Saturday, 31 January 2015

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Vote Mr Ben


Mugabe Fifa presidency bid
In a shock last-minute development, Robert Mugabe has announced that he intends to run for the FIFA presidency.
It follows similar, surprising, last-minute announcements from David Ginola and Luis Figo.
“As a colossal bastard, I feel I am a far more suitable candidate for the FIFA role than either David or Luis,” said Mr Mugabe from a hastily arranged press conference.
Many from the football world are unsure what to make of the announcement.
“He’s out-of-touch, homophobic and utterly corrupt,” said the Guardian’s Sid Lowe.
“Frankly, I can’t think of anyone more suited to the FIFA role.”

FIFA presidency

As FIFA president, Mr Mugabe would be expected to do up to five full day’s work each year.
His duties would include looking smug, eating really nice food and sexually molesting the secretary.
The perks of the job include millions of dollars in bribe money, a secret lair under a volcano, his own personal death squad, and a top of the range Ford Mondeo.
“Well, obviously my current position affords my many similar perks,” said Mr Mugabe.
“But I have always wanted a Mondeo.”
Mr Mugabe’s intention to run for the FIFA presidency is expected to trigger a last-minute flurry of similar announcements from the likes of Vladimir Putin, Bashar Al-Assad, the ghost of Heinrich Himmler, and Noel Edmonds.
John Terry is said to be considering his position.
NT

Equality for Cash?

BBC:

An Indian state is trying to promote inter-caste marriages by offering a cash incentive, it's reported.

The government in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, is offering newlyweds 50,000 rupees ($810; £530) and throwing in a medal and certificate too, the Times of India reports. There's only one condition - either the bride or groom must belong to one of India's "scheduled castes". The term refers to those on the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system, who are officially considered socially disadvantaged. Inter-caste marriages are still considered taboo in India, and there have been cases of couples being murdered by their own families - so-called honour killings - as a result of mixed relationships.

Social activists in the region have welcomed the new incentive, saying it could help to change public opinion. "It will be hard to immediately change the mind-set of people even after the prize money, but it's a step forward," says Rohit Chaudhry, himself one half of an inter-caste marriage. "Every person has the right to choose who he or she wants to live with. No-one should be persecuted on the basis of caste or faith." To pocket the cash, couples need to have their marriage certificate authenticated by a magistrate before being forwarded on to the local authorities, the website says. Eight couples in the city of Meerut have already signed up and are due to take the plunge at a joint wedding ceremony on 8 February, just ahead of Valentine's Day.

Badlands

Badlands

Mc Fuck Orf

Andy Murray’s fiance Kim Sears has signed a lucrative publishing deal to produce a range of books teaching poor people how to swear properly.
The move comes after Sears was filmed during Andy Murray’s semi-final victory at the Australian open producing what experts have called, “A Malcolm Tucker-esque diatribe that would have made a navvy blush.”
Her agent said of the publishing deal, “Kim has for many years been honing her swearing ability, introducing creative invectives to all walks of life.”
“From tennis matches, to Waitrose running out of ironing water, to when postmen don’t knock before posting a ‘sorry we missed you card’ – she has the perfect expletive ready and waiting.”
“The fact that she called Tomas Berdych a ‘Spanner-faced Czech ponce who throws a backhand like it’s a granny’s handbag’ is just a little sample she was putting out there – like marketing, really.”
“She has the ideal profanity for all occasions, and we look forward to sharing those with the nation.”

Kim Sears profanisaurus

Amateur swearer Simon Williams said he was excited to read the first edition.
He told us, “Sometimes I get frustrated and all that comes out is ‘f*cking bastard’ – which though satisfying, isn’t very creative.”
“If she can put me in the Premier League of world-wide swearers, I’d be forever grateful. With something better than ‘twat’ hopefully.”
“Plus, my missus can be a bit temperamental, so I’m betting that thanks to Andy Murray she’s got loads of creative alternatives for ‘cheer up you moody bastard’.”
NT

Origins

Keep your chin up

Meaning

Remain cheerful in a difficult situation.

Origin

This sounds like one of those rousing maxims that were drilled into the young of Victorian England - like keep a stiff upper lip. Perhaps surprisingly, the phrase is American. The first use of it that I can find is from the Pennsylvania newspaper The Evening Democrat, October 1900, under the heading Epigrams Upon the Health-giving Qualities of Mirth:
"Keep your chin up. Don't take your troubles to bed with you - hang them on a chair with your trousers or drop them in a glass of water with your teeth." - [they were easily amused in Pennsylvania in 1900].

