard Attenborough
(below) who was the play's first star
along with his wife
Sheila Sim.

The play was originally called "Three Blind Mice"
and was written by Agatha Christie in 1947 as a
30-minute radio play to celebrate the
then
Queen Mary's 80th birthday.

To mark its first 50 years in the West End,
The Queen went in 2002 to see the play
which opened in the year she
acceded to the throne.


One item still remains from the 1952 set -
the clock on the mantelpiece has now survived
over 22,500 performances. The revolver from
the original production is now in London's

Victoria and Albert Museum.

Two British producers bought the film rights
for 5,000 pounds on condition that they
could not make the movie until six months
after the theatre production closed.
The play has long since outlived them.


TODAY'S FRIENDLY
FURRY VISITOR


I went to open the curtains this morning in
the bedroom at the front of the house and
found our friendly fat squirrel sitting
on the windowsill!

It's amazing how he gets up there, there's no plants
or anything for him to grab a hold of, just a
wall and a drainpipe. They really are
such masters at climbing.

He sat there in for a bit and then buggered off.
Again he was not bothered about me
taking photos or moving the
curtains or anything.


26.11.06

X-MAS PALMTREE

I'm a huge fan of fairylights and have them in
my room all year round. I'd love to have them
in the rest of the house as well but I've been
outvoted on that unfortunately!


I love Xmas and all the decorations;
I would have them up all year round
if possible! It always looks so dull and
drab after you take them down...


I love this pic by Daryl Moistner, he took it
while on holiday in Belize. What a great
idea to put the
fairylights in a palmtree!


HOW CUTE?!

Aaaahhhh!

25.11.06

LUCKIEST CAT
IN THE WORLD


Ziggy the cat must've used up at least half of his
nine lives after surviving for 17 days without
food on a 2,300 mile voyage that took him
from northern Israel to England.

The skinny white cat named after Ziggy Stardust -
the character created by David Bowie in the 1970s,
because like the rock star he has one green
and one blue eye -made his epic trip as a
stowaway in a 40-foot container.

His journey began when he wandered into a
consignment of plastic goods which were
then sealed in Afula in Israel and shipped
from Haifa on October 31. It ended when
he emerged, exhausted, starving and
dehydrated, at a warehouse in Whitworth
in Lancashire on Friday.

"When the container was finally opened, staff
unloading it got a real surprise when this fluffy
white cat shot out," said Colin Barton, the
local authority's animal health officer
who helped capture Ziggy.

"I think he had probably used
up some of his nine lives." The cat had not
only survived but was able to resist capture
for five hours. "I think he was scared to
death," said James Ratcliff, of the
Royal Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) .
"He'd travelled all that way and got to a
strange country and ran for his life."

Ziggy's background or owners remain a
mystery as he had no collar or microchip,
but the RSCPA believe he is someone's pet
because he is so friendly. He will now stay in
quarantine in Britain for six months as a
precaution against rabies.


HAND-ME DOWN FIBS

British parents love telling their children
the same tall tales they were
told in their youth.


A poll found almost nine out of 10 parents
had passed on the white lies they were told
as children - many with an extra
dash of imagination.


Among the fibs were: "When the man in the
ice cream van plays his music, he's run out of
ice cream", and "Daddy is related to all policemen,
so you have to be good wherever you go."


But the favourites remained stories about
Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy,
followed closely by the importance
of eating carrots and crusts.

The nationwide poll for Reader's Digest magazine
found 89% of British adults were told minor
mistruths by their parents when they were
young, with 83% passing them on
to their own kids.

The top 10 white fibs:

1. Father Christmas

2. The Tooth Fairy

3. Crusts make your hair curl

4. Carrots make you see in the dark

5. If the wind changes,
your face will stay like that

6. Easter Bunny

7. Babies are found under gooseberry
bushes (or similar)

8. If you eat apple pips, they'll
grow in your tummy

9. Picking your nose causes your head
to cave in/your brain to fall
out/your nose to fall off

10. Lying does something unpleasant to your
tongue (spots, ulcers, it will drop off)


24.11.06

MOOMIN'S WINTER
NIGHT


Satu brought me the latest in the Moomin
mug collection- a limited edition one called
"Talviyö" which means "Winter Night".

