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B-List Archive

December 2004

Postings to the B-List.

Subject: B-List: Dodgy Lawsuits
Date: Wed, 1 December 2004 9:55:18 AM

1. "Blues singer sues shrink for making him feel better"
   < >
"Famed blues singer Gloomy Gus 'Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me'
 Johnson is suing his psychiatrist -- for making him happier! 'I can't sing
 the blues when I'm feeling good. It ruins my authenticity!' says Johnson"

2. "TV addict to sue cable company"
   < >
"Timothy Dumouchel claimed cable TV was also to blame for his wife's gaining
 more than 20 kilograms and his kids being 'lazy channel surfers'"

3. "Sweets company sued over liquorice addiction"
   < >
"The 48-year-old plaintiff is asking for 6,000 euros in damages from Haribo
 because she developed heart problems after consuming 400 grams of the chewy
 candy every day for four months"

4. "Credit card company sued for letting woman spend"
   < >
"A bogus princess is suing American Express for £1.2million for 'letting'
 her spend £600,000"

5. "Mother and daughter sue restaurant over spicy dish"
   < >
"Staff of a Chicago restaurant called police because two customers wouldn't
 pay for a meal they said was too hot"

6. "Judge rules against Janet payout"
   < >
"A judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, said Viacom, which owns CBS, was not
 liable for the damages Eric Stephenson claimed for 'false advertising'.
 The father-of-three said the show, during American football's showpiece
 game, was billed as family viewing"

7. "Mr Jack Ass sues US show"
   < >
"Bob Craft changed his name to Jack Ass in 1997 to raise awareness about
 the dangers of drink-driving... He claims media giant Viacom is 'liable
 for injury to my reputation that I have built and defamation of my
 character which I have worked so hard to create'"

8. "Man sues Wal-Mart after dog food bowls reportedly fall"  [expired link]
   < >
"A Newcomerstown man who claims he was injured when a stack of dog food
 bowls fell on him is suing Wal-Mart for nearly $1 million"

Ok, the first story is a parody, but it's a good one.

Subject: B-List: Order in the House
Date: Thu, 2 December 2004 8:57:12 AM

1. "Indian law-maker puts slipper into Government"
   < >
"An opposition law-maker has triggered a free-for-all in an Indian state
 assembly, when he threw slippers at the Government benches during a debate
 over a controversial mining contract"

2. "Taiwanese MPs hold a food fight"
   < >
"Already known for their heated debates, and even the odd fist fight
 Taiwan's legislators now seem to have resorted to another form of insult
 - hurling food at each other"

3. "Venezuela politicians in punch-up"
   < >
"Tensions between the government and opposition in Venezuela have reached
 new highs after a fistfight broke out during a session of parliament"

4. "Duel fought over leader's honour"
   < >
"Two far-right Austrian Freedom Party members have fought a duel after one
 claimed the other had offended the honour of party mentor Joerg Haider"

5. "Hunt brawl in Commons"
   < >
"Pro-hunting demonstrators descended on Westminster yesterday, storming
 into the Commons chamber and causing chaotic scenes inside and outside
 Parliament in a foretaste of a countryside uprising against a hunting ban"

6. "MP ejected over mobile"
   < >
"An MP has been thrown out of the Commons chamber for using his mobile phone"

7. "Calls to end drunken debates in Austrian parliament"
   < >
"[S]ome members take their seats with alchohol levels in their blood that
 would make it illegal for them to drive a car"

8. "Women MPs told to dress down"
   < >
"Female MPs in Russia have been asked to dress down so male colleagues can
 concentrate on their jobs"

9. "Siberian shaman to cleanse Duma [Russian Parliament] of dark spirits"
   < >
"'The shaman believes that much hatred and detestation have accumulated in
 the premises of the lower chamber over the past ten years and also more
 than a few evil words have been uttered, which poisons the lives of those
 who work at the Duma'"

10. "Indian charmers threaten to unleash snakes on parliament"
   < >
"Snake charmers in the Indian state of Orissa have threatened to release
 snakes in the state assembly to protest against restrictions being imposed
 on them"

11. "Guru to calm rowdy politicians"
   < >
"A spiritual guru is to try to calm rowdy Indian politicians whose
 outbursts have led to brawls in parliament"

12. "Bad feng shui 'sucks politicians' brains dry'"
   < >
"The German Parliament's glass dome, a Berlin landmark, makes for bad
 feng shui, according to an expert in the Chinese art of positioning
 objects, buildings and furniture"

An interesting overview article about recent parliamentary conflicts,
and the psychology involved:
"When politicians attack..."
   < >
"Politics has been described as 'war without bloodshed', but there is a
 fine line between verbal confrontation and physical violence"
"[M]any fledgling democracies - like unruly teenagers - were just going
 through a stage"
"[T]he confrontational nature of politics, and the high stakes, leave
 violence simmering beneath the surface, however august the chamber"

Subject: B-List: Cunning Disguises
Date: Thu, 2 December 2004 7:58:38 PM

Yes, this is the second posting today.  There are several "reject" themes I
want to dispose of (John West posts), so there are going to be some days
where I do two posts.  Consider it a pre-Christmas clearance sale.  These
posts will generally not be as amusing (imo), so let me know if you'd
rather not get them.

1. "Giant chicken holds up grocery store"
   <,2933,138085,00.html >
"Police told the court that a man wearing a mask and a bright yellow chicken
 suit with orange chicken feet walked into the Kroger store just before
 midnight on Jan. 2"

2. "Businesses on the lookout for Frankenstein robber"
   < >
"Three times, in less than three weeks, a man in a Frankenstein mask has robbed
 or attempted to rob area businesses"

3. "Santa's sidekicks attempt Holland hold-up"
   < >
"Two people dressed up as 'Black Pete' - a ubiquitous symbol of the Christmas
 season in the Netherlands - had queued patiently, but when their turn came one
 ducked behind the post office counter while the other waved 'something that
 looked like a weapon'"

4. "Man dressed as Darth Vader tries to rob pizza deliveryman"
   < >
"A man dressed up as Darth Vader used the infamous disguise to scare, and then
 try to rob, an unsuspecting pizza deliveryman over the weekend"

5. "'Elvis' and 'Belushi' arrested"
   < >
"US police arrested an Elvis Presley impersonator and a Blues Brother lookalike
 following a bizarre evening in Michigan"

6. "Man disguised as gorilla snatches bananas from shop"
   < >
"'I didn't realise that it was a gorilla at first. All I saw was something big
 and black with a lot of hair,' the South China Morning Post quoted her as
 saying. 'I thought I saw a ghost so I tried to drive it away with a broom.'"

