#28.... August 22, 2004
 
Hi guys!

Hope you've all been doing well? I didn't get kidnapped by Aliens, I just took a break due to various Things. I would like to rant about much more funner stuff - an anomaly I noticed at my local grocery store. Who was the Einstein that decided chewing gum was to be treated like fine Beluga caviar? I grew up on Chiclets, Double Bubble and Bazooka. Back when you had to chew the stuff, and I mean you'd get cramps in your jaw, and dammit, we liked it. So the other day I'm standing in the check out line behind yet another person who doesn't know the beauty of filling out the check as the girl rings the purchases up so as to speed payment along in a timely manner; even know the beauty of taking the checkbook out of the purse...they do know how to stand there like veal, watching the girl swipe the items over the scanner as if they're capable of mentally adding things up along with the scanner's computer, ready to catch any mistake...anyway, I looked around, bored and what do I see? Several brands of chewing gum now being sold on flat cards. Each piece individually, hermetically sealed under a plastic bubble backed by impossible to pierce Galactic foil. Has the world gone nuts? I asked myself. I quickly saw where my mistake was - this was special gum. It was extra icy winter blast arctic cool to bring out the fresh breath in you. Well wasn't I stupid? I guess, through some scientific research, they'd found this gum couldn't be put into sticks and sold, say, for 1/3rd the price of what it was being sold for. This gum was worth sixteen cents a piece, nestled in it's neat, individual pocket. Mercifully, I found the cure for this madness on my way out of the store - a row of those great vending machines that sell total junk well worth buying, and also huge gumballs, for a quarter. Four times the gum that was in the Caviar of Gums package for 1/7th the price. Life is good. Which brings me to mention the web site is 3 years old this month - thanks you all for being here and stopping by. Whodathought?

Onward:

MORE GOOD NEWS FOR OUR TROOPS
I knew this was going to be trouble when the article opened with "US food scientists working for the US military..." We have food scientists? This can't be good. What they're hard at work on is a dried food ration which would reduce the amount of water a soldier would need to carry. The rations come dried in a special pouch with a double filter system that can purify even the foulest of water into clean, pure water appropriate for making the meal with. And if water isn't available, you can use urine. Oh, it gets better - any urine, even cow or camel urine, and we all know how those buggers can pee. The chicken and rice meal's pouch has a two filter system, which is said to remove 99.9% of all bacteria and "most" toxic chemicals". Using osmosis, filter #1 draws the clean water out from the dirty water or...pee...and the second filter draws the clean water into the food. You're all set, except for some trace toxic chemicals but hey, consider it junk food.

WORLD'S SMALLEST FISH RE-DISCOVERED, I THINK
I'm not sure how a fish first collected in 1979 is just now being said to have been "properly studied", but then who am I to doubt the intelligence of people who named it the "Stout Infantfish"? Bearing the Latin name Schindleria brevipinguis (I swear they just make this Latin stuff up) it's found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and is 7mm long - 3mm smaller than the previously smallest fish, the Goby. The Infantfish lives only two months, and so far only six of them have been found. Don't forget to change those trivia answers now.

PEOPLE WHO NEED HOBBIES
Igor Rafailov of Pernambuco, Brazil has put together the world's first complete dictionary of phobias. He was motivated by the fact that there wasn't one, and his effort tracked down and logged 1.029 entries. The longest entry in the book is 'hipomonsteresquipedalophobia' which is the fear of reading or saying long words.

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Well, now that it's brought up, this has bothered me for a long time. Just who the heck decides
some stupidass thing someone is terrified of qualifies as a technical "phobia", names it and how do they get it
published and well known so people actually repeat the condition like it's a worldwide, technical, newly found crisis?
Some of the phobias I've read descriptions of should have bee dismissed as "Well, you're crazy, what do you expect?"
and left at that. If someone actually told a therapist they had an abject fear of say, lint, aren't
they ever just told, "Hey, it sucks to be you, get over it?"
"Arachibutyrophobia" is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Are there actually that many people
out there suffering from this that it became a globally known illness? Don't you just stay away from peanut butter?
How crippling can it be? Is there a mad rush of psychiatrists at the end of the week to fax in all the goofy crap they
got out of their patients and named as phobias to some central Name That Quirk Office so they can
say they discovered it? Are there prizes for the silliest one? This is
the stuff that keeps me from sleeping. Which, I'm sure there's a phobia for
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ASK YOUR DOGS TO EMAIL ME ABOUT THIS....
Pet Valu Canada has decided to voluntarily discontinue selling a dog biscuit in it's 290 stores after receiving a letter of complaint from the legal department of Canada Post. The letter, which was said to be polite, took issue with the fact that the biscuit was in the shape of a man and had the word "mail" imprinted on it. It went on to state that the treats were insensitive to the dangerous situations inflicted upon mail carriers by dogs each year, and making light of it was in "poor taste". Other treats in the same box are cat shaped. An employee at one Toronto Pet Valu said that it wasn't the postal-themed treats that annoyed customers the most, "We find more customers find the cats offensive, the fact that dogs would eat cats." The treats will still be sold in Pet Valu stores in the United States. No word on how the cats feel.

THOSE WACKY SCIENTISTS AT IT AGAIN...
Prof. Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, a top lung specialist from Innsbruck, Austria would like the world to know that picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy. No, he's dead serious.
Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. Eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system. Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine."
He points out that pressure from a society has branded it disgusting and rude, so don't forget you can enjoy it in private

MORE MOONS, BIG WHOOP
The Cassini spacecraft has discovered two new moons orbiting Saturn, between moons Mimas and Enceladus. OK, now look away from the monitor and try to spell those. They're only 3-4 kilometers across and scientists say they should have been destroyed long ago by comets. I'm too lazy to go look up how many total moons this makes for Saturn, but it's "a real lot".

MAN OUTRUNS HORSE
The annual Man vs. Horse Race at Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales has been held annually for 25 years. This year it finally had a human winner. Huw Lobb, age 27, ran the 22 miles, cross country course in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 9 seconds finishing 12 minutes ahead of the first horse.

BIG DAMN ANT COLONY FOUND IN AUSTRALIA
A supercolony of Argentine ants that stretches more than 60 miles (100km) has been discovered under the city of Melbourne. The ants usually live in smaller, genetically diverse colonies and are very aggressive towards each other, keeping their numbers at reasonable levels. Discovered as introduced pests in Australia in 1939, these guys, for some reason, decided to shakes hands and become one big, happy family. Slowly the separate colonies have become one huge nightmare. Colonies in Perth and Alelaide are going to be studied to see if they share the same genetic traits and behavior of the Melbourne ants, and if so it's possible the supercolony could end up being a few thousand miles across.

.SO COUGH UP SOME LOTTO NUMBERS...
Matthew Harrison, who is four years old, is said to have joined MENSA, the organization for people with high IQs.
His IQ is estimated to be 130. He had a vocabulary of 70 words when he was a year old and learned a second language, Spanish, from watching satellite TV. Matt's parents say he is "just a normal boy who likes comic books".

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We need to ask this kid what he thinks about this Eating Boogers For Health theory
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YOU CAN SLEEP BETTER KNOWING..
Thanks to digital television, the Earth is less likely to be discovered by aliens, according to Frank Drake. I have no idea who he is, but he told a SETI workshop at Harvard that "the Earth is going to disappear" very soon for aliens when we stop beaming all those radio signals out into space with our broadcast antennas. Traditional antennas put out one megawatt each and this radio-wave bubble of Total TV Crap now extends about 50 light years out from the solar system. More television is now delivered by cable and by satellites that put out just 20 watts per channel, all efficiently directed straight down to Earth. Drake also brightly added that this might also explain why we have so far failed to uncover any evidence of aliens - if other forms of life have followed the same technological path, winning the "Idiotic Thing Some Expert Said This Week Award".

LIFE'S GREAT MYSTERY # 7,823,206 ANSWERED
The answer - thirty years. The question - is it true the shelf life of a Twinkie is forever? We owe our thanks to teacher Roger Bennatti of George Stevens Academy. Maine, for getting us this far. Being aware of the burning Twinkie question, Roger put a Twinkie on top of his blackboard 30 years ago and is now being looked at due to his retiring from teaching. The verdict? It's still bright yellow, has a few specks of mold and is brittle, "but if you dusted it off, it's probably still edible," Bennatti said. "It never spoiled."
One of the other teachers has volunteered to become the Twinkie's new caretaker. Her father, a carpenter, plans to make a case for the snack, and she hopes to hang it in her new classroom next year, so stay tuned.