It's only available this winter. Satu was
the "courier", the mug is my
X-mas present from Heavy.

THANK YOU HEAVY,
I LOVE IT! BIG HUGS!


WHAT I FEEL
LIKE TODAY


Our friend Satu flew over from Finland last
night for a visit and (too) many bottles of
wine were consumed. Uuuhhh....
oh.

This is possibly the all the time
worst hangover...


22.11.06

DOGGIE SNACK
HEAVEN


A canine-only bakery selling a range of
handmade dog biscuits and meaty
cakes has opened in Germany.


The Dog's Goodies bakery in the city of Wiesbaden,
near Frankfurt, is a howling success,
according to local dog owners.

Former florist turned canine chef Janine Saraniti-Lagerin
offers her doggy customers treats such as minty
biscuits, muesli bars, tuna cakes and garlic cookies.
She said: "Vets tell me what is healthy and
my Labrador Ronja tells me what is tasty.

"Dog-owners come from far and wide
to get treats here. The dogs get a free tasting
session as well. Many international customers
stop off here on their way to Frankfurt
airport to pick up something special
for their dog back home."


MAN SAVES DOG,
DOG SAVES MAN


A heartwarming story from Finland:

A dog chasing a rabbit fell into some
thin ice in
Laukaa, Finland, on
Tuesday morning.


"I got a panicky and started to dial the
emergency number. Then I thought Jekku
(who's name means "A trick") was getting tired so
I thought I'd better get him out of there myself",
the dog's owner Taisto Kulmala, 65, said.

He told the emergency services what he was
planning on doing and put the mobile
in his pocket but left it on. Soon the
connection was cut off so the firemen
knew he'd done under as well.

"I got to Jekku and grabbed hold of him
by his collar. But at the same time the ice went
from under me. I manged to push the dog back
onto the ice. I was in the lake up to my neck
but managed to jump up and push myself onto
the ice as well. Jekku was pulling me,
he was saving me now", Mr. Kulmala
thanks his 7 year old buddy.

When the fire brigade got to the
scene, he'd put the dog into the car
to warm up. Both Jekku and Taisto
were fine, albeit a bit wet.




21.11.06

TODAY'S ART

I couldn't resist mucking about with some of
the shots I took the other day and
make arty farty versions:





ONE LORDI OF
A PROBLEM

Finland's President Tarja Halonen has invited
this years Eurovision winners Lordi to join her
and fellow "cream" of the Finnish society in the
annual Indepence Day Ball on the 6th of December
at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki.

Finland's President Tarja Halonen
and Lordi aka
Tomi Putaansuu


But there is a problem: the members of Lordi
are known for their gruesome masks and outfits
and the reason they dress like that is to quarantee
anonymity. The Independence Ball however requires
quests to dress up to the nines in evening
gowns and suits and is televised live
on national television.

So a it's Lordi of a pickle for a
group wishing to be private!

A local tabloid Iltalehti
has organised a vote:

A) Should the President relax the rules and
let Lordi wear their usual costumes?

B) Should Lordi be made to wear
evening wear like everyone else?

C) Should the President ask them to perform
at the party hence they can dress
up in their usual get-up?

D) Should Lordi dress up in formal
evening wear but cover their
faces with eye masks?

The paper also gives readers a chance
to come up with their own solutions.

I personally think they should perform
at the party and rock the place!

The Presidential Palace in Helsinki.


ONE TURKEY, ONE
FISH TACO AND A

GREEN PEA, PLEASE


After introducing the world to new soft-drink
flavours like fish taco and salmon, Seattle
specialty beverage maker
Jones Soda Co.
is offering a new flavour: Green pea.

Green pea, along with other unusual sodas such
as turkey and gravy, dinner roll, sweet potato
and antacid flavour, will be part of the
company's$10 to $15 "holiday pack".

