Friday, August 29, 2008

Barbie and company win big bucks and we're not talking about monopoly money

After a legal fight that left Barbie, the plastic fashionista and her rivals, the Bratz not on speaking terms, Barbie's "parent", Mattel, was awarded $100 million dollars in damages from MGA Entertainment, the creator of the popular Bratz, in a copyright spat.

The award followings a ruling in July that MGA and its CEO, Isaac Larian, stole conceptual drawings of the Bratz, who are now more popular than Barbie and friends. The federal jury involved in the case also ruled that Bratz designer, Carter Bryant had the idea while still working for Mattel, also finding that MGA aided in breach of contract and that Larian played a role in the deal.

Such goings-on but read the whole story here:

Barbie reacts in a press conference

Barbie, obviously disturbed by all the legal wranglings, was concerned how this would affect her image.

"I'm just happy it's all over," Barbie commented in a hastily called press conference after the ruling. "Now we can get back to what's really important in life: this year's fashions."

Her signifigant-other, Ken, also seemed relieved although it was difficult to tell at times.

"What was the question?" Ken asked and finally after staring off into space repeating the phrase, "surfing rules!"

"You know the Bratz are nothing but interlopers who are trying to horn in on my territory!" Barbie jumped in while distributing photos of herself, Ken and G.I. Joe. "Now you look at us! Aren't we more beautiful than...than...them?" she asked members of the press while signing each photo.

"You tell them babe!" added G.I. Joe who was listening and watching from the back of the room . "Any of youze reporters give my Barbie bad press will have to deal with me!"

The room was almost cleared when a hand grenade propelled from somewhere in the room landed near the reporters. However, the press conference continued upon the realization that it was a toy.

"How about the fact that Yasmin, Jade, Cloe and Sasha have knocked you out of first place," she was asked, "and they have their own TV series and a feature film."

"All a bunch of lies!" Barbie retorted.

"Also...aren't they much younger than you?" another reporter asked. "Aren't you - like - almost fifty?"

"Age has nothing to do with it. Look at me - do I look like I've aged? Not one wrinkle anywhere. Anyway, that's a lie too."

Suddenly, the press conference ended as fast as it had begun. Barbie was over-heard to have asked Ken as they exited, "do I look old?" to which Ken replied, "surf's up!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pooches audition for doggie choir

Here's some news that might make you wonder, "what the..."

Some people enjoy singing or at least limit their singing in the shower, while others prefer to blend their voice as a member of a choir. Then there are others of the non-human types like dogs who recently auditioned in the hope of being part of a chorale.

You read it right: D-O-G-S as in bow-wow...woof-woof.

This project is the concept of one Cardiff-based artist, Richard Higlett, who is hoping and planning for his canine choir to record in September, before an actual performance in a special concert in October.

The choir will create and perform a new song entitled, "A Song for Jack" a musical tribute to dog hero, Swansea Jack, a black retriever and hero pooch in the 1930's that was a legend for rescuing drowning swimmers from Swansea docks.

Judges auditioned dogs eager to earn a place - or their owners were eager for them to earn a place - in the choir at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. The auditionees all had to start singing after hearing a piece of music or after a direct command.

There is no information available as to who made the final cut but word has it that they all had a barking good time.

Watch some of the auditions here:

Recognize any of the songs? Happy Birthday perhaps? Any?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Black hole" mystery solved

There was a piece on the science site focusing on the mystery of the black hole. Scientists have focused, discussed and analyzed the black hole mystery for a long time. Now they think they have an answer:

"Astronomers have shed light on how stars can form around a massive black hole, defying conventional wisdom.

Scientists have long wondered how stars develop in such extreme conditions. Molecular clouds - the normal birth places of stars - would be ripped apart by the immense gravity, a team explains in Science magazine. But the researchers say stars can form from elliptical discs - the relics of giant gas clouds torn apart by encounters with black holes. They made the discovery after developing computer simulations of giant gas clouds being sucked into black holes like water spiralling down a plughole."

While this is very good news for people who devote their lives in this scientific sphere, we "dull normals" have had the answer to this enigma since the birth of the automatic clothes washing machine.

Black holes are the place where one-socks from a pair disappear and are never seen again. It's so simple and logical one wonders why scientists have never considered this possibility. Although they may be loathe to admit it, probably every household all over the world has a collection of one-sies that could date back possibly to the turn of the century, even!