Flash Mob

Residents of the Saudi city of Jeddah are complaining about street-corner car washes, which they say are damaging roads and harassing drivers.
The Council only grants permission to car washes with a regulated water supply, out of the way of traffic and residential areas, but illegal washers can be found outside shopping centres, markets and even government buildings, getting water where they can and charging knockdown rates of 15 riyals ($4;£2.60) or less, Arab News reports.
Locals have many gripes about the car washers, and often make a point of noting that they are largely guest workers from South Asia and South-East Asia. Complaints range from heavy use of water and detergent, which one resident says is "eroding asphalt and leaving polluted puddles", to accusations that they steal water from public supplies. One driver says they pursue their victims right up to the doors of shopping malls, sometimes even offering their phone numbers in order to wash cars at home.
Council officials acknowledge there is a problem. Spokesman Muhammad Al-Bugami says lack of any official presence has allowed fly-by-night car washes to "ruin parts of some neighbourhoods", with Prince Miteb Market and Al-Jamia district badly affected. But Mansour Al-Zahrani did not let local drivers off the hook, either. "The main reason this phenomenon keeps growing is that Jeddah residents use these rogue car washes to save time and money".
BBC

Word of the Day

  • urticaria
  • audio pronunciation
  • \er-tuh-KAIR-ee-uh\
  • DEFINITION
noun
: hives
  • EXAMPLES
The first sign of the patient's allergic reaction to the medication was an outbreak of urticaria.

"Chronic urticaria is common and can appear on any part of the body. Sunlight and heat can be triggers for some people, whereas cold is a trigger for others." — Keith Roach, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), October 14, 2014
  • DID YOU KNOW?
Hives can be caused by a number of things. It can be a reaction to a piece of food you ate, a new medication you took, or irritants in the air you're breathing—or to wandering into a patch of nettles.Urticaria, the medical term for hives, points the finger at nettles, at least etymologically: it comes from the Latin word urtica, meaning "nettle." Urtica itself is related to the Latin verb urere, meaning "to burn," a nod to the stinging hairs many species of nettle possess.