Peter van Stolk, chief executive of Jones Soda,
said on Monday the collection of strange-flavoured
sodas usually sell out quickly, even though he can
not stomach the drinks. Past flavours included broccoli
casserole, corn on the cob and Brussel sprout.

"Why people buy it is beyond me. I can't
drink a bottle of this stuff," said van Stolk.


Jones Soda, which sells traditional sodas along
side more exotic flavours like fufu berry and
green apple, first introduced the holiday soda
pack in 2003, gaining notoriety for its
turkey and gravy flavour soda.
"We have the
market share leader in turkey-flavoured
beverages," said van Stolk.

"We know we can't compete with Coke or Pepsi
by playing their game, but we know they're
not going to come out with a turkey
flavour or antacid flavour."


Asked if there were any flavours that were off
limits, van Stolk said he put his foot down
when it came to curried chicken flavour.

"Fish taco was just nasty and we tried curried
chicken. That was just wrong," he said.


20.11.06

ROCK, PAPER-
WORLD CHAMP!


A Londoner is hoping to become
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
after winning the
'Rock, paper,
scissors' world championships.

Sales manager Bob Cooper, (below right) 28,
won the title by defeating a field of
more than 500 contestants from
6 countries in
Toronto.

He puts his success down to hard work, training,
research and sunglasses. "It's similar to poker
when you're out there bluffing, putting out the
right or wrong signals. The eyes give away
a lot so the shades are a definite
benefit," he said.

Mr Cooper spent one or two hours each day
training for the event, playing friends and
colleagues or studying tactics. His fans have
voted for him to be nominated for BBC Sports
Personality of the Year. Voting for nominees
is now closed. "Hopefully I could get nominated
for Sports Personality of the Year, or we
could begin a campaign to reopen
nominations," he says.

If anybody is not familiar with the
game, here are the rules:

1.0 The Game is played where the players substitute
the three elements of Rock, Paper and Scissors
with representative hand signals.

2.0 These hand signals are delivered
simultaniously by the players

3.0 The Outcome of play is
determined by the following

* Rock wins against Scissors,
* Scissors wins against Paper
* Paper wins against Rock

HOOKED ON LOST

The third series of Lost started
on Sky One last night.
It's getting weirder by the
minute and I'm totally hooked!

I don't usually have the patience to watch
whole series of TV programs, the only ones
I've never missed an episode of are
24 and Friends and now Lost.


Another good reason to watch is the show's
eyecandy Matthew Fox who plays
Dr. Jack - I so would! :-)


CORNISH HAIRY FAIRY
TREATS SHOPPERS


A man dubbed the 'Hairy Christmas Fairy'
is spending hundreds of pounds
paying for people's shopping.


The middle-aged man dresses in a pink fairy
outfit including tutu, tiara, wings and wand.

As well as paying for shopping, he also
hands out free lottery tickets in
towns across
Cornwall.

(Not the actual fairy)

Each time the man does a good deed, he leaves
a card with a picture of a fairy and a handwritten
note saying: "You'll be hearing a lot about me -
the Hairy Christmas Fairy."


He first appeared last week in Warren's Bakery
in
Helston. He spent £40 on pies and pasties
for every customer.
Bakery worker
Sonia Hocking revealed: "He said,
'It's not a joke, or a hoax,
I just want to buy everybody pies.'

"We thought it was bit odd - but he said
'trust me'. Every time a customer came in
he'd say lunch was on him. "He got a
few odd looks but if someone is offering
to buy you a sausage roll you don't
say no. He was very friendly."

The next day he paid a visit to Morrisons
supermarket in Penzance where he paid
for the contents of several shoppers' trollies.

The day after he handed out free Lottery
scratch cards outside a newsagent in
Liskeard and bought teas and coffees
in a cafe in Launceston.


HOW TO LABEL A GOAT

Britain is being strangled by
miles of "bizarre and petty" red tape
that governs everything from the correct
way for a farmer to tag a goat's ear to
the dangers of falling conkers.


