September 25, 2010

Man Settles McDonalds Exploding Sandwich Lawsuit - Waistlines Still Exploding at McDonalds

A Florida man has settled his $2 million lawsuit against a McDonald's restaurant in southwest Virginia that allegedly served him a chicken sandwich that exploded with hot grease. Terms of the settlement entered Friday in Alexandria were not disclosed.

The long-running case began in 2005 when carnival operator Frank Sutton of Brooksville, Fla., ordered a fried chicken sandwich at a McDonald's in the Daniel Boone truck stop in Duffield, Va. He said he suffered burns to his mouth and lips when it spewed scalding grease after he bit into it.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2008, saying that Sutton should have tested the temperature of his sandwich before ate it. But a federal appeals court disagreed and sent the case back for a second trial. That trial had been scheduled to start next week.

September 23, 2010

Spanish Region OKs Flaming Bulls - I For One Welcome Our Flaming Bull Overlords

MADRID — Lawmakers who banned bullfighting in Spain's Catalonia region this summer voted Wednesday to endorse other traditions that have been criticized as cruel to bulls, such as attaching burning sticks to their horns as they chase human thrill seekers.

The vote will only affect the Catalonia region of northeast Spain, but it addresses another manifestation of this country's timeless fascination with bulls and the testing of people's bravery with the snorting animals.

Besides watching the deadly duel of matador and bull, Spaniards run with bulls in Pamplona every year, spear them to death from horseback in another northern town — neither are in Catalonia — and cordon off town squares to let even children dodge feisty calves of the kind used to breed top-grade fighter bulls.

In July, Catalonia banned bullfighting on grounds of cruelty, becoming only the second Spanish region to do away with the centuries-old tradition, after the Canary Islands.

Wednesday's bill — approved by a 114-14 vote, with 5 abstentions — protects other bull-related traditions in Catalonia that activists find repulsive.

Known as 'correbous' in Catalan, these traditions include attaching short sticks with flaming wax or fireworks to bulls' horns, then letting the animals run around and chase people, or letting the beasts chase human daredevils by seaside marinas and plunge into the water.

Many people in Spain said they find it odd that Catalonia didn't scrap these eyebrow-raising customs at the same time it banned bullfighting.

The goal of the spectacles is not to harm or kill the bulls, but animal rights activists say the experience is still denigrating and terrifying for the animals and that some of the beasts end up getting burned or even drown during such events.

Catalonia's dominant party, a center-right nationalist coalition called Convergence and Union, says the bill — which it sponsored — seeks to fill a legal vacuum by establishing for the first time safety norms and other regulations for these festivals, including measures to protect the bulls themselves. But the legislation is widely seen as a way to enshrine the customs and buffer them against pressure to do away with them.

Francesc Sancho, a party spokesman, insisted the customs are not cruel and cannot be equated with bullfighting because the animals do not die. He said the bill seeks to protect bulls by, for instance, limiting how long such spectacles can last and having veterinarians examine the bulls afterward for signs of injury or stress.

Of the flaming horns, he said: "If the horns are wide enough, the bull does not get burned."

Sancho insisted that if the Catalonia region banned bullfighting on grounds of cruelty, it only makes sense to regulate the village festivals to minimize harm to the animals. "We are being absolutely consistent," he said.

But Alejandra Garcia, an animal rights activist who took part in a grass-roots campaign that led to the vote on banning bullfighting, said bulls do in fact suffer in the village parties.

"And it is absolutely unnecessary because the animal is being made to suffer just as a form of entertainment, so people have something fun to do in summer. That's all it is," she said.

In some seaside festivals, bulls chase thrill seekers on platforms set up along marinas, and usually end up falling into the water. People in boats lead the bulls back onto ground and back onto the platform for another go at it.

Garcia said there have been instances in which bulls got so sick of this they simply swam out to sea and drowned.

"There have been a lot of cases of that," she said.

Garcia said the bill is actually good because it will give activists a legal tool to go to court against, say, festival organizers who violate the rules it sets, such as a ban on kids under 14 taking part.