THE STUFF SCI-FI IS MADE OF
Gayle Laverne Grinds, 40, died after emergency workers tried unsuccessfully for six hours to remove her from the couch where she had laid for about six years, unable to move. The 4'10" woman weighed 480 pounds and hadn't even been able to get up to use the bathroom. From so many years of not moving, Grinds' body was grafted to the fabric of the couch; her skin had literally grown into the sofa and had to be surgically removed. Workers said the home was so filthy they had to wear protective gear; the stench was so powerful they had to blast in fresh air. They had to remove some sliding glass doors and lift the couch, with Grinds still on it, to a trailer behind a pickup truck but she died at the hospital. Still attached to the couch. Cause of death was listed as "morbid obesity".

Grinds lived with Herman Thomas who said he tried to take care of her the best he could. He had tried "repeatedly" to get her up but couldn't. No charges have been filed, but officials are looking into negligence issues. Neighbors say they had no idea Grinds lived there; they had only seen Thomas and some children outside.

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That gives new meaning to the expression "The fabric of life", huh?
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TALLEST TWINS
Sixteen-year-old twins Ann and Claire Recht of Canby, Oregon have just entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the tallest recorded female twins. The 6-foot-6 twins beat the old record by more than an inch and they're still growing.
The girls have always been tall; by 2nd grade they measured 5 feet, 2 inches, and by 6th grade had reached the 6-foot mark. They have a 38 inch inseam and wear size 13 shoes and say they really, really hate shopping.

HMMMMM.....
It was reported in The Observer that the government's environment watchdog found the antidepressant Prozac was building up in river systems and groundwater and has been found in the London drinking water supply. The exact quantity of Prozac in the drinking water was unknown. Experts say that Prozac finds its way into water systems from treated sewage water, and some believe the drugs could affect reproductive ability.

A spokesman for the Drinking Water Inspectorate said, "It is extremely unlikely that there is a risk, as such drugs are excreted in very low concentrations," the spokesman said. "Advanced treatment processes installed for pesticide removal are effective in removing drug residues." Norman Baker, environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said it looked "like a case of hidden mass medication upon the unsuspecting public".

Prescription of antidepressants has surged in Britain, rising from 9 million to 24 million prescriptions being written a year during the decade of 1991-2001, the paper said.

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So why aren't we finding aspirin in our water? We take tons of the stuff.
Why not vitamins? Maybe Mr. Bakeris on to something...
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UFO SIGHTINGS UP IN CANADA
UFO sightings are at a record high in Canada, says Chris Rutkowski, research co-ordinator for Ufology Research of Manitoba. Four hundred reports were filed in the first six months of 2004; 300 filed in the first six months of 2003. Many of the light sources can be explained, he said, and the increased reports might be due to people being more interested in space because of the ongoing Mars exploration.

BUT JUST IN CASE...
On another note, I read that in 2001, two scientists who work at the Defense Research Establishment in Valcartier, Quebec, emailed Prime Minister Chretien warning him of what might happen if people ever figured out how to email aliens. Yvan Dutil and Stephane Dumas stated that "careless emails by UFO buffs could encourage aliens to attack earth" and they suggested that the government regulate any email intended for extraterrestrials by reading first and, if required, censoring them before they are sent to the aliens. I'm betting that when the Aliens get buried in email for penis enlargement pills, where to buy Vicodin and being told they're fat, stupid and need dating services like we are in our mail, they'll aim that Death Beam right at us.

NEW ON THE SITE
I can actually get into my FTP area now! Yayay! I have roughly 23,000 emails, I'm getting to them, really.

ODD PICS 3 - A strange tornado in a clear sky from Carlos ...Radar UFOs? ... From the "Love Stinks" files ... Oldie but Goodie Sea Serpent photo explained .. An unidentified sea creature .. The First Yeti footprint ... Eyeball Jewelry ... Natasha the Upright Macaque ... Why squirrels mess with us from Joost ... One big damn rabbit from Luke ... <others of Invention from Markus ... An educational rock formation from Kathleen

SCIENCE - Grace Hopper's computer bug

HATE MAIL 3 added. Read more about how I'm destroying Mike Jackson's life, being so damn mean to him and whatnot.

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