Author Ross Clark believes
excessive regulations rustrate
businesses, waste time and
drive people to break the law.


He paints a picture of a fearful society dominated
by meddling officials working for a nanny
state intent on wiping out all risk.
"It becomes
increasingly difficult to stay within the law,"
Clark says. "If you have laws that are
simple to understand, people are
more likely to keep to them."


He has spent three years collecting the strangest
examples of red tape for a new book,
"How to Label a Goat".
The title refers
to a Welsh regulation: "The Sheep and
Goats (Records, Identification and
Movement) (Wales) Order 2006".


Over more than 40 pages, it tells farmers
how to label their livestock with tattoos or
eartags and how to transport them.


From complicated tax and pension law to
health and safety rules, Clark details red
tape he says "blights" people's lives:


* Soldiers learning the bagpipes have been
banned from playing for more than 24
minutes a day to protect their ears.


* A Cardiff pensioner was stopped from getting
on a bus because he was carrying a tin of paint,
breaking health and safety rules. The bus
company later apologised and said it
would be more flexible.

* There are 279 different tax forms for
businesses, asking more than
6,000 questions.


* Landlords in Kent were ordered to pull down
bundles of hops traditionally used to decorate
their pubs. Fire inspectors said they were a
hazard and should be treated with chemicals
or replaced with plastic hops.


* A study by police in Tayside, eastern Scotland,
found more than 1,000 different forms available
to officers. Of these, only 112 were regularly
used and, on closer inspection,
30 were needed.


* New rules on child car seats are laid out
over 18 pages, while bus lane
regulations stretch to 27 pages.

* Bristol City Council spent
5,000 pounds on 100 yew trees, only
to dig them up after a "risk assessment"
ruled they could harm children at a nearby
playground if they ate the leaves.


* Norwich City Council ordered 20 roadside
horse chestnut trees to be felled because falling
conkers could damage cars, make the pavement
slippery and lead to children being run over
as they collected conkers. It later reportedly
reversed the decision after facing
worldwide ridicule.


A culture of "risk aversion" is fuelling the
regulatory machine, Clark says. The growth
of the public sector and service industry and
the use of computers to handle paperwork
have also played a part.


In the year to May, the government made 3,600
pieces of law covering 98,000 pages -70
times longer than "War and Peace".

Clark says Britain should look to the
Netherlands to ease the burden.

The Dutch have a "one in, one out" rule
which says that for every new
regulation, one must go.


18.11.06

TODAY'S
FAVOURITE SONG


I've been surfing the old cable music channels
again and my favourite song at the moment is

"I Love it When You Call" by
The Feeling

Pure pop. Love it!

AT THE THIRD STROKE...

A 40-year old telemarketer from Brighton & Hove
will soon become one of the most listened-to people
in Britain after she was chosen to be the
new voice of the
Speaking Clock.

Sara Mendes da Costa (above) was chosen out of
18,405 entrants - who left a recorded
message
with BT - for her warm tone and clear diction.

She won the competition to be only the fourth
permanent voice of the clock since it started in
1936, taking over from 77-year old Brian Cobby,
the voice for the past 21 years.


"I just can't believe it! I only entered after my
ad heard the competition on the radio and
suggested I should give it a go," she said.

The BT Speaking Clock has been ticking 24 hours
a day for more than 25,000 days or 613,000
hours and still receives an amazing
70 million calls a year.


LIFE IN A CASE

Museum Of London has organised a unique
bid at auction website
Ebay: you can buy a
square metre of prime "space in a case" in
the museum. The winning bidder can exhibit
whatever they want but it must represent
the winner's life in the capital.

"You can give us for example a case history,
something you saved from a fire, a memento
from Live Aid at Wembley, what you bought
with your first pay cheque, video footage
of an unforgettable day, a familyheirloom,
or a found treasure, your grandparents'
wedding photographs," the museum
said in a statement.

"It's your place and your case." The winning
exhibit will be put on display until February
following the 10-day eBay auction. Today
with 8 days to go the bidding was at
£330 with 25 people bidding.