Archive for August 2008

Welcome to Baghdadworld!

August 29th, 2008 — 9:51am

Iraq, which can’t keep electricity, oil, or water flowing, wants to build a giant Ferris wheel in Baghdad. The 650-foot high ride, to be called the Baghdad Eye in homage to the Ferris wheel in London with a very similar name, will have air-conditioned compartments that each carry 30 passengers. Officials are looking at three possible locations but are holding off on a decision until they see if any of the sites are razed by U.S. troops so they can save construction costs.


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Rats! Those Are Some High Food Prices

August 28th, 2008 — 10:52am

While food prices here in the U.S. have gone up 6 percent in the past year, that’s nothing compared to Cambodia, where people are paying four times as much for fresh rat meat. Yum! Considering beef currently runs around $2 a pound, cooking up a steaming pot of spicy field rat with garlic at $0.50 a pound is quite a bargain. Leftovers, anyone?

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And You Thought Your Old Computer Stinks

August 27th, 2008 — 10:25am

Asus has announced the new F6, a laptop computer that comes with an Intel Core2 Duo Processor, built-in WiFi, Windows Vista, a fingerprint scanner, and its own scent. Honestly. It’s available in four versions: pink Floral Blossom, Musky Black, pastel green Morning Dew, and Aqua Ocean, though the company’s press release notes that “The lifespan of fragrance depends on actual usage.” While teen girls will love them, the geeks will, uh, turn their noses up at it until the company comes out with scents they can relate to, like Pepperoni Pizza, Red Bull, and Five-Year-Old Unwashed Chuck Taylors.

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Losing Blubber

August 26th, 2008 — 10:41am

Scientists at the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo say whales have been steadily losing weight since the 1980s, and they blame it on global warming, not Jenny Craig. Don’t be surprised if when word reaches Curves, they take a hint from Bikram Yoga and turn up the heat in their studios to simulate increased global warming and cut back on krill and plankton growth.

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Where’s AAA When You Need Them?

August 25th, 2008 — 12:34pm

The Sunday night Los Angeles to San Diego Amtrak train was delayed when it sat on the track just outside San Diego for two hours because, well, it ran out of fuel. The 80 passengers on board counted their lucky stars they weren’t on a United flight when it happened.

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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

August 22nd, 2008 — 9:43am

The other day John McCain said you’re not rich unless you’re earning at least $5 million a year. The next day, when asked how many houses he owned, he didn’t know, saying, “I’ll have my staff get to you.” They did, saying he and his wife own four. According to PolitiFact, they actually own seven. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen, “A condo here, a mansion there, pretty soon it adds up to real real estate.”

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Now This Takes Guts

August 21st, 2008 — 10:52am

Charles Barkley, former NBA star and current game commentator, is considering having his colonoscopy aired as part of the Stand Up to Cancer TV special that will be shown on NBC, CBS, and ABC next month. If he goes through with it, it won’t be live like Katie Couric’s was in 2000, but will be taped. That’s because at 6’6″ Barkley probably has a lot more colon to be explored and there’s only so much time on the show.

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Just Call Me Big Mac For Short

August 20th, 2008 — 12:47pm

For years parents in Sweden weren’t allowed to give their children unusual names, like Burger King, Budweiser, or Motörhead, but now they can. The Swedish tax authorities, who for some reason have final say in naming newborns, have relented. “There is nothing negative about a name like Coca-Cola or McDonald’s today. In the 1970s, maybe it was,” says spokesperson Lars Tegenfeldt, who from now on will be known as Taco Bell Mountain Dew Jaggermeister AC/DC Tegenfeldt.

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What Am I, Chopped J-Lo Liver?

August 19th, 2008 — 9:20am

Jennifer Lopez was on Good Morning America yesterday to talk about training for the Malibu Triathlon. After the segment, she was overheard saying she “couldn’t understand why everyone is talking about that swimmer.” You know, Michael “Got Another Medal I Can Win?” Phelps. After all, she went on, she’s the one training for a triathlon six months after giving birth and “that was the big story right now, not ‘the swimmer’.” Yeah. What she said.

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Pot, Meet Kettle

August 18th, 2008 — 10:29am

Addressing the fighting in Georgia, American President Pot told Russian President Kettle on Friday that “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” He wisely waited until he was out of reporters’ earshot before bursting out in laughter.