7. "Monkey man robs milk bar"
   < >
"A man wearing a plastic monkey mask and armed with a steak knife robbed a milk
 bar in a suburb of Geelong yesterday"

8. "Serial robber uses pencil-drawn moustache as disguise"
   < >
"The FBI are hunting a bank robber who's struck eight times this year with only
 a pencil-drawn moustache as a disguise"

(a John West post)

Subject: B-List: Ten Interesting New Services
Date: Fri, 3 December 2004 10:54:35 AM

1. "Quirky holiday postcard business going well"
   < >
"The service collects people's personally written cards and posts them
 from a variety of expensive holiday destinations, just so they can
 impress others"

2. "Apology hotline offers redemption"
   < >
"Calls to the number are transferred to an answering machine that urges
 callers to 'apologize for anything. Say you're sorry. The idea is to
 make yourself feel better'"

3. "Bank opens 'love' counter"
   < >
"A German bank has opened a counter at which customers can buy services
 related to love. They range from a romantic picnic on the beach to a
 singer that serenades a lover with love songs"

4. "Damage therapy popular in Spain"
   < >
"Stressed out Spaniards are being given the chance to smash up cars,
 computers, TVs and mobile phones while listening to heavy rock music"

5. "Bad date? Use your cell excuse"
   <,1382,64516,00.html >
"The peak time for dates from hell in New York City is Friday at 8pm
 - judging by the mobile phone calls delivering emergency excuses to

6. "DJ's answer machine gives Romeos the brush-off"
   < >
"A Moscow DJ is a hit with the ladies after giving them a phone number
 they can give to nightclub Romeos"

7. "New service offered for drunken diallers"
   < >
"The company is providing a special number the phone owner can ring if
 they feel like they are on the verge of a big night out. They can
 then bar any phone numbers they select until 6:30am"

8. "Need an excuse? Background noises now available"
   < >
"[An enterprising German company] has come up with what it calls a
 sound alibi generator - background noises that can be downloaded on
 to a mobile phone to simulate the place you are supposed to be"

9. "Stressed bosses can listen to nature - by phone"
   < >
"Stressed managers in Austria can ring mobile phones with an automatic
 answering facility in Austrian forests and hear 'the genuine woodland
 sound of silence'"

10. "Save your knife, mail it back to yourself"
   < >
"Travelers who realize they're carrying a treasured pocketknife or
 grandma's scissors after arriving at the airport may now have a more
 convenient way to save the items"

Subject: B-List: Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Date: Mon, 6 December 2004 9:31:28 AM

1. "Man bites dog (and a policeman)"
   < >
"Police say an officer and his dog were bitten by a man resisting arrest
 in Kansas City"

2. "Man 'bites off wife's ear'"
   < >
"A drunken German man reportedly bit off his estranged wife's ear just
 minutes after attempting a reconciliation"

3. "Woman swallowed sister-in-law's ear"
   < >
"An Indian woman has been accused of eating her sister in law's ear in a
 row over a debt"

4. "Boy bites off girlfriend's lip"
   < >
"Police in Chile are searching for a teenager who bit his girlfriend's
 lower lip off after she finished their relationship. According to the
 La Cuarta newspaper, the girl decided on the split partly because he
 was a bad kisser"

5. "Woman bites off part of boyfriend's tongue"
   < >
"A St. Paul woman who became frightened Wednesday morning when her
 boyfriend squeezed her too tightly while they kissed bit off part of
 his tongue"

6. "Wicked landlord!: Bites off tenant's nose, then sends him packing"
       national-apr19-001.htm >
"An Abuja landlord who bit off the nose of his tenant during a minor
 brawl says he committed the act unknowingly"

7. "Hungry customer bites grocer's ear off"
   < >
"A grocer had his ear bitten off by a hungry customer when he refused
 to let him have a free watermelon"

8. "Bus maniac bites man's ear"
       30996_bus_maniac_bites_mans_ear.html >
"'[H]e lunged and put his arm around my throat before biting my ear and
 tearing off a length and spitting it out'"

9. "Wedding guest bites off man's finger"
   < >
"'[T]he father came to the son's rescue, struggling with the suspect,
 and he apparently had his finger bit off at that time'"

10. "Finger flushed down toilet"
   < >
"The two women started fighting and the 25-year-old allegedly grabbed the
 23-year-old victim's right ring finger and bit it off... The boyfriend
 and other people at the house broke up the fight and somebody picked up
 the finger and flushed it down the toilet"

Subject: B-List: Pets Out for a Stroll
Date: Tue, 7 December 2004 4:26:13 PM

1. "Lion walker startling dogs in Czech town"
   < >
"Jaroslav Kana bought Leon as a cub, and says his pet has given many a
 dog a fright as he walks him around the town centre and local parks
 twice a day"

2. "Running with a pet goat"  [third story down]
   < >
"Vinny Matassa has a pet goat. He jogs three times a week in Kennesaw
 Mountain National Battlefield Park with his pet goat Libby"

3. "Italian tourist in trouble for taking pet chicken for walk"
   < >
"The man inadvertently breached a strict ban across Holland and Belgium
 on letting chickens go free to control a killer poultry virus"

4. "Pet bear escapes during walk with owner"  [expired link]
   < >
"Authorities are warning area residents to cover their garbage cans and
 leash their dogs"

5. "Man spotted with snake"
   < >
"A German man had his 11-foot pet python confiscated after he walked
 around town with it around his shoulders"

6. "Man clears beach with snake"
   < >
"An Italian man cleared a section of beach when he let his pet python
 loose on the sand"

7. "Woman loses python while shopping"
   < >
"The woman, from Doornik [Belgium], left the snake in her car while she
 went inside a shop to buy it some food"

8. "Slippery traveller alarms air crew"
   < >
"A passenger was offloaded after he tried to feed milk to his pet snake
 on a flight in southern India"