M-W

Morse Territory

The Skinny on CC

Christopher-Columbus-Statue-In-Spain“In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….
Today, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as a mythical hero by some – complete with songs, poems, and fictional tales about his great adventure across the Atlantic to explore the majestic land that would eventually be known as the Americas. There are fifty four communities named after the explorer in the United States, including the District of Columbia. “Hail, Columbia” was the United States’ unofficial national anthem until 1931. A federal holiday, “Columbus Day,” is celebrated every second Monday in October.
Despite all of this, historians have begun to tear down the Columbus myth: That he discovered America. That he proved the world wasn’t flat. (That had been well-known for more than a millennium in Columbus’ time. In fact, scholars had a pretty good idea of what the circumference of the Earth was, which was part of the dissent against Columbus making his trip- Columbus thought Asia was bigger than it is and the world much smaller, leading one of the scholars commissioned by the monarchy to investigate the plausibility of Columbus’ journey succeeding to say, it was “impossible to any educated person”). That he came to America in the name of exploration. And, finally, that he came in peace.
Quite simply, most of these “facts” are unequivocally false or half-truths. Columbus sailed the ocean blue to look for wealth and, officially, in the name of Christianity. What he mostly did, though, was enslave and rape the natives he met, sold girls (as young as nine by his own account) into prostitution, and committed numerous acts so heinous that he was forcibly removed from power and sent back to Spain in chains. Christopher Columbus was brutal, even by the standards of his age, leading Bartolome de las Casa, who accompanied Columbus on one of his voyages, to write in his The History of the Indies, “Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel… My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”
In August 1492, Columbus departed Spain with three ships – the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Santa Clara (nicknamed “the Nina”). After two months on the high seas, land was spotted. Now, before they had left, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had promised to whoever spotted land first a reward of a silken jacket and an annuity of ten thousand maravedis. The lookout on the Pinta was Rodrigo de Triana and he was the first to spot land. He shouted to the rest of the crew down below, and the Pinta’s captain announced the discovery with cannon fire. When it came time to receive the reward though, Columbus claimed he actually saw a light in the distance several hours prior to Triana’s shout, “but it was so indistinct that I did not dare to affirm it was land.” The reward reportedly went to Columbus.
Upon landing on the island, which he would call San Salvador (present-day Bahamas), Columbus immediately went to work finding gold and enslaving the native populations. Specifically, Columbus, upon seeing the Arawaks (the peoples of the region) come out of the forests frightened of the men with swords, but bearing gifts, wrote in his journal,
They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They would make fine servants . . . with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
As other European visitors would observe, the Arawaks were legendary for their hospitality and their desire to share. Again saying Columbus about the Arawaks, “are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone.”
Columbus quickly took advantage of this. Seeing that they wore gold studs in their ears, he rounded up of a number of Arawaks and had them lead him to where gold was. The journey took them to present day Cuba and Haiti (but Columbus thought it was Asia), where they found specks of gold in the river, but not the enormous “fields” Columbus was expecting. Nonetheless, he wrote back to Spain saying that, “There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals.” This report earned him financing for a second voyage, this time with 13 ships and twelve hundred men. While he never ended up filling up these ships with gold, he filled them with another “currency” and one that would have a horrendous effect on the world going forward – slaves.
In 1495, Columbus arrived back in the New World and immediately took 1500 Arawaks as prisoners. Of those 1500, he picked 500 to be shipped back to Spain as slaves (about two hundred died on the journey back), starting the transatlantic slave trade. The rest were forced to find what little gold existed in the region. According to noted historian Howard Zinn, anyone over 14 had to meet a gold quota. If they didn’t find enough gold, they would have their hands cut off.
Eventually, when it was realized there wasn’t much gold in the region, Columbus and his men just took the rest as slaves and put them to work on their newly established estates in the region. Many natives died and their numbers dwindled. In the 15th century, modern historians believe there were about 300,000 Arawaks. By 1515, there were only 50,000 left. By 1531, 600 and by 1650, there were no longer any full-blooded Arawaks left on the islands.
The way Columbus and his men treated the women and children of these populations was even worse. Columbus routinely used the raping of women as a “reward” for his lieutenants. In letters to friends, he freely admitted that he raped women himself. Explaining what he did to a native “Carb woman,” he wrote that,
She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores…
Going further, Columbus wrote in a letter from 1500,
A hundred castellanos are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.
As illustrated in a recently discovered 48 page report found in the Spanish archives written by Francisco De Bobadilla (charged with investigating Columbus’ rule at the behest of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, who were troubled by allegations of some of Columbus’ acts), a woman who verbally insulted Columbus’ family was stripped naked and made to ride around the colony on a mule. After the trip was done, her tongue was cut out by the order of Columbus’ brother, Bartolom√©, who Columbus then congratulated for successfully defending the family’s honor. Needless to say, these and numerous other such acts ultimately resulted in De Bobadilla having Columbus removed from power and sent back to Spain in chains.
After Columbus came, and was forced out, the Spaniards continued his policy of enslavement and violence. In 1552, the Spanish historian and friar Bartolome de las Casas published multiple volumes under the title The History of Indies. In it, he described the collapse of the non-European population. Casas writes that when the men were captured and forced to work in mines looking for gold, rarely if ever returning home, it significantly impacted the birth rate. If a woman did give birth, she would be so overworked herself and malnourished, that she often could not produce enough milk for the baby. He even reported that some of the women “drowned their babies from sheer desperation.”
There are lot more examples, writings, and research that points to one fact – Christopher Columbus was a lamentable individual. Nobody’s perfect- if we restricted celebrated individuals to those who didn’t have any major flaws, we’d have few humans to celebrate- and it’s extremely important to view things in the context of the time individuals lived in.  But even in his age, many of his acts were considered deplorable by his peers, which is in no small part why Columbus was arrested for his conduct in the New World.  Combined with his truly historic and widespread impact being incidental to what he was actually trying to do (so a little hard to celebrate him for even that side of his life), maybe it is time that we let go of the myths we learned about Christopher Columbus in elementary school and stop celebrating Columbus, the man.
    Bonus Fact:
    • Not surprisingly, due to these many sexual encounters with the natives, STDs ran rampant in the region in Columbus’ time. Further, while it is still somewhat up for debate if Columbus and his crew brought syphilis to the New World or if they brought it from the New World to Europe (the latter generally being the favored theory), what isn’t argued is that Columbus inadvertently quickened and widen the spread of these dangerous diseases on both sides of the Atlantic. Syphilis became a huge problem, historians nicknaming it the “scourge of the Renaissance,” throughout the Americas and Europe. For more on this, see: Why Native Americans Didn’t Wipe Out Europeans With Diseases
    TIFO

    Nailed It- 2

    6
    The devotees who crucify themselves to thank God

    The devotees who crucify themselves to thank God
    Many Christians celebrate Good Friday, the Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday. The holiday marks the day in which Jesus Christ was crucified. Some people in the Philippines re-enact the events of Jesus' crucifixion by being whipped and crucified themselves!