Ultimately, it will become clear these kinds of festivals are impossible to regulate and animals will continue to suffer, and this will lead to pressure to ban these customs, she said.

"For us it is a first step toward achieving a ban, over time," Garcia said.

An environmental party that is the only one in Catalonia to speak out against regulating the festivals — and which favors outlawing the traditions in which the animal is seen to suffer — has called the bill an act of contrition by politicians who banned bullfighting.

With regional elections scheduled for Nov. 28, the politicians are trying to reach out to Catalans who like bull-related events, said Daniel Pi Noya, a spokesman for the party, Initiative for Catalonia.

"This bill is all about seeking forgiveness," he said.

September 22, 2010

Why Would Anyone Want To Hear an 'Idol' announcement? Apparently 'American Idol' Agrees - No One Wants To Hear About New Season

Wednesday’s well-hyped “American Idol” webcast was lacking something. Well, in addition to any shockers (hey, who didn’t know Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and singer-actress Jennifer Lopez were joining "Idol"?). The real missing element was sound.

Nice going, music show.

“Idol’s” attempt to reach the plugged-in masses via a live online video stream turned into an almost entirely audio-free experience. In fact, other than a quote or two about finding “the next Michael Jackson” from J.Lo (good luck with that) and Tyler’s promise to “bring some rock to this roller coaster," the only other sound was a high-pitched beep guaranteed to drive web dogs mad.

If the powers-that-be had any questions about how the big announcement fail went over with fans, all they had to do was glance at the scrolling list of heckles that they managed to correctly embed on the site.

Eventually, a full 50 minutes after the originally scheduled event and long after everyone knew what to expect on the televised talent show’s 10th season, the no-longer-live event replayed with a somewhat successful audio do-over.

Host Ryan Seacrest also addressed the boo-boo and tweeted, "We ran into some audio issues with the #IdolJudges live stream, but here's video of the entire reveal."

I'll save you from Linking that actual video. You're welcome.

South Bend, Indiana Says "To "L" With Education!" - A (Pubic) Hairy Situation

Sometimes, a thin letter can make a big difference.

So it was in South Bend, Ind., where a billboard celebrating the school system misspelled public, as in ‘public school.’

According to the South Bend Tribune, the error was spotted Saturday by a local resident while she sat in traffic.

By Monday, responsibility for the blooper was claimed by Blue Waters Group, which was working with the South Bend redevelopment commission.

“I feel terrible. It’s a mistake we made, and we’re guilty of it, and responsible for it, and we take full responsibility for the error,” Patrick Strickler, president of the Blue Waters Group, told the Tribune.

He noted that the typo was not the fault of the city or of the school system.

The sign, which rotated with other adverts in the billboard, was fixed by the end of the day.

September 17, 2010

Zombie State - The First University to Encourage Students Chose a 12 Gauge Over a 4.0

Who exactly is qualified to teach a college course about the undead?

The University of Baltimore apparently feels professor Arnold Blumberg is.

Blumberg, 39, is currently teaching a curious course titled “Media Genres: Zombies,” in which his roughly 45 students feast on books, comics and 16 zombie films, including the 1932 Bela Lugosi classic “White Zombie,” which Blumberg regards as “filled with atmosphere and very creepy.”

This is a class that taps into the zombie zeitgeist sweeping the nation — and it’s just one of several like it around the country serving up an off-the-beaten-path education to hungry students. Blumberg speaks about his syllabus — and zombies, of course — with bright fan boy enthusiasm.

“I've always enjoyed horror, and I've always found zombies more interesting and exciting than a lot of other fantasy monsters,” he told “The idea of a monster that is so very human and yet inhuman at the same time — I can only guess those things hooked me as a kid in the same way they've attracted generations of fans and moviegoers.”

In addition to the ever-ubiquitous cinema and small-screen vampires, zombies are just kinda hot right now. They inspired the best-selling 2009 literary mashup “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”; they’ll give the “True Blood” cast a run for its money when they appear in the AMC show “The Walking Dead,” which is a TV  adaptation of a comic book series of the same name; there’s the “Dead Rising” and “Left 4 Dead” video game series, and even a Zombie Con in Irondale, Mo., this past summer.