Subject: B-List: How Not to Handle Money
Date: Wed, 8 December 2004 8:07:25 AM

1. "Man drops 11,000 euros in toilet"
   < >
"'While using the loo, his 11,000 fell out of his clothes and disappeared
 down the toilet landing on the railway track'"

2. "Man throws 10K in bin"
   < >
"Alvaro Weyne ... thought the bin would be an ideal place to hide the
 money. But the cleaner at Mr Weyne's company was not aware of the 'ideal
 hiding place' and threw all the bin contents away"

3. "Woman loses $17,000 in fast food restaurant"
   < >
"Maria Morales says she doesn't trust banks and was carrying $17,000 in
 her purse... She went into the Burger King in Bakersfield when the bag

4. "Norwegian mistakenly burns cash for heat"
   < >
"What he realized too late was that the paper he used to start the blaze
 was a stack of bills, worth about 15,000 kroner (US$2,400; euro 1,830)"

5. "A very expensive mistake"
   < >
"A 77-year-old Japanese woman sewed two million yen - more than $24,000
 - into the sash of a kimono to keep it safe from thieves, and then
 absent-mindedly gave the garment away, a report said"

6. "Man donates over £1K - by accident"
   < >
"Age Concern is refusing to hand back a man £1,400 he accidently left in
 a top"

Subject: B-List: Foodfight!
Date: Wed, 8 December 2004 5:48:42 PM

1. "Man arrested after Thanksgiving food fight"
       DBEC-425F-8255-0BC274A188F7 >
"It started with a container of whipped cream, mix in some heated
 words, and you've got a food fight that landed one man in jail"

2. "Three injured in retirement home fight over salad"
   < >
"Three pensioners ended up in hospital after a fight over lettuce at
 their Florida retirement home"

3. "300 students wage food fight in New York; police called to
    restore order"
   < >
"Some 300 teenagers waged a food fight in their school cafeteria so
 fierce that educators had to call police to help them restore order"

4. "Entire 8th grade class suspended over messy, meaty food fight"
   < >
"The meaty melee broke out Wednesday at Geeter Middle School, which
 has 637 students in grades six through eight"

5. "Glenwood 8th-graders fling food: Custodians use shovels to clean
    up"  [expired link]
   < >
"What the custodians at Glenwood Middle School were shoveling Wednesday
 wasn't snow. It was taco salad, chocolate pudding, milk and other
 items - the remnants of a massive eighth-grade food fight in the
 school cafeteria"

6. "Food fight suspensions"
   < >
"'We have to deal with them certainly in a strong manner because it's
 our obligation to ensure the safety and security of all the students
 in the high school and they are entitled to a lunch period that can
 be relaxing without the possibility of being hit by food or food or
 food containers or being injured as try to escape the food fight'"

7. "Woman stabbed trying to break up fork fight"  [expired link]
   <,1413,83~1971~2150932,00.html >
"A woman was stabbed with a fork Thursday evening when she tried to
 break up a fight between two of her relatives"

8. "Former SF cop acquitted in food fight"  [expired link]
   <,1413,86~10669~2552831,00.html >
"A former police officer was acquitted Monday of charges linked to
 his involvement in an off-duty fight over a bag of steak fajitas
 two years ago"

If these stories have put you in the mood to fling food about, then
   < >
"VirtualFoodFight is the Internet's first food fight (as far as we
 know), where you can toss tasty morsels at your friends, family,
 enemies or innocent bystanders"

(a John West post)

Subject: B-List: Caught Napping
Date: Thu, 9 December 2004 8:36:24 AM

1. "Kidnapper caught after nodding off"
   < >
"A thief who took two priests hostage in a church in Brazil was captured
 by police after he nodded off... A police spokesman said: 'It was the
 easiest job ever. After hours of negotiation he simply fell asleep. It
 was a pleasure to say good morning to him!'"

2. "Burglar falls asleep inside house"  [New Jersey, USA]
   < >
"A man who broke into a woman's house helped himself to some food and
 wine, then settled in for a nap -- until police arrested him"

3. "Burglar arrested after falling asleep"  [Serbia]
   < >
"A teenage burglar who ate and drank as much as he could after breaking
 into a top restaurant was caught because he fell asleep afterwards"

4. "Sleeping burglary suspect startles victims"
   < >
"An Oklahoma couple were surprised when they woke up and found a drunk
 burglary suspect asleep in bed with them"

5. "Burglar found passed out, in woman's clothes"
   < >
"A University of South Florida student found a drunk man passed out in
 her laundry room, wearing her clothes"

6. "Burglar falls asleep on shop display bed"
   < >
"A burglar who broke into a shop in Texas was arrested after falling
 asleep on a display bed. To make matters worse, the shop in Fort Worth
 is owned by the wife of a county district attorney"

7. "Blind car thief crashed into tree"
   < >
"A blind Romanian's decision to become a car thief was short-lived
 after he smashed into a tree and knocked himself out"
   "Blind car thief strikes again"
   < >
"Prica allegedly stole the car with another blind pal and a sighted
 friend in the passenger seat telling him which direction to drive"

Subject: B-List: Smelly Stories
Date: Thu, 9 December 2004 5:22:06 PM

1. "Organisers worried about smell of horse dung at VMAs"
   < >
"The ceremony is taking place in the Tore di Valle racecourse in Rome
 later and bosses are worried the overpowering smell of manure will
 offend star guests"

2. "Manure mishap provides new car smell"
   < >
"A Dutch driver was covered in hundreds of litres of manure when a tank
 burst on a truck carrying fertiliser"

3. "French cheese the smelliest"
   < >
"Academics at Cranfield University north of London said Friday that
 Vieux Boulogne, a Normandy cheese made from cow's milk, was the
 smelliest of 15 cheeses tested. Two other Normandy cheeses, Pont
 l'Eveque and Camembert, came in second and third"

4. "Pungent-smelling flower expected to draw crowd"
   < >
"A newly-bloomed, giant Indonesian flower is expected to draw huge
 crowds to Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens over the next few days with
 its foul smell"

5. "Las Vegas to spend $100,000 to solve mystery of downtown stench"
   < >
"Along with neon lights and casinos, the downtown area of Las Vegas
 has become known for the 'Stench of Fremont Street' - and city
 officials are fed up"

