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Astronomy Picture of the Day


Thursday, May 22, 2008

He Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address

TOKYO - When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

"We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we've found Yosuke," Uemura said.

The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name and address for about two years.

But Yosuke apparently wasn't keen on opening up to police officials.

"I tried to be friendly and talked to him, but he completely ignored me," Uemura said.

Original here

Typo personalities

Armed with Sharpies, erasers and righteous indignation, two apostles of the apostrophe make it their crusade to rid the world of bad signs

Jeff Deck adds an apostrophe to the word mens at a clothing store in Wicker Park on Tuesday. He and his friend Benjamin Herson are traveling across the country correcting spelling and punctuation errors wherever they see them. (Tribune photo by Abel Uribe / April 29, 2008)

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson have not wasted their lives.

They fight a losing battle, an unyielding tide of misplaced apostrophes and poor spelling. But still, they fight. Why, you ask. Because, they say. Because, they must.

For the last three months, they have circled the nation in search of awkward grammar construction. They have ferreted out bad subject-verb agreements, and they have faced stone-faced opposition everywhere. They have shone a light on typos in public places, and they have traveled by a GPS-guided '97 Nissan Sentra, sleeping on the couches of college friends and sticking around just long enough to do right by the English language. Then it's on the road again, off to a new town with new typos.

Picture a pair of Kerouacs armed with Sharpies and erasers and righteous indignation—holding back a flood of mixed metaphors and spelling mistakes and extraneous punctuation so commonplace we rarely notice it anymore. But they are 28 and idealistic. Graduates of Dartmouth College, they are old friends with a schoolmarm's irritation at conspicuous errors, and despite their mild and somewhat nerdy exteriors, they have serious nerve. Deck lives outside Boston; Herson lives outside Washington. And together, they are TEAL—the Typo Eradication Advancement League—and they are between jobs.
So they approach a cafe, a shoe store, a visitors center.

They identify a typo on a sign, a label, a poster.

They point out the typo. They await the reaction.

This next part varies. They are greeted warmly (sometimes). They are told to go away (sometimes). They are gently blown off (usually). "We have not yet encountered fisticuffs," Herson said. But it's always a possibility. Often they make the needed alterations themselves, with compliance from a manager or supervisor. And when ignored, they have resorted to guerrilla tactics—slipping in a stray letter here, removing an errant comma there. They have found about 400 cringe-inducing examples of bad copy mistakes—on church signs and at Rockefeller Center, on sandwich boards and at the Grand Canyon.

That is, 400 examples they have brought to the attention of the powers that be. They have gone as far as correcting graffiti. Their tour ended this week.

Their route was circular. Deck began March 5 in Boston, drove to Virginia and picked up Herson; from there they worked their way clockwise around the country, from Atlanta to Texas to Seattle to Madison, with many stops in between. (Their blog is at and will be updated regularly, typo trip or no typo trip.) They swung into Chicago in late April—the town that gave birth to their guiding light, "The Chicago Manual of Style." They headed straight for Wicker Park. They tend to hunt for typos in "high-density text locations," in spots with more independent businesses than chains—indies being generally less attentive to flagrant sins against grammar than corporate conglomerates.

Deck, who decided to launch the tour after spotting typos in his shower curtain (it was covered in math terms and equations), arrived wearing an Indiana Jones hat. He had a watchful manner and rarely seemed to blink. His foil, Herson, a kind of Ratzo Rizzo of proper usage, was jumpier, squirrelly, eager to push Deck whenever an encounter with a store employee got awkward (which was every time).

We started down Milwaukee Avenue.

Immediately, Herson spotted an offense—a second-floor awning outside a tarot shop that advertised "Energy Stone's." They climbed the stairs to the second floor and approached a middle-age women with a quizzical expression. "We happened to notice the sign for energy stones," Deck said, "and there happens to be an extra apostrophe. 'Stone's' doesn't need the apostrophe."

"And?" she asked, her voice flat with annoyance.

"And we wanted to bring it to your attention," Deck said.

As they spoke, the woman's daughter stepped into the room and shouted: "Oh my God! I saw you guys on 'Good Morning America.' Tell me, tell me—what did we get wrong?" She sounded genuinely thrilled. (Actually, they were on "The Today Show.") Herson explained the typo on the awning. Deck said he understood that the mistake is out of the way and not easy to fix, but he asked them to promise that they would fix it—soon.

"Don't know if we can ..." the woman said.

Deck said they've heard that a lot.

Back on the street, Deck said poor use of the apostrophe was their most commonly encountered typo. "It's like a virus," he said. Herson agreed: "It really is contagious, I think. Especially the lack of them in possessives." (For instance, parking lot signs explaining that any unauthorized vehicles will be towed "at owners expense" have been particularly pervasive.)

