After first telling a reporter she wanted to be executed, Jodi Arias — the name in the news everyone knows but no one can figure out why they know it or should care — has changed her mind and yesterday asked the jury for mercy, claiming she’ll do good deeds while in prison like designing T-shirts and donating her hair to make wigs for sick children. The jury is still deliberating her sentence but reportedly is considering letting her go free if she’ll also toss in her fingernails and exfoliated skin cells.
In an effort to help get people excited about the November launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft — that’s MAVEN to you —NASA is holding a Mars Needs Haiku contest. Three winning haikus will be included in a Limited Edition Special Deluxe DVD that will go up with the spacecraft and everyone who enters will have their name included. The deadline for submissions is July 1, with public voting to select the winners beginning on July 15. The winners will be announced August 8. Haikus must be original, in English, written especially for this mission, and of course be 17 syllables in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5. Like this:
Ah, to be on Mars
Poet Galactic Mad Dog
Who would have thunk it?
At a press conference today, a Dutch company named Mars One announced that they’re looking for people who want to fly to Mars in 2022, land seven months later in 2023, and stay there until they die because a one-way ticket is cheaper and, well, there’s no technology yet to get them back to Earth. “It’s likely that there will be a crematorium,” the CEO said. “It’s up to the people on Mars to decide what to do with their dead.” Anyone 18 or older can apply by submitting a video along with a check for $38. No word on whether you can apply to have someone else go on a one-way trip to Mars. You know, like a politician, say? Or your boss? How about that kid who held you down and put a worm on your head when you were seven? It sure would be worth $38 to send him to Mars.
Researchers in Germany say they’ve found arsenic in hundreds of samples of beer, some at levels more than twice that allowed in drinking water. Experts aren’t surprised, as the diatomaceous earth often used to filter beer and wine so it’s nice and clear contains various metals. The filtering process can leave traces of the metals, including arsenic, in the beer, though at much lower levels than your spouse has been adding over the past year.
A new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling asking people whether they believed in 20 “widespread and/or infamous” conspiracy theories found that 37% believe global warming is a hoax, 15% say the government or the media adds mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals, six percent say Osama bin Laden is still alive, 15% think the medical and pharmaceutical industries “invent” new diseases to make money, and 7% thought it was Bigfoot calling and hung up because they believe he could read their thoughts even though they were wearing their aluminum foil helmet.
For the first time, Jews in Israel can smoke cigarettes that are kosher for Passover this year. Last month a private group which certifies foods as kosher said Noblesse, Time, and Golf brand cigarettes may now be smoked during the holiday without guilt. Okay, with less guilt. A spokesperson, when asked whether it was appropriate, said, “Nu? You want to kill yourself? Far be it for us to tell you what to do. Go ahead, kill yourself slowly. Is it any of my business? You want quickly, maybe? The hardware store down the street, my brother Moishe works there, maybe he’s got kosher D-con. Tell him I sent you, he’ll give you wholesale. Feh!”
After his surprise visit to Baghdad on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd from the right — no, not that photo, that’s Ringo) couldn’t resist recreating the cover of The Beatles Abbey Road album as he walked across the tarmac of Baghdad International Airport with members of his staff. “I wanted to do the butcher version of their Yesterday and Today album but I found out Hilary already did that in Lebanon last year,” he said. “While it’s hard to top the great job Madeleine did with the Help album in Germany, I can only hope I get to do the Sgt. Pepper’s cover before my term is up.”
With World Water Day coming up, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted that more people around the world have cellphones than a clean, safe toilet. That’s right, 6 billion people have cellphones while only 4.5 billion have access to a clean toilet, meaning 2.5 billion people can’t talk on their cellphone while sitting on the commode. World Water Day is March 22nd. Put it on your cellphone calendar while you’re thinking of it.
CNN reports that “Black smoke rises from the chimney over the Sistine Chapel, indicating that a new pope has not yet been selected.” Earlier in the day a whiff of white smoke was spotted, causing a stir among onlookers, but it turned out that one of the Cardinals from California had brought his State Medical Marijuana Identification Card.
