Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dogs Rescued from Tn. Puppy Mills Arrive in D.C. Area

Hundreds of dogs were rescued from deplorable conditions at a Tennessee kennel, and about 100 of them were brought to the D.C. area for adoption.

GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Nearly 100 dogs taken from what Tennessee prosecutors describe as the worst puppy mill in the state's history arrived in the D.C. area Monday in hopes of finding new homes.

Rescuers say the animals were kept in deplorable conditions, some of which proved to be fatal for several animals. Law enforcement officials say nearly 700 dogs in all were found living in filth with their breeder.

"Our main concern was to get the puppies and dogs off of that property," said District Attorney Kim Helper.

Helper says the owner of the kennel could face animal cruelty charges.

"That would be an 'a' misdemeanor, which would be 11 months, 29 days in the county jail—or up to that amount," said Helper.

Local veteran animal rescuer Scott Haisley says he's never seen anything like it.

"Well, I've been rescuing animals for about 18 years now and this is definitely among the worst," said Haisley.

Tennessee officials reached out to the Humane Society of the United States, which is now placing the dogs in foster homes. Eventually, they hope to adopt them to new owners.

The sad irony, however, is that the Humane Society says there are so many animals already in shelters across this country that if people were simply to adopt those animals, the demand for dogs from so-called puppy mills would decrease dramatically.

"It's a tragedy when we have 10,000 puppy mills churning out two to four million dogs a year, when you have three to four million euthanized in shelters," said Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States.

The dogs that came to the D.C. area were lucky. After a medical checkup and a few weeks to regain their strength, they'll be ready to begin the next chapter of their lives with new owners. No one will be happier about that than the man who helped rescue them.

"We were able to open our arms of compassion and promise that their suffering has ended," said Haisley. "That's remarkable."

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Traffic ticket equals free headset?

Drivers beware. As you know by now, a new hands-free law goes into effect in California and Washington state starting July 1. Drivers in these two states are encouraged to either avoid answering calls while driving or head to the nearest store to buy a hands-free device if their car doesn't already come with one.

While this hands-free law is a second offense in Washington, Californians aren't going to be so lucky since the state made this law a primary offense, meaning chatty drivers risk being pulled over for simply holding the phone to their face. Unfortunately, the inevitable will happen and people will be slapped with a fine for falling into old habits, so what's a driver to do if they can't afford a hands-free device?

This is where an online retailer and a law firm hopes to comes in. The Mercury News says will be giving away 730 Bluetooth headsets in the next 30 days to drivers in California who get a ticket for not using a hands-free device. And the headsets they're giving away aren't bad either. The Plantronics Discovery 925 retails for $150 online, and is actually one of the more stylish Bluetooth headsets out there.

But seriously, nobody wants to get a ticket in order to get a free headset, so the smartest thing to do is find out who is giving away freebies in their area.

Those living in the San Francisco Bay Area can take advantage of the free headset campaign Berg Injury Lawyers is running this week. The law firm will be handing out 2,000 Plantronics MX150 Mobile headsets starting this Thursday in response to the new law. To get one, you'll have to fill out a form, print a voucher, and head to the nearest Berg Injury Lawyers law firm to pick one up.

If anyone else knows of any other promotions, let us know in the comments section below. I myself will update this post if I spot any other freebies.

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10 Things That Are (Almost) Impossible To Do With Your Body

There are things that you think you should be able to do with your body. But if you’re like 99.9999% of people in the world, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite manage to do it.

Here is a list of things that are impossible to do with your body, and the few mutants who can do ‘em:

10. Raise One Eyebrow

I can raise both of my eyebrows in bewilderment on how some people can raise just one. In fact, I know only one person in my life who can do this: my mother-in-law, who said that her ability just came to her during the pain of childbirth - and that this superpower was very useful in raising kids. Well, her and of course Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock: "Fascinating, Captain"), Sean Connery, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Stephen Colbert.

Some people call this the eyebrow cock, and it is known as the universal sign of O RLY … I mean, skepticism. The ability to raising eyebrows may be an evolutionary trait: baboons, mandrills and cebus monkeys raise their eyebrows as a threat gesture. (Source: David Givens / Center for Nonverbal Studies).

