Saturday, August 29, 2009

No Flushing in Newark

The News Journal [Delaware]
29 August 2009

Newark (can) flush with returning UD students
City's population doubles today, but the water-pressure legend is a myth


By Newark folklore, today's return of college kids tells locals one thing: You can't flush.

University of Delaware's annual return morphs the town of about 15,000 full-time residents into a college city nearing 35,000, with a proportional rise in plumbing use.

Rick Armitage, UD director of government relations, said he has heard locals couldn't flush the day students come back since he came as a student in 1969. [...]

A Letter of Introduction

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Confessions of a Caricaturist, Vol. 1 (of 2), by Harry Furniss

Harry Furniss, The Confessions of a Caricaturist, vol. 1 (New York & London: Harper & Brothers, 1902), p. 34

A propos of letters of introduction, I am reminded of a brother artist, who, although a caricaturist, was entirely devoid of guile, and, in addition, was as absent-minded as the popularly-accepted type of ardent scientist or professor of ultra-abstruse subject. Well, this curious species of satirist was setting forth on travels in foreign climes, and in order to lighten in some measure the vicissitudes inseparable from peripatetic wandering, he was provided with a letter of introduction to a certain British consul. The writer of this letter enclosed it in one to my friend, in which he said that he would find the consul a most arrant snob, and a bumptious, arrogant humbug as well—in fact, a cad to the backbone; but that he (my friend) was not to mind this, for, as he could claim acquaintanceship with several dukes and duchesses, all he had to do was to trot out their names for the edification of the consul, who would then render him every attention, and thus compensate him to some extent for having to come into contact with such an insufferable vulgarian. On the return of the guileless satirist to England the writer of the letter of introduction inquired how he had fared with the consul, and great was his surprise to hear him drawl out, in his habitual lethargic manner:

"Well, my dear fellow, he did not receive me very warmly, and he did not ask me to dinner. In fact, he struck me as being rather cool."

"Well, you do surprise me!" rejoined his friend. "He's a horrible cad, as I told you in my letter, but he's awfully hospitable, and I really can't understand what you tell me. You gave him my letter of introduction?"

"Well, I thought so," said my friend; "but, do you know, on my journey home I discovered it in my pocket-book, so I must have handed him instead your note to me about him!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kennedy Never Worked a Day in His Life

[This profile of Ted Kennedy originally appeared in the September 1968 issue of Esquire.]

26 August 2009

The Last Kennedy

By Burton Hersh

[...] One September evening in 1962, having just proposed to open his political career as the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, Kennedy glanced up from his prepared remarks to hear the issue of his candidacy itself being laid open savagely by his upset opponent. "What are your qualifications for the United States Senate?" Edward J. McCormack was intoning across a South Boston auditorium platform. "You graduated from law school three years ago. You never worked for a living. You have never run for or held elective office." [...]

Kennedy himself, as things worked out, profited immediately and measurably from an enormous sympathy backlash. He sensed the effect a couple of days afterward when, as he was campaigning at the door of a factory at quitting time, a seasoned old laborer asked suddenly, "Is it true, like I heard, that you never worked a day in your life, Kennedy?"

The candidate mumbled something to the effect that he hadn't worked much with his hands, really...

"Well let me tell ya somethin', kid," the seasoned old laborer said, "ya sure ain't missed a hell of a lot."

From that instant, Kennedy realized, he had his seat in the Senate. [...]

Boston Herald
27 August 2009

Ted Kennedy’s legacy not as heroic as some might think

By Howie Carr

[...] There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, that in his first Senate campaign in 1962, Kennedy was shaking hands at a factory-gate during a shift change. A haggard worker began berating him about how he’d never worked a day in his life. According to the legend, at that point another salt-of-the-earth blue-collar type leaned in and told Kennedy, “Never worked a day in your life, kid? You ain’t missed a thing.” [...]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Movie Shoot

Orange County Register [CA]
25 August 2009

CSUF killing spree spurs documentary
Film student spends three years chronicling the 1976 slayings.