6. "Whose nose knows? Concord looking for sniffers"
   < >
"In an effort to deal with complaints about odors, Concord officials
 have hired a Massachusetts company to identify and quantify exactly
 what smells are bothering residents"

7. "Emails set to arrive with scent"
   <,4057,8728108%255E13762,00.html >
"A British Internet service provider plans to market a 'scent dome',
 which would plug into customers' computers much like a printer"

As you read the stories listed here, it's a good thing you don't have
one of those 'scent domes' installed  :)

(a John West post)

Subject: B-List: Stolen Street Signs
Date: Fri, 10 December 2004 4:04:54 PM

1. "Universal sign theft disrupts Hawkins tributes"
   < >
"In total, council has been forced to replace five signs at a cost of
 $250 each and Lake Macquarie Mayor Greg Piper says he has had enough"

2. "Thief alert sign stolen"
   < >
"A sign warning drivers that thieves were in the area has been stolen"

3. "Caution: sign thieves are at large"
   < >
"Some students -- yes, even the goodie-two-shoes at Yale -- adorn their
 rooms with street signs of all shapes and sizes, which they have stolen
 from New Haven sites or hometown locales"

4. "'High Street' sign is among most stolen"
   < >
"Besides High Street, the University Street and Westward Ho Avenue signs
 are also frequently stolen"

5. "Weed Road sign repeatedly stolen"  [expired link]
   < >
"The street signs at both ends of Weed Road have been stolen at least
 five times this summer"

6. "Thousands of street signs stolen in Tallapoosa County"
   < >
"A county list shows thousands of street signs reported missing over the
 last three years. More than 500 were recorded just since October"

7. "Stolen signs in West Dorset"
   < >
"Over the past three weeks up to 100 village name, speed restriction and
 warning signs have been stolen from villages and roads south of the A35"

Subject: B-List: Travelling Cats
Date: Mon, 13 December 2004 8:52:43 AM

1. "Cat crosses Siberia to get home"
   < >
"A Russian family has been reunited with their pet cat after it made a
 1,300 mile trek across Siberia to get home"

2. "Iran cat survives crate adventure"
   < >
"A black cat was found in a vat aboard a ship - apparently surviving a
 45-day odyssey that took it from Iran to the Bronx"

3. "Baghdad cat makes six week trip to UK in tank"
   < >
"Her journey to the UK took six weeks and she survived the ordeal by
 eating bugs and lapping up condensation from the vehicle's walls"

4. "Stowaway cat is all at sea"
   < >
"An international rescue mission has been launched to rescue a stowaway
 New Zealand cat that wandered onto a ship bound for South Korea"

5. "Cat survives 30-day trip in shipping box"
   < >
"The female cat, named China by animal service staff members, tips the
 scale at just over 3 pounds after being trapped in the container for
 the nearly monthlong trip"

6. "Cat spends 19 days in plane's hold"
   < >
"Billy was put on a US Airways plane from Phoenix, Arizona to Phil-
 adelphia on March 29 and was due for a connecting flight to Germany"

7. "Continental journey for curious cat"
   < >
"Top Cat ended up in Bordeaux after climbing into the van which was
 taking items from the neighbour's home in St Neot, Cornwall, to the
 French city"

8. "A long, strange trip for cat missing seven years"
   < >
"When workers scanned her for a microchip and found she had been lost
 in Florida seven years earlier, they wondered if it was a gag"

9. "Stray American cat 'found wandering in Oxford'"
   < >
"A stray cat that was wandering the streets of Oxford was found to have
 been registered in the USA when rescuers did a microchip scan on it"

10. "Milanese moggy hitches to Wales"
   < >
"An Italian cat ended up in Wales after hiding in the back of a lorry
 in Milan"

11. "Cat back with owners two years and 200 miles later"
   < >
"A cat which travelled 200 miles after straying from its owners almost
 two years ago is back home"

12. "Mystery of moggie's 350 mile journey"
   < >
"Three-year-old Gallagher was found on Teesside almost a month after
 leaving owner Rachel Pedley's home in Hampshire"

13. "'Heartbroken' cat makes the long journey home"
   < >
"A homesick cat walked a hundred kilometres back home after being given
 away by its Beijing owner... The three-year-old cat ran away from its
 new home and spent 40 days finding its way back to its old owner"

14. "No place like home for cat after 33 trips"
   < >
"In the past two years, he's navigated more than 3 miles of hills and
 busy streets to visit the old neighborhood -- 33 times"

Subject: B-List: Super Shopping Trolleys
Date: Mon, 13 December 2004 3:55:56 PM

1. "Tesco plans anti-tantrum trolley"
   < >
"Designers are working on a shopping trolley that plays DVDs, CDs and
 educational games for children"

2. "Supermarket dumps speaking trolleys"
   < >
"A supermarket in Austria is dumping speaking trolleys and robotic
 cleaners because they've been annoying shoppers"

3. "Trolley offers supermarket workout"
   < >
"'It is a standard trolley but with the sort of fitness attachments
 you would find in a gym, enabling you do a workout while you shop'"

4. "Inventor cracks trolley problem"
   < >
"An inventor claims to have solved the problem of supermarket trolleys
 that refuse to go in a straight line"

5. "Firm claims to banish trolley wobbles"
   < >
"A company based in Kent has claimed to have solved the age-old
 problem of wobbly supermarket trolleys"

6. "Trolley toll tops $1m"
   < >
"New research reveals shopping trolleys cause about $1 million worth of
 damage to Australia's cars every year, with 'runaway' trolleys the
 worst offenders"

7. "Jet-powered shopping trolley"
   < >
"A Suffolk man has created the world's fastest shopping trolley - by
 fitting a jet engine"

(a John West post)

Subject: B-List: Stepping Out in the Birthday Suit - Suggestions for Naturists
Date: Tue, 14 December 2004 11:02:40 AM

1. "Film buffs can bare all at cinema"
   < >
"A cinema has seen its customer numbers increase since it started staging
 screenings for naturists"

2. "Naked shoppers hunt for bargains"
   < >
"Shoppers searched for bargains in the buff on Monday night, at the UK's
 first ever naturist shopping event"

3. "Clothing store to reward naked ambition"
   < >
"A youth-oriented clothing store located in the heart of the Portuguese
 capital plans to give away clothes to any customer who is willing to go
 shopping at the shop naked next Wednesday"