For all of you who want to do this (and yes, geeks who want to imitate Mr. Spock: I’m talkin’ to you), it turns out that you can learn to raise one eyebrow. Here’s the trick, according to wikiHow:

1. Start by keeping one eyebrow down with one hand and holding one up with the other. Keep practicing this in the mirror so you can
detect the correct muscle movement to obtain one eyebrow up.
2. Once you are familiar with this and can do it quite well, try it with out using your hands.
3. Practice this in the mirror intil you get it just right
4. Scare and thrill people with your new talent!

Didn’t work for you? Try the methods in this Ask MetaFilter thread or this Yahoo! Answer.

9. Lick Your Elbow

Photo: Gussy (Luke) [Flickr]

I once read a trivia that said it’s impossible to lick your own elbow. And that 75% of the people told this immediately tried to lick their elbows.

Well! It’s obviously not so impossible for some people. Supposedly, Guinness World Records get about 5 claims a day from people who think that they are special just because they can lick their elbows (Source).

8. Gleeking

Patrick Ellison gleeking. Photo by Josh Devine [Wikipedia]

Okay, it is kind of gross but it’s fascinating. Gleeking (or gleeting / glicking) is like spitting - but not quite: the term means projecting saliva from the submandibular gland upon compression by the tongue.

Interestingly, the word gleek appears in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where a character named Bottom says "Nay, I can gleek upon occasion." (The Bard meant it as "joke," though, not spit like a camel)

7. Twitch Your Nose

Y’know, twitch your nose like the witch Samantha Stephens of Bewitched.

Elizabeth Montgomery, the actress that played Samantha, actually got sick and tired of being asked to twitch her nose by her fans that she refused to do it after the series was over.

They should bring back Bewitched. I missed that show.

6. Wiggle Your Ear

Jeff Goldblum wiggling his ears [YouTube]

Your cat can do it. And so can the hippo and Jeff Goldblum. But only few other people in the world can wiggle their ears. It turned out that in 2006, scientists determined exactly why most people couldn’t wiggle their own ears:

"The mechanism behind ear movements is sophisticated," says Bastiaan ter Meulen, who led the ear wiggling study, accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.

Unlike other facial muscles, ear muscles have their own accessory nucleus, a control area for muscle function, in the brainstem, says ter Meulen, a researcher at Erasmus MC, a university medical centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

"Compared to animals, especially bats and cats, this nucleus is rather small in humans," he says. (Source)

But fear not, non-ear wiggling people! You can train yourself to do it. WikiHow explains:

Isolate your ear-wiggling muscles. You may be able to wiggle your ears, but it won’t be that impressive if you have to raise your eyebrows or look awfully surprised every time. You may not be able to move your ears without moving your scalp, but you should be able to learn to move them without moving your eyebrows. Practice wiggling your ears without moving any other parts of your face.

5. Touch Your Nose or Chin With Your Tongue

This is much better than a photo of Gene Simmons sticking his tongue out!
Photo: floyka [Flickr]

I betcha Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS could do both easily, but most people can’t touch the tip of their nose or their chin with their tongue. Rumor was Gene had a cow’s tongue grafted onto his own. But Snopes, ever the party pooper, set the record straight:

But, as Simmons wrote in his autobiography, his unusual tongue was indeed the work of Mother Nature alone, a feature whose distinctiveness (and value) he first realized in his early teens:

I was oblivious, for the first thirteen years of my life, that I was endowed with a large oral appendage, my superlong tongue. It really was longer than everyone else’s, and I was soon to find out that having a long tongue came in handy with the girls.

4. Strange Tongue Tricks

While we’re still on the subject of tongues, there are a few tricks that most people can’t do (just don’t get a tongue cramp trying to do all these, mmkay?):

Tongue tricks by YouTube user tinasandwich [YouTube Link]

Just go ahead and try to to the last one, the smiley face, like YouTube user a51a did [YouTube Link, shaky video but still!]

3. Sneeze with Your Eyes Open

Nope, you can’t sneeze with your eyes open (well, without forcing ‘em open with your hands, anyhow). Why? Because when you sneeze, the "sneeze center" in the brain "sends coordinated motor impulses along nerves controlling muscles of the abdomen, chest, diaphragm, neck, face, eyelids and various sphincters, as well as the mucus glands and blood vessels of the nose. All this happens automatically." (Source) You can’t help it.