The Orange County Register

[Edward Allaway shot dead seven people and wounded two others at Cal State Fullerton in 1976. One of the rumors surrounding the murders is that the victims were the cast and crew of a porn movie being shot in the library's basement.]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Worthless Bottle

[It's possible that some people will later claim to have seen this humiliating incident on TV. -- bc]

The Guardian [UK]
24 August 2009

Fiona Bruce: 'If you look like the back end of a bus, you won't get the job.'

Decca Aitkenhead
The Guardian

During filming of the new Antiques Roadshow series, a man presented a glass bottle he had recently bought from an antiques shop. He had paid a considerable sum – more than £1,000 – and felt confident that it was worth more. He was smartly dressed and well-spoken, and appeared to know what he was talking about. The show's glass expert examined the bottle, consulted a colleague, and delivered his verdict. "I'm afraid it's an empty olive oil bottle, Tesco, circa 2008. It's worth nothing at all."

Fiona Bruce actually winces as she recalls the moment. "Now I suppose we could have broadcast it – but it was just too cruel. The guy was devastated." But surely, I exclaim, that would have been the money shot. "It is the money shot," she agrees. "But he was devastated, this man. And it would – well, it would have been too cruel." [...]

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stolen Dogs Found in Peru Medical School Lab

21 August 2009

Stolen dogs found in Peru medical school lab

By Madelyn Fairbanks

LIMA (Reuters) - At least two stolen dogs were found in an operating room used for dissections at the medical school of South America's oldest university, but its dean denied relying on dognappers to collect specimens for classes. [...]

Portland, Maine, Has the Most Restaurants Per Capita

Mainebiz [Maine]
18 August 2009

Does Portland have more restaurants per capita than San Francisco?

By Whit Richardson
Mainebiz New Media Editor

For years, the claim that Portland has the highest or second highest number of restaurants per capita behind San Francisco has been passed around like so many chain letters -- so many times, in fact, that no one really knows where it came from let alone its veracity. [...]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Holy Dog Bowl

Sunday Sun [UK]
23 August 2009

Doggies welcome

by Mieka Smiles, Sunday Sun

[...] Rob Flower, head of visitor operations for English Heritage in Northumberland said: “Many of our sites are sacred and protected historic monuments, carefully conserved and protected and a big part of the organisation’s role is ensuring that our sites are accessible and open to as many visitors as possible, but unfortunately not everyone realises that nearly all of our sites do welcome dogs. I’ll never forget an anecdote from a member of staff at Lindisfarne Priory, who was changing the water in the dog bowl that we keep by the entrance.

“She politely held the door open for some visitors and, as they filed past her, they dipped their hands in the dog bowl, assuming it was some kind of holy ritual for visiting the priory! [...]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cheating Husband's Porsche For Sale By Wife

Gumtree [UK]

Birmingham used cars for sale

Urgent My soon-to-be ex husband's Porsche for cheap sale (£2,000)

Date posted: Friday 21st August
Ad viewed: 19256 times
Location: Solihull

Last week, I caught my husband having it off with our babysitter in our Porsche (actually, MY Porsche as I bloody paid for it) so I'm selling his beloved car for £200! See how the prick likes that!

I’d been to my mum’s but came back early ‘cos I had a bit of a fallout with her. The children were in bed. My husband wasn’t. I thought he was in the study. I went down to the kitchen and heard something in the garage. I thought it was a rat. It was a blooming rat alright – my husband with our babysitter. She’s barely 17! I treated her like my own daughter.

He told me it didn’t mean anything. Oh so that’s makes it OK, then? It sounds crazy but I would have preferred it if it actually meant something. Why risk 15 years of marriage for anything less?

Oh it’s not the first time he’s slept around. Only difference is I was stupid enough to think he’d changed. Every single time, like the hopeful naïve cow that I was, I gave him another chance. Deep down, I knew he wouldn’t change – he’d done it too many times. But I went along with it for the kids, for the sanctity of a marriage, for ‘what will the neighbours think?’, for the weather, for the Burger King deal down the road.

Well, no more. NO MORE. I’ve had it. The penny’s finally dropped (and I hope his balls do too...on a bed of rusty nails).