They continued down Milwaukee.
A block later, they stopped. Outside a clothing store, Deck noticed the lack of an apostrophe in the window type—it read "Women's & Mens." They entered, and two clerks with white-blond hair perked up.

"Hi, we're driving around the country fixing typos," Deck explained, "and we noticed one side of your sign out front has an apostrophe and one doesn't for some reason. So we were wondering if you have a spare apostrophe we could stick in there. Or I could just do it."

"My, that's specific," the first clerk said.

"I'm not sure we keep spare apostrophes," the other said.
"Very observant," the first clerk said.

"Amazing, actually," the other said.

Deck reached behind him for the clear plastic pencil case attached to his camera strap. He asked if he could add the apostrophe, and the clerks huddled, then shrugged. Inside his case were dry erasers for white boards and Sharpies and different colored markers and chalk and bottles of Wite-Out and a few pens and a handful of crayons, because you never know. Deck crouched down in the window and carefully painted a matching apostrophe on the glass with a Wite-Out brush; then he stepped back.

"Thank you for making our window a better place," one clerk said.

"Thank you for letting us."

They continued on.

Their mission, Deck said, is to raise typo awareness—after each stop Deck has blogged about the goofs found and the typos corrected. "I've always noticed typos," he said, "and one day I just decided to take action. I thought it would be great to go national and see if there were patterns." He said he detects a general erosion of good grammar, from coast to coast, region to region. "If we can inspire enough people to carry Sharpies and help out, then we will be satisfied and happy."

Until recently, Deck did administrative work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Herson worked at Borders. But they had saved a little money, and so they set out. Of course they want a book deal—they've had interest, they say. But they are also sincere in their goal. Maybe too sincere. There's an element of performance art here—an invisible line between genuine and absurd that they approach with each fresh encounter. They press their faces close to even the most innocuous handwritten neighborhood leaflet and scan carefully. They don't smirk. But you detect one anyway, studiously smothered.

They entered a men's clothing store near Ashland Avenue. The large faded metal sign out front read "Mens Clothing." They swung open the door. An older man was resting his elbows on a shirt rack. They approached. Deck spoke. "We noticed your sign."

The man said nothing. Deck explained it needed an apostrophe. The man is Robert Marks, the manager. He is 60 years old and said he had been coming to this store (founded in 1914) since he was a child. (He said the sign is at least as old as he is.) He listened to them explain why the grammar on the sign was wrong. And then he shrugged, never changing his expression.

Deck asked if he had a ladder, so he could climb up and ...

"Don't worry about it," Marks said.

"We could jus ... "

"Leave it alone."

Outside, back on Milwaukee, I asked Deck if there wasn't charm to certain mistakes—that didn't his drive to eradicate honest goofs from the awnings and sandwich boards of every neighborhood mom and pop remove a little charm from the landscape. Isn't he unintentionally helping to hide the human hand in cities that are quickly succumbing to a slick numbing sameness? Is all of this really worth it?

He stopped.
"Well," he said, considering the point. "We worry there are cases when someone is trying to say something and they won't be taken seriously because their sign is riddled with mistakes. We don't want to see more chains. But a grocery store that can't spell grocery [as he encountered in California] makes you question the food they sell. I think charm can manifest in different ways."

Chicago, Deck would say later, had been nice—as nice as New Orleans. But at the time of the hunt, they fretted that their percentage of typos corrected to typos spotted was being thrown. They had been at around 50 percent, but again and again they encountered clerks who said the boss was not around, so no changes could be made. Deck and Herson looked pained.

Then they looked stricken. There, high above Milwaukee Avenue, was a sign for Milwaukee Furniture. And Milwaukee was spelled "Milwuakee." "Wow," Deck said sarcastically. "Wow. I mean, Milwaukee is far away and everything. I mean, isn't this Milwaukee Avenue too? Oh, I think they need to be told about this." Herson checked the opposite side of the sign—misspelled there too. They entered a store full of furniture but devoid of customers. Behind a metal desk covered in stapled receipts sat a large guy in a black T-shirt. He squinted as they approached.

"We couldn't help notice your sign," Deck said. "The one that juts over the sidewalk?"
"OK," the guy replied.

"The name of the store is misspelled."


"It's correct on the awning, but the letters are inversed on the sign," Deck said.


"And we were wondering if there was any way you could get it fixed," Deck replied.

"The manager is not here. Tomorrow."

"It's huge," Deck said. "Believe me, if we could fix that thing we would. If it were within our power."

"Could you let your boss know?" Herson asked.

The man smiled and looked toward the street. "I never noticed."

" 'Dining room' is spelled wrong too," Deck said. The store sign was a big enough goof that the mistakes he had spotted on the awning seemed small. But he couldn't help himself. "['Dining'] has too many letters," he told the man.