Now, if you did force open your eyes, would your eyeballs pop out when you sneeze? Adam Savage of The Mythbuster risked his eyes doing the experiment:

The Mythbuster: Will Your Eyes Fall Out From Sneezing? episode [YouTube]

2. Tickle Yourself

We all have a ticklish spot or two, which are never a secret from the ones we love. Gentle tickling is fun - so one can be tempted to "auto-tickle" to amuse oneself. But alas, you can’t tickle yourself, and scientists actually know why.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London explains:

The answer lies at the back of the brain in an area called the cerebellum, which is involved in monitoring movements. Our studies at University College London have shown that the cerebellum can predict sensations when your own movement causes them but not when someone else does. When you try to tickle yourself, the cerebellum predicts the sensation and this prediction is used to cancel the response of other brain areas to the tickle. (Source)

1. Toot Your Own Horn

I’m going to let Will Ferrell in the famous SNL yoga skit explain this one ("Look, I’ve done yoga everyday for three years … now I’ve finally reached my goal"). Or if you prefer something more literary: There once was a man from Nantucket …

All right, all right, this one’s only for the guys: Why do dogs lick their balls? Because they can. And apparently, so can 2 to 3 out of 1,000 men in the world, according to sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. (Source)

As stand-up comedian Bill Hicks once famously quipped:

"A woman one night yelled out, ‘Yeah, you ever try it?’ I said, yeah. Almost broke my back. It’s that one vertebrae, I swear to God, it’s that close. I think that vertebrae is going to be the thing to go in our next evolutionary step. Just a theory and a fervent prayer. Yeah, now all the guys are going, ‘Honey, I have no idea what he’s talking about. I think he’s a devil-child.’ That may be true, but guys, yoooo u know what I’m talking about. I can speak for every guy in this room here tonight, guys, if you could blow yourselves, ladies, you’d be in this room alone right now. Watching an empty stage." (Source)

Because Neatorama is a nice blog, I’m just going to let you read all about autofellatio over on Wikipedia (warning: NSFW, obviously).

Bonus: The Paralyzed Finger Trick

Okay, give this one a try: bend your middle finger like the picture on the left shows and put your hand on the table. Then lift your thumb, index finger, and pinkie. No problem, right? Now try the ring finger.

Stepanie Weaver of Science Made Simple explains why you can’t:

The tendons in your fingers are independent from one another apart from the ones in your middle and ring finger. These tendons are connected, so that when your middle finger is folded down you cannot move your ring finger. It feels like your ring finger is stuck!

Bonus: Draw The Number Six While Making Clockwise Circles With Your Leg

Think you can multitask? Try this: while sitting on a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Then, while doing that, draw the number 6 with your right hand. You can’t help it: your foot will change direction.

Similarly: move your right leg in anti-clockwise circles and simultaneously draw the number 8 with your right hand.

Another tricky thing to do: simultaneously rotate the index fingers of both hands clockwise. Do it slowly at first, but then pick up speed. Try to go faster and faster, and pretty soon your two fingers will be going in opposite directions!

Bonus: Put Your Fist in Your Mouth

Well, the steps are easy enough: 1. Make a fist, and 2. Insert into mouth - but most people can’t do it, except the few (all women it seems) who have a) small fists and b) big mouths!

For example:

[YouTube clip]


If you’ve got more things that seemingly easy to do but are actually
impossible, I’d love to hear them - please add them to the comment section.

Original here

Drunken Swede tries to row home from Denmark

A drunken 78-year-old Swede stole a dinghy after a night out in the Danish town of Helsingor and tried to row back to Sweden, but fell asleep halfway, Danish police said.

When the man discovered he lacked the necessary funds to pay for the ferry from Helsingor to Helsingborg in Sweden on Saturday, he decided to row the three miles across the strait of Oresund that separates the two.

He quickly grew tired and, trusting fortune and the currents to see him safely home, took a snooze at the bottom of the boat, where Danish police later found him out at sea, still asleep.

The strait is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Police said the owner of the dinghy had decided not to press charges.

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Just Say 'Yes' To Telemarketers

Want to drive a telemarketer crazy and amuse yourself at the same time? Here's an example of how to do it.