The next time you order a pizza with everything make sure you’re not in China. John Lehmann, a photojournalist with the Globe and Mail has been travelling through China and one of his photos that ran in the Globe shows a hotdog encrusted shrimp tempura pizza with mayonnaise he came across at a Pizza Hut. Perfect for the next P’zone Eating Contest. Can you handle it Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi?
The big home medical treatment in Mangalore, India, these days is Gomutra Arka, an Ayurvedic preparation made from distilled cow urine. Govanithashraya Trust, which manufactures gomutra arka, claims it’s “Effective in checking 109 types of diseases,” going on to say it “increases resistance power, life span and purifies the blood, reduces cholesterol and checks obesity. It is also effective in skin diseases, acidity, kidney ailments and other diseases.” Purchasers should be smart consumers and have their distilled cow urine checked to make sure there’s none of that cheap-ass distilled horse urine being snuck in there.
On the heels of the European horsemeat scandal, and just days after learning that the hamburgers and sausages they’ve been eating may actually be donkey or water buffalo, South Africans have discovered that biltong, the jerky made from “wild animals” may not be as advertised. Researchers testing biltong found, for example, that 90% of the sticks supposedly made of kudu – a large, curly-horned antelope – were actually horse, pork, beef, giraffe or even kangaroo. In a statement, Ikea swears there’s no biltong in their Swedish meatballs. Then again, they claim the legs on the popular Winëe table aren’t made of horsemeat either.
In continuing news from PopeFest 2013, soon-to-be Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told a large gathering in St. Peter’s Square that during his nearly 8 years as Pope, sometimes “the Lord seemed to sleep.” And snore. Interesting news but you don’t see god retiring because of it.
It’s official. After Pope Benedict steps down Thursday he’ll be addressed as “His Holiness” and have the official name and title “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman pontiff emeritus.” Beats going back to Joe Ratzinger. He’ll still wear his white robes, though without the spiffy papal adornments, but not his beloved red shoes. The word is he’ll wear brown ones that “he spotted and liked in Mexico.” Vatican staffers are planning a going away party for him at Noctuam Sonus — he loves their chicken wings — where he’ll be given a gold watch. With Roman numerals, of course.
In the press room after having won a Best Actress Oscar for Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway told reporters about the special strategy she uses when faced with criticism. “The miracle of the universe is that, as far as they know, there is 51% matter versus 49% anti-matter. Things tip in the scale of the positive and so that is what I focus on,” she said. Apparently she’s part of the remaining 2%, which is known as Doesn’t Matter.
If you thought Freddy vs. Jason was bad, at least you can take solace in the fact that it was a movie. Imagine being in India and having to vote in the election of Hitler vs. Frankenstein. It happened. In fact, Adolf Hitler was elected to a fourth term in the state assembly in the small state of Meghalaya, India. Others running against him included —True Fact Alert! — Frankenstein Momin, Billykid Sangma, Jhim Carter Sangma, and Field Marshal Mawphniang. Kind of makes you long for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
According to the headline of an NPR story, “One In Three Fish Sold At Restaurants And Grocery Stores Is Mislabeled.” So be careful and examine your packages of hot dogs really well.
Like many people, Marguerite Joseph of Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, lies about her age online. The difference is it’s not her fault. When Joseph signed up for Facebook two years ago the website wouldn’t let her input her birth year as 1908 and kept changing it to 1928. So for the past two years the 104-year-old is listed on her Facebook profile as being only 99. Her granddaughter says it’s “a glitch in the system.” Facebook has had no comment. Neither has Match.com or eHarmony, who both say if they published her correct age she’d be the first person on their sites to ever do so.
Wayne Lapierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, said in a speech yesterday that he was disappointed — to say the least — that President Obama didn’t mention school security in his State of the Union speech, reiterating that he thinks there should be armed guards in schools. He gave the speech at the National Wild Turkey Federation convention in Nashville, but didn’t specify whether the name of the organization reflected the demeanor of its members or their favorite beverage.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is in discussions to integrate data from Foursquare, a popular mobile app that lets your friends know when you’re at bars and restaurants, into their iPhone mapping app. It will be a nice touch to be able to know where your friends are even if you can’t get the right directions to find them.