    Dozens of devotees in villages across the country (estimated to be 80% Roman Catholic) participate in a ritual that has them carrying the cross, being whipped, and ultimately, crucified. 

    Ruben Enaje, a 49-year-old sign painter, was nailed to the cross for the 24th time as his way of thanking God for his survival after falling from a building. Mary Jane Mamangon, a 34-year-old rice cake vendor, was nailed to a cross for the 14th time in 2014 to seek God's help in saving her sick grandmother and helping her cancer-stricken sister.

    Church leaders frown upon this ritual, stating “the real expression of of Christian faith during Lent is through repentance and self-renewal, not flagellation or crucifixion.” (Source | Photo)



    7
    The man who nailed his scrotum in protest

    The man who nailed his scrotum in protest
    Some people protest by holding up signs and voicing their opinions. Russian artist, Pyotr Pavlensky nails his testicles to the ground in protest.

    After nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones of Red Square, the naked artist explained his strange act of protesting. Pavlensky described the nailing as “a metaphor for apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society.”

    The artist, who is in his early 30s, has previously sewn his lips together in protest of the band Pussy Riot's arrest, and has also cut off part of his ear in defiance of his country's authoritarian regime.

    Surely, there are less painful ways to protest, Mr. Pavlensky? (Source |Photo)



    8
    The man who traded his bed of nails for a single nail

    The man who traded his bed of nails for a single nail
    Most of us have seen a person lying on a bed of nails in a magic trick or a physical demonstration. Some have even used a bed of nails for meditation.

    63 year-old Harley Newman went the minimalist route. He lies on a bed of nail. That's right, the sideshow performer claims he can support his entire body on the point of one 10-inch long nail.

    Newman says the men who help him by holding on to his arms and legs only help him balance on the nail and don't hold him up. 

    The self-described “professional lunatic” says that while the nail trick hurts him a great deal, “it's just a question of how he can manage it in his head.”

    If laying on a nail isn't your bag, Newman is also a fire-eater, walks on glass and can stop a fan with his tongue. (Source | Photo)



    9
    The woman who called 911 after a bad manicure

    The woman who called 911 after a bad manicure
    You're unhappy with your manicure, what do you do? If you're Florida resident Cynthia Colston, you call 911. Four times.

    Colston claimed her nails were cut too short and after arguing with her nail tech, she dialed 911 to complain. When a deputy arrived, she called the emergency line again because she found the policeman unhelpful when she was told she could not file any charges. She then called 911 two more times, which she said was by accident because she dialed with her knuckles. That was enough for authorities to arrest Colston on charges of misuse of the 911 system.

    The authorities had the last laugh when they sent the obsessive 911-caller to jail where (guess what?) she had to remove her nails. (Source | Photo)



    10
    The law that brought about the “nail house”

    The law that brought about the “nail house”
    There have been recent changes in China's laws regarding private ownership of land. The People's Republic began to accept private ownership of real estate. Now, owners are free to realize a profit when their land becomes more valuable due to planned developments. In 2007, a law was passed prohibiting government from taking the land unless it's in the public interest. As result of that ruling, there have been cases of people refusing to sell to make way for impending construction. The result is the “nail house,” a house that sticks out like a sore thumb compared to its surroundings.

    A “nail house” is a pun coined by construction workers, and alludes to nails that are stuck in wood and cannot be pounded down with a hammer.

    Several of these “nail houses” have gained worldwide attention like the home that now sits in the courtyard of a mall. In another case, a family refused to vacate a home their family had inhabited for three generations for a construction project. Developers cut their power and water and excavated a 10-meter deep pit around their home. The owners broke into the construction site, reoccupied it, and flew a Chinese flag on top. Some may say they fought tooth and nail to standing their own ground. (Source |Photo)

    Nailed It- 1

    1
    The artist who nailed himself to a car and was immortalized in a David Bowie song

    The artist who nailed himself to a car and was immortalized in a David Bowie song
    No subject is off limits when rock legend David Bowie writes a song. From writing about characters like alien rock ‘n' roll star Ziggy Stardust to the cold, dark cabaret persona of the Thin White Duke, Bowie has enthralled listeners for decades. 

    One real-life character that Bowie wrote about found his way into the song, “Joe the Lion.” Recorded during his famous “Berlin period,” Bowie perhaps used William Burroughs' “cut up” writing technique for writing lyrics for the song that appeared on his 1977 album, “Heroes.”

    One thing is certain; a few of Bowie's lyrics most definitely refer to an American performance artist, Chris Burden. “Tell you who you are / if you nail me to my car” echoes one of Burden's most notorious pieces, 1974's Trans-fixed, in which the artist was crucified to the hood of a Volkswagen.