4. "Disco dress code - boogie in the buff"
   <,,1303889,00.html >
"The club has organised what it claims is Europe's first nudist disco
 night, telling bouncers not to admit the bashful and only those prepared
 to boogie in the buff"

5. "Strip please at art exhibition"
   < >
"A gallery owner has created a stir by encouraging visitors to an
 exhibition of nudes to strip off to help them to feel closer to the art"

6. "Naked aggression"
   < >
"Nudity abounded at the 'unofficial' curtainraiser for the All Blacks-
 South Africa rugby match on Saturday, with a group of backpackers baring
 all in the name of the game"

7. "Nude volleyball tourney on tap in Pennsylvania"
   < >
"The 105-acre White Thorn Lodge nudist park in South Beaver Township,
 Beaver County, will host the 33rd annual Volleyball Superbowl on Saturday
 and Sunday"

8. "Naturism goes mainstream"
       id=c440f81d-2567-4cfb-8b71-e011eb8e4916 >
"Nudism is to often the subject of jokes that many forget it is a movement
 with millions of serious adherents worldwide"

Thanks to new technology, anybody can now fulfill any latent exhibitionist
tendencies without even taking their clothes off.  All they have to do is
visit Heathrow airport and volunteer to be scanned by a new x-ray machine:
"New UK airport scanner 'undresses' passengers"
   < >
"A new X-ray machine at London's Heathrow airport, which sees through
 passengers' clothes, has been attacked by civil liberties campaigners as
 a 'voyeur's charter'. The machine uses low-level radiation to see through
 clothing, producing an anatomically detailed black and white image of the
 body underneath"

Subject: B-List: Jailbreaks
Date: Wed, 15 December 2004 11:12:37 AM

1. "'Escape king' leaves dummies behind in jail break"
   < >
"Guards opened their cells on Friday morning to find only dummies made
 of rags and cardboard lying where the men should have been"

2. "Prisoner walks out of jail leaving doll in his place"
   < >
"Brazilian prison authorities are investigating after an inmate escaped
 by walking out of the front gate, and left a rag doll in his place"

3. "Drug barons escape after Hollywood style con trick"
   < >
"Two drug barons have escaped from custody after prison guards were
 fooled by a 'Hollywood movie scale con trick', complete with a set
 and large cast"

4. "That's some origami! Prisoner uses gun made of paper to escape Wash. jail"
   < >
"A prisoner facing a life sentence made a fake gun out of paper and
 cardboard and escaped from a courtroom Monday"

5. "48 prisoners escape with bedsheets"
   < >
"A total of 48 prisoners escaped from a Brazilian prison by tying
 together bedsheets and scaling down the walls"

6. "Inmates climb human ladder to freedom"
   < >
"A mass break-out at a jail in Indonesia has seen 31 prisoners escape
 after forming a human ladder to climb over an eight metre wall"

7. "One-legged men skip jail"
   < >
"Two one-legged inmates were among 26 prisoners who scaled walls to
 break out of an overcrowded jail in the Brazilian city of Niteroi"

Subject: B-List: Audacious Heists
Date: Thu, 16 December 2004 10:29:08 AM

1. "Golf course stolen piece by piece"
   < >
"Sheriff deputies say Donald Ross stole golf balls, tee markers, ball
 washers and numerous other items from the Owasco Country Club.
 Authorities believe Ross took the equipment over a period of three
 years and set up a three hole golf course on his property - he
 shared with his twin brother"

2. "Thieves steal toilet - with man still in it"
   < >
"Thieves who stole a public toilet in a Belarus city accidentally
 kidnapped a man who was sitting on it at the time"

3. "Police nab 200-metre bridge thief"
   < >
"Polish police say they have arrested a man on suspicion of stealing
 a 200-metre-long, 360-tonne bridge, which had then been sold to a
 scrap metal yard"

4. "Dealers steal 40ft iron bridge"
   < >
"A rare iron bridge that survived three wars has been stolen by a
 gang of scrap metal dealers"

5. "Gang 'steals escalator'"
   < >
"A gang of 24 men held up builders and looted the construction site
 at Gouwugongyuan station in Shenzhen, stealing an entire escalator
 and six steel pillars"

6. "Police recover more empty beer cans from batch of stolen suds"
   < >
"[I]nvestigators are following a sparse trail of empties that have been
 found between Fredericton and Grand Falls, N.B. [Canada], which is
 where the shipment of 50,000 cans of Moosehead was stolen last week"

7. "Robbers net £500k chocolate haul"
   < >
"Seven lorries containing chocolate worth about £500,000 have been
 stolen during a robbery in Lancashire"

8. "Stolen truck of doughnuts in police chase"  [expired link]
   < >
"A Peoria man was arrested early Monday for allegedly stealing a
 Lester's Tasty Donuts van and leading police on a slow-speed chase
 that began in East Peoria and ended in Canton"

Subject: B-List: Oops! Did I Do That?
Date: Fri, 17 December 2004 8:43:52 AM

1. "Man blows up car trying to defrost it"
   < >
"A Croatian man blew up his frozen car after trying to warm it by lighting
 a fire under the engine"

2. "Man's cleaning zeal destroys flat"
   < >
"The man used several different cleaning products to clean the bath,
 shower and toilet at his home in Almere... a chemical reaction between
 the cocktail of cleaning products caused the blast"

3. "Man attacks stain in trousers...destroys apartment"
   < >
"The unnamed Muscovite added a liter of petrol to his washing machine to
 help dissolve the stain ... but the ensuing explosion wrecked his kitchen
 and demolished two internal walls"

4. "Trying to save money man brings the house down"
   < >
"Wharton thought he was removing a thin partition with his claw hammer,
 but attacked a supporting wall instead as he was trying to extend the
 ground-floor living room in his rented flat"

5. "Brewing up some trouble: Beer-making blamed for city house fire"
   < >
"A man's efforts to brew beer at home resulted in a fire that destroyed
 his East Market Street apartment"

6. "Maker's Mark bourbon backs a punch at 50"
       365714-ap.html >
"To signify a new beginning with a new recipe, bourbon maker Bill Samuels
 set fire to his family's 170-year-old formula - sparking an explosion
 that burned a hole in the ceiling and singed his daughter's hair"