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Let’s Play Clueless

August 15th, 2008 — 10:19am

Hasbro has updated the classic game, Clue. For starters, the characters have been given first names and bios. Miss Scarlet is an actress named Kasandra, Mr. Green is Jacob (and now African-American), and both Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum have been demoted to plain old Jack and Victor. Poor guys. Not only that, each character now has a special power to help them discover clues quicker. Don’t bother guessing that someone did it with the lead pipe, revolver, or wrench, they’re history. Nowadays murders are done with dumbbells, trophies, and poison. Oh, and it can happen in the theater, spa, or guest house now. Somehow “Kasandra in the hot tub with the New Age crystals” just doesn’t have the right ring.

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Oh, Is That What Our City Looks Like?

August 14th, 2008 — 10:51am

The city council of Birmingham, England, sent 720,000 pamphlets to city residents thanking them for doing so well with their recycling. In big red letters it said “Thank You Birmingham!” splashed across the city’s skyline. Okay, some city’s skyline. It turns out they used a photo of Birmingham, Alabama, by mistake. You’d think they’d know better since it’s not the first time this mix-up has happened. This past January three lawmakers who represent Birmingham—the English one—used a photo of the U.S. counterpart on their website. And just the other day the mayor asked the residents of nearby West Bromwich how they liked living in Mississippi.

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Size Doesn’t Matter. Height Does.

August 13th, 2008 — 9:41am

If you’re an engineer you might want to move to Poland. They could use you. A train tunnel that was recently completed in Warsaw, Poland, turned out to be too short for trains to fit in it. This follows on the heels of a truck bypass tunnel which was too low the trucks to fit in and the plans the Polish road authority made public in which two sections of major highway would have missed each other by five miles, each coming to its own dead end. Feel free to insert your favorite ’70s Polack joke here: __________________.

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The Virtual Olympics

August 12th, 2008 — 10:24am

You know the girl who captured everyone’s heart when she sang Ode to the Motherland during the opening ceremony of the Olympics? It turns out she was lip syncing. Authorities who attended rehearsals and saw the 7-year-old girl whose voice was actually heard thought she wasn’t cute enough to be on camera. Next, Chinese officials admitted that some of the fireworks TV viewers saw during the opening ceremony were actually computer generated graphics and previously shot footage which they used to augment the real thing. The next thing you know we’ll find out the badminton matches are being played using a Wii instead of rackets, Michael Phelps hasn’t actually been in the water at all and is really Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli, and the games are being held on a movie lot in Burbank.

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Don’t Believe Everything You Can’t See

August 11th, 2008 — 12:05pm

According to findings to be released later this week in the journals Science and Nature, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have created metamaterials that bend light around three-dimensional objects, making them invisible. The research was funded in part by the U.S. Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation’s Nano-Scale Science and Engineering Center, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the American Optometry Association.

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Shocking Statistics

August 6th, 2008 — 6:32pm

In case you thought electroshock therapy went the way of Randle McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, be warned that it’s making a comeback. According to the National Mental Health Association, the number of people who underwent electroconvulsive therapy last year tripled to 100,000 a year. Of that, 127 weren’t do-it-yourselfers who said, “Don’t worry honey, I don’t need to turn off the circuit breaker.”

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6.6 Degrees of Separation

August 5th, 2008 — 6:12pm

A Microsoft researcher found that the famous six degrees of separation is pretty darned on target. By sorting through the records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people they found that on average any two people are separated by 6.6 degrees. That means the researchers had the pleasure of reading 1,667 conversations per person. Was this mentioned in Microsoft Messenger’s privacy policy?

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…And Deliver Us From High Gas Prices

August 1st, 2008 — 10:19am

Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, held two prayer services at St. Louis gas stations on Monday asking God to lower fuel prices. As if he doesn’t have enough other things to worry about. On Thursday though, the average national gas price fell to $3.90. Meanwhile, Exxon reported it earned $11.7 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) in the second quarter, the highest quarterly operating profit in U.S. corporate history. Coincidentally, the other spots in the top ten list of quarterly earnings are also taken by Exxon. Sounds like Pray at the Pump was at the wrong gas station.

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