The secret, apparently, is to make every third or fourth yes mean something entirely new through the magic of inflection—but you'll have to stay committed to it even when the telemarketer catches on, which may result in a self-inflicted insult.

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13 Last Requests That Prove It's OK to Laugh at Dead People

By Ian Fortey

All of us will die some day. We think we'll start every article with that from now on, just to set the right tone. But death isn't all bad. Because in addition to ungrateful kids and a foul smell, you get to leave behind batshit insane requests that people pretty much have to honor.

Fredric Baur Gets Canned

Back in the '60s, Baur was the man who finally got sick of chips being all willy-nilly in big disorganized bags, and invented the Pringles tube we all know, love and store our weed in. A few weeks ago Mr. Baur captured a nation's attention and journalistic integrity when he made his family jam his remains into one of his pillars of delicious.

It's unclear if he wanted his remains to stay fresh longer than leading dead body or just wanted to render the slogan "Once you pop, you can't stop" creepy instead of vaguely obscene. But what we really want to know is if everybody in the food packaging industry does it that way? Is there some guy out there who had himself frozen into a Push Pop? Or compressed into a can of aerosol cheese?

Mark Gruenwald Gets Immortalized in Print (literally)

Mark Gruenwald was a writer and editor at Marvel Comics and did his most famous work on Captain America. His final request was to have his ashes mixed in with some ink and used to print the trade paperback version of Squadron Supreme.

Today, somewhere in the world, there are 4,000 copies of the book containing the remains of Mr. Gruenwald, making every comic book with a special edition holo-foil cover look pretty lame by comparison. So if you have a first run issue of Squadron Supreme that makes the room 20 degrees colder and causes the walls to weep blood, now you know why.

Dr. Harold West Declines Vampirism

Dr. West, a British man, knew only one thing about the afterlife: that he didn't want to come back a fucking vampire.

Thus in 1972, well past the time something this ridiculous shouldn't have been allowed, he left instructions for his doctor to ram a steel stake through his heart so that he wouldn't come back as a night-dwelling blood sucker.

This further begs the question as to why he'd say steel when everyone knows you need wood to kill a vampire, unless it was all a ruse so that he really could come back without anyone knowing. Vampires are crafty like that.

John Bowman Packs a Lunch

Bowman was a tanner who left a $50,000 trust fund so that a team could maintain his mansion and a mausoleum from his death in 1891 to 1950 when the trust finally ran out. What's so strange about that?

Well, the servants maintaining the property also had to make dinner every night, the reason being that Mr. Bowman was pretty sure he and his family would be reincarnated together and would be hungry when they got back home. We can only hope they all didn't come back in 1951, because they were probably hungry as hell by then.

Jeremy Bentham Performs a Wax Haunting

Bentham, who gave the world utilitarianism, also gave the creeps to everyone at London Hospital for almost a century after he passed away.

All his cash went to the hospital, which they probably enjoy, but with the stipulation that they take his body as well. And while some people donate their bodies to science, Bentham just wanted to be hollowed out and cast in wax, and then have his creepy wax likeness sit in on hospital board meetings.

The hospital agreed and for 92 years he sat in on meetings and was presumably recorded as not voting at every single one. As many meetings as he attended after his death, we're guessing he turned up in about three times as many board member nightmares.

Ernest Digweed Leaves Money to the Lord

Digweed, who we assume was either extremely devout or just a few apples short of a pie, left $47,000 to Jesus back in the late '70s. Jesus had 100 years to show up (80 now, clocks ticking Of Nazareth) and claim the money or it all goes to the state. Instructions were given for the money to be invested in government bonds, meaning that if the Lord shows up at the agreed upon drop time, he'll be able to claim over $600,000.

Predictably, problems have arisen as more than one Jesus has shown up to claim the prize, which we suppose is good news because it looks like there's at least twice as much savior walking around as we thought. Though it appears they're all strapped for cash, which totally ruins our screenplay Lamborghini Christ in which Jesus is a wealthy kingpin trying to get out of the Miami drug game before it's too late.

T.M. Zink Thinks Girls are Gross

Zink, a lawyer from Iowa who died back in 1930, was apparently one of the Little Rascals in his spare time because he left his entire estate to making a "no girls allowed" club.