7. "Using a lighter under to bed to search for a shoe"
   < >
"A student's room has been gutted after he used a cigarette lighter to
 search for a lost shoe under his bed"

8. "Automatic key fob blows up car"
   < >
"An Austrian motorist blew up his car when he tried to open it with his
 remote control key fob... He was carrying two containers of oxy-acetaline
 gas in his car boot... When the owner of the car used the remote, a spark
 set off the mixture of gas and air inside the car"

9. "Electronic key blows up car"
   <,4057,11673806%255E13762,00.html >
"The explosion was apparently caused by a spark from the security system
 igniting gas cylinders the man had in his boot, one of which apparently
 had a leak"

10. "German burns down house trying to impress girlfriend"
   < >
"The unnamed man had laid out hundreds of candles in the shape of a heart
 carrying the words 'You set my heart on fire'. The 18-year-old had hoped
 the gesture would have impressed his girlfriend. Instead the heat was so
 intense it melted the candle wax onto the floor where it ignited"

Subject: B-List: Occupational Hazards
Date: Mon, 20 December 2004 8:45:26 AM

1. "Politician injured by too much handshaking"
   < >
"Lawmaker Margaret May is all shook up. The Queensland state legislator
 has pressed the flesh with so many voters in the first two weeks of
 campaigning for Australia's Oct. 9 election she has damaged tendons in
 her wrist and thumb and needs surgery to fix them"

2. "Canadian call-center workers get work-related voice disorders"
   < >
"[A] member of the province's Speech-Language Pathologies and Audiologists
 Association said ... increasing numbers of call-center employees are
 coming to her with work-related vocal problems"

3. "Goalie's lost voice ruled a work-related injury"
   < >
"A Swedish goalkeeper who claims he lost his voice by yelling at other
 players is entitled to welfare benefits for a work-related injury"

4. "German actress's breasts cut in chainsaw accident"
   < >
"A German actress was taken to hospital after an artist injured her
 breasts while trying to cut open her bra with a chainsaw during a
 rehearsal for a stage show"

5. "Postman plagued by jealous pheasant"
   < >
"The postie said: 'It think it is the red colour of the van which is
 triggering the aggression. Pheasants have spurs on their legs, and
 it flies and tries to get me with them'"

6. "Jangle bells makes them crazy"
   < >
"An Austrian trade union has claimed the repetitive playing of Christmas
 Carols in department stores is nothing short of 'psycho-terrorism' for


Latest garden update:
   < >


Subject: B-List: Impromptu Crimefighters
Date: Tue, 21 December 2004 10:04:40 AM

1. "Priest catches gang of muggers"
   < >
"A Romanian priest who witnessed a mugging followed and caught the
 three-man gang responsible"

2. "Karate monks stop thief"
   < >
"A Croatian thief got more than he bargained for when he ran into a
 pair of karate-trained monks as he tried to rob a monastery"

3. "Suspected thief caught by 4 women"
   < >
"Four women wrestled a would-be purse snatcher and held her until
 deputies arrived"

4. "88-year-old woman fights off burglars with cane"
   < >
"A pair of jail escapees were apparently lucky to escape from a cane-
 wielding, 88-year-old Northern Kentucky woman who caught them
 breaking into her house Wednesday afternoon"

5. "280-pound man sits on intruder until police arrive"  [expired link]
   < >
"Police say the 52-year-old man came home Tuesday morning to find a
 woman standing in his home holding items from his house... Fisk, who
 is 6-feet 2-inches tall and weighs about 280 pounds, sat on top of
 Dye until help arrived"

6. "Business owner chases, runs over robbery suspects in hummer"
   < >
"Police said that the man, identified only as Peter, followed the
 suspects through a neighborhood and eventually caught up with them.
 He then rolled his Hummer over their car"

7. "Cashier foils pen-wielding robber"  [expired link]
       coll=all-newslocal-hed >
"A 62-year-old gas station cashier chased a would-be-robber out of
 the Stefko Boulevard station early Tuesday by chucking cartons of
 cigarettes at him"

8. "Paddler pounds pizza punk"  [expired link]
       id={02087800-9A30-4E57-9938-96788532B0AE} >
"A man looking to hold up a restaurant got more than he bargained for
 when the clerk started clubbing him with a pizza paddle"

9. "'Shrek' scares thief"
   < >
"When a booze thief found himself being chased down by a six-foot-three,
 260-pound green ogre, he figured he'd be better off turning himself in
 to the police"

This collection of recent news items about unexpected crimefighters is
partly inspired by the upcoming release of the new Pixar animated movie,
"The Incredibles".  Here are a couple more items about Superheroes:

1. "The Science of Superheroes: Beyond the Incredibles"
       1112_041112_incredible_superhero_science.html >
"T]o Robert Weinberg, a Chicago, Illinois-based science fiction writer,
 superheroes are worthy of scientific study"

2. "How To Be a Superhero"
   < >
"Warning: This article reveals the secrets of invisibility, levitation,
 immortality, energy projection, mind powers and dimensional travel"

Subject: B-List: Drunk and Disorderly Animals
Date: Tue, 21 December 2004 3:02:29 PM

1. "Drunken moose alert in Norway"
   < >
"Many Norwegian moose are becoming intoxicated after eating large
 numbers of fermenting fruit, which are plentiful after the country's
 exceptionally warm summer"

2. "Bear gorges on fermented fruit at brewery"
   < >
"A bear apparently bumped over barrels at a busted brewery and filled
 up on fermented fruit waste"

3. "'Drunk and disorderly' chimps attacking ugandan children"
   < >
"Chimpanzees in western Uganda are increasingly raiding illegal brewing
 operations in forested river valleys and getting drunk on the country

4. "Drunk jumbos chasing pregnant women"  [expired link]
   <,4057,6259640%5E13762,00.html >
"'Often it is found that, attracted by the strong smell of the liquor,
 wild elephants tear down the tribal houses where the brew is stored'"

5. "Uni overrun by drunk birds"
   <,4057,5846746%255E1702,00.html >
"[B]irds feasting on fermented berries are getting drunk and playing
 chicken with the glass"

6. "Alcoholic bear cured of vodka habit"
   < >
"An alcoholic Russian bear has kicked the habit after a millionaire
 animal lover paid for him to be treated at a drying out clinic"

