Saturday, August 31, 2013

94 Year Old Man's Business Card

Zimmerman's wife needs to 'think about' staying married

SANFORD, Fla. –  George Zimmerman's wife says she's going to have to "think about" whether she stays married to him.

Shelli Zimmerman made the comments to ABC on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing following her husband's arrest for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

Her husband, who was acquitted on second-degree murder charges in July, wasn't in the Sanford courtroom Wednesday as she was sentenced to a year's probation and 100 hours of community service -- even though she supported him and even lied about their finances.

"She was scared," her attorney, Kelly Sims, said after Wednesday's hearing. "Her husband was locked up. She didn't know what was going on. So, she stood by her man, like Tammy Wynette says."

Shelli Zimmerman told ABC "I always want my husband's support."

Asked if she and George Zimmerman are still together, Shelli Zimmerman said, "I'm not going to answer that."

She added that she "wants to have children and stay married."

"With George?" the interviewer asked.

"That's something I'm going to have to think about," Shelli Zimmerman replied.

In the interview, she also revealed that she wasn't at their home the night of the teen's controversial shooting because she'd had a fight with her husband.

"I was staying at my father's house," she said. "We had gotten into an argument the night before and I left."

Shelli Zimmerman says that while she believes her husband's version of the events leading to the shooting, "I can't tell you how many nights I've gone or laid awake at night just thinking that I wish to God the circumstances had been different."

She says the couple lived in hiding while awaiting his trial.

"We have pretty much lived like gypsies for the past year and a half. We've lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods, scared every night that someone would go and find us and that it would be horrific," she said.

Shelli Zimmerman admitted she did not tell the truth during the bail hearing.

"I can rationalize a lot of reasons for why I was misleading, but the truth is that I knew I was lying," she said.

She said she plans to do her community service with a Christian ministry.

"I've made mistakes and I want to own them right now," Shelli Zimmerman said.

She also told ABC she is deeply sorry for the Martin family's loss. "I can't even begin to understand the grief a parent experiences when they lose a child," she said.

View the original article here

Clothing collection showcasing Adderall, Xanax and Vicodin criticized for making light of prescription drug abuse

Is drug use becoming fashionable?

The California-based retail chain Kitson seems to think so. The clothing company recently debuted a new line, featuring jersey-like T-shirts and sweatshirts with prescription drug names on the backs.

The shirts showcase the names of three drugs: Adderall, Xanax and Vicodin, some of the most frequently abused prescription pills. The shirts cost $58; sweatshirts cost $98. The tagline for the collection, posted on Kitson’s website, reads: “Pop one on and you'll feel better. Doctors orders.”

Kitson claims a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to The Medicine Abuse Project, according to the website. But the project's parent organization,, said it has yet to receive any donations. 

"Were were surprised to see them saying they were donating a portion of the proceeds to us because they never contacted us," Josie Feliz, a rep for, told FOX411. "We don’t know about any plans they have to donate in the future because we have yet to hear from them."

And they are not the only ones taking notice of the new line. The use of the drug names as part of a fashion trend has the pills’ manufacturers, as well as some consumers, riled up.

The drug-themed apparel -- sold online and at Kitson stores -- claims a portion of the proceeds from sales “Will be donated to the Medicine Abuse Project,” but the project’s partner organization,, has already called for the company to stop selling the clothing collection.   

In a blog post published on Wednesday, wrote that it has reached out to Kitson’s CEO Christopher Lee to pull the apparel from store racks.

“These products make light of prescription drug abuse, a dangerous behavior that is responsible for more deaths in the United States each year than heroin and cocaine combined,” the post reads.

It also calls on users to action, asking them to write to the store via their Facebook page, “to let them know that the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is no laughing matter and you want these products removed now.”

Many users have responded, flooding Kitson’s Facebook page with criticism. And the drugs’ manufacturers are also peeved by the use of the meds names on the clothes.

“We are taking this unauthorized use of our trademark very seriously and are considering all possible courses of action,” Pfizer, who manufactures Xanax, told FOX411 in a statement. “Pfizer has no relationship with the designer of this clothing line or the store in which this clothing is being sold and had no involvement in the development or marketing of this clothing line.”

Reps Shrie, the company that manufactures Adderall, had a similar statement: “The use of ‘Adderall’ by Kitson in this manner represents an unauthorized use of Shire’s ‘Adderall’ trademark. Further, the use of ‘Adderall’ in this fashion gravely concerns Shire as it glorifies the misuse and diversion of a federally controlled prescription drug for the treatment of ADHD… Shire is currently assessing its options to address this unauthorized use of the Shire trademark ‘Adderall.’”

Reps for the drug Vicodin could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to TMZ, they are determined to take legal action.

"Prescription drug use should not be trivialized. It is a serious issue and we will be taking legal action to stop the clothing company from trying to sell such a product," reps for the drug told the gossip site.

For now, it seems Kitson is standing behind its new fashion statement. The store, which boasts on its website that its celebrity clientele includes the Kardashians, Heidi Klum and Channing Tatum, posted a message on Facebook on Sunday from the collection's designer Brian Lichtenberg. 

“I have created a collection of  T-shirts that are a parody of pop culture,” the statement explained. “This particular collection of prescription tees is simply a commentary on what I see happening in our society… A large percentage of Americans are prescribed these drugs by doctors every day for legitimate reasons. These are not illegal substances. These tees are not meant to encourage prescription drug abuse, but if they open the door to a much-needed dialogue, as they seem to be doing now, then mission accomplished.”

Kitson did not immediately return FOX411’s request for further comment.

View the original article here

Allies hold up Syria intervention, Obama takes case to Congress

The Obama administration was running into roadblocks as it tried to corral an international coalition in support of intervention in Syria, with U.S. allies appearing to hit pause on calls for a missile strike. 

Britain and France, which helped lead the 2011 mission to impose a no-fly zone in Libya, on Thursday were still in a wait-and-see mode on Syria, as the countries await the results of a United Nations investigation. 

And unlike with Libya, the U.N. Security Council has so far not approved any action on Syria. The five permanent members reportedly will meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation. 

Some of the fiercest deliberations were unfolding in London, where British Prime Minister David Cameron faced down a skeptical Parliament as he tried to make the case for intervention. He has already backed off his goal of holding a single vote on Thursday, allowing for a second vote possibly next week. 

Cameron argued that an attack on Syria in response to chemical weapons use would be legal. Met with skepticism in Parliament, though, Cameron said the motion he's put forward would require Britain to wait until U.N. weapons inspectors report their findings, until "further action" is taken at the U.N., and until another vote is held in Parliament. 

The delay in London could prevent Obama from taking any action, as his administration has said it will not act unilaterally on Syria. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says inspectors are leaving the country on Saturday, meaning any report from them is not likely until next week at the earliest. 

But Obama is facing his own set of problems in Washington, where lawmakers currently on summer recess are beginning to voice serious consternation about the possibility of a missile strike. 

"It is essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action -- which is a means, not a policy -- will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy," House Speaker John Boehner wrote in a letter to the president on Wednesday. 

Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel were briefing top lawmakers on Thursday, as the military continues to prepare for a possible strike. A fifth Navy Destroyer was sent into the eastern Mediterranean on Thursday. 

One senior Hill aide said there was a concern that launching missiles at Syria could simply be a case of "fire and forget." Further, lawmakers are worried about the potential consequences of a bombing mission. And they want to know the endgame. 

"We don't employ the U.S. military just to make a point," groused one congressional source who asked not to be identified. 

In an interview with PBS on Wednesday, Obama bluntly declared that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week. 

He suggested a "shot across the bow" for Syria could be in the interest of U.S. national security. 

But while the administration is expected to release intelligence findings regarding last week's attack as early as Thursday, the Associated Press reported that officials say that intelligence is "not a slam dunk." 

If there is even a shred of doubt that Assad and his top lieutenants ordered the strike last week, Obama is likely to face even more questions from Congress during briefings on Thursday. Many lawmakers are already demanding that he seek a formal vote before moving ahead with any strikes. 

Meanwhile, battle lines are being drawing in the international community. After Russia refused to sign on to a Britain-drafted resolution before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Reuters reports that Russia is sending two warships to the Mediterranean Sea, where the U.S. has also positioned ships. The Navy has also boosted its presence in the Persian Gulf, adding one more aircraft carrier. 

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

View the original article here

Friday, August 30, 2013

19 signs your thyroid isn’t working right

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, can have a dramatic impact on a huge variety of bodily functions, and if you're a woman over 35 your odds of a thyroid disorder are high—more than 30 percent, by some estimates.

At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and half—15 million—are silent sufferers who are undiagnosed, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Women are as much as 10 times as likely as men to have a thyroid problem, says integrative medicine specialist Dr. Robin Miller, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond.

Located above the Adam's apple, your thyroid produces thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates, among other things, your body's temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. Things can start to go wrong when your thyroid is under- or over-active. If it's sluggish, it produces too little TH; amped-up and it produces too much. What causes your thyroid to go haywire? It could be genetics, an autoimmune attack, pregnancy, stress, nutritional deficiencies, or toxins in the environment, but experts aren't entirely sure. Because of thyroid hormones far reach in the body—from brain to bowels—diagnosing a disorder can be challenging. Here's how to tell if your thyroid could be on the blink.

You're exhausted

Feeling tired and having no energy are issues associated with lots of conditions, but they're strongly linked with hypothyroidism, the disorder that's the result of too little thyroid hormone. If you're still tired in the morning or all day after a full night's sleep, that's a clue that your thyroid may be underactive. Too little thyroid hormone coursing through your bloodstream and cells means your muscles aren't getting that get-going signal. “Fatigue is the number one symptom I see,” says Miller. “It’s the kind of fatigue where you’re still tired in the morning after a full night’s sleep—that’s a clue that you’re not simply sleep deprived; your thyroid may be underactive.” 7 Tips for the Best Sleep Ever

You're feeling down

Feeling unusually depressed or sad can also be a symptom of hypothyroidism. Why? It's thought that the production of too little thyroid hormone can have an impact on levels of "feel good" serotonin in the brain. With an underactive thyroid turning other body systems down to "low," it's not surprising that your mood might sink there, too.

You feel jittery and anxious

Anxiety and "feeling wired" are associated with hyperthyroidism, when the thyroid gland is making too much thyroid hormone. Flooded with consistent "all systems go" messages, your metabolism and whole body may spin into overdrive. If you feel like you just can't relax, your thyroid may be "hyper." 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Your appetite or taste buds are altered

An increased appetite can be a sign of hyperthyroidism when too much thyroid hormone may have you feeling hungry all of the time. The only upside is that the "hyper" part of the disorder typically offsets the caloric impact of an increased appetite so the end result isn't weight gain.

An underactive thyroid, on the other hand, can mess with your sense of taste and smell.

Your brain feels fuzzy

Sure, it could be caused by sleep deprivation or aging, but cognitive functioning can take a hit when your thyroid is out of whack. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can cause difficulty concentrating and too little (hypothyroidism) may cause forgetfulness and general brain fog. “When we treat patients for hypothyroidism, they are often surprised at how fast their brain fog goes away and how much sharper they feel,” Miller says. “Many women think it’s just something that comes along with menopause when it really is a sign of a thyroid problem.”

You've lost your interest in sex

Having little or no desire in the sack could be a side effect of a thyroid disorder. Too little thyroid hormone could be a contributor to a low libido, but the cumulative impact of other hypothyroidism symptoms—weight gain, low energy, and body aches and pains—could also play a part. 12 Secrets to Better Orgasms

You're feeling all fluttery

That fluttery feeling you're having may be heart palpitations. It can feel like your heart is actually fluttering or skipping a beat or two, or beating too hard or too quickly. You may notice these feelings in your chest or at pulse points in your throat or neck. Heart flutters or palpitations can be a sign of too many thyroid hormones flooding your system (hyperthyroidism).

Your skin is dry

Skin that's dry and itchy can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. The change in skin texture and appearance is probably due to slowed metabolism (caused by too little thyroid hormone production), which can reduce sweating. Skin without enough moisture can quickly become dry and flaky. Likewise, nails can become brittle and may develop ridges.

Your bowels are unpredictable

People with hypothyroidism sometimes complain of constipation. The disruption in hormone production has likely caused a slowdown of digestive processes.

“There’s just no motility in your gut,” Miller says. “This is one of the top three most common symptoms of hypothyroidism I see.”

On the reverse side of the spectrum, an overactive thyroid gland can cause diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements, which is why they're symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Your periods have changed

Longer menstrual periods with a heavier flow and more cramps can be a sign of hypothyroidism, where thyroid hormones are in short supply. Periods may be closer together.

With hyperthyroidism, high levels of TH cause menstrual irregularities in a different way. Periods are shorter, farther apart and may be very light. “I always ask my patients about their cycles and if they’re regular,” says Miller. She finds a strong link between irregular cycles and thyroid problems. And if periods are extra-heavy, she checks for anemia, too.

You have painful extremities or muscles

Sometimes you stub a toe or work out too hard—that kind of pain can be explained away. But if you have mysterious or sudden tingling or numbness—or actual pain—in your arms, legs, feet, or hands, that could be a sign of hypothyroidism. Over time, producing too little thyroid hormone can damage the nerves that send signals from your brain and spinal cord throughout your body. The result is those "unexplained" tingles and twinges.

You have high blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure can be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have been fingered as culprits. By some estimates, people with hypothyroidism have two to three times the risk of developing hypertension. One theory is that low amounts of thyroid hormone can slow heart beat, which can affect pumping strength and blood vessel wall flexibility. Both may cause a rise in blood pressure. 17 Worst Habits for Your Heart

Your thermostat is on the fritz

Feeling cold or having chills is associated with hypothyroidism. The system slow-down caused by an underactive thyroid means less energy is being burned by cells. Less energy equals less heat.

On the other hand, an overactive thyroid puts energy-producing cells into overdrive. That's why people with hyperthyroidism sometimes feel too warm or sweat profusely.

You're hoarse or your neck feels funny

A change in your voice or a lump in your throat could be a sign of a thyroid disorder. One way to check is to take a good look at your neck to see if you can detect any signs of thyroid swelling. You can do a physical check of your own thyroid at home with these directions from The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists:

Using a hand mirror, watch your throat as you swallow a drink of water. You're looking for any bulges or protrusions in the thyroid area, which is below your Adam's apple but above your collarbones. You may want to try this several times to get a hang of where your thyroid really is. If you see anything that's lumpy or suspicious, see your doctor.

Your sleep schedule is messed up

Want to sleep all of the time? It could be hypothyroidism. A sluggish thyroid can slow bodily functions down to the point where sleeping (even in the daytime) seems like a brilliant idea.

Can't sleep? It could be hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid can cause anxiety and rapid pulse, which can make it hard to fall asleep or even wake you in the middle of the night.

You've gained weight

Going up a few dress sizes can be caused by so many things that it's unlikely your doctor will look at weight gain alone as a potential thyroid disorder symptom. However, weight gain is one of the top reasons women show up in Miller’s office for a thyroid checkup. “They’ll tell me that they aren’t eating any more than usual, but they’re gaining weight,” she says. “They are exercising, but they are getting nowhere. They can’t lose it.” It’s almost always due to an underactive thyroid, she says.

On the other end of the scale, a sudden weight loss can signal hyperthyroidism. Lose 8 Pounds in 2 Weeks

Your hair is thinning or falling out

Dry, brittle hair that breaks or falls out can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Too little thyroid hormone disrupts your hair growth cycle and puts too many follicles into "resting" mode, resulting in hair loss—sometimes all over your body including at the outside of your eyebrows. “Lots of my patients come in and tell me that their hairdresser sent them,” says Miller. “They’ll say, ‘My hair stylist said I’m losing my hair and I needed to go ask my doctor about my thyroid.’ The hair salons are more aware of thyroid problems than some doctors!”

An overactive thyroid can also do a number on your hair. Hair issues due to hyperthyroidism typically show up as thinning hair just on your head.

You have trouble getting pregnant

If you've been trying to have a baby for an extended period of time with no luck, an under- or over-active thyroid could be a contributing factor. Difficulty conceiving has been linked to a higher risk of undiagnosed thyroid problems.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility. Thyroid disorders are also linked to pregnancy complications.

You have high cholesterol

High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that haven't responded to diet, exercise, or medication have been linked to hypothyroidism. Elevated levels of the "bad" cholesterol can be caused by an underactive thyroid and are cause for concern. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to heart problems, including an enlarged heart and heart failure.

Get your thyroid tested

If you have one or more of these symptoms and suspect it's your thyroid, see your doctor and ask for a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, Free T3, and Free T4 tests, says Miller. Based on test results, your symptoms, and your physical exam, you may be prescribed synthetic hormones. Testing and treating a thyroid disorder takes a bit of trial-and-error so expect to visit the doctor a few times before the dosage is right.

Push for thyroid treatment

Expect to have to be your own advocate when it comes to your thyroid. Some doctors may be resistant to a thyroid diagnosis, although the American Associated of Clinical Endocrinologists narrowed the TSH range for acceptable thyroid function from 0.5-5.0 to 0.3-3.04 in 2003. That means more women fall into a range that can be treated. “Find a doctor who treats the person, not just the lab tests,” says Miller. “If you’re feeling better at a certain dosage—that should carry just as much weight as the lab results.”

This article originally appeared on

View the original article here

Everything we know about Samsung’s rumored ‘Galaxy Gear’ smartwatch

The year of the smartwatch marches on, and following hardware such as the Pebble, Sony’s SmartWatch 2, and all manner of crowd-sourced alternatives, the next manufacturer expected to reveal such a device is Samsung. We’ve been hearing about a smartwatch from Samsung most of the year, but it’s only very recently we’ve learned its arrival is imminent. So what do we know about the watch? Quite a lot, but not all that much detail. As the announcement draws closer, we’ve pulled all the rumors surrounding the device together in one handy guide.

It called the Galaxy Gear
A trademark filing discovered in July linked devices, including watchbands and wristwatches that communicate data with smartphones, to the name Samsung Gear. The month after, to no-one’s surprise, the Gear name became prefaced by Samsung’s beloved and wide-ranging Galaxy brand name in another trademark application. Finally, this week, a Samsung executive confirmed the Galaxy Gear name in an interview.

RELATED: Samsung announces early adopter price of $1,600 for Galaxy NX Android-based camera

Before it became known as the Galaxy Gear, it was first revealed as the Galaxy Altius, a considerably cooler name, which came along with a series of screenshots supposedly taken from the watch.

September 4 announcement
In the same interview that confirmed the Galaxy Gear name, we also learned the smartwatch will be revealed at Samsung’s second Unpacked event of 2013, which will take place on September 4 in Berlin. It’ll be joined by the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone-tablet hybrid, a device which may benefit from the functionality provided by a smartwatch, thanks to its inevitably unwieldy size. According to Samsung, it has been working on a smartwatch for some time, so expect the company to make it a big deal.

What will it look like?
Excitingly, this is the area about which we’ve heard the least. Obviously, if it’s going to be worn on the wrist, there are only so many shapes and designs it can have, but pictures showing the device itself have stayed out of the limelight. There have been several concepts spread around the Internet, one of which you can see above, but otherwise, the look of the Galaxy Gear is all set to be a launch-day surprise. If you want to get a hint, here’s one of the better concept videos, even though we now know the Gear won’t have a flexible screen.

RELATED: A new Facebook virus has already infected 800,000 users – here’s what you need to know

Talk of flexible screen and other specs
Samsung has been rumored to be working on a flexible-screen device for many months, but if the Galaxy Gear will arrive before 2014, it won’t be packing one of these bendy marvels. Samsung’s vice president of mobile confirmed the Gear wouldn’t boast such a feature, but added that one of its successors may.

Otherwise, there’s no official word on the Galaxy Gear’s specifications, but there are a few rumors. A leaked set of specs found its way to SamMobile recently, suggesting the Gear may have a 1.67-inch display with a 300 x 300 pixel resolution, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 2-megapixel camera, and 1GB of RAM. Both Bluetooth and NFC were also included. The screenshots leaked in February had a 500 x 500 pixel resolution though, so there’s a chance the screen may turn out to be sharper than indicated here.

By way of a comparison, the sixth-generation iPod Nano has a 1.54-inch screen and a 240 x 240 pixel resolution, while the new Sony SmartWatch 2 has a 220 x 176 pixel, 1.6-inch display.

RELATED: Recently granted Apple patent could turn your iPhone into a whole-home remote

SamMobile’s report isn’t the only one we have to go. An anonymous sourced cited by GigaOm recently chimed in that the Gear will have a 2.5-inch OLED screen with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution, and will be powered by Samsung’s dual-core Exynos chip.

An accelerometer could activate the screen when you move your wrist up to your face, and many other sensors could allow it to compete with fitness trackers like the Nike FuelBand, as well as integrate with Samsung’s own S Health app.

Android and Samsung’s own apps
According to GigaOm, the watches being tested by developers run on Android Jelly Bean, either version 4.1 or 4.2, and work primarily using gestures and swipe controls. Given the small size of the screen, we shouldn’t expect a keyboard to be included. However, there’s likely to be plenty of Samsung’s own apps, which could be sold through a dedicated Samsung app store rather than Google Play.

Samsung is notorious for filling its smartphones with many, often useless, proprietary apps, and we doubt it’ll resist the temptation to do the same with the Gear. However, perhaps apps like S Health and S Translator will make more sense when installed on a smartwatch.

A watch and a phone?
In mid-August, a Bloomberg report about the Galaxy Gear said insiders had informed them the smartwatch would also make calls, a feature previously not expected to appear on the device. Phone watches have never caught on, despite several attempts, and adding phone functions to a watch would certain raise the price and long-term cost of ownership way beyond its competitors.

RELATED: Dell unveils ‘world’s most secure Ultrabook’ with super slim Latitude 7000 laptop

It could come in various colors, including fashionable gold
Like several of its smartphones, Samsung will probably release the Galaxy Gear in a variety of hues. If the rumors are accurate, the initial run will see a black, white, grey, and orange Galaxy Gear go on sale, with a white gold model following soon afterwards.

That covers what we know about the Galaxy Gear smartwatch so far, but we’ll be sure to update here if more details emerge before the launch event. Otherwise, we’ll officially hear all about it on September 4.

View the original article here

'Duck Dynasty' recap: Robertsons shop for a hot tub, Phil spends time with the grandchildren

One good deed deserves another–at least that’s the philosophy in West Monroe, Louisana, where the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” make their home. This week's episode of the series was all about helping each other out. 

“One of the many perks of being in the Robertson clan is that if you need help–all you gotta do is ask for it,” Jase explained of his brothers, Uncle Si and coworker Godwin pitching in to assist in building a new fishing dock. “It’s a great system, but like any other system–there can be people who will abuse it.”

Jase was not-so-subtly referring to Uncle Si, who preferred to “supervise” the boys from dry land during the dock installation–all while sipping on his ever-present sweet tea.

“What’s the point of having family and friends if you can’t ask them for help every once in a while?” asked Si, somewhat rhetorically.

“You’re always asking for favors, but you never help out with any favors,” groused Willie.

“I never ask for no favors,” declared Godwin.

“Yes, you have,” protested Willie.

“I absolutely never ask for a favor,” returned Godwin.

That, as the Robertsons would learn, would soon change. Back at Duck Commander Headquarters, Godwin made a random announcement, “I’m gonna get me a hot tub.”

The boys were stunned. “A hot tub,” Jase said, with obvious disgust. “No self-respecting man would have a hot tub.”

“I would,” said Willie with a slight smile.

“That’s my point,” returned Jase.

“The man wants a hot tub, he should get a hot tub,” reasoned Willie.

Since it was clear that Godwin had his heart set on a hot tub, Willie fired up his laptop and started to search for one online.

“There’s some cool ones–about six grand,” Willie tells Godwin. “What’s your budget?”

“All’s I can spend is two hundred bucks,” said Godwin, flatly.

With such a limited budget, Willie suggested that Godwin purchase a used hot tub. Godwin was fine with that, as long as it had speakers.

One of the Robertson brothers did not approve of Godwin getting any kind of hot tub–with or without speakers.

“I just want to say something on the record,” said Jase. “I am in protest of this. This whole thing is a bad idea. You’re going to get the measles from it. Blisters, skin rashes or hepatitis.”

Willie just shook his head. “When it comes to germs, Jase is a walking contradiction,” noted Willie. “He has no problem crawling through swamps and other disgusting, stagnant bodies of water. But just the mention of a manmade place with clean, animal-free water is enough to send him on a rant for a week.”

After much discussion, Si suggested that only place that might have a hot tub within Godwin’s budget would be a place called Squirrel’s–yes, Squirrel’s–Junkyard.

“That’s actually not a bad idea, because all he has is crap,” laughed Willie.

Meanwhile, Phil and Miss Kay have a few of the grandkids over for the afternoon, who arrive to the Robertson property “fresh from the subdivision.”

Phil is determined to teach his grandchildren “patience and resourcefulness” by gathering mayhaw berries and turning them into jelly.

“Food,” lectured Phil. “What if everything goes south, there are no chicken nuggets, there’s no big, tall Coca-Colas and fries–what then?”

“We would survive like the walking dead,” answered Willie’s grandson, John Luke.

That did not satisfy Phil, and he set out to teach the kids the finer points of mayhaw harvesting.

Back at Squirrel’s Junkyard, the boys have found a budget-appropriate–if disgusting–hot tub for Godwin. They tow it back to Godwin’s house, where he insisted that it be installed in the front yard so that he can “watch the cars go by.”

“What are you, a dog?” asked Willie.

Godwin stands firm, determined that they install the hot tub in the front yard. The boys struggle to unload the hot tub off the truck, and it crashes to the ground with a thud.

“This board broke,” said Godwin.

“That’s just cosmetic,” reassured Willie.

“That’s right,” conceded Godwin. “I’ll get the wood glue.”

After the “cosmetic” damage is fixed, Godwin climbs into the hot tub–(almost) naked and alone.

“Awww, yeah!” hoots Godwin as the bubbles frothed around him.

“In all the years I’ve known Godwin, I’ve never seen him this happy,” observed Willie. “He’s happier than a pig in mud–which is actually a fitting comparison when you consider how disgusting that water probably is.”

At the family dinner, the Robertsons gave thanks, and Willie noted, “Sometimes doing a favor a friend can be quick and easy, other times it means you’ll be spending all day at a stinkin’ junkyard. The point is, you can’t pick and choose how you help somebody. You just help them because they’ve been there to help you.”


View the original article here

Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend reportedly executed by firing squad

FILE - In this July 27, 2013 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leans over a balcony and waves to Korean War veterans cheering below at the end of a mass military parade on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. (AP Photo)

The ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim-Jong-un was one of a dozen people reportedly executed by a firing squad last week. 

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports that singer Hyon Song-wol and 11 others had been arrested on August 17 for violating North Korea's laws against pornography and was executed three days later. 

The paper reported that the condemned, all members of the performing groups Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band, were accused of making videos of themselves having sex and selling the videos, which the paper reported were available in China.

"They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on," a source told the paper. The source added that the victims' families appear to have all been sent to prison camps. 

Kim Jong-un reportedly met Hyon Song-wol approximately 10 years ago, before he was married. The relationship between the two is believed to have ended after interference from Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, though the two had been rumored to be having an affair. Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before their marriage. It is not clear if she had any role in the executions. 

Click for more from the Chosun Ilbo

View the original article here

Madonna’s famed backup singer Donna De Lory on ditching pop for devotional music and why Kabbalah wasn’t for her

LOS ANGELES –  Donna De Lory spent decades performing in sold out arenas as Madonna’s leading back-up singer, but now, she’s set out to become the face of devotional music. Her new album “The Unchanging” is her most artistic and deeply personal to-date – a far cry from bopping under spotlights to “Like a Virgin” and “Holiday.”

“My initial passion was just to sing, it gave me such bliss. But at some point in my life, I wanted to be of service to other people,” De Lory told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I want my voice to be that vehicle that heals the hearts of others. I love having fun and dancing, and I love the celebration of performing, but I want to use my voice for something more.”

De Lory’s musical path originates from a strong family legacy – her grandfather was a musician in the Warner Bros. studio orchestra, working on classic films including “Casablanca” and “Gone With the Wind,” while her father was a part of Phil Spector’s band, additionally playing keyboard for the Beach Boys and producing several Glen Campbell hits. By the end of her teen years, De Lory was lending her unique voice to albums by the likes of Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Selena and Belinda Carlisle, while at the same time delving into the religious practices and spiritual philosophies that shape the music she makes today.

“I was babysitting as a teenager in Beverly Hills and the mom said ‘come to Church.’ It was about going inside yourself and healing your own suffering and being part of a community,” she recalled. “I love finding the truth in every religion. One grandmother was a Catholic and the other was a Christian, and I see clearly that it is all pointing reference to the same place…I hope when people hear my music they will just hear how much I love God and how thankful I am.”

But it was in 1987--  when De Lory was barely 21 years old-- that she became part of Madonna’s exclusive touring ensemble, becoming the Queen of Pop’s right-hand woman for the legendary “Who’s that Girl,” “Blonde Ambition,” “Drowned World,” “Girlie Show” and “Confessions” tours. She then soared to notoriety in Alek Keshishian’s iconic documentary “Truth or Dare.” And when you are keeping company with the big M, it comes as no surprise that her devotion to Kabbalah would come into play.

“Kabbalah, all of a sudden, was mandatory. I thought it couldn’t hurt, but it wasn’t my belief system per se. However, two times the teacher tied on the [Kabbalah symbol of the] red-string, and two times I watched it untie and come off me,” De Lory noted. “They tie these things and knot them and they aren’t supposed to come off for a long time. After it came off two times on its own, I figured that I didn’t need that to protect me.”

The 2008 “Sticky & Sweet” tour marked the first time in more than two decades that she wasn’t by Madonna’s side on-stage, and De Lory, who now resides with her husband and two young children in California’s Topanga Canyon, chose to skip last year’s “MDNA” showdown as well.

“I looked at some clips online. I know her and what she is trying to do. But the whole thing in trying to advocate non-violence and then be on stage with guns?” De Lory observed. “Even though she is very wealthy and very famous, Madonna is still human and like all of us, she is trying to figure it all out. She was always a great example for me; she worked so hard and wanted something so badly.”

Early on, that extraordinary level of stardom was what De Lory wanted too. In 1993, she debuted as pop solo artist with a self-titled album through MCA/Universal Records – even recording a song that didn’t make Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” album as her own – but it soon became apparent that the Tinseltown machine just wasn’t her jam.

“I would go to her parties, name any star and they would be there. But these people weren’t my friends. I didn’t feel comfortable. To think of myself in a scene like that felt empty,” De Lory explained. “And I got more and more into world music and the record company was like, what is she tripping on? They were telling me I was overweight, I looked too big in my music videos. I was belly-dancing and wanted my stomach to actually be a stomach. I stood up and told them tough luck, I had already passed that point in my 20’s of being so insecure with trying to be skinny.”

And even though De Lory became suspicious when camera crews started following them around in 1990 with the claim that “Madonna just wants home footage” and warned everyone else to be careful about what they said, one Hollywood star almost caused her undoing.

“I had a French boyfriend I met on the first tour, we were going to breakup, but we were holding off. So I was off with Madonna in London and I met Robert Downey Jr. He just rocked my world. We started hanging out,” she added with a nervous smile. “Then in ‘Truth or Dare’ they asked me if I had ever messed around on my boyfriend and told the truth. Sitting in the screening, I was so afraid, even though I was breaking up with my boyfriend, that he would see this… Luckily, none of that about me ended up in there.”

De Lory’s new album “The Unchanging” is now available on iTunes.

View the original article here

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kentucky man says he killed wife to end her cancer pain

This photo provided by London, KY Sheriff's office shows Ernest Chris Chumbley of London, Ky.ap

A southeastern Kentucky man charged with killing his wife says he fatally shot her because she asked him to end her suffering from breast cancer.

"She told me she wanted me to end her pain. All I said [was] 'Jay, all I’ve got is what the doctor gave you.' She said 'No, I want you to stop my pain for good,'" Ernest Chris Chumbley told from his cell in the Laurel County Detention Center 

The Laurel County sheriff's office says Ernest Chumbley called 911 at about 2:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday saying he had shot his wife. 

In a 911 tape, a dispatcher asks Chumbley, "What happened again?", to which Chumbley responds "You need to come out here." The dispatcher then says, "Tell me what happened, sir." Chumbley responds, "Give me the police, I'm under arrest."

Deputies found Virginia Chumbley dead in the couple's bedroom with two gunshot wounds. 

The 48-year-old Chumbley was arrested on a murder charge and was being held on $200,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in Laurel District Court.

"I shot her," Chumbley said. "She died from my shots, but it’s not murder."

Neighbors told that the couple had been happily married for more than 20 years, but Virginia Chumbley's breast cancer had ravaged her health. 

“She was hurting real bad. We could hear her at night like she was gasping for air,” said Stanley Campbell, the Chumbley's next-door neighbor. 

I just did what she asked,"Chumbely said from his cell. "And I would expect no different from her if I was asking her."

Click for more from 

View the original article here

Obama's got only five options when it comes to Syria

As the Obama administration contemplates a possible military strike against Syria, it would be useful for everyone to take a step back and ponder what we want to accomplish with such an attack.

What are the president’s objectives and how will an attack achieve those objectives? What are his options?

It’s understandable that we want to “do something.” Those pictures of linen-wrapped children, dead from inhaling chemical weapons, are horrifying. But there is only one thing worse than doing nothing – that is doing something that makes things even worse. And whatever we do, our first and foremost goal should be what is best for America.

We have to find a way to get off the Middle East merry-go-round of death and destruction, that Arab oil has chained us to.

So what are the president’s options? Here are five:

Option One: Regime Change. We could launch major attacks and destroy Assad’s war making ability, presumably in conjunction with allies and Syrian rebels, so Assad ends up like Libya’s Qaddafi.  Ironically, Bush administration NeoCons and Obama Interventionists have finally found common cause –  both want to topple Assad. Even President Obama himself said two years ago that Assad "must go."

But, if the last ten years have taught us anything, it should be that toppling dictators doesn’t necessarily lead to something better.

We toppled dictators in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt, and were assured there was a pro-democracy, Western leaning-cadre ready to step in and assume the reins of power.  Iraq led to ten years of bloody war, Libya led to Benghazi and Egypt to a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.

With Syria, we already know that the rebel groups likely to prevail are Al Qaeda affiliates.  As bad as Assad is, an Al Qaeda-led Syria would be even worse for America.  

It's a cardinal rule of foreign policy that if two of your enemies are trying to destroy each other, don't step in and try to stop them.  If we try to unseat Assad, it's doubtful his Iranian and Russian allies would stand silently by. At a minimum, Iran would redouble its efforts to develop nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

Option Two: Limited Attack. We could launch a limited attack to destroy the helicopters and planes that delivered the chemical weapons.  According to press reports, the administration is leaning in this direction.  

It would give Assad a symbolic public spanking, but the civil war would continue, with both sides more or less where they are today.  

It would make good on Obama’s “red line” threat and serve to “punish Assad,” as Secretary Kerry pledged.

The administration is also hoping it would deter Assad, but there is no guarantee he wouldn't use chemical weapons again, since the caches would remain untouched.  It’s just as likely that Assad could decide to double down and use chemical weapons again, thus leaving Obama in the uncomfortable position of having to escalate U.S. involvement.  

It’s possible the president would be faced with the one thing he wants to avoid and the American people deplore – getting involved in another civil war in the Middle East.

Option Three: Arm the Rebels. We could openly arm and train the Syrian rebels to do the job for us.  The question is, which rebels? 

This may have been a viable option two years ago, but today even those in favor of arming the rebels admit that the strongest among the many rebel groups are linked to Al Qaeda.  As dangerous as Assad possessing chemical weapons might be, Al Qaeda having them would be even worse – Al Qaeda has long sought to get its hands on weapons of mass destruction to use against Americans.

If we arm the good rebels, it would be in hopes they could defeat both the Al Qaeda rebels and the Assad government. 

At best, that would put us in the middle of a three-way civil war: we support our rebels, while the Arab oil states support their rebels, and Iran and Russia support the Assad government.  

At worst, the Al Qaeda rebels seize our weapons, and use them first against Assad and then against us?  

Sound farfetched? That’s what happened in Benghazi.

Option Four: Destroy the Chemical Weapons. According to some military experts, we have non-conventional "agent defeat" weapons designed specifically to neutralize chemical weapons without dispersing toxins into the atmosphere.

One type first punctures chemical weapons containers and then smothers the toxins with neutralizing agents before they can be dispersed.  

Other military experts claim these exotic weapons are too experimental, or wouldn’t work, or work only if we first destroyed Syria’s air defenses. They claim if we want to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons, we would need special operations forces, in other words, boots on the ground – an option nobody wants.  In either case, we could end up doing the very thing we’re trying to avoid: killing innocent civilians.

Option Five: Delay, Then Do Something Symbolic. President Obama was elected in part because of his opposition to the Iraq war, and criticism that President Bush’s casus belli, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, never existed.

Every day the evidence seems to mount that the Assad government did use chemical weapons to kill hundreds of innocent women and children.  But the evidence is not incontrovertible, and may never be.  

Obama could decide to wait for more proof. As long as chemical weapons are not used again, the public clamor to ‘do something’ would abate.  The president could then satisfy his “red line” threat by lobbing a few cruise missiles on insignificant targets and call it a day.

But the message would be clear: America’s threats mean nothing. Assad and every other would-be murderous dictator would conclude the international community was unwilling to stop those willing to use weapons of mass destruction. Syria would see no consequence to using use chemical weapons again, and Iran would read it as a green light for their nuclear weapons program.

We are now left with no good choices. Thanks to President Obama’s “red line” threat last year, and his demand that “Assad must go” two years ago, he has put the U.S. between a rock and a hard place. Every parent knows you don’t make threats unless you’re willing to carry them out, since your bluff will always be called.  So it should be a caution to all leaders – words don’t deter, only deeds so.

None of these options are risk free, all of them have potential consequences that would hurt Americans near term and long.  

The best of the bad lot is to find a way to destroy the chemical weapons caches so they can’t be used against us or our allies, without getting pulled into another conflict. We could then leave the Syrian civil war to the Syrians.

Syria sounds eerily like Iraq, and Libya, and Egypt. The same civil strife could be repeated in Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, and maybe even Saudi Arabia in the future.

Syria is the harbinger of a decade, if not a generation, of Middle East conflict as radical Sunni groups square off against radical Shiites. We have to find a way to get off the Middle East merry-go-round of death and destruction, that Arab oil has chained us to.

Fifty years ago President Kennedy committed America to landing a man on the moon within a decade. President Obama should similarly commit America to becoming energy self sufficient and free of Arab oil by the end of his presidency.  

He should approve the Keystone Pipeline immediately, and unshackle our oil and natural gas companies so they can develop America’s domestic energy sources. Not only will it give the American economy a much-needed boost, it will allow America to declare its independence from the internecine wars which have plagued the Middle East since Cain slew Abel.  

If not, America will find itself, time and time again, caught in the middle of the same kind of  ethno-sectarian civil wars that have ensnared us  for the last 20 years. Despite spending trillions of dollars and spilling the blood of thousands of Americans, we remain in servitude to Arab oil. 