I’m done. I’m done trying. I tried. I failed. And I want out. But not without getting some of my own back. Not after everything the idiot’s put me through over the years.

As a little bonus to the buyer I’m also putting his prized wine collection in the boot of the Porsche.

And for my babysitter, I left a little hot surprise for her and her new sugar daddy. I rubbed pepper sauce over every condom wrapper I could find in the house. That should give them a night to remember.

I suggest you act quick as a Porsche going for £2000 isn't going to be here for long
The Sun [UK]
22 August 2009
Cheater's Porsche on the market
Daily Telegraph [UK]

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cut and Caned

Sydney Morning Herald
21 August 2009

Column 8

[...] Forensics and school punishments combine in this remarkable anecdote from Athol Greenhalgh, of Narraweena [...]: ''A story from my father who would have been at school in Newcastle in the 1920s,'' Athol writes. ''The teacher was doing a chemistry demonstration at the front of the room using glass equipment. It suddenly exploded, showering the room and students with glass fragments. The students trooped over the road to the nearest doctor and returned to class after repairs had been carried out. The teacher then inspected them all -- those with cuts to the back of their heads or behind their ears were promptly caned. They were irrefutable evidence that they had not been paying attention at the critical moment.'' [...]

Motorcycle Stolen Piece by Piece

Ananova [UK]
20 August 2009

Man stole motorbike - part by part

A Chinese man was arrested for stealing a motorcycle - part by part over five years from the factory where he worked. [...]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Palestinians' Organs Harvested

The Associated Press
19 August 2009

Israel furious over Swedish newspaper article


JERUSALEM — Israel and the Swedish Embassy responded furiously Wednesday to a Swedish newspaper article that suggested Israeli troops killed Palestinians and harvested their organs.

The article published Monday in Aftonbladet, Sweden's largest circulation daily, implies a link between those charges and the recent arrest in the U.S. of an American Jew for illicit organ trafficking. Later the reporter told Israel Radio he did not know if the allegations were true. [...]

Jerusalem Post
19 August 2009

Israel aghast at Swedish report on IDF


Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan was expected to speak to the Swedish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to protest the publication of an article in the country's newspaper Aftonbladet that accused IDF soldiers of abducting Palestinians to steal their organs. [...]
Aftonbladet [Sweden]
18 August 2009
”Vara soner plundras pa sina organ”
The Palestine Chronicle
23 August 2009
Our Sons Plundered for their Organs
By Donald Boström
[English translation of article originally published in Aftonbladet on 18 August.],7340,L-3765992,00.html
Ynet News [Israel]
23 August 2009
Swedish daily publishes second article on 'IDF organ harvesting'
Jerusalem Post
23 August 2009
'Aftonbladet' publishes article defending 'organ-theft' report
Aftonbladet [Sweden]

Monday, August 17, 2009

On top of Marilyn Monroe

William Poundstone, Biggest Secrets (New York: Quill, 1993), p. 258.

Urban legend tells of a man who was so enamored of Marilyn Monroe that he bought the empty crypt above hers. Eventually the man died and was placed in the crypt. A few friends lingered at the funeral until everyone else had left. Then they honored the dead man's last request. They turned the body face down, on top of Monroe for eternity.,0,2135061.story

Los Angeles Times
14 August 2009

For sale: eternity with Marilyn Monroe

Elsie Poncher wants to sell the crypt, now occupied by her husband, above the actress to help pay off her Beverly Hills mortgage. Her starting price on EBay: $500,000.

By Jeff Gottlieb

[...] When he was dying, Elsie said, her husband approached her with a request. "He said, 'If I croak, if you don't put me upside down over Marilyn, I'll haunt you the rest of my life.' "

Right after the funeral, Elsie said, she told the funeral director of her husband's wish. "I was standing right there, and he turned him over," she said. [...]

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Woman's Leg Sawn Off (Australia)

The Esperance Express [Australia]
14 August 2009

No chainsaw massacre

ESPERANCE Police have set the record straight about the talk around town of a ‘chainsaw massacre’.

