Thursday, May 31, 2007


Shades of Monty Python!

At one time cheese was a healthy food that people ate, period. Lately though, it appears that cheese has and is being used as something worthy of watching and now (for a while it appears) comes the sport of cheese-chasing. At least it is in England where both cheese "activities" take place, but let's focus our attention this time on the latter.

Every year at the end of May or Spring bank holiday as it is known in England, a bunch of people from all over Europe for some reason known only to them - perhaps they're cheese-a-holics - roll chunks of cheese down a hill.


The cheese used is a 7-8 lb. double Gloucestser, which moves, slides and/or bounces down a steep hill 200m long and has a 1:1 gradient in places. There is no information provided whether participants bring along a cheese slicer and/or crackers but let's assume not. It's also a great and unique excuse for arriving late to work: a cheese traffic tie-up.

A group of volunteers from St. John Ambulance were standing by to treat boo-boo's most of which were reported to be cuts, bruises and sprains.

Dating back thousands of years the competition consists of a series of downhill races with the winner of each receiving a 7-8 pound circle of cheese, while runners-up get £10 and a £5 prize for third place. Seems like a very cheesy prize if you ask me.

The winner, Aaron Walden, 20, from Gloucester, won for the third time beating a man dressed in a diaper to the bottom of the hill. Nothing about him carrying a bottle of skim milk directly from cows as is the case in the next story.


Think about this the next time you drink your glass of skim milk.

A group of experts at a biotechnology company in New Zealand have discovered that some cows have a gene that allows them to give skim milk. And we "normals" thought that there was a de-fatting process involved! That's as much as we know.

Identified in 2001, the team has been able to breed calves that can produce the skimmed variety and those involved believe that it can have a significant impact on the dairy industry. Furthermore, the original low-fat cow who goes by the name "Marge", produces milk very low in saturated fats.

What's next? Cows that can give low-fat yogurt?

Read the entire story here:

Writers & Friends

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


When it comes to delivering mail postal carriers are usually concerned with dog attacks and family pooches that bound out of nowhere to protect their owner's property. It's rare however, to hear or read a story about cats, as in they who "meow," however this is the case in Winnipeg, Canada, where a postal worker fears for her safety when nearing the house of Shadow, an 8 year old black cat.

Shadow's owner recently received a letter from Canada Post that due to the cat's alleged growling (!), postal delivery to said house is discontinued. Furthermore, the cat's owners now have to travel 4 kilometres to pick up mail until future arrangements can be made. The recent turn of events has Shadow's owners very disconcerted since they know their family cat to be cuddly, loving and easy going. It appears though when it comes to mail delivery, Shadow turns into a furry ball of growling feline-ness.

For its part Canada Post stated that the postlady who reported the cat described Shadow as having a threatening manner. Makes you wonder what said postlady does upon coming accross an aggresive dog. It also occurred to me that black cats get a bad rap or rep for being born with black fur. This is a statistical fact in that shelters have a difficult time getting them adopted.

In any case both sides are working to resolve the issue although Shadow hasn't been asked for any input. Even if he was he would probably ignore the humans, anyway.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This is definitely one for the stupidity in action book or what-were/are-they-thinking.

A 10-month old baby has received a state-issued firearm owner's identification - FOID - card a couple of weeks ago. Owning said card means that the baby nick-named, Bubba, can if he wants own a firearm as well as ammunition. For the record Bubba lives in Illinois.


Yup. It's true and what's more his father completed and submitted the form along with the usual fee. Owning this card Bubba can legally transport an unloaded weapon even though he can't walk yet. A photo provided with the news item shows an identification photo of Bubba, his age and date of birth, his height being 2 feet 3 inches and weight of 20 pounds, smiling broadly with missing teeth 'cause the gun owner is only 10 months, y'know! The toddler is barely on solid food yet he can shoot a gun if he felt like it instead of playing with building blocks. At the bottom of the card is his superimposed signature since Bubba can't sign his name. Usually toddlers of this age can barely hold a pacifier never mind writing instrument so his signature was superimposed by dad, who held a pencil in Bubba's hand.

Gimme a break!

The rationale if you can call it that behind this ridiculous idea is Bubba's grandfather is an avid trapshooter and wanted an heirloom for his grandson. Many grandparents would pass along a family photo album or perhaps a hand-me-down armchair but grandpa decided a rifle was a better idea. Given the recent shooting tragedies, this grandfather receives the dumbest idea for a gift yet.

Read the piece written by Bubba's father here and then share your opinion.,CST-NWS-bubba13.article

A photo of Bubba and dad:

Writers & Friends

Monday, May 14, 2007


This first report belongs in the "what in the world were/are they thinking" file and there's no account for taste, in the true sense of the world.

In excess of 300 people forked out (in the true sense of the word) U.S. $5 for "all-you-can-eat" goat, lamb and - wait for it - fried bull testicles recently in the 9th annual Testical Festival at Mama's Place Bar and Grill in Elderon in central Wisconsin.

The festival was established twelve years ago back during a birthday party when celebrants decided to have a "nut fry" at the eatery after introducing lamb fries from a trip to Montana. Over the year the festival has grown to the point where 45 kilograms of testicles are fried up and served to testicle aficionados.

Different strokes for different folks...

Playing Chicken(s)

In as far as chickens are concerned they are considered a food item but not always. Take for example, two chickens living in China who are earning their keep playing soccer. According to the owner the bantam chickens have become addicted to the game. Perhaps they also realize that the day they stop playing, they could end up on a plate as the main course but perhaps this is too cynical a view of their usefulness.

The owner brought home a football after finding it and kicked it in the direction of the chickens. After getting over their initial fear they now get their kicks handling various soccer plays and positions.

Intruder unaware of the concept

Then there's the story of the trespasser who broke in a jail in a New Zealand police station accidentally locking himself in.

There is no reason supplied as to the reason behind the break-in when an interloper broke into a police station in the town of Matamata through the front door, following which she/she proceeded to the cell block and was accidentally locked in when the self-closing door clicked shut.

At the point where police rushed in response to the intruder alarm, the intruder used a wooden chair inside a cell to smash through a window to freedom. This leads one to wonder why would any person want to break into a jail to begin with. A pre-arranged rendez-vous with a prisoner or perhaps the interloper was a former prisoner who missed her/his cell... Go know!

Writers& Friends

Monday, May 07, 2007


Normally I try to stay away from politics because it tends to bring out the protectionism in usually rational, "normal" people. However, an issue has arisen whereby U.S. authorities issued a warning about our Canadian quarter. Oh it's an evil plot to take over our neighbors to the south for sure!

Perhaps we should start at the beginning. See...back in 2004 the Canadian Mint minted nearly 30 million quarters with a pink inlaid center commemorating 117,000 of our war dead. Locally, it was known as the "poppy coin" and visually it was attractive and for we Canadians, harmless. In fact many Canadians acquired their special commemorative quarters at the revered, Tim Hortons, a well-known coffee chain with branches accross Canada. The chain is known for its extensive variety of donuts and maybe - just maybe - there could be a surversive connection between donuts and the poppy coin.

Donuts + poppy coin = Canadian spying!

It's so obvious that it's amazing that the various branches dealing with spying and subversive activities never made that connection before! When American visitors stop off for coffee at Tim Hortons, they and only they receive the infamous poppy coins PLUS a donut. Donut is consumed and ergo, unsuspecting Americans become spies for Canada.

Gimme a break!

Since the U.S. had never seen quarters of this type before, U.S. Army contractors travelling in Canada even went so far as to file confidential espionage accounts regarding this...this...spy coin. Their description included "filled with something man=made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails acquired by the AP.

As I wrote: gimme a break!

The so-called nano-technology was in fact a conventional protective coating applied by the Royal Canadian Mint to prevent the poppy's red color from rubbing off. According to an article in the Canadia Globe and Mail newspaper, a warning was issued by the Defence Security Service, which is an agency of the Defence Deparptment about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters were fund planted on U.S. contrators on at least three separate occasions between Oct. 2005 and Jan. 2006 as the contrators travelled through Canada.