Blumberg jumped at the chance to teach the course, which looks at zombies from the 1930s to the present from an academic standpoint. The class has already received national and international attention.

“We’ve gotten calls from Los Angeles and Boston,” said Jonathan Shorr, director of the School of Communications Design at the University of Baltimore. Someone from Belgrade, Serbia, even contacted the school to ask if the class was available online, Shorr said.

While Blumberg’s course may attract a crowd with particularly strong stomachs, it’s certainly not the first of its kind. Columbia College in Chicago and Simpson College in Iowa also offer courses pertaining to the undead.

And in a larger context, Blumberg’s zombie class aligns well with a spate of other offbeat courses at universities across the country. At Georgetown University, students have the option of enrolling in the “Philosophy and Star Trek” course. Students at Bowdoin College in Maine can take classes called “The Souls of Animals” and “Tolkien’s Middle Ages.”

In 2007, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s comparative media studies program began offering a course titled “American Pro Wrestling.” The same department also offered a course in 2008 exploring American soap operas.

“It was understood that wrestling is a very significant cultural phenomena,” said David Thorburn, professor of literature and comparative media studies, when asked about MIT’s decision to offer such a course. “The normal reaction for people, when they see in the curriculum things that come from their ordinary lives, like television or wrestling or sports events ... is to think the teacher is pandering to the students, or that the class is intellectually dubious. But it would make perfect sense if a film student or an anthropology student decided to take courses in this sort of thing. They would be learning about other aspects of popular culture.”

College enrollment rates were at an all-time high in 2009, with more than 70 percent of high school graduates enrolling, according to a Labor Department report released in April. So perhaps it makes sense for schools to further diversify the courses they offer.

“These seemingly offbeat courses perform the same kind of function as other liberal arts  courses, and that is to train you as a critical thinker and reader,” says Thomas S. Davis, assistant professor of English at Ohio State University. “You are learning to be a more discerning reader of cultural texts and phenomena, and that’s a good thing.”

That’s why Blumberg’s zombie course was a natural fit for student Darin Malfi. Malfi, 30, already knew of the professor through “Zombiemania,” a 2006 book Blumberg co-wrote with Andrew Hershberger, so the course was something of an ... uhh ... no-brainer.

“The class teaches you how to look at popular culture critically,” says Malfi. “All of the things he’s teaching, you can apply it to any medium of pop culture and see where it’s coming from.”

Blumberg, who credits the notorious 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead” with being his first zombie film experience, shrugs off the notion that his class is merely frivolous.

“It would be irresponsible to not teach this kind of course,” he explained. “Young people are completely swamped with messages on their computers, on their smart phones, on their televisions. Why not to give them the tools they need to be able to analyze things around them properly?”

September 10, 2010

Bodyguard Saves Justin Bieber From Arrest After Pop Star Throws Water Balloon at State Trooper - Girls Get Away With Everything!

 In Justin Bieber's world, throwing water balloons at the cops isn't necessarily a punishable offense.

An eyewitness tells E! News that a state trooper — soaked below the belt courtesy of a direct Bieber balloon hit — was ready to slap the cuffs on the teen prior to his sold-out performance at the Maryland State Fair on Sunday, but Bieber's bodyguard managed to talk him out of it.

"Still laughing. GREAT DAY," Bieber tweeted late that night.

The "Baby" singer (emphasis on the baby) apparently had been working on his aim for awhile before making contact with the officer's gun belt.

Our source says that Bieber was having a blast tossing water balloons at people's crotches backstage ... until he made direct contact with the ticked-off state trooper, who was part of a unit on hand for crowd control.

Bieber then retreated to his trailer while his bodyguard successfully persuaded the officer not to put a black mark on the kid's squeaky-clean record (not including the madness that ensues among his fans when his very name is mentioned).