Rumours have been circulating about a woman’s leg being sawn off by a man with a chainsaw a few weeks ago.

Esperance Police Senior Sergeant Paul Humphries said that police have had no such reports.

“If there was a death in such circumstances we would definitely know about it,” he said.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chinese Cannibalism Hoax

Global Times [China]
12 August 2009

Prison on menu for 'cannibal' rumor bloggers

By Wen Ya

Police in Guangdong Province have arrested four people they allege are behind a grisly cannibalism Internet hoax.

Provincial Public Security Department announced on its website Monday they had tracked down the men behind a blog which posted graphic photos of a corpse being prepared for consumption by “cannibals.”

The sickening website authors also claimed cannibals were responsible for more than 10 missing residents in their town. [...]
Straits Times [Singapore]
12 August 2009
Arrested over cannibal hoax

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bar mitzvah blowjobs

614 [Hadassah-Brandeis Institute]
July 2009

Sex and the Suburbs
Find out what Monica Lewinsky has to do with bar mitzvah gifts.

by Shulamit Reinharz

[...] These questions came to mind recently when a woman in her seventies began sharing her concern with me about the custom in her granddaughter's prep school; Jewish girls were giving Jewish boys blowjobs as bar mitzvah presents! Presumably because they've already got everything else. [...]

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Wall Street Journal
6 August 2009

Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means


[...] Cassandra McSparin, 23, of Jim Thorpe, Pa., knew a woman whose friend's mother had died. The woman texted her friend: "I'm so sorry to hear about your mother passing away. LOL. Let me know if there's anything I can do."

It turns out she thought LOL meant "Lots of love."

John Deering and John Newcombe, "Zack Hill", 12 January 2009

John Deering and John Newcombe, "Zack Hill", 13 January 2009

[After getting a text message from her friend announcing that his cat has just died, a woman responds with "LOL," thinking it means "Lots of love."]

The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Canada]
26 December 2009

OMG, how obsolete am I? [column]

Margaret Wente

I exchange a lot of e-mail with a certain friend of mine, whom I'll call A. A is quite expressive, and until recently she concluded her e-mails by writing, “LOL, A.”

Eventually she discovered her mistake – but only after sending several condolence messages to a newly bereaved friend. “LOL,” she wrote tenderly, not knowing that LOL generally stands for “laughing out loud.” “I feel terrible,” she groaned. “I always thought it stood for ‘lots of love.' ”

OMG, I felt so bad for her! But I could relate. For the longest time, I thought it stood for “lots of love,” too. [...]

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin Fed to Crocs

Sydney Morning Herald
9 August 2009

Rumours a total croc

Eamonn Duff

[Terri Irwin denies that the body of her husband, Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, was fed to crocodiles after his death in 2006.]

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stuck Couple (Russia)

The Sun [UK]
10 April 2009

Pair go one sex pose too far


A KINKY couple were rushed to hospital after getting trapped in a position from the Kama Sutra sex manual.

Horrified Ivan Sokolov, 56, found he was stuck fast when his wife Valentina 51, had a muscle spasm as they romped in a position known as the "deck chair".

After failing for an hour to free themselves the red-faced couple dialled paramedics in Kalhuga, central Russia, for help. [...]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The Associated Press
5 August 2009

The term 'Cronkiter' faces scrutiny, debunking


NEW YORK — Legendary figures sometimes find a few tall tales seeping into their obits when they die. Their legendary status invites it.

But the case of Walter Cronkite packs a special brand of irony. Turns out, the anchorman who prided himself on accuracy helped perpetuate an unfounded claim that newscasters in Sweden and Holland had been nicknamed "cronkiters." [...]

[Podcast and transcript]

On the Media
31 July 2009

Too Good to Check

Did you know that Walter Cronkite is so identified with the news business that in Sweden an anchorman is called a "Kronkiter"? And speaking of anchorman, did you know that word was coined in the 1950s to define Cronkite’s role on broadcast TV? Neither did we. Perhaps because none of it is true. Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus, traced some of the myths surrounding the man who was once the most trusted in America. [...]