    Burden is also notorious for such works as being bolted to a gallery floor between two buckets of water, each with a live 110-volt electric line submerged in it, so that a viewer could, if they wished, kick over a bucket and kill him (Prelude to 220, or 110, 1971), and having his friend shoot him in the arm with a .22 rifle (Shoot, Santa Ana Gallery, 1971). (Source | Photo)


    2
    The DNA mix-up that was known as the “time-travel murder”

    The DNA mix-up that was known as the “time-travel murder”
    This next story could have been straight out of any of the C.S.I. television shows. 

    Dr. Mike Silverman, forensic scientist and author, wrote about one of thestrangest cases he was ever involved with in his book, Written In Blood.

    Years ago, a woman was murdered in London. Biological material was found under her fingernails, which indicated she might have scratched her attacker in a struggle.

    A sample of the material found under the victim's nails was analyzed and a positive match was found. The only problem was the identified culprit had been brutally murdered herself three weeks prior to the second murdered woman!

    Did the first murdered woman travel through time to murder victim number two? Was the culprit a zombie?

    Well, not quite.

    German authorities spent two years and thousands of hours searching for the culprit, only to discover that the DNA had in fact been present on the swabs the crime scene investigators had been using to collect their samples. The swabs had been accidentally contaminated by a woman working at the factory that produced them.

    It turns out that after victim two was murdered, a sample of DNA was taken from her fingernails and her body was placed in storage. Three weeks later, a second set of fingernail clippings was taken from victim two's body a day before the body of the second murder victim arrived at the morgue. The scissors used to take the fingernail clippings were cleaned, but not properly, leaving a tiny amount of victim two's DNA on them.

    Shortly after, the same scissors were then used to take fingernail clippings from victim one. Some of victim two's DNA on the scissors transferred to victim one's fingernails. As a result, when the DNA from the fingernails was extracted, it appeared that victim one had very recently been in contact with victim two, despite victim two having died three weeks earlier.

    Elementary, my dear, Watson (or is it my dear, Silverman?)! (Source)


    3
    The woman who grew nails through her skin

    The woman who grew nails through her skin
    Shanyna Isom of Memphis was a normal student at the University of Memphis working toward a law degree and then her life changed.

    Her unbelievable ordeal began in September 2009, when Isom had an allergic reaction to steroids that she was given for an asthma attack. Within months, she was stricken by a debilitating skin disease that has not only made her lose her hair and left scabs all over her body, but caused her to grow nails from her hair follicles, a mystery condition that continues to threaten her life and baffle doctors.

    In August 2011, Isom was admitted to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Doctors determined that she produces 12 times the number of skin cells per hair follicle, which suffocates her skin. Instead of hair, her skin follicles produce human nails.

    For the past four years, doctors have been keeping her alive with many costly medications. Even though they have seen an improvement, the bills are incredibly expensive. (Source | Photo)


    4
    The teacher who nailed and skinned a raccoon for his classroom

    The teacher who nailed and skinned a raccoon for his classroom
    I don't know what kind of class teacher Jerick Hutchinson teaches, but in 2007 the Arkansas teacher was promised a raccoon by one of his students' parents to use as an example of skinning techniques. Much to Hutchinson's surprise, the student brought the animal alive and well in a trap. 

    According to school superintendent, Alvin Lievsay, Hutchinson “used to work at a slaughter house,” and took the raccoon outside to the back of his truck and shot it with a nail gun.

    Lievsay said no students witnessed the animal's death. "He used the nail gun to, as they say, to dispatch the animal," Lievsay said. "It wasn't like he held a nail gun against the head of a cute little animal in front of the class." No, but the teacher took a page from Ted Nugent and skinned the creature in front of his class!

    Maybe this teacher is better off teaching taxidermy. (Source | Photo)


    5
    The nail polish created to prevent date rapes

    The nail polish created to prevent date rapes
    Date rape is a serious problem and one that should never be taken lightly. The creators of Undercover Colors have taken account of this and have come up with a product that helps combat this issue.

    The company has developed a nail polish that will be able to detect date rape drugs by changing colors in the presence of Rohypnol (roofies) or GHB (G-juice), the two most commonly used date rape drugs. To see if drugs have been slipped into your drink, all a person wearing the polish has to do is to stick their finger in the drink. If the fingernail polish changes color, your drink has been spiked.

    According to Undercover Colors' Facebook page, 18% of women in the United States will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The company “wants to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.”

    The polish is currently in the development stage. (Source | Photo)

    Oddee