A state police spokesman described Bieber's behavior Sunday as "inappropriate," but he confirmed that no incident report was written and no further action will be taken against the teen or his entourage.

According to the Baltimore Sun, at least 1,000 Bieber fans were lined up by 7:15 a.m. outside the fairgrounds waiting for wristbands to allow them entry into the concert area. The 12,500 available tickets to watch Bieber sold out in 20 minutes.

Apparently making money for Maryland means you get to make your own rules for the cops to follow.

Bieber can next be seen giving a performance at this weekend's MTV Video Music Awards , where he's nominated for Best New Artist.

September 8, 2010

Xbox Live Gamer Suspended for Saying He Lives in Fort Gay - Residents of Lake Titicaca Nervous

 Microsoft recently banned a 26-year-old gamer from Xbox Live, accusing him of violating the online gaming service's code of conduct by publicly declaring that he's from the town of Fort Gay.

A customer service rep from the company told Josh Moore, an unemployed factory worker, that the town's name was considered offensive.

But Microsoft now finds itself having to issue an apology not only to Moore but to the entire town of Fort Gay, West Virginia. Turns out it's a real place.

It also turns out "gay" isn't an offensive word. But we knew that already, right?

Last year, Microsoft used a hammer to try and solve the problem — that is they tried to stem the use of homosexual slurs by banning all expressions of sexuality in any way in Gamertags and gamer profiles on Xbox Live. But that only created another problem — gamers who are, in fact, gay and want to identify themselves as such in their online information or in conversation, found themselves booted from the service for simply discussing an issue central to their lives and their identities.

Needless to say, Fort Gay gamer Moore was surprised to find himself caught up in that tangled mess – perhaps especially since he's not actually gay himself.

Moore enjoys playing games like "Medal of Honor," "Call of Duty" and "Ghost Recon" with other players via Xbox Live. But problems arose when he added the name of his home town to his Xbox Live profile. (Fort Gay is a community of about 800 in Wayne County, along West Virginia's western border with Kentucky.)

Microsoft suspended his gaming privileges leaving Moore desperately trying to convince customer service that the location wasn't a joke or a slur.

"I was mad ... It makes me feel like they hate gay people," Moore told the Associated Press. "I'm not even gay, and it makes me feel like they were discriminating."

Angry and incredulous, Moore contacted customer service.

"I figured, I'll explain to them, 'Look in my account. Fort Gay is a real place,'" Moore said. But he claims the employee was unreceptive, warning him that if he put Fort Gay back in his profile, Xbox Live would cancel his account and keep his monthly membership fee, which he'd paid in advance.

"I told him, Google it — 25514!" Moore said, offering up the town's ZIP code. "He said, 'I can't help you.'"

Fort Gay Mayor David Thompson also tried to intervene, but with little success. Thompson told television station WSAZ, which first reported the dispute, that he was informed the city's name didn't matter. The word "gay," he was told, was inappropriate in any context.

Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, has since told the AP that it's all been a big miscommunication. As their new Xbox Live policy states, using the word gay as part of a gamer's identity is no longer a banning offense.

He said Xbox Live received a complaint, which was directed to an agent for review.

"Someone took the phrase 'fort gay WV' and believed that the individual who had that was trying to offend, or trying to use it in a pejorative manner," Toulouse said. "Unfortunately, one of my people agreed with that. When it was brought to my attention, we did revoke the suspension."

Complaints, he notes, come to agents with no contextual information, including who the suspected offender is or what games they play. The agent simply looks at the language and determines whether it complies with policy.

Toulouse contends his team rarely makes mistakes but acknowledged, "Absolutely, a mistake was made here, and we've updated our training to account for that."

Toulouse said he will contact Moore and apologize.

"In this very, very specific case, a mistake was made," he said, "and we're going to make it right."
I'm sure that by "make it right" they did not mean to change climate the overwhelming oversensitivity and pandering that goes on in the world, but just in this one case. Too bad.

