Thursday, January 31, 2008
Ice Thickness/Permissible Load (clear, blue, lake ice)
3" - Group, in single file
5" - Group (6-8 people) together
7½" - Passenger car (2 ton gross)
8" - Light truck (2½ ton gross)
10" - Medium truck (3½ ton gross)
12" - Heavy truck (7 to 8 ton gross)
15" - 10 tons
20" - 25 tons
25" - 45 tons
30" - 70 tons
TOKYO (AFP) — A lonely Japanese man has been arrested for allegedly calling directory assistance thousands of times because he liked to be scolded by female operators, police and reports said Wednesday.
Takahiro Fujinuma -- who is 37, single and unemployed -- reportedly would whisper "darling" as he tried to start a conversation and then pleaded with operators not to hang up.
He was arrested Tuesday in Tokyo on charges of obstructing the business of service operator NTT Solco, part of telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.
He placed 2,600 calls to directory help -- reached in Japan by dialing 104 -- between early June and mid-November, a police spokesman said.
But Japanese media said he is suspected of starting his habit in 2004 and calling 104 more than 10,000 times.
He reportedly told police that he was lonely and grew to enjoy annoying the operators.
"I would go into ecstasy when a lady scolded me," he said, as quoted by Jiji Press.
Telephone operators -- who in Japan are almost always women -- nicknamed him the "don't-hang-up-man."
His calls usually came late and sometimes exceeded 200 times a night, Jiji Press said.
MOSCOW - Returning home after an absence can mean unpleasant surprises — a leaky roof, a pet's mess, even a break-in. But a Russian woman got a nastier surprise when she returned from her country house: her home was gone, torn down mistakenly by construction workers clearing a site, according to a report Thursday on NTV television.
Attempted Bank Robber Didn't Get Far
Grand Rapids Police caught a bank robbery suspect when he tried to hold up the same credit union twice in one month.
We say "tried" because employees recognized the man before he could actually walk into the West Michigan Credit Union on Front Avenue.
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Swedish Bank Stops Digital Theft
A gang of Swedish criminals was seconds away from completing a digital bank heist when an alert employee literally pulled the plug on their brazen scam, investigators said Wednesday.
The would be bank robbers had placed "advanced technical equipment" under the employee's desk that allowed them to take control of his computer remotely, prosecutor Thomas Balter Nordenman said in a statement.
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Mickey Mouse busted for drunk driving
On January 24th, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department arrest records show Mickey Mouse was arrested twice for drunk driving and driving on a revoked license. He was in jail for hours. And, the arrest log gives this description of Mickey. "Five foot nine, 190 pounds, brown hair, black eyes." Sheriff's Department spokesman Sergeant Tim Curran isn't sure how Mickey got into the records, but they assure you, the name is only used for training. The fact that Mickey's arrest made it into the official log, that was a mistake. With news video.
A woman got a ticket for driving drunk after calling 911 to ask if she could have someone to follow her home.
You did the right thing.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
But on closer inspection, the average age of the people swinging and playing on the brightly-colored pieces of equipment would appear to be rather on the high side.
That is because this is the UK's first outdoor playground for the over-60s.
60 going on six: Vivien Backhouse and Peggy Yuill go for a swing in the Older People's Play Area in Dam Head
In a bid to help keep its aging population healthy, limber and happy, a residents' association in northern Manchester, with help from a local housing firm, have built a playground designed to keep its more elderly members flexible.
It cost £15,000 to build and it was officially opened yesterday in Dam Head Park, Blackley, after being tested by locals aged over 70.
Six pieces of specially designed equipment provide gentle exercise for different parts of the body such as hips, legs and torso.
Local resident Joan Fitzgerald stretches her legs in the playground
Joan FitzGerald, 76, chair of the local residents association, told the Manchester Evening News: "When we first went in all the people in there were over 70 and I have never heard so much laughing before.
"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which is important because a good laugh makes the day.
"I believe you are never too old to play and this also keeps you active.
"The exercises are very gentle. There is one machine that makes you feel like you are doing the jive, but if you stay on it too long you end up walking home looking like a drunken idiot.