"Their findings are in accordance with actual observations in our Milky Way galaxy that indicate the presence of a massive black hole, surrounded by huge stars with eccentric orbits. "

It would have to be eccentric orbits in order to transfer so many socks from point 'A' being a house to point 'B', being the aforementioned hole in space. Somehow, perhaps through molecular breakdown of sock fibres in the clothes dryer, socks end up in said black hole. Of course it's only a theory and definitely not scientific in nature but then what is?

Read the entire story and decide for yourselves here:

Now you know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Puerto Rican man remains upright - even in death

This is yet another of those "I-dunno-'bout-this' type of stories that you read and wonder, "why?"

A man who lived in Puerto Rico was granted his final wish, which was to remain standing even in death.

You read it right: even in death.

This feat was accomplished by a funeral home that used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpose(!) of one Angel Pantoja Medina, in an upright position during his 3-day wake.

Now anyone reading this can imagine the impact of dropping by to give your sympathy and being met by the dearly departed dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses, in his mother's living room.

His brother Carlos told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper the victim had long said he wanted to be upright for his own wake.

"He wanted to be happy, standing."

According to the funeral home who took care of the arrangements, the mother did this to fulfill her son's last wish.

Now perhaps it's just the cynic in me but why would someone - granted he died young - want to be propped up against a wall when she/he dies? Certainly - pure speculation - visitors must have been shocked.

Different strokes for different folks, especially those who are corpses.

Photos of the corpse, visitors and story here:

Friday, August 15, 2008

That's SIR penguin to you, bud!

There are many people who have been knighted - Sir Paul McCartney springs to mind, Bono, Sir Michael Caine...and others. There's a lot of pomp and circumstance involved, which includes a ceremony where swords are involved. No sword play or anything dangerous - just some touching here and there.

Nils Olav who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, has already acquired medals for good conduct and years of faithful service and was even made a honorary colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King's Guard in 2005. This in itself is a lifetime achievement but what makes Mr. Olav stand out in the true sense of the word, is that Nils is a - wait for it - penguin.

You read it right: a penguin as in black, white and flippery.

As expected, there's a history connected to how he achieved this honor with the original Nils Olav who was made an honorary member of the King's Guard in 1972, after being picked out as the guard's mascot by lieutenant Nils Egelien. The guards adopted him because they often toured the zoo during their visits to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an annual military music festival, according to zoo spokeswoman Maxine Finlay.

The king penguin was named after Egelien and Norway's then-King Olav V. When the penguin died — Finlay said no one at the zoo knew exactly when — he was replaced by a second penguin, who inherited Nils Olav's name and rank.

The current Nils Olav III, the third penguin to serve as the guards' mascot, was promoted from honorable regimental sergeant major to honorary colonel-in-chief in 2005, Finlay said.

It was all very proper and royal-like with the ceremony actually starting on Friday morning with speeches and a fanfare before Nils arrival under escort with the King's Guard Color Detachment. Nils then reviewed the troops lined up outside the penguin enclosure at the zoo, waddling down the row of uniformed soldiers, occasionally stopping to crane his neck and peer inquisitively at their crisp uniforms before being guided forward by his handler.

Nils was then knighted by British Maj. Gen. Euan Loudon on behalf of Norway's King Harald V. Loudon dropped the king's sword on both sides of Nils's black-and-white frame, and the penguin's colonel-in-chief badge, tied to his flipper, was swapped for one symbolizing his knighthood.

Rumor has it that fish was on the banquet menu - raw of course. At least Sir Nils never has to worry about wearing a tuxedo for formal occasions.

See a photo of SIR Nils Olav, the Edinburgh Zoo penguin and Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King's Guard, here:

and here:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A tale of two cities: Birmingham city council makes boo-boo on its location

Seems that the members of Birmingham City Council aren't sure exactly where their city is located.

More to the point in a recent marketing campaign to promote the achievements of residents and their participation and achievements in recycling, somehow the city council of Birmingham, England instead promoted the city of Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.

It must have been really embarrassing since the photos that were supposed to show places like the Selfridges building and the Rotundra located in the UK city, instead showed a shot of downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Go figure that they look exactly the least to some people.