September 5, 2010

Teen Accidentally Texts Sheriff to Buy Pot - Parents Accidentally Forgot to Pull Out

Authorities said a Helena Montana teen sent out a text message last week in search of pot, but instead of contacting the drug dealer, he hit a wrong number and inadvertently sent the message to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton. The text read, "Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?"

Dutton told the Helena Independent Record he initially thought it was a joke, but he quickly realized it was a real request for drugs. He responded to the text, and a detective pretending to be the dealer organized a meeting with the boy last Wednesday.

The detective spotted two teenage boys and a man at the arranged meeting spot and called the number three times to make sure he had the right person. Dutton said when the detective showed the teens his badge, their faces turned white and their knees began to wobble. One of the boys even fainted.

The man in the group turned out to be the father of one of the teens, and no citations were issued after the parents of both boys got involved.

"Trying to buy drugs is a crime, but it's probably worse that they had to face their parents," Dutton said.

Newsflash for the Sherrif's Department - If your Dad is with you on a Pot Buy, turning the kids over to their parents so that they can "face" them instead of arresting them is HARDLY a fair trade off.

Not only can we not lock up people for stupidity, it now seems we cannot lock up stupid people when their stupidity causes them to be caught in a crime. I'm sure this is not the last we have heard about these kids and the cops. I'll try to run the prison interview in 10 years when these kids can't hide behind their youth.

September 4, 2010

How to Audition For Porn Without Even Trying - In Print, No Less

This hurts my head.... literally, as I had to beat it against a wall after reading this. I mean, where do I start? Lynzee (you can tell her parents are fine citizens just from that "free-spirit" spelling of her name) has just enough command of the English language to send it into one of those wells kids get stuck in, leaving us to try for the next 3 weeks and dig it out. I say we let this one die in the well. I mean, what value to society does Lynzee exhibit here? Who does she think is give her "the life of a princess"? Getting an education specifically teaches you how to avoid ignorant people like this future Jerry Springer starlet. This is why Porn Producers get so rich... a never-ending supply of idiots ready to do their bidding once they find out they are qualified for nothing else. This is like taking out a classified ad requesting pornographers contact you. See you in the movies, Lynzee!

September 3, 2010

Nein! German Kids Given Porn Pens, Outraging Parents - Meanwhile Teachers Still Having Sex With Students

BERLIN — To sweeten their first day at primary school German children are normally given a cardboard cone filled with sweets, but children in Essen this year opened their cones to find pens that project erotic images. Children attending the Adolf Reichwein School in the northwestern German city were handed cones containing the pens by members of the German Communist Party, according to the school's headmaster.

Angry parents who discovered that the pens given to their 6-year-old children could project erotic images of women informed the headmaster. In a press release, the German Communist Party stated that it had purchased the pens from a discount store, which had said the pens lit up at the push of a button.

"The German Communist Party deeply regrets what has happened and is outraged that this kind of thing, which borders on pornography, can be purchased in normal shops," it said, adding that its lawyers were now investigating whether the vendors could be prosecuted.

The party has offered to exchange the pens for something more suitable for children. Maybe they should consider McDonalds Batman Toys.

September 2, 2010

"I Heart Boobies" Bracelet Controversy Leads to Boy's Suspension - Boobies Remain in School

A Rocklin, Ca High School sophomore faces disciplinary action for wearing a controversial bracelet that proclaims "I heart boobies," then refusing to remove it and give it to the school. Hunter Cooper, 15, said he wore the bracelet since the first day of school. His mother gave it to him after she picked it up from a doctor's office. For five months before that, he had the pink survivor bracelet from Susan G. Komen. Then last Friday, school officials spotted him with the black "boobies" bracelet and asked him to remove it.

"I'm wearing it in honor of my grandmother," said Cooper, who said his grandmother died before he was born. "I don't see it as an offensive thing at all."

The black bracelet with white lettering also trumpets other slogans, such as "wearing breast," "save the breast" and "keep a breast." A spokesperson said its breast cancer awareness campaign is targeting teens.

"This is a modern word, I think. I know plenty of people who use the word boobies," said Cooper.

"We support the cause 100 percent," said Rocklin principal Mike Garrison. He said several staff members at Rocklin High School have battled breast cancer. "But, not the language on the bracelet," said Garrison. "When you use the term boobies, we find, and many people find, the term offensive and inappropriate. We find it inappropriate to be wearing it on school grounds."

Rocklin High officials asked Cooper to hand over the bracelet, but he refused. Cooper said he now faces Saturday school or one day of on-campus suspension for not complying. A female student at Rocklin High reportedly attended Saturday school over the weekend and was disciplined after refusing to turn over her "I Heart Boobies" bracelet. The principal would not discuss Cooper's case or confirm if Cooper faces disciplinary action. Principal Garrison would not discuss the other student's case either. "We have not suspended any student or disciplined any student for wearing a bracelet or shirt that has that insignia on it," Garrison said.

"I guess I was being too defiant because I didn't hand it over," said Cooper. "I don't really think those are fair punishments." Cooper said his grandmother died from breast cancer five months after his grandfather died from lung cancer. Several other family members and friends have battled cancer. Cooper owns various bracelets as a show of support-- including the well-known yellow Livestrong bracelet.

Cooper's mother said she was disappointed with the way the school and the district handled the issue. "Without having a discussion and handing out penalties first, I think that's a real problem," said Danielle Cooper. "They need to inform us as parents. I'd like them to handle the subject matter as mature adults. I'd like the staff to take a stand, one way or another. If they banned (the bracelets), and why they banned them, we should receive notice."

Garrison said school administrators will be meeting Tuesday for a leadership meeting and will be discussing their position. When asked if there would be boobies present, no comment was given.

September 1, 2010

McDonalds Wants To Teach Kids to Wank With The Help of Batman - G.I. Joe Offers Kung-Fu Grip Help

What's next? Wonder Woman with straw-swallowing action? How can a company that got sued for hot coffee waste millions of dollars on management and yet STILL miss the obvious masturbating toy that they just ordered 3 Billion of to provide kids? I'm beginning to think the world does need an enema, Jack.

Doctor Dies of Asphyxiation While Stuck In Chimney - In Other Words, Hole Plugs Hole

From the AP:

*A Central California doctor whose decomposing body was found in the chimney of her boyfriend's house died of asphyxiation, a coroner says. Kern County Sheriff-Coroner spokesman Ray Pruitt determined Tuesday that Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac was unable to breathe in the narrow chimney where she was lodged after apparently trying to get into the Bakersfield home on Aug 25. Her preliminary cause of death is listed as mechanical asphyxiation, meaning her chest could not expand in the small space. The doctor, involved in an "on-again, off-again" relationship, apparently tried to force her way into the home by sliding down the chimney, police said Tuesday. Her decomposing body was found there three days later.

Kotarac, 49, first tried to get into the house with a shovel, then climbed a ladder to the roof last Wednesday night, removed the chimney cap and slid feet first down the flue, Bakersfield police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said. While she was trying to break in, the man she was pursuing escaped unnoticed from another exit "to avoid a confrontation," authorities said. DeGeare said the two were in an "on-again, off-again" relationship. The man's identity was not revealed by police, but the man who resides in the home is William Moodie. He declined to comment when reached Tuesday by The Associated Press, saying police instructed him not to discuss the matter.

Kotarac's body was not discovered until a house-sitter noticed a stench and fluids coming from the fireplace Saturday, according to a police statement. The house-sitter and her son investigated with a flashlight and found Kotarac dead, wedged about two feet above the top of the interior fireplace opening. Firefighters spent five hours late Saturday dismantling the chimney and flue from outside the home to extract Kotarac's body, DeGeare said. Officials said Kotarac's office staff reported her missing two days prior when she failed to show for work. Her car and belongings remained near the man's house. Foul play was not suspected, though investigators have been looking into the incident as suspicious.*

Someone smart enough to earn a Doctorate must understand that if you want a guy to plug your hole, plugging his is not the way to do it.