"I'll tell him."

"He'll change it?"

"I'll tell him."

"You guys should get a refund from your sign guys."

"I'll tell him."

They left. Herson started down the block—headed for a "matress" in need of a "t."

But Deck spun on his heels and turned back to the furniture shop and stared at the looming "Milwuakee." He'd learned a lot during this trip—walk away from a human powder keg, never bring up a typo on a menu until after you've finished eating your meal, our understanding of proper punctuation is shaky at best. And generally, people don't care.

He groaned and walked to the window. He pressed his forehead to the glass, then gently banged it against the pane. He stepped back and stared. "It's bigger than my head," he said, incredulous. "And you know it's not going to get fixed either."
Original here

Teenage boy jailed for taking call in court

A MAGISTRATE has jailed a teen for answering his mobile phone in court.

The 17-year-old let his mobile ring with the music of US rapper Akon before he answered the call while sitting in the front row of Darwin Magistrates Court yesterday.

When the teen "backchatted'' after he was told off, magistrate Daynor Trigg shouted across the courtroom and sent him to the court cells for three hours.

The magistrate said he could have confiscated the phone for 28 days for the "rude'' act.

"How dare you answer a phone in court ... that allows transmissions from court ... which is a serious contempt,'' he shouted at the teen when he answered the phone.

When the teen waved it off as "my bad'', Mr Trigg ordered he be taken away.

The teen was in court to face two charges of entering a dwelling with intent and stealing when his phone rang, and Mr Trigg charged him with contempt of court.

When the youth was brought back into court he apologised.

"Sorry your honour for um ... having my phone on and answering it during court and backchatting,'' the teen said.

Click here to read the full story in the Northern Territory News

Original here

Romp in woods ends in charges for airline workers

An airline pilot was found hiding behind a shed wearing only flip-flops and a wristwatch as a nighttime romp in the woods with a flight attendant ended with both under arrest.

Jeffrey Paul Bradford, 24, and Adrianna Grace Connor, 24, both employees of Pinnacle Airlines Inc., were at a diner on the outskirts of Harrisburg on Sunday night before they apparently decided to walk into the woods, police said.

"They told the officer they wanted to go do it in the woods, essentially," said Lower Swatara Township police Sgt. Richard Brandt. "That's the best answer they had."

The two somehow became separated, and people who live in the neighborhood summoned police around 9:30 p.m., saying they had seen a naked man and an intoxicated woman.

A helicopter with heat-seeking equipment was called in, and Bradford was discovered hiding behind a shed shortly before midnight.

His only attire was a pair of flip-flops and a wristwatch.

Bradford, of Pittsburgh, was charged with indecent exposure, public drunkenness and other offenses. Connor, of Belleville, Mich., was charged with theft from a motor vehicle, public drunkenness and other offenses; police said she took a flashlight from a neighbor's vehicle.

A spokesman for the Memphis, Tenn., airline said the two were suspended while the company investigates.

The office of District Justice Michael John Smith, where Bradford and Connor were arraigned, said they were not represented by lawyers. Telephone listings for them could not be located by The Associated Press.

Original here

8 Types Of Annoying People You’ll Find Inside Starbucks

Here are 8 types of people you’ll find inside a Starbucks that are guaranteed to annoy the shit out of you.

8. Manager Who Refuses to Recognize the Words Small, Medium, and Large

I understand, you’re a corporate guy and thus must abide by company policies by calling the different sizes by their Starbucks Christian names of Venti, Grande, etc…. But if I ask you for a small, don’t act like I’m speaking to you in that Native American langauge we used in World War II to deliver coded messages. You’re familiar with the sizes small, medium and large, and if you’re not, then you might want to change underwear because there’s a good chance there’s a sizeable amount of shit in them due to your inability to grasp the concept of wiping your asshole after defecating.

7. Intern Who is Buying for the Entire Office

Wearing an all-white or striped button down shirt, this guy shows up with a legal pad full of hastily scribbled orders. “Yeah, I’m gonna need 24 tall skinny soy lattes with sugar free hazelnut extra hot…and 32 grande no caff cappuccinos with light whip cream, sugar free hazelnut and vanilla with white chocolate mocha. And 14 grande supremos with a triple shot, sugar free vanilla, extra white mocha, no whip, no foam and an extra drizzle. Oh, and can I get a smiley face on the bottom of all those?” And he knows if one of these orders is screwed up, it’s going to cost him a chance at the a full-time gig as assistant editor where he can bring coffee to even more important people. So instead of just grabbing his bags and leaving, he inspects all 70-odd cups in his 17 flimsy cardboard holders. If you get behind this guy, you may as well give up any hopes of getting a cup of joe in your lifetime. You’re better off flying to Colombia, slitting Juan Valdez’s throat and stealing his coffee-harvesting burro.