The error was spotted by a resident of Birmingham - the UK city - who just happened to be a regular visitor to the U.S. location, and upon retrieving a pamphlet stuffed in his mailbox noticed what was supposed to be a photo of Birmingham, UK. but was instead the American city. Upon further checking it out in Google, he found the very same photo as on his pamphlet but this one was in Birmingham, Alabama.

That's some mix-up!

Initially, City Council officials claimed no mistake had been made and the "generic skyline [was] intended to symbolise an urban area".

Of course! After all - a city is a city is a city, even if it's in another country! I knew that! Didn't you?

A spokesperson who was not named (what a surprise) commented: "We accept that the wrong photo was used, but the text and detail contained in the leaflet is wholly correct which is the most important message."

Of course. The medium is the message...unless it's in the wrong place.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Young chinese girl deemed not pretty enough to sing at opening of Olympics

If ever the expression "gimme a break!" was appropriate, it's the latest news that the little girl who was slated to sing at the opening ceremony, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, who is believed it just so happens to have the best voice, was replaced since her replacement was shall we say...TV-friendly. Meaning that lip synching was used to match the voice to another face. What a display of sportsmanship!

Perhaps the powers-that-be have forgotten the purpose in holding the Olympics in the first place.

This from "A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched "Ode to the Motherland," a ceremony official said - the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games."

Full story here:

As if this wasn't enough to make a person spit - read the entire story - seems that those beautiful opening fireworks were helped along with the addition of digitally inserted images for TV. Kind'a makes a person wonder how much of the competition is real.

Well, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Kangeroo burger anyone? Pass!

I dunno about this one.

I'm beginning to ponder - correction - not beginning... I ponder the thought process of some scientists (not all).

Seems that there's a school of thought by one Australian scientist no less, that switching from - wait for it - beef(!) to kangeroo burgers/flesh can significantly help in reducing the greenhouse gas.

Huh? Say what?

Kangeroo? As in those cute adept jumpers with big feet and built-in handy pockets?

Are we as in your ordinary North American or even European and beyond, expected to actually eat those animals??? Can't speak - or write - for others but for me it's a big: NOT!

According to a report the methane gas produced by sheep and cows through burping and flatulence is stronger than carbon dioxide in the damage it can cause to the environment. Furthermore, kangaroos produce virtually no methane because their digestive systems are different. Dr George Wilson, of the Australian Wildlife Services, urges farming them.

Oh the horror of it all! Raising 'roos for the specific purpose of food for humans. It's so-so...canibalistic, IMHO.

Sheep and cattle account for 11% of Australia's carbon footprint and over the years, there have been various proposals to deal with the problem.


Since when did kangeroos become a problem?Australia already produces 30 million kangaroos farmed by landholders in the outback. What next? Panda burgers?

This begs the question as to where and what all the sheep and cows living on planet earth are expected to do with all the accumulated gas? Perhaps - just a suggestion - if a ways could be discovered for all that smelly air to be made commercially viable, we wouldn't be discussing eating 'roo meat. Right?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

When it comes to politics, Paris Hilton is not amused

Humor is subjective in that what amuses one person, will be considered offensive to another. In the world of politics it appears everyone is fair game, especially if you're a rich and high profile celeb who usually loves the limelight, like Paris Hilton.

Seems that Paris's feelings were hurt since her image was used along with Britney Spears who is also no stranger to media attention, in an ad by the McCain team.

Being Paris and all, she has created her own video in the way of a response: "an ad for the Presidential Campaign. Paid for by Funny or Die."

Actually, it's very entertaining - and funny -and maybe Paris should consider giving up her so-called show-biz aspirations and consider a change to a political career. Here's what she had to say:

Scary thought. Given her access to $$$, what happens if she does decide to go into politics - and succeeds!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Smile! The Brangelinas price is $14 million

So y'see...Angelina Joli and Brad Pitt, two very popular i.e. hot, personalities right now recently had twins. Like most parents they are proud of their offspring and want to immortalize their newborns in photos. What makes these particular children unique is that their photos are rumored to be worth $14 million dollars on the market.

People magazine nabbed the rights and guaranteed they will sell lots of magazines.

"A person involved in the negotiations for pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's newborn twins says the rights have fetched $14 million.

The person asked not to be named because he was not authorized to release the figure. People magazine scored the photos in a joint deal with the London-based Hello! magazine, and the two will split the bill.

It is the second time People magazine has won the North American rights to the couple's exclusive baby pictures in exchange for a hefty donation to charity."

Read the story here: