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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Get off the fence and be clear when communicating with a group.
You've been trying too hard for too long to be everything to everybody, and it's making you crazy -- and not winning you the fans you hoped it would.
(Not only that, you're not feeling too hot about yourself lately, either.)
You have only your self-respect to gain by speaking up for what you believe in -- and any losses you might incur, well, the universe promises that it will ultimately be your gain.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth Western Australia, Australia
Toulouse, Midi-Pyrenees, France
Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal
Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Roskilde, Roskilde, Denmark
Trieste, Friuli-Veneza Giulia, Italy
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Oldenburg, Neidersachsen, Germany
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

as well as Slovakia, Scotland, Paraguay and in cities across the United States such as Athens, Madison, Taylors, Plano and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, September 7, the 250th day of 2010.
There are 115 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Salami Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Carolina Naturally Rocks!

Even Lady Liberty says so!

The Origin of The Three Stooges


There are so many different stories about the Stooges' origin that it's hard to know which is correct. Probably none of them. Anyway, here's one that sounds good:
There was a vaudevillian named Ted Healy, a boyhood friend of Moe and Shemp Horwitz. One night in 1922, some acrobats working for him walked out just before a show. Desperate, he asked Moe to fill in temporarily, as a favor.

Moe, in turn, got his brother Shemp out of the audience, and the three of them did an impromptu routine that had the audience in stitches. Moe and Shemp loved the stage, so they changed their name from Horwitz to Howard and hit the road with their friend as "Ted Healy and the Gang" (or "Ted Healy and His Stooges," depending on who tells the story.)
In 1925, the trio was on the lookout for another member and spotted Larry Fine (real name: Louis Feinberg) playing violin with an act called the "Haney Sisters and Fine." Why they thought he'd be a good Stooge isn't clear, since he's never done comedy before. But he joined as the third Stooge, anyway.

They traveled the vaudeville circuit for years under a variety of names, including Ted Healy and His Racketeers ... His Southern Gentlemen ... His Stooges, etc. Then they wound up in a Broadway revue in 1929, which led to a movie contract.
In 1931, Shemp quit and was replaced by his younger brother, Jerry. Jerry had a full head of hair and a handsome mustache - but Healy insisted he shave them both off ... hence the name "Curly."
Three years later, after a bitter dispute, the boys broke up with Healy. They quickly got a Columbia film contract on their own, and the Three Stooges were born.

Here's the very first Three Stooges short film, "Woman Haters" (1934)
[YouTube Link Part I | Part II], about 10 min. each.
Over the next 23 years, they made 190 short films - but no features. For some reason, Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, wouldn't allow it (despite the Stooges' popularity and the fact that they were once nominated for an Oscar.)
From the '30s to the '50s, the Stooges had four personnel changes: In 1946, Curly suffered a stroke and retired; Shemp then returned to the Stooges until his death in 1955; he, in turn, was replaced by Joe Besser (Joe) and Joe DeRita (Curly Joe).


Two-Fingered Poker
One day backstage in the '30s, Larry, Shemp, and Moe were playing cards. Shemp accused Larry of cheating. After a heated argument, Shemp reached over and stuck his fingers in Larry's eyes. Moe, watching, thought it was hilarious ... and that's how the famous poke-in-the-eyes routine was born.
Profitable Experience
By the mid-'50s, the average budget for a Three Stooges' episode - including the stars' salaries - was about $16,000. Depending on the time slot, Columbia Pictures can now earn more than that with one showing of the same film ... in one city.
So What If He's Dead?
By the mid-'50s the demand for short films had petered out. So, in 1957, Columbia unceremoniously announced they weren't renewing the Stooges' contracts. Moe and Larry were devastated. After 23 years, what else would they do? Moe was rich from real estate investments, but Larry was broke - which made it even harder. They decided to get a third Stooge (Curly and Shemp were dead) and go back on tour. Joe DeRita, "Curly Joe," was selected. They started making appearances in third-rate clubs, just to have work.
Meanwhile, Columbia, hoping to get a few bucks out of its old Stooge films, released them to TV at bargain prices. They had no expectations, so everyone (particularly Moe and Larry) was shocked when, in 1959, the Stooges emerged as the hottest kids' program in America. Suddenly the Stooges had offers to make big-time personal appearances and new films. And they've been American cult heroes ever since.

Catching the last wave of the summer

Catching the last wave of the summer

World War II prisoner of war camp discovered in plumber’s back garden

A shocked plumber has discovered a prisoner of war camp that housed 10,000 German soldiers during the Second World War – in his back garden. David Murray, 39, was digging behind his bungalow when he unearthed a dog tag from a German prisoner. He got permission from his landlord to continue excavations and within an hour he had located old bottles, buttons from uniforms and used ammunition.

David has now recovered more than 2,000 items from the camp, including a live grenade that had to be blown up by a RAF bomb disposal unit. Self-employed plumber David, of Much Hadham, Herts., said he was ”completely shocked” at the find. He said: ”It was a huge shock when I found the tag, it was just poking out of the ground so it was just luck I saw it glint in the light.

”I’ve been storing all of the items in my shed but it’s getting very full up now so I am hoping to get a Nissan hut to display everything in. The grenade was a complete shock too, I spotted it in the ground and didn’t realise what it was, it didn’t look like the ones you see in films at all. I tried to defuse it a couple of times myself but I couldn’t get the screws off the top. It’s a good job because the RAF said it was very unstable.

”They weren’t very happy with me when I told them I’d been holding it next to my ear and listening to see if it would go bang. It’s really incredible to think that 70 years 10,000 prisoners of war were walking around in my back garden.” The Wynches Camp opened in 1939 and first housed Italian prisoners, but later took Germans – some of whom did not leave until 1947. The 40-acre camp, which held up to 10,000 prisoners, was situated in Much Hadham, and David’s landlord owns 20 acres of the land it stood on.

Schoolboy carries bomb into Northern Ireland classroom

An eight-year-old boy risked serious injury when he picked up a pipe bomb in a school playground in Antrim. Brendan Shannon, 8, from St Comgall's Primary School lifted what police confirmed was a viable device and brought it into the classroom. Police were called and 400 children were moved from the school on Ballymena Road to a nearby church hall.

Brendan Shannon said he found what looked like a "golden pipe thing" in the playground at St Comgall's when he arrived for school. "I just got off my bike and just touched it to see if it was okay," he said. "Then I just lifted it up."

Brendan's father, Gerard, said the consequences could have been very serious. "I was very worried and very scared when I heard that my son had gone out into the playground, saw something and lifted it up. I am trying not to think of what the consequences could have been."

St Comgall's headteacher Hilary Cush said he was outraged that an explosive device should be left for children to find. "It's absolutely crazy. It's unbelievable that innocent children should be caught up in something like this," he said.

School named for Gore has ironic problem

What started as a big honor for the former VP quickly turns into a PR headache.  



Odd News

A Hardin County farmer said that some ears among his feed corn rows popped on the stalk in a phenomenon that agricultural experts believe is associated with irregular rainfall and high heat.

An unexpected sea creature has shown up in Council, Virginia. A family discovered it while they were feeding the fish in their pond.

Colorado on Fire

Thousands of acres are destroyed as wind-driven flames roar through a canyon. 

America's coolest small towns

Low-key Cloverdale, California, has lush vineyards and charming Victorians.  

Little changes that help you shed pounds

Small tweaks to your diet often have the biggest impact on weight and health.  

Daily Funny

There was a man who had worked all of his life and had saved all of his money. He was a real miser when it came to his money. He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife, 'Now listen, when I die, I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I wanna take my money to the afterlife'.

So he got his wife to promise him with all her heart that when he died, she would put all the money in the casket with him.

Well, the day came when he died. He was stretched out in the casket, the wife was sitting there in black next to her closest friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said 'Wait just a minute!' she had a shoe box with her, she came over with the box and placed it in the casket.

Then the undertakers locked the casket down and rolled it away.

Her friend said, 'I hope you weren't crazy enough to put all that money in the casket?'.

She said, 'Yes, I promised. I'm a good christian, I cant lie. I promised him that I was going to put that money in that casket with him'.

'You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?' asked her friend.

'I sure did. I gathered up all the money put it in my account and wrote him a check for it!'

Kidnapped reporter's crafty tweet

A lucky break and quick thinking helped a journalist held hostage in Afghanistan post a note to the world. 

Mark David Chapman will remain in prison

 Cnn 2010 Crime 09 07 New.York.Chapman.Parole.Hearing T1Larg.Chapman.Gi
Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon in 1980, has again been denied parole.
From CNN:
In their written comments, the commissioners told Chapman they had concerns "about the disregard you displayed for the norms of our society and the sanctity of human life." After considering the action he took in 1980, they concluded Chapman's "discretionary release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community."

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Religio-nut vows to burn Qurans despite danger to U.S. troops

Despite concerns that it will incite violence, a Florida minister still plans to hold a public Koran burning.
Religio-nut vows to burn Qurans despite danger to U.S. troops

In case you think the haters can't get any more deranged:
A wingnut charlatan said Tuesday that he will go ahead with plans to burn copies of the Quran this weekend to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks despite a warning from the top U.S. general in Afghanistan that doing so would endanger American troops.

Quack Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center said he understands Gen. David Petraeus' concerns, but plans to go forward with the burning this Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the attacks.
Where's the outrage from Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and all the other wingnut frauds who purport to support the troops?

The action of burning the Qurans itself is despicable and warrants harsh criticism from everyone across the political spectrum. But, where are all the voices from the right who used to ask "How high?" any time Petraeus said "jump."

Repugicans being deceitful

So, what else is new?
Democrats cry foul over "fake" Green Party candidates in Arizona recruited by Republicans.  

Election Fraud, Repugican-style

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
Otherwise known as the Seditionists
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.

Liars and Fools

Faux's Stuart Varney calls Obama's economic polices "socialism" and "un-American".
Well, coming from an un-American socalist what else would who expect?

Todd Palin pals around with White Supremacist blogger.
Nazis flock together ... birds of a feather as they say ...

Faux Nation promotes Ann Coulter's lie that Obama is an atheist.
What you expected anything different?

Batshit crazy wingnut Pamela Geller lies: Target and Amazon are "norming barbarity" by selling "jihad chic" scarves.
Last time I checked wasn't it Target that was funding her fellow wingnuts? Can't have it both ways you idiotic bitch.

Wingnut squawking head (and Lush's brother) David Dimbulb lies: "Marxist" Obama and members of his Administration "are tyrannical, dictatorial Stalinists".
Oh, DD are you having a syphilitic moment just like your brother has constantly, again? 
Need we say more?


Awesome Pictures


Don't be late ...

A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner.

He was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

"I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set; and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs, and gave VD to his sister.

I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late.

He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived," said the politician. "In fact, I had the honor of being the first one to go to him in confession."

Short sleepers at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease

People who sleep less than six hours a night may be three times more likely to develop a condition which leads to diabetes and heart disease, according to researchers at the University of Warwick.

Speaking of passwords

Threats like "keylogging" can overcome even the most complicated passwords.

In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
Doctors often blame congestion, watery eyes, and sneezing on allergies, but that's not always right.

On The Job

On The Job
Experts point to a clear link between getting higher education and hanging on to your job.  

Non Sequitur

Debunking six big credit score myths

Do you know the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry on your report? 

Large Brian ... Thank Mom.

The brains of humans, apes and monkeys are enormous compared with their bodies – it seems these brainy animals have their mothers to thank.

Some of those in the following post could have used a bigger brain ...

Bad Business Decisions

 Not to mention downright stupid
We’ve all made mistakes … but probably not big mistakes like making snot beer, saying no to The Beatles, or turning down the patent for the telephone. In fact, here are some of the biggest business blunders in history:

Turning Down The Beatles


The Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 (Source: Wikipedia)
Executives: Mike Smith and Dick Rowe, executives in charge of evaluating new talent for the London office of Decca Records.
Background: On December 13, 1961, Mike Smith traveled to Liverpool to watch a local rock ‘n’ roll band perform. He decided they had talent, and invited them to audition on New Year’s Day 1962. The group made the trip to London and spent two hours playing 15 different songs at the Decca studios. Then they went home and waited for an answer.
They waited for weeks.
Decision: Finally, Rowe told the band’s manager that the label wasn’t interested, because they sounded too much like a popular group called The Shadows. In one of the most famous of all rejection lines, he said: "Not to mince words, Mr. Epstein, but we don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out; four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished."
Impact: The group was The Beatles, of course. They eventually signed with EMI Records, started a trend back to guitar bands, and ultimately became the most popular band of all time. Ironically, "within two years, EMI’s production facilities became so stretched that Decca helped them out in a reciprocal arrangement, to cope with the unprecedented demand for Beatles records."

Turning Down E.T.

Executives: John and Forrest Mars, the owners of Mars Inc., makers of M&M’s
Background: In 1981, Universal Studios called Mars and asked for permission to use M&M’s in a new film they were making. This was (and is) a fairly common practice. Product placement deals provide filmmakers with some extra cash or promotion opportunities. In this case, the director was looking for a cross-promotion. He’d use the M&M’s, and Mars could help promote the movie.
Decision: The Mars brothers said "No."
Impact: The film was E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Stephen Spielberg. The M&M’s were needed for a crucial scene: Eliott, the little boy who befriended the alien, uses candies to lure E.T. into his house.
Instead, Universal Studios went to Hershey’s and cut a deal to use a new product called Reese’s Pieces. Initial sales of Reese’s Pieces had been light. But when E.T. became a top-grossing film – generating tremendous publicity for "E.T.’s favorite candy" – sales exploded. They tripled within two weeks and continued climbing for months afterward. "It was the biggest marketing coup in history," says Jack Dowd, the Hershey’s executive who approved the movie tie-in. "We got immediate recognition for our product. We would normally have to pay 15 or 20 million bucks for it."

Selling M*A*S*H For Peanuts

Executives: Executives of 20th Century Fox’s TV division (pre-Murdoch)
Background: No one at Fox expected much from M*A*S*H when it debuted on TV in 1972. Execs simply wanted to make a cheap series by using the M*A*S*H movie set again – so it was a surprise when it became Fox’s only hit show. Three years later, the company was hard up for cash. When the M*A*S*H ratings started to slip after two of its stars left, Fox execs panicked.
Decision: They decided to raise cash by selling the syndication rights to the first seven seasons of M*A*S*H on a futures basis: local TV stations could pay in 1975 for shows they couldn’t broadcast until October 1979 – four years away. Fox made no guarantees that the should would still be popular; $13,000 per episodes was non-refundable. But enough local stations took the deal so that Fox made $25 million. They celebrated …
Impact: … but prematurely. When M*A*S*H finally aired in syndication in 1979, it was still popular (in fact, it ranked #3 that year). It became one of the most successful syndicated shows ever, second only to "I Love Lucy." Each of the original 168 episodes grossed over $1 million for local TV stations; Fox got nothing.

What Use is the Telephone, the Electrical Toy?


Executive: William Orton, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1876.
Background: In 1876, Western Union had a monopoly on the telegraph, the world’s most advanced communications technology. This made it one of America’s richest and most powerful companies, "with $41 million in capital and the pocketbooks of the financial world behind it." So when Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a wealthy Bostonian, approached Orton with an offer to sell the patent for a new invention Hubbard had helped to fund, Orton treated it as a joke. Hubbard was asking for $100,000!
Decision: Orton bypassed Hubbard and drafted a response directly to the inventor. "Mr. Bell," he wrote, "after careful consideration of your invention, while it is a very interesting novelty, we have come to the conclusion that it has no commercial possibilities… What use could this company make of an electrical toy?"
Impact: The invention, the telephone, would have been perfect for Western Union. The company had a nationwide network of telegraph wires in place, and the inventor, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell, had shown that his telephone worked quite well on telegraph lines. All the company had to do was hook telephones up to its existing lines and it would have had the world’s first nationwide telephone network in a matter of months.
Instead, Bell kept the patent and in a few decades his telephone company, "renamed American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), had become the largest corporation in America … The Bell patent – offered to Orton for a measly $100,000 – became the single most valuable patent in history."
Ironically, less than two years of turning Bell down, Orton realized the magnitude of his mistake and spent millions of dollars challenging Bell’s patents while attempting to build his own telephone network (which he was ultimate forced to hand over to Bell.) Instead of going down in history as one of the architects of the telephone age, he is instead remember for having made one of the worst decisions in American business history.

Let’s Make Snot Beer!

Executive: Robert Uihlein, Jr., head of the Schlitz Brewing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Background: in the 1970s, Schlitz was America’s #2 beer, behind Budweiser. It had been #1 until 1957 and has pursued Bud ever since. In the 1970s, Uihlein came up with a strategy to compete against Anheuser-Busch. He figured that if he could cut the cost of ingredients used in his beer and speed up the brewing process at the same time, he could brew more beer in the same amount of time for less money … and earn higher profits.
Decision: Uihlein cut the amount of time it took to brew Schlitz from 40 days to 15, and replaced much of the barley malt in the beer with corn syrup – which was cheaper. He also switched from one type of foam stabilizer to another to get around new labeling laws that would have required the original stabilizer to be disclosed on the label.
Impact: Uihlein got what he wanted: a cheaper, more profitable beer that made a lot of money … at first. But it tasted terrible, and tended to break down so quickly as the cheap ingredients bonded together and sank to the bottom of the can – forming a substance that "looked disconcertingly like mucus." Philip Van Munchings writes in Beer Blast:
Suddenly Schlitz found itself shipping out a great deal of apparently snot-ridden beer. The brewery knew about it pretty quickly and made a command decision – to do nothing … Uihlein declined a costly recall for months, wagering that not much of the beer would be subjected to the kinds of temperatures at which most haze forms. He lost the bet, sales plummeted … and Schlitz began a long steady slide from the top three.
Schlitz finally caved in and recalled 10 million cans of the snot beer. But their reputation was ruined and sales never recovered. In 1981, they shut down their Milwaukee brewing plant; the following year the company was purchased by rival Stroh’s. One former mayor of Milwaukee compared the brewery’s fortunes to the sinking of the Titanic, asking "How could that big of a business go under so fast?"

Model T is Forever!


Ford Model T (Photo: State Library of Victoria)
Executive: Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company
Background: When Henry Ford first marketed the Model
T in 1908, it was a state-of-the-art automobile. "There were cheaper cars on the market," writes Robert Lacey in Ford: The Men and Their Machine, "but no one could offer the same combination of innovation and reliability." Over the years, the price went down dramatically … and as the first truly affordable quality automobile, the Model T revolutionized American culture.
Decision: The Model T was the only car that the Ford Motor Co. made. As the auto industry grew and competition got stiffer, everyone in the company – from Ford’s employees to his family – pushed him to update the design. Lacey writes:
The first serious suggestions that the Model T might benefit from some major updating had been made when the car was only four years old. In 1912 Henry Ford had taken [his family] on their first visit to Europe, and on his return he discovered that his [chief aides] had prepared a surprise for him. [They] had labored to produce a new, low-slung version of the Model T, and the prototype stood in the middle of the factory floor, its gleaming red lacquer-work polished to a high sheen.
"He had his hands in his pockets," remembered one eyewitness, "and he walked around the car three or four times, looking at it very closely … Finally, he got to the left-hand side of the car that was facing me, and he takes his hands out, gets hold of the door, and bang! He ripped the door right off! God! How the man done it, I don’t know!"
Ford proceeded to destroy the whole car with his bare hands. It was a message to everyone around him not to mess with his prize creation. Lacey concludes: "The Model T had been the making of Henry Ford, lifting him from being any other Detroit automobile maker to becoming car maker to the world. It had yielded him untold riches and power and pleasure, and it was scarcely surprising that he should feel attached to it. But as the years went by, it became clear that Henry Ford had developed a fixation with his masterpiece which was almost unhealthy."
Ford had made his choice clear. In 1925, after more than 15 years on the market, the Model T was pretty much the same car it had been when it debuted. It still had the same noisy, underpowered four-cylinder engine, obsolete "planetary" transmission, and horse-buggy suspension that it had in the very beginning. Sure, Ford made a few concessions to the changing times, such as balloon tires, an electric starter, and a gas pedal on the floor. And by the early 1920s, the Model T was available in a variety of colors beyond Ford black. But the Model T was still … a Model T. "You can paint up a barn," one hurting New York Ford dealer complained, "but it will still be a barn and not a parlor."
Impact: While Ford rested on his laurels for a decade and a half, his competitors continued to innovate. Four-cylinder engines gave way to more powerful six-cylinder engines with manual clutch-and-gearshift transmissions. These new cars were powerful enough to travel at high speeds made possible by the country’s new paved highways. Ford’s "Tin Lizzie," designed in an era of dirt roads, was not.
Automobile buyers took notice and began trading up; Ford’s market share slid to 57% of U.S. automobile sales in 1923 down to 45% in 1925, and to 34% in 1926, as companies like Dodge and General Motors steadily gained ground. By the time Ford finally announced, that a replacement for the Model T was in the works in May 1927, the company had already lost the battle. That year, Chevrolet sold more cars than Ford for the first time. Ford regained first place in 1929 thanks to strong sales of its new Model A, but Chevrolet passed it again the following year and never looked back. "From 1930 onwards," Robert Lacey writes, "the once-proud Ford Motor Company had to be content with second place."


In 1979, Perot employed some of his well-known business acumen and foresaw that Bill Gates was on his way to building Microsoft into a great company. So he offered to buy him out. Gates says Perot offered between $6 million and $15 million; Perot says that Gates wanted $40 million to $60 million. Whatever the numbers were, the two couldn’t come to terms, and Perot walked away empty-handed. Today Microsoft is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
In 1979, the Washington Post offered the Chronicle the opportunity to syndicate a series of articles that two reporters named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were writing about a break-in at the Democratic headquarters at Washington, D.C.’s Watergate Hotel. Owner Charles Thieriot said no. "There will be no West Coast interest in the story," he explained. Thus, his rival, the San Francisco Examiner, was able to purchase the rights to the hottest news story of the decade for $500.
In the mid-1970s, executives at the W.T. Grant variety store chain, one of the nation’s largest retailers, decided that the best way to increase sales was to increase the number of customers … by offering credit. It put tremendous "negative incentive" pressure on store managers to issue credit. Employees who didn’t meet their credit quotas risked complete humiliation. They had pies thrown in their faces, were forced to push peanuts across the floor with their noses, and were sent through hotel lobbies wearing only diapers. Eager to avoid such total embarrassment, store managers gave credit "to anyone who breathed," including untold thousands of customers who were bad risks. W.T. Grant racked up $800 million worth of bad debts before it finally collapsed in 1977.

Cast of The Cosby Show (source: Wikipedia)
In 1984, Bill Cosby gave ABC-TV first shot at buying a sitcom he’d created – and would star in – about an upscale black family. But ABC turned him down, apparently "believing the show lacked bite and that viewers wouldn’t watch an unrealistic portrayal of blacks as wealthy, well-educated professionals."
So Cosby sold his show to NBC instead. What happened? Nothing much – The Cosby Show remained #1 show for four straight years, was a rating winner throughout its eight-year run, lifted NBC from its 10-year status as a last-place network to first place, resurrected TV comedy, and became the most profitable series ever broadcast.
IBM once hired Microsoft founder Bill Gates to come up with the operating software for a new computer that IBM was rushing to market … and Gates turned to a company called Digital Research. He set up a meeting between owner Gary Kildall and IBM … but Kildall couldn’t make the meeting and sent his wife, Dorothy McEwen, instead. McEwen, who handled contract negotiations for Digital Research, felt that the contract IBM was offering would allow the company to incorporate features from Digital’s software into its own proprietary software – which would then compete against Digital. So she turned the contract down. Bill Gates went elsewhere, eventually coming up with a program called DOS, the software that put Microsoft on the map.

Businessman hid in shed from bailiffs for a year

A businessman hid in his shed from bailiffs for a year after his company collapsed. Steve Morris, 60, feared he would lose his semi-detached house after his engineering business folded owing £10,000. He retreated to his shed in the belief that debt collectors would leave him alone if they thought he no longer lived in his three-bedroom house.

He put a camp-bed, a TV and a microwave in the large shed at the foot of his 60ft long garden and slept underneath a worktop. The bachelor lived off ready meals and tins of beans. He occasionally crept into his home after dark to use the lavatory, wash and get extra food. He eventually confided his money troubles to his neighbor, Carmel Dean, after she spotted him hiding in the shed.

Mrs Dean, who is in her 60s, kept his secret for the next 10 months and brought him cooked meals on a regular basis - including Christmas dinner. Mr Morris' cover was finally blown when an eviction notice was served on his £180,000 house in Weymouth, Dorset, and a locksmith was called in. Mrs Dean intervened to explain Mr Morris's predicament and the 60-year-old former businessman has now moved back into his home and has set about paying off his outstanding debts.

Mr Morris, who turned his life around with the help of his local Citizens' Advice Bureau, said: "I was broke and reached rock bottom. I had given up hope and was living in my garden shed to avoid the creditors banging on the door. There was a mountain of letters two foot deep. You don't get any good letters when you are broke. You only get threats and demands. I was living in the shed for a year and my neighbor had not seen me for two months. I slept in there so that there would not be a light on in the house."

Wizard of Id


Science News

Dwarf galaxies gobbled by giantsSpiral galaxy eating a dwarf galaxy - D. Martínez-Delgado (MPIA)

Astronomers spot the tell-tale signs of so-called "dwarf galaxies" being digested by much bigger spiral galaxies.

Scientific Frauds that Rocked the World.

The Great Tasaday Hoax

One of the most startling anthropological discoveries of the 20th century was the discovery of a primitive, cave-dwelling society in the Philippines in 1971. The Tasadays, as they were called, were a find of enormous proportions because they lived a life undisturbed by hundreds of years of society. And to many an academic’s delight, anthropologists could now directly observe how people lived in such societies. The Tasadays even used stone tools.

If you’re thinking it’s impossible that such an isolated group could exist in the Philippines as late as the 1970s, you’re right. It turns out that their "discoverer," PANAMIN (Private Association National Minorities) secretary Manuel Elizalde Jr., paid local farmers to live in the caves, take off their clothes, and appear Stone Age. In return he gave them money and security from counterinsurgency and tribal fighting.

The fact that the Tasaday were a hoax was not confirmed until the fall of Marcos in 1983, invalidating, no doubt, many PhD dissertations that had been written in the interim.

First Irish genome sequenced

The first entire genome of an Irish individual has been sequenced.

The sequence is reported in BioMed Central’s open access journal, Genome Biology and provides insight into the evolutionary history of this distinct lineage.