7. "Pub cat goes into rehab"
   < >
"Pub cat Trixie had to go into rehab after becoming a drunk by lapping
 up left-overs from drip trays"

(a John West post)

Subject: B-List: Wacky Excuses for Poor Driving
Date: Wed, 22 December 2004 9:20:35 AM

1. "Motorists' 'weird' speed excuses"
   < >
"Sick budgies, hitchhikers at the wheel and ice scrapers under the
 accelerator are some of the weird excuses given by speeding drivers
 in Wales"

2. "Aliens to blame for speeding ticket"
   < >
"Aliens, a vibrating surfboard and a desperate need for the toilet
 were all excuses offered by speeding motorists desperate to avoid
 three points on their licence"

3. "Breast excuse for bad driving"
   <,4057,6420718%255E13762,00.html >
"Police are shocked by some of the excuses Territory drivers are
 offering up for not wearing their seat belts, running red lights
 and speeding"

4. "A pretty poor excuse for a driver"   [expired link]
   <,4057,9462402^421,00.html >
"Desperate motorists caught flouting Victoria's road laws are coming
 up with laughable excuses in an attempt to save their skins. The
 most pitiful lines in recent weeks include:  A DRIVER who insisted
 he didn't know what traffic light colours stood for after running a
 red one.  A WOMAN who didn't want to apply the brake while her cat
 was on her lap.  A DRIVER who wanted to test the accuracy of his
 speedometer at various high speeds.  A LEAD-FOOTED motorist who
 claimed to be racing home because his dog Fido was having an
 epileptic fit"

5. "Driver sped to blow-dry car"
   < >
"A New Zealand man caught speeding says he was driving fast so he
 could blow-dry his car"

6. "Man blames pickles for losing control and slamming into nightclub"
   < >
"He says the pickles gave him an allergic reaction. He tells police
 he passed out at the wheel and that's when the car hit the building"

7. "Pizza delivery driver races to his arrest"
   < >
"A pizza delivery driver told police he was making a delivery when
 they caught him speeding at 70 miles an hour and allegedly racing
 another driver along Kalanianaole Highway"

Subject: B-List: Gift Ideas - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Date: Thu, 23 December 2004 11:09:52 AM

Stuck for ideas for presents this year?  Here are some articles that may
or may not be helpful.

1. "Robosapien punches his way to top of toy charts"
   <,,2087-1389248,00.html >
"The battery-powered robot is operated by a remote control and its seven
 motors enable it to carry out 67 actions. 'They burp and generally have
 one or two antisocial habits that parents won't approve of, which
 children love'"

2. "Perfumer corners wacky scent market"
   < >
"Ordinary air fresheners used to be British firm Dale Air's staple but
 nowadays it prefers a stench like Breath of a T-Rex, Roman Soldier's
 Armpit, or Football Changing Room"

3. "'You shouldn't have': Executives reveal the most unusual business
    gifts they've received"
   < >
"It's the thought that counts with gift giving, but some presents prompt
 the question, 'What were they thinking?'"

4. "Americans most hated birthday gifts revealed"
   < >

5. "Really bad gifts"
       id=7f30e11b-dd5d-477d-8b47-3de19ab16ebd >
"Holiday shoppers should resist any temptation to buy cleaning supplies
 or fruitcake as gifts this year because they're the two most despised
 Christmas presents"

6. "Gadget Gift Guide Round Up 2004"
       -026512.php >

7. "Bookworm gets dream present"
   < >
"The Amadeus bookstore in the Austrian city of Linz opened its doors on
 Sunday exclusively for 45-year-old Angelika Frank, after her daughter
 arranged it for the book lover's birthday"

8. "US couple publish blank 96-page book about men"
   < >
"Jordan and Lindy Schweiger have written the 96-page 'Everything Men
 Knew About Taking Care of Themselves Before Women Came Along'"

9. "What were they thinking?"
   < >
Looks at some books that aren't necessarily bad, just 'dumb and
unplaceable, it's difficult to imagine book store owners knowing
what to do with them, let alone book buyers'

10. "Neighbours of Belgian airport produce CD with sounds of aircraft"
   < >
"Neighbours of a Belgian airport have produced a CD with sounds of
 landing and departing aircraft to protest against the noise that
 prevents them from sleeping"

If you need an excuse to settle for gift vouchers, mention this article:
* "So, Scrooge was right after all"
   < >
"Gift giving is irrational - unless, perhaps, you are hedging your
 bets... As an economist would put it, 'unless a gift that costs the
 giver p dollars exactly matches the way in which the recipient would
 have spent the p dollars, the gift is suboptimal'"

But if you're looking for something to get me for Christmas, here's a
gift that would make me very happy:
   < >
I'll have the 60GB model thanks ;)

Subject: B-List: Pre-Christmas Wrap
Date: Fri, 24 December 2004 9:26:42 AM

1. "True love's Christmas gift tally: $66,334"
   < >
"Each year, the Pittsburgh-based bank does a tongue-in-cheek tally of how
 much the drummers drumming, pipers piping, ladies dancing, turtle doves
 and golden rings would set you back if you bought them for your true
 love at today's prices"
   "PNC Advisors 12 Days of Christmas Price Index"
   < >

2. "Mary and Joseph role for The Beckhams"
   < >
"David and Victoria Beckhams' waxworks take the role of Mary and Joseph.
 President Bush, Tony Blair and The Duke of Edinburgh are the Three Wise
 Men and Kylie Minogue is the Guardian Angel"
[Arguably the most misguided casting ever, or someone has a wicked sense
 of humour]
   "Beckham nativity scene attacked in London"
   < >
"A protester has knocked over a controversial waxwork nativity scene
 featuring the England soccer captain David Beckham and his wife Victoria"

3. "Stars queue up to ask Santa for presents"
   < >
"'Santa to the Stars' Brady White earns 5,000 dollars (around £2,600) a
 night by listening to the Xmas wish lists of the famous"

4. "It's Santa brawls!"
   <,,91059-13263057,00.html >
"The world's biggest gathering of Santa Clauses has ended in a mass
 brawl... Some 4,200 people dressed as Father Christmas gathered in
 a small Welsh town for a charity festive fun run. But it turned into
 festive fisticuffs after some of the Santas headed to the pub for a
 seasonal tipple"

5. "Police escort for Santa"
   < >
"Father Christmas is to be given a police escort in a Scottish town
 after coming under attack from youths throwing rocks and bottles"

6. "Plot to oust Santa"
   < >
"A group of Germans wants to get rid of Santa, saying he has become a
 symbol of the commercialisation of Christmas"

7. "Festive Britons lead world for boozing and going away"
   <,15386,1377770,00.html >
"Britons can proudly claim to come top in the world league table this
 Christmas for getting out of their heads and getting out of the country"

8. "Marge to give Christmas message"
   < >
"The blue-haired cartoon character will make her broadcast from
 Springfield, and is expected to talk about the importance of families
 getting on"


If I don't get a chance to say it personally, I hope you have a happy
and safe Christmas.

Subject: B-List: Neighbourhood Disputes
Date: Tue, 28 December 2004 11:33:21 PM

1. "It's not easy being green for homeowner"
   < >
"[W]hen his neighbors called police last summer, complaining that the
 truck was noisy and an eyesore and the police made him move it, Mata,
 who says none of that's true, got mad. Then, he got even: He has
 painted his house a brilliant shade of fluorescent green. Serves you
 right, says Mata: 'Well, I thought if they said, 'The truck's an
 eyesore,' I'd give them a real eyesore'"

2. "Neighbour 'cut in chainsaw attack'"
       0,5478,11160743%255E1702,00.html >
"A man has allegedly cut through his neighbour's car door with a
 chainsaw, leaving the neighbour in a serious condition with stomach

3. "Lawyer posts poisonous snake to neighbour"
   < >
"Staton had asked for money for repairs to an vehicle he had bought
 from Jerrod. The demand escalated into an all-out feud between the
 neighbours, from Pocahontas in Arkansas, and Jerrod's father Bob
 suggested his son catch a poisonous snake and send it in the post"

4. "Hedge dispute might cost couple their home"
   < >
"When Paul Derwent and his wife Janet cut down 25 feet (7.6 meters)
 of laurel hedge on the boundary of their property in May 2000, they
 set off a legal dispute that now looks likely to cost them their
 home... The Derwents said they will have to sell their 600,000-pound
 (US$1.1 million) home, Linden House, to pay their 350,000-pound
 (US$630,000) legal bill"

5. "Man in court over abusive mynah bird"
   < >
"A Chinese man has taken his neighbour to court because his mynah bird
 keeps verbally abusing him"

6. "Dog's snore worse than its bite"
   < >
"A Romanian dog owner has been forced to leave his apartment after a
 court ordered his mastiff be removed from the building because its
 snoring was keeping the neighbours awake"

7. "Nightmare neighbor finally jailed"
   < >
"After being annoyed by a loud phone conversation, the man in his
 mid-30s decided to play music and movies at a decibel level that
 disturbed an entire neighborhood. The deafening revenge last from
 the summer of 2002 until the end of 2003"

8. "Flying ball sparks noisy neighbourly feud"
   < >
"A middle-aged Japanese housewife has been arrested for bombarding
 her neighbour around the clock for seven months with high-decibel
 sounds from a dozen radios and alarm clocks"

Subject: B-List: Clues Left at the Crime Scene
Date: Wed, 29 December 2004 11:21:47 PM

1. "Photogenic crooks catch themselves"
   < >
"[The crooks] playfully took snapshots of themselves while driving around
 in a stolen SUV... After their joyride, the men unwittingly left the
 disposable camera in the car, helping police identify and track them down"

2. "Wal-Mart 'thief' photo-finished"  [expired link]
   < >
"The clueless Long Island thief who posed for a picture while stealing
 $2,000 worth of digital camera equipment at a Wal-Mart is now posing for
 a mug shot"

3. "Burglar leaves photo at scene"
   < >
"[A]s he lurched away he dropped his keys, which had a picture of him on
 the fob above the words Jordan B"

4. "Britain's 'dumbest' criminal"
   < >
"A robber who left behind a mobile phone containing his picture has been
 dubbed Britain's dumbest criminal"

5. "Irish burglar tells homeowner his name"
   < >
"A man was caught breaking into a house in the Irish Republic after
 telling the owner who he was... When one of the occupants woke up and
 heard him moving around, she called out 'who's there?' to which he
 replied: 'It's me, Tommy'"

6. "Careless thief gave himself away"
   < >
"A German thief has been arrested after accidentally giving a victim
 his own wallet"

7. "Robbery suspect leaves big clue for cops"
   < >
"Police had help in tracking down a robbery suspect ... from the suspect.
 Police Chief Tom Casady said officers investigating a Nov. 11 robbery
 had a strong clue in a $75 check from the Cass County Jail to 39-year-
 old Kevin Martzett"

8. "Front door dumped illegally in Wales"
   < >
"Someone who illegally dumped debris by the side of a road was quickly
 traced because the junk included his front door, with the number still
 on it, authorities said Thursday. The other even more obvious clue was
 a letter found in a sofa that was part of the debris"

9. "Robbers leave details at crime scene"
   < >
"Officers detained them after finding that the pair had left their car
 rental details behind"

10. "Bungling phone thief leaves CPR copy behind"  [expired link]
   < >
[CPR = cellular phone rental]

11. "Thief left his x-rays at the scene"
   < >
"Police in Germany saw right through a teenage burglar after he left
 x-rays of himself at the scene of the crime"

Subject: B-List: Clues Left at the Crime Scene, DNA Edition
Date: Thu, 30 December 2004 12:10:43 PM

1. "Jewelry robber nabbed because he blew his nose"  [expired link]
   < >
"Police say a man who blew his nose before stealing diamonds from a
 West Bend jewelry store is a DNA match with a tissue he left behind"

2. "Burglar leaves stinker of a clue"
   < >
"Police in Sweden are confident of catching a burglar who used the
 toilet during a raid but forgot to flush"

3. "Man's dandruff leads to conviction"  [expired link]
   < >
"Pearson was arrested in June after DNA testing matched his dandruff
 with a swab of his saliva"

4. "Police point finger at jaguar fan"
   < >
"A New Mexico man has made a hasty exit from a zoo after climbing
 close to a cage to illegally pet a jaguar but police were able to
 track him down by the severed finger he left behind"

(a John West post)


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