Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dogs Being Abandoned As Recession Continues To Bite

posted by: Jerry Stone

It was announced earlier this month that the U.S. is officially in a recession. Um, duh! Anyone living here for the past year could tell you that. Things have kinda sucked.

With the national unemployment rate at about 7 percent--the highest since 1974--we've all felt the economic crunch. In fact, here in California alone it's at a whopping 8.4 percent; the third largest in the country. We've seen everyone from Schwarzenegger to Yahoo order layoffs, and it doesn't seem like it will end anytime soon.

But this financial turmoil isn't only affecting the family house, it's also affecting the dog house. Shelters are reporting that pet owners are abandoning their pet dogs at alarming rates.

Therefore kennels are becoming grossly overcrowded. Secondly, these charities rely on donations to sustain their efforts. And with money so tight for everyone, they expect a huge decrease in donations this year.

Another concern for them is Christmas. A lot of the animals given as Christmas gifts just end up in shelters by the new year.

It's been estimated that the life of a pet can cost around $22,000 with food, visits to the veternarian and toys. While not an upfront cost, the added expense is just one more thing to pay for. Of course, this begs the question: Can you really put a price on the quality of life? My cat makes my day.

But households are having to cram into pet-unfriendly apartments, and for them it's a matter of taking care of their families and taking care of their pets. Of course, for many of us our pets are family. As a cat owner, I cannot even imagine having to make that call.

Yet officials are getting calls that pets are being left at foreclosed homes! I must admit, I find this grotesque and absolutely unforgivable. I by no means pretend to understand what it is like to lose your house and to feel those pressures with a spouse and children.

But the fact is, our actions stretch far beyond just affecting us. If mortgage brokers, banks and corporations are allowed to make short term self-serving irresponsible decisions, we all lose. But if we ourselves act in the same manner, what does that make us?

Original here

Great-grandmother, 99, discovers birthday is wrong

By Matthew Moore

Great-grandmother, 99, discovers birthday is wrong
Elsie said the news made her party more enjoyable Photo: MASONS NEWS SERVICE

Elsie Aslett's relatives applied for her to receive a congratulatory telegram from the Queen on Dec 14, the date she had always marked.

But pensions staff sent out to check the request uncovered her original birth certificate, which recorded the date as Dec 18 1908 - four days later than she had been told.

Relatives believe that her mother Elizabeth White, whom they described as "rather fond of her drink", may have confused dates between her eight children. She did not register Elsie's birth at Kennington Registry office in London until January 25 1909.

There are no living relatives to confirm which is the correct date, so the family have decided to go with the official record.

Elsie, a former shop assistant at Woolworths, said the news came as a shock but only made her party more enjoyable.

"It was all a bit of a surprise. You never doubt your date of birth. But it meant I could milk my celebrations for longer and draw them out for four days," she said.

The great-grandmother-of-14 and grandmother-of-four now lives with her son Jay, 70, and his wife Brenda, 69, in Watlington, Norfolk.

"It was a complete surprise to her. Everyone always told her she was born on the fourteenth," Brenda said.

"Her mum was rather fond of her drink so we can only imagine she was a bit merry when she went to register the birthday and got confused."

Elsie, who is still agile and active, was surrounded by more than 40 family members and friends when she had her official birthday party last week.

She lost her husband Frederick, a printer's warehouse manager, 19 years ago when he was 79.

Original here

6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song

By Adam Brown

Everybody dies. That's no secret. Even you, you're going to die some day. Accept it. Once you accept it, write a bizarrely specific song that details how exactly you're going to die, live up to your prediction and voila! You'll be an entry in a Cracked article, just like these guys.

Richie Rich feat. Tupac - "Niggas Done Changed"

Let's just get it out of the way: Nobody knows who the hell Richie Rich is. According to the lyrics of this song, he's got a hand full of game. For all we know, that is still true. Maybe even a sack full of game by now. We don't care. The real star of this tune, featured on the Seasoned Veteran album, is Tupac Shakur. His verse on "Niggas Done Changed" is the stuff that conspiracy theories are made of.

This probably isn't the right one.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"I been shot and murdered, can tell you how it happened word for word,
But best believe niggas gon' get what they deserve."

What Happened Next:

Pac was shot and murdered, just like he said. The shooting happened on the strip in Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight. Obviously, at a time like that not many people were around, so nobody saw the shooter and the case remains unsolved. Unsolved for most people anyway. Some others are convinced they know exactly what happened. Tupac faked his own death! The logic went as follows: Since Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli advocated faking one's own death, and Tupac used Makaveli as a stage name, then he must still be alive. That's shaky reasoning, even before you take into account that the real Machiavelli didn't actually say much of anything about faking your own death.

If he was dead, could he do this?

But when "Niggas Done Changed" was released less than two months following Tupac's death, the "Pac's Still Alive" movement was off and running, and it hasn't let up since. Group psychology experts contacted by Cracked attribute the movement's seeming refusal to die (sorry) to the fact that Tupac Shakur has released at least seventy-three studio albums since his death and also to the fact that he's totally alive, y'all.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - "That Smell"

Have you ever put a curse on somebody? Like if you came home and found that your roommate ate your leftover Chinese food and you got pissed and told them you hoped it gave them explosive diarrhea and then it actually did and you felt really bad because you didn't realize your own powers? Lynyrd Skynyrd's "That Smell" is kind of like that. Except substitute "diarrhea" with "horrible plane crash" (although with a title like "That Smell" it totally could have gone either way).

The song was written to express lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's disappointment with the lifestyle lead and rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington was leading, as his drug and alcohol problems had started to negatively affect the band. After a verse poking fun at a recent alcohol-fueled car accident Rossington had, Van Zant starts pouring on the ominous.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"Say you'll be alright come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you."
"Angel of darkness upon you."
"The smell of death surrounds you."

What Happened Next:

On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of the now unfortunately titled Street Survivors, the plane Lynyrd Skynyrd was traveling in crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The line "the smell of death surrounds you" took on a whole new ugly meaning after Rossington survived but three bandmates, including Van Zant, perished. As if the song and the album title weren't enough, thanks to the plane crash, Street Survivors now had, quite possibly, the most inappropriate album cover ever.

Yes, that's the band and, yes, they are on fire. In the wake of the plane crash, original copies of the album were recalled and replaced with a cover image of the band standing against the completely non-depressing black background. Of course, the fire cover was restored for the deluxe CD reissue of the album in 2008. Like almost every other crime, there is a statute of limitations on bad taste. Apparently, it's 30 years.

Jeff Buckley - "Dream Brother"

Jeff Buckley's "Dream Brother" is said to have been written about a friend who was about to leave his girlfriend and child. In the song, he warns of the sadness to be had by following in the footsteps of Buckley's father, Tim Buckley. The elder Buckley was a promising young musician who had his career cut short by an accidental heroin overdose. He also walked out on Jeff and his mother shortly after Jeff was born. It's that last part Buckley is singing about, but he probably should have considered penning a few lines to himself regarding the "musician gone too soon" part. Or, did he?

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"The dark angel he is shuffling in."
"Don't be like the one who left behind his name."
"Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over."

What Happened Next:

We've never given relationship advice to a friend that involved any mention of a "dark angel shuffling in," so we're not sure how that first line would apply to a dude leaving his girlfriend, though we will concede that the second one fits. But the third? "Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over," well, that's just pretty fucking creepy. Less than three years after the release of "Dream Brother" Buckley died. By drowning. This leads us to an obvious question: "Hey, Jeff Buckley, how about taking your own advice?" We're guessing the reply would be something like, "Hey, leave me alone you assholes, I'm dead."

Hank Williams - "I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive"

Immediately, there's nothing too shocking or particularly insightful about the title of this song. It's obvious that everyone is going to die at some point. Most of those people, however, won't crank out a comical tune about it right before they go. Released in 1952, "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" was the last single Hank Williams released in his lifetime. The lyrics are your standard down-on-your-luck type of stuff. Troublesome, sure, but nothing life threatening going on. But still, there's that chorus...

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"No matter how I struggle and strive. I'll never get out of this world alive."

What Happened Next:

After reportedly struggling and striving, Hank Williams barely made it out of the rest of the year alive. On the morning of January 1st, 1953, just months after the song was released, he was pronounced dead at the Oak Hill Hospital emergency room.

"Doctor, hurry, he's struggling. And striving! Oh no..."

There is a myth that the song was actually #1 on the Billboard charts at the time of his death, but "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" actually didn't reach the top spot until shortly after his death. Today, Hank Williams is hailed as an innovator in the field of record promotion for being the first to employ the "Die Young and Sell a Ton of Records" technique.

John Lennon - "Borrowed Time"

You may not know this, but most posthumously released songs are indeed recorded before the artist dies. Although "Borrowed Time" wasn't released until four years after the death of John Lennon, it was actually the first song he recorded following a five year exile from the music business. The unnervingly upbeat tune wraps lyrics about the frailty of life around the type of instrumentation you would expect to hear during dinner on a Carnival cruise ship. It was inspired by a Final Destination-like escape from death Lennon pulled off while sailing to Bermuda through an intense storm. An experience like that would probably just inspire us to shit our pants and stop showering. Lennon, on the other hand, was inspired to start rocking again.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"Living on borrowed time, without a thought for tomorrow"

What Happened Next:

John Lennon was sometimes criticized for not practicing what he preached. Like how he sang about imaging no possessions but lived in a million dollar apartment. You could argue that he totally lived up to the lyrics of "Borrowed Time," but you'd be a fucking prick for doing so. We only mention that criticism because it was Mark David Chapman's main beef with John Lennon.

Speaking of beef, holy shit, right? Mooo, right?

Chapman delicately handled this beef by shooting Lennon to death, about six months after the song was written. Hopefully, Lennon practiced what he preached this time and genuinely didn't have a "thought for tomorrow," because, unless that thought was "be dead," he was guaranteed to be pretty disappointed.

Jimi Hendrix - "The Ballad of Jimi"

In 1965, before most people even knew who he was, Jimi Hendrix entered a New York recording studio and probably weirded out everybody in the room by cutting a new tune about how some dude named Jimi was going to be dead in five years. "The Ballad of Jimi" starts with a declaration from Hendrix that the song is dedicated to the memory of his best friend. That the friend's name is a guitar player named Jimi is apparently to be chalked up to coincidence.

Hendrix further confuses matters with the line "that is my story" before ratcheting the creepiness up considerably.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

"Many things he would try, For he knew soon he'd die."
"Now Jimi's gone, he's not alone. His memory still lives on."
"Five years, this he said. He's not gone, he's just dead."

What Happened Next:

"I'm gonna go over there and die, now."

Next, Jimi Hendrix suffocated in the most horrible way imaginable that doesn't involve cock. He choked on his own vomit. Conveniently, for the purpose of this article, he died almost exactly five years after recording "The Ballad of Jimi." "Five years, this he said. He's not gone, he's just dead."

Disturbing as all fuck, isn't it? Probably the only reason he didn't get more specific than that was that nothing rhymes with "choked on vomit."

Original here