Exactly $50,000 of his money was to be left in trust for 75 years, until he figured he'd have about $3 million. At that point the money was to be used to fund the Zink Womanless Library, in what would have been the year 2005.

He wanted signs that said "No Women Allowed" on each entrance and the library was to contain nothing created by a woman, including books, art or decorations.

This clever idea was explained in his will when he said, "My intense hatred of women is ... the result of my experiences with women, observations of them and study of all literatures and philosophical works." That was probably Zinky's way of saying he got shot down a lot and figured he'd take it out on all womankind from beyond the grave. Because there's nothing more insulting than being barred from a library. Unfortunately for Zink, some of the people in his family turned out to be women, and they challenged the will and won.

Audrey Jean Knauer's Death Wish

Knauer loved Death Wish. Or Death Wish 2. Or 5. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that Audrey loved Charles Bronson and left almost $300,000 to him even though she'd never met him.

Her family weren't entirely thrilled with that and didn't think the fact that she'd written her will by hand on a list of emergency phone numbers should be entirely legally binding. But nonetheless, she specifically pointed out that she wanted her mother to get nothing, probably because she couldn't kick nearly as many punk asses as Bronson. The best part? When the linked article was filed, Bronson had already taken half of the money. He actually took it!

And though he claimed he was giving it to charity, we're assuming that was code for "to buy huge-ass handguns for bitter crime victims."

David Davis had a Drunk Wife (or Wished He Did)

Presumably not the most happily of married men back in 1788, Davis left the sum of five shillings to his wife, which is around 50 cents. Davis wasn't necessarily a cheap man, just somewhat embittered as the 50 cents came with the explanation that it was to "enable her to get drunk one last time" at his expense.

The most awesome thing we can learn from this is that, back in 1788, you could get drunk for 50 cents. Once we get that flux capacitor working, we know exactly what year we're going to.

Countess Carlotta Liebenstein's Canine Tycoon

Liebenstein's goal was apparently to shame every wingnut who ever left a chunk of change to their pets after they died. Thus, she left her dog Gunther III an $80 million estate. Gunther's heir, Gunther IV, now lives with a personal maid, a chauffeur and a customized pool.

You may ask yourself where the hell a dog needs to go with a chauffeur or how it tells the chauffeur it needs to go there, or who customized the pool. But all you really need to know is that if the mutt ever bit you, it could hire enough lawyers to sue you into oblivion for leaving a bad taste in its mouth.

S. Sanborn, Human Drum Set

Lending some strength to that whole "mad as a hatter" saying, Sanborn was a hatter who died in 1871 and requested that some of his body, specifically his skin, be stretched into a set of drums that could be given to a friend.

Sanborn presumably paused over this part of his will, deciding that it still was not quite batshit enough. So he added a stipulation that his friend would go to Bunker Hill every year on June 17th and play "Yankee Doodle."

Whether insane or just a total asshole, we have to assume he thought getting drums made out of a friend's corpse was such an awesome deal that it needed a catch, to ensure the recipient wasn't just going to be lazy and beat out "Yankee Doodle" on his friends dried and stretched buttocks skin at home.

Sandra West Will Just Drive to Heaven, Damn It

West was a socialite, which Paris Hilton has taught us means "someone who has drunken sex for a living." When she died, one of her last requests was that she be buried behind the wheel of her 1964 Ferrari.

The car and driver had to be placed in a giant wooden box and then covered completely in concrete, to either discourage people from digging it up and stealing it, or possibly to keep a zombified West from driving it up out of the ground and terrorizing the city.

Reverend John Gwyon Wins the Creepy Olympics

Possibly predicting the limitless jokes at the expense of the Catholic Church in years to come and wanting to be a trendsetter, in 1929 Reverend Gwyon left $50,000 with the instructions that every single red cent was to be spent on buying underwear for "worthy boys."

Each "lucky" boy was to have the words "Gwyon's Present" written in capital letters in the lining. In 2001 this town had a population of 3,600 people, so we can only imagine how many boys in need of underwear may have existed back in 1929 or how much a pair of underwear may have cost to necessitate $50,000 being set aside to buy them.

Either way, Gwyon has to go down in history for discovering something that is both perfectly legal, yet somehow so incredibly wrong that it could corrupt the entire species. Good job, Reverend.

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