"The playground provides great activity for older people and people need to be more active."
The association got the idea after having heard about a similar scheme in Germany.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "A well-designed fitness park could be a great way to encourage older people to exercise and socialize.
"Exercising a few times a week can make a big difference to someone's health and doesn't have to be strenuous. Equally, socializing with others can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression.
"Many older people aren't exercising enough and we are really keen for local authorities to offer a range of accessible and affordable facilities that promote physical activity in later life."
Guinness World Record maker and breaker Ashrita Furman considered every detail when he built the world's largest pencil — except, perhaps, how to sharpen it. "We thought about making the world's largest pencil sharpener, but we ran out of money," Furman said. Furman escorted his 22,000-pound, 76-foot-long pencil to its new home at the City Museum in St. Louis on Monday. Furman cut the pencil in two for the trip from Queens, New York; City Museum artisans will reattach the sections soon.
Some watched the back of the semi-detached bungalow while others stood by a gate on the drive, preventing Bennett from leaving. They could see him going through various rooms in the house. "He didn't dare come out", said the local Neighborhood Watch co-coordinator. He was running around the house. He didn't know what to do."Bennett, 39, of Lathkill Close, Bulwell, a convicted robber, gave himself up when the homeowner opened the front door for him, and he walked out.
At Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Michael Stokes, QC, Recorder of Nottingham, sentenced Bennett to four years for two burglaries. Awards of £200 each were made to five residents in Greenwich Avenue for their bravery.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- He has no memory, no one knows who he is and he has $1 million in medical bills.
Friday night, police in Kissimmee were trying to solve the mystery of a man hurt in a traffic accident. In his lucid moments, he's told his doctors in Spanish, he thinks he's from Mexico and was born in December, 1939. That would make him 68 years old.
"After about 18 years, I can't think of any other traffic related homicide investigation that we've had where we had anybody who wasn't identified," said Lt. John Lewis of the Kissimmee Police Department.
No one has reported a missing man matching his description. If he's homeless, no local police officers or social workers recognize him.
Kissimmee police plan to fingerprint the John Doe.
It was last November 19, just after 6:00pm. The victim was standing on the median of East Vine Street. As he went to cross the westbound lanes near Michigan Avenue he was struck by a 20-year-old woman driving a Jeep.
No charges were filed against the driver. The accident report only lists him as unknown.
A private investigator the hospital hired has not been able to trace his relatives through any tattoos or other physical characteristics. He does have one outstanding feature; he has two silver teeth.
"Thank god he's still alive, but we'd still like to know who he is," said Lewis.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Milk Chocolate Cheetos... seriously!Cheetos have come a long way since San Antonio, Texas food chemist Charles Elmer Doolin invented them, Fritos corn chips, and a potato-based snack called "Fritatos". While Fritatos died on the vine, Cheetos spread across the snacking world to become one of Frito-Lay's most well-known products, along with Doritos. Competition is dog-eat-dog (or chip-eat-chip) in the snackin' biz, though, so the pressure to create new appealing snacks is intense.
Maybe too intense... as FL's most recent Japanese Doritos flavor (Honey Butter Doritos) illustrates. Imagine watching Japanese TV while snacking on Honey Butter Doritos and washing 'em down with slugs of Pepsi Ice Cucumber... sounds worse than snacking on slugs! Japanese consumers have also had something called "Caramel Doritos Sweets" inflicted upon them. Perhaps PepsiCo's marketing wizards figure if they'll buy Pepsi Ice Cucumber, they'll buy anything!
Witnesses eating lunch Sunday at TJ's Deli in Winston-Salem were startled when they said a woman walking a pet deer on a leash lost control of the animal, causing it to break through a window and run amok through the restaurant's dining room. "I thought maybe a customer had fallen over," employee Richard Fogg said of the loud crash the deer made when it broke through the window. "I looked up and a deer had come through the window." Witnesses in the parking lot said a woman had the deer on a leash, when a crowd that gathered to look spooked the animal, causing it run toward the building.
Las Vegas Car Dealer Fights Order to Lower American Flag
Monday, January 28, 2008
LAS VEGAS — A lawyer he'll keep fighting a city order to lower the height of big American flag flapping over a Las Vegas auto dealership.
Attorney David Chesnoff says the fight for Towbin Hummer's flag is about patriotism, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.
Clark County District Court Judge Michael Villani ruled Friday that City Council was within its rights to deny permits for Towbin to keep the super-sized Stars and Stripes on a 109-foot pole.
City officials have accused Towbin of using the oversized flag as a marketing gimmick more than a patriotic symbol.
Neighbors have complained that it flaps too loudly in stiff winds.
Towbin's isn't the only oversized flag in the city. A regional gasoline and convenience store chain has several American flags around town measuring 30 feet by 50 feet on poles 100 feet tall.
City regulations limit poles to 40 feet, but the council can grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Boy, 11, who was deaf for 9 years regains hearing
A boy who has been partially deaf for nine years was suddenly cured - when a cotton wool bud popped out of his ear. Jerome Bartens was diagnosed as deaf in his right ear when he was just two and has struggled at school ever since. But Jerome, now 11, was suddenly able to hear clearly again as he played with friends in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. He said he heard a popping sound, then found the tip of a cotton wool bud in his ear. His family believe Jerome must have put the bud in his ear as a toddler and the centimetre-long cotton tip came off the plastic stem. Jerome has kept the waxy bud as a souvenir of his nine years of silence.
11-Year-Old Boy Partially Deaf for Nine Years Is Suddenly Cured
Monday, January 28, 2008
Lovelorn staff at a Japanese marketing company can take paid time off after a bad break-up with a partner, with more "heartache leave" on offer as they get older.
Tokyo-based Hime & Company, which also gives staff paid time off to hit the shops during sales season, says heartache leave allows staff to cry themselves out and return to work refreshed. "Not everyone needs to take maternity leave but with heartbreak, everyone needs time off, just like when you get sick," CEO Miki Hiradate, whose company of six women markets cosmetics and other goods targeted for women, told Reuters by telephone.
Staff aged 24 years or younger can take one day off per year, while those between 25 and 29 can take two days off and those older can take three days off, the company said.
"Women in their 20s can find their next love quickly, but it's tougher for women in their 30s, and their break-ups tend to be more serious," Hiradate said.
Hime & Company staff can also take two mornings off twice a year as "sales shopping leave", so they can race to stores to hunt for bargains.
"Before, women could take half-days off to go to sales, but you'd have to hide your shopping bags in lockers by the train station," Hiradate said.
"But with paid leave, we don't have to feel guilty about bringing our shopping bags to work, and we can enjoy the best part about sales shopping -- talking about our purchases afterwards."
Scrabble is also known as Alfapet, Funworder, Skip-A-Cross, Spelofun and Palabras Cruzadas ("Crossed Words").
A Scrabble board is 15 spaces high and 15 spaces wide, for a total of 225 squares.
The game is sold in 121 countries in 29 different languages.
One hundred million sets have been sold worldwide.
Celebrities known for being Scrabble fans include Sting, Keanu Reeves, Moby, John Travolta and Carol Burnett.
Scrabble sets are found in one out of every three American homes.
Scrabble was invented in 1938 by architect Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts created the game as a variation of another word game he invented, Lexiko.
Alfred Butts decided on the frequency and distribution of letters in Scrabble by analyzing the front page of the New York Times. He used a penknife to cut his first set of wooden Scrabble tiles.
The original name of Scrabble was "Criss-Crosswords."
There is just one Q in a Scrabble game.
The highest known score for a single word in competition Scrabble is 392. In 1982, Dr. Saladin Khoshnaw achieved this score for the word "caziques," which means "Indian chief."
Scrabble is a real word. It means "to scratch frantically."
Scrabble was a daytime game show (on NBC), hosted by Chuck Woolery, from July 1984 to March 1990. A second run of the show aired from January to June, 1993.
The game has 100 tiles.
In America and Canada, when a player who empties their rack on one play, it's called a "bingo." Elsewhere, it's called a "bonus." The player gets 50 additional points.
The highest possible score a player can get in Scrabble, on a first turn, is for the word MUZJIKS (128 points).
The highest possible score, theoretically, for a single play under American tournament Scrabble rules is 1,778 points for joining eight already-played tiles to form the word
OXYPHENBUTAZONE across three triple-word-score squares, while simultaneously extending seven specific already-played words to form new words.
What kind of wood is used to make Scrabble letters? Vermont Maple.
The first word played in the Scrabble rules demonstration game is "horn."
The highest score obtainable by playing a seven-letter word is QUARTZY (164 points) across a triple-word-score square with the Z on a double-letter-score square.
ETAERIO is the seven-letter word most likely to appear on a Scrabble rack.
There are 10 two-letter words spelled with vowels only: AA, AE, AI, AY, OE, OI, OY, YA, YE, YO.
Scrabble is a fixture in popular culture. It has been featured films and television programs including "Rosemary's Baby," 'The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "Seinfeld," "The Simpsons" and "Will & Grace," among many others.
The original Scrabble didn't include a board. It was played with just the tiles.
If all the Scrabble tiles ever produced were placed in a row, they would stretch for more than 50,000 miles.
There is a Braille version of Scrabble.
A local ordinance in Atwoodville, Connecticut, prohibits people from playing Scrabble while waiting for a politician to speak.
It’s not as dumb as it sounds… Porky Hefer (yes, we know) and Warren Lewis of Animal Farm, a creative consultancy in Cape Town, came up with the idea to highlight the plight of the already stretched Fire Department in charge of the mountain. Every summer, Table Mountain suffers from huge wild fires. Some are natural “but a large portion of these start with a human spark of stupidity or carelessness,” says Hefer.
So Animal Farm decided to install 65 wooden extinguishers in the Table Mountain National Park, with a focus on fire hot spots, picnic areas and along all major walking trails, to make the point that it is almost impossible to stop a wild fire once it has started. Using a real fire extinguisher on one would be as effective as using this wooden one. The only way to stop the fires is to prevent them. The instructions on the label are all about how people can prevent fires.
A Pit-bull decided he would battle a Porcupine in Southern California.
A fisherman found the still legible piece of paper sitting on a sticky flatfish in his catch on Thursday, along with a torn-off string and the fragment of a red balloon. He opened the folded paper, discovering it was a handwritten letter from a six-year-old girl at an elementary school in Kawasaki, 150 kilometers (93 miles) away from where the fish was caught off Choshi port.
The sender, Natsumi Shirahige, and her friends released letters as part of events to mark the school's 120th anniversary, which was in 1993. "Our school is 120 years old... If you pick up this letter, please write to me," the letter reads, listing the school's address.
The 52-year-old fisherman said the letter was a nice surprise. "I've been in fishing for a long time but this is unbelievable," the smiling man told the Asahi television network. Shirahige, now a 21-year-old university student, said: "I can't get over the wonder of how the letter survived 15 years. I never expected I'd get a reply this way."
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"The nurse asked them, 'OK, who double-dog dared who?"'
Two fourth-grade boys from Indiana mimicking a scene from the movie A Christmas Story wound up with their tongues stuck to a frozen flagpole. Gavin Dempsey and James Alexander were serving on flag duty at Jackson Elementary School Friday morning, with the job of raising and lowering the school's flags. They decided to see if their tongues really would stick to the cold metal.
Stolen Laptop Leads To Man's Arrest
A 19-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after he took a laptop computer into a store to get the password protection removed, North Charleston police said.
A manager at RentWay on 5617 Rivers Ave. recognized a picture on the Dell Inspiron laptop's start-up screen as his friend's child, an incident report states.
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"Piggy Bank Bandit" Caught With Fingerprint
An Austin man is accused of stealing the money from this boy's piggy bank. A convicted burglar on parole is back behind bars Friday night after police say they connected him to four additional home burglaries.
The burglaries included one where Victoriano Vasquez, 31, allegedly stole a three-year-old's piggy bank savings for college.
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