It makes one wonder the intrepretation of the slogan used by the Tim Horton chain in its "roll up the rim to win" contest.

Writers & Friends


It's not unusual to ask for time off work for your usual run-of-the-mill reasons including for example, illness, marriage, a death in the family. The usual stuff.

For some people, "I can't come in to work today because my tarantula is a little grey-ish" or "my parrot caught a chill" is a valid reason for staying home. At least it is in ('nuff said or written) Britain where it's an accepted 'norm' with employees allowed time away from their place of employment to care for their pets.

Staid British companies including Royal Mail, Halifax Band and the Bank of Scotland are among companies giving "peternity leave." You read it right: pet-ernity leave. The Halifax Bank and the Bank of Scotland allow time away from work as long as they get someone to cover their jobs. The insurance company, Penplan discovered that 35% of its clients admitted that they have taken time off to look after pets or to accustomize new pets to their new environment. The Courier Service, a company located near London, has had a peternity leave program since last summer that allows for two days paid annual leave for pet reasons.

However, Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at the Lancaster University management school, advised against seeking time off to care for pets.
“When jobs are insecure, telling a boss that you want time off work to look after a pet would not go down well.”

The concept does have merit since pets become part of a pet-owner's life and tend to be thought of as a member of the family, however, there is cause for concern as is the case with everything in life, for abuse. For example at the onset of the baseball/football/soccer season sports fans tend to acquire a variety of illnesses that last one day. On the other hand it does open up a whole new area of valid excuses. Calling in with a rasping voice and telling a boss, "I caught laryngitis from my cat" just might work.

Writers & Friends

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Married goat wed to human succumbs to stuck baggies

This report belongs into the "what in the..." file.

A goat who was an Internet sensation when the story hit cyber space that it/she had been wed to a human male in Sudan, has died. Seems that local elders found said man having - um - a sexual relationship with Rosie-the-goat and ordered him to - wait for it - marry her i.e. the goat.

The concept behind the marry-her-or-else order was to embarrass the man and there is no information available whether it was a shot-gun wedding. Following the "marriage" and presumably the bride wore white, Rosie had an offspring - not the human-type - so we have to assume that Rosie was a philanderer or a sleep-around goat.

Culturally, in Sudan if a man is caught sleeping with a girl, he is ordered to marry her immediately in order to save her honour and that of her family. Save..a goat's...honor? do they know who the goat's parents were, anyway? More to the point, did anybody involved bother asking Rosie how she felt about marrying a human?

There is also no information regarding the funeral arrangements or whether Rosie's offspring will be/was present. What a world we live in...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hey - wanna rent a Swiss cow?

A Swiss farmer who is/was a little short on cash has found a unique use for his cows, Maxime, Wanda and Lynn. By paying a small rental fee of 80£ interested persons can visit the trio as frequently as they please, milk them and la-créme-de-la-créme, have their photo taken with the cow of their choice.

As if all that weren't enough, they also get a discount on bread and cheese sold on the farm and the opportunity to spend a weekend in an Alpine chalet by the lake in summer, where the cows are put out to graze. One wonders, though, how the cows feel about the arrangement:

Oh no - not another one of...'those'
How much more indignity do we hav'ta put up with?
Look ladies. It's either that or we're tonight's steak dinner
True...true... It's just that they have such cold hands
At least if the farmer would suggest warming them before milking us
Listen - I heard that a human up on the Vinkeberstistat farm tried to milk old Hans, the bull. He was not amused, let me tell you (the trio all laugh uproariously)
Now I hear that they're going to follow us up by the lake during summer. I mean,we have rights too!
We're cows, Maxime! You've been peaking through the farmer's window watching Court TV again, haven't you? Rights - ha!
The least the farmer can do is renovate our stall with some of the money he makes
Wanda...Wanda...Wanda... Still watching home renovation shows. Get it through your head that we live in a barn, period! Got that?
A cow can dream, can't she?
Uh-oh! Heads up. Here comes another one. Just close your eyes and pretend we're being milked by Justin Timberlake.
Writers & Friends