The reindeer and the mammoth already lived on the Iberian Peninsula 150,000 years ago

A team made up of members of the University of Oviedo (UO) and the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) have gathered together all findings of the woolly mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros and the reindeer in the Iberian Peninsula to show …


Hidden for centuries after a devastating tsunami, a rare archaeological marvel re-emerges in the nick of time. 

The Buddha in Viking Sweden

Viking Buddha
Experts have now come to a consensus that the statue was made in the sixth century in North-western India, probably in the Swat Valley.
In some way or other then, and over two or perhaps three hundred years, this little Buddha made its way half way across Euro-Asia to end up on the mantelpiece of a Swedish burgher. Doubtless he sometimes called his wife over and they looked together, shaking their heads at the ‘caste-mark of gold’ on this strange doll’s forehead. [...]
Presumably the object was traded down the Silk Road to the Black Sea and from there up the Baltic or just possibly from India to the Caspian and up the Volga to Moscow and from there to the ‘Viking Sea’? That it was found with objects from Egypt, Ireland and the Eastern Mediterranean is, any case, a reminder of just how far Scandinavian ‘traders’ –  trying to be polite – traveled in the early Middle Ages.

Magic Mushrooms May Help Fear of Death

An experiment using the hallucinogen psilocybin on terminally ill cancer patients found that it helped to ease their anxiety.
The study included 12 patients who took a small dose of psilocybin — the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” — while under the supervision of trained therapists. In a separate session, the participants took a placebo pill, which had little effect on their symptoms.
By contrast, one to three months after taking psilocybin the patients reported feeling less anxious and their overall mood had improved. By the six-month mark, the group’s average score on a common scale used to measure depression had declined by 30 percent, according to the study, which was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
In follow-up interviews with the researchers, some patients said their experience with psilocybin gave them a new perspective on their illness and brought them closer to family and friends.
“We were pleased with the results,” says the lead researcher, Charles Grob, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, in Torrance, Calif.
Another study using larger doses of the drug is planned.

The Weird and Colorful World of Fungi

Fungi come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and their range of habits and habitats is just as diverse.

It’s fungi’s ability to grow just about anywhere that makes it so amazing. If you name a hostile environment there’s more than likely some form of mushroom or yeast that will not only grow there but prefer it over anywhere else. An extreme version of this is when researchers stuck their instruments into one of the most poisonous places on earth and found not only a species of mushroom growing there but one that actually appears to be feeding on the toxicity. How nasty is this place? Well, all you need to say is one word to shudder at the thought: Chernobyl.

But strangeness and fungi don’t end with radiation-feasting mushrooms, for there are quite a number of them that feast on other things — including animals. Nematophagous fungi, for instance, grow minuscule rings that, if a nematode happens to squirm into one, rapidly contract, trapping the unfortunate lunch … I mean ‘worm.’ If this makes you a bit nervous take a bit of consolation in that the popular oyster mushroom is also a nematode killer – and it’s also tasty, so while it eats them we also eat it.

The Mysterious 'X' Factor.

The sign, or letter X, has a long history of use in the Ancient Mystery Religions, in apostate Judaism, in Freemasonry, and in the occult. The Illuminati elite use it to this day to symbolize key phenomena and mark significant events.

The mysterious letter X seems to take on a wide and varied life of its own, with or without the secret aid of the elite sponsorship.

We have Microsoft's X-box, the movie X-Men, off-brand products are called 'Brand X,' today's youth have been called Generation X, and a lot of folks are concerned about a planet, or star, reported to be speeding toward us called Planet X that has occult significance.



Put to the taste test

Many products meet, and sometimes top, their pricier counterparts in taste and nutrition.

Would A Curvy Crosswalk Reduce Accidents?

crosswalk design curve image
We always say that streets are for people, but nobody works very hard to make them comfortable for people rather than cars. After all, cars get curved corners to make it easier to get around but humans, they have to make sharp right angles. Jae Min Lim looks at the problem, and redesigns the crosswalk to reflect how people actually move.
Article continues: Would A Curvy Crosswalk Reduce Accidents?

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