6. The Writer Who Wants You to Know They’re a Writer


Being a writer is a pretty cool occupation, but unfortunately you can’t tell someone’s a writer just by looking at them. And having to tell someone you’re a writer is way less impressive. Therefore, these people go to the busiest Starbucks and pop open their iMac, making sure their screen is clearly displaying a full page of text (or clear screenplay format for those in Los Angeles). Their next step is to make sure they’re facing away from where everyone goes to pick up their drinks while staring at the screen while remembering to take deep breaths which will indicate to others that deep and creative thought that normal minds are not capable of, is taking place. Who gives a shit if an asshole and his mac have spent six hours taking up a table normally reserved for four people, it’s important you know that they’re juggling a complex story about a boy in Alaska who comes of age and befriends a bear. That’s right, they’re creating that using only their minds!

5. Overly Happy Line Greeter/Order Taker


At some point, the Starbucks Corporation realized that their growing legions of employees didn’t have the best people skills. Their answer was to create their own version of the Wal-Mart Greeter who also takes your order. But since they don’t pay shit, you end up having some G.E.D.-havin’ dumbass or an excruciatingly-lonely elderly woman force their brand of corporate chit-chat down your throat. Instead of waiting to pay for your overpriced chai in peace, you have to deal with: “Goooooood morning today! How are you? Some kinda weather we’re having isn’t it? I wish I was outside in the park! Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s sooooo sunny! And what’s better for you than a nice big dose of Mr. Sun! Maybe some coffee? Ha! So, what can we get you today? Need a little pick-me-up? You do! I think we ALL could use one, yes we could! YES WE COULD! Anyway, I’ll get this chai order right up for you. What’s your name? Terry? That’s my cousin’s name! Small world. Yes. It. Is. Small world indeed….Hi! And how are you doing today?!?!”

4. Complicated Order Guy Who Needs his Coffee Right The F*&K Now.


When you order coffee, it shouldn’t sound like you’re giving the pass code to a missile defense system. If you’re lactose intolerant, on a strict diet, and can’t handle a full dose of caffeine, how about instead of ordering a “non-fat, grande, soy chai latte with a half shot of espresso and no foam” and then stand in front of the pick up window and pace like one of Michael Vick’s pitbulls watching Vick pull out the rape stand after losing a fight, you just grab a glass of god damn water and drink that. Last I checked that won’t give you exploding diarrhea or anxiety… unless you’re at the Starbucks in Tijuana.

3. The Guy Who Hates Starbucks But Goes There Every Day

Armed with armchair political rants, this guy is the world’s biggest bore and the world’s biggest hypocrite combined into one big uber-shithead. He won’t shut up about how Starbucks is bad for the environment and how they’re taking over the world and how their coffee totally “doesn’t taste like the gourmet stuff downtown.” But when you bring up the fact that he’s ranting about Starbucks while he’s actually inside a Starbucks, his crappy hippie-wannabe excuses just start piling up. “Well, here’s the thing, I just didn’t have time to make it over to my usual coffee place. You know the one way over on 2nd Ave? Yeah, it’s one of the last mom and pop coffee shops in the area. I toooootally love that place. It’s so real. I was on my way over there, but the traffic was a killer, so I was totally forced to get my fix at this place. I mean, the rich get richer, right? That’s the law of the land. I totally can’t stand that I have to come here, but that’s what they do. They tie your hands, man. These big corporations. They just own you. They’re everywhere. Can you hand me one of those Splenda?”

2. Study Groups

Hey, screw the library with all it’s “room” and “group space.” It makes way more sense to go to an incredibly busy and crowded Starbucks with tables that have insufficient space to lay your books. Everyone knows you have a poli-sci midterm, mostly because they can hear every fucking thing you’re saying because you’re yelling so that you can be heard over a frappucino being made. If you could, would you hold a study group session in a Turkish prison? Because Starbucks is basically the same thing, except with less gay sex, and a little bit better coffee.

1. The Person Who Peruses the DVD Section As If They Might Purchase.

It’s really great when you’re waiting in line behind somebody only to realize that they’re not in line, but instead deciding whether or not they want to purchase the “Pursuit of Happyness” DVD. “Gee what’s this movie Pursuit of Happyness about? I didn’t hear of it last summer when it grossed over 100 million dollars. Even though I’ve come here for coffee, I should carefully peruse the back cover to find out more about it!” Also, please don’t pick up a copy of “Akeelah and the Bee” as if you were going to buy it. No one buys that movie. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not even a real movie, it was just a box cover created by a group of white Starbucks executives so that customers could hold it in their hands and pretend to read the back, giving the impression to those around them that they’re progressive thinkers who seek out and enjoy films with African American casts.

Original here