Granted, the goal of energy independence may not help President Obama decide between the bad options he faces with Syria today, but the next president, and the one after that, will inherit a far more secure and independent nation.

Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of's "DefCon 3." She is a Distinguished Adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. Be sure to watch "K.T." every Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET on's "DefCon3"-- already one of the Web's most watched national security programs.

View the original article here

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First documented video evidence of apes swimming is released

Because of their history of traveling through the trees, researchers say that apes do not have the instinct to swim in the water. But a series of new videos show that what they lack in instinct, the primates more than make up for in learned ability.

Researchers in South Africa and Switzerland documented the swimming efforts of a chimpanzee named Cooper, who not only swims but dives into the deep end of a swimming pool and swims 6.6 feet to the bottom.

“We were extremely surprised when the chimp Cooper dived repeatedly into a swimming pool in Missouri and seemed to feel very comfortable," said School of Anatomical Sciences at Wits University researcher Renato Bender.

“This issue is becoming more and more the focus of research. There is still much to explore,” Bender said.

Even more interesting, the researchers discovered that Cooper employs a breaststroke style, as opposed to the dog paddle technique used by other mammals who are not accustomed to maneuvering in the water.

A second video was filmed at a private zoo in South Carolina, where an orangutan named Suryia can be seen using its long arms and legs to paddle across a pool.

Nicole Bender, a researcher with the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern, said that like humans, the apes in the videos actually learned to use the breaststroke, moving beyond their evolutionary instinct to simply dog paddle.

“We did find other well-documented cases of swimming and diving apes, but Cooper and Suryia are the only ones we were able to film,” she said. “We still do not know when the ancestors of humans began to swim and dive regularly.”

A largely unaccepted theory known as the aquatic ape hypothesis, posits that early prehumans actually evolved from an existence where they mixed their time spent in and out of water.

View the original article here

Badger digs up medieval tombs in Germany

A badger similar to this one is credited with an archeological find. (REUTERS/Nigel Roddis)A badger has outfoxed archeologists, digging up two “significant” 12th-century tombs of two Slavic lords in Germany, reports Spiegel Online.

The find, in a town called Stolpe in Brandenburg, happened last fall, but became public only this week.

Two sculptors, Lars Wilhelm and Hendrikje Ring, who also happen to be amateur archeologists, came upon the badger sett, or den, near where they had been planning to exhibit some of their work.

"We spotted a pelvic bone that had been dug up, it was clearly human," Ring told Spiegel Online. "It wasn't exactly surprising to us because a whole field of ancient graves had been found on the other side of the road in the 1960s.

“So we pushed a camera into the badger's sett and took photos by remote control. We found pieces of jewelry, retrieved them and contacted the authorities," Ring said.

Archeologists eventually dug up eight graves from the first half of the 12th century at the site, including two containing skeletons of Slavic chieftains and an array of artifacts: a sword, bronze bowls and a belt buckle.

"We hadn't found graves like that in Brandenburg before, so it's an important discovery," said Thomas Kersting, an archeologist at the Brandenburg Department for Monument Protection.

The badger hasn’t returned to the site of the discovery, but does get credit for the find. "This doesn't make him an archeologist, but he's the one who discovered it," said Lars Wilhelm, who received an honorary award for services to archeology in Brandenburg.

View the original article here

New Jersey Powerball winners know how they'll spend money

By Victoria Cavaliere

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (Reuters) - The 16 New Jersey workers who won a third of last week's $448 million Powerball jackpot said on Tuesday that many of them suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy and planned to use their winnings to rebuild their lives.

The co-workers, nicknamed "Ocean's 16," were introduced to the public at a news conference in Toms River, New Jersey. They got a check for $86,054,355, their share of the jackpot after taxes, lottery officials said.

They produced the second of three winning tickets to the jackpot. The first winner, who came forward last week, was Minnesota engineer Paul White and the final holder has not yet stepped forward publicly.

Six members of the group said their homes had been directly damaged by Sandy last year, and most said they planned to keep working at the Ocean County Vehicles Services Department.

"Ocean's 16" winner Darlene Riccio said she lost the home she had rented with her daughter for five years during the October 2012 superstorm. They have been staying with family since, she said.

"It has been an extremely rough year," she said at an emotional and often humorous news conference. "The first thing I'm going to do is buy me and my daughter a home and bring my dog back home."

When her co-workers informed her they had won, "I thought they were joking with me and that it was the worst joke ever. I'm still in shock," she added.

She said on her Facebook page that she has quit her second part-time job at a retail store.

The nine women and seven men, who described themselves as good friends, bought 48 Quick Pick tickets, each putting in $6. Their winning ticket was purchased at an Acme Markets store in the New Jersey shore town of Little Egg Harbor.

The woman who bought the tickets, Lisa Presutto, said she had stopped at the Acme on her way home for groceries and was one of the first to realize they won last Wednesday's drawing.

"I immediately started shaking," she said.

One winner, Barbara Jo Riivald, said her late father, former State Sen. John Brown, had been instrumental in creating the New Jersey Lottery and sponsored the legislation that created it.

"I wish he was here to share in the moment. The only thing I wanted to do that next morning was pick up the phone and call him," she said.

William Seeley of Manahawkin said he planned to build a log cabin on "multiple acres of land," watch NASCAR races on television and throw a big party.

"I lost my mom to cancer, and my dad's going through it right now," he said. "That's the first place I stopped was Pop's house. Started crying in front of him and told him I loved him."

He quickly added: "We're a happy bunch ... We're very happy, happy, happy."

The third as-yet unclaimed winning ticket was sold at a Super Stop & Shop supermarket in South Brunswick, New Jersey, officials said.

The odds of winning the jackpot were about one in 175 million.

Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five states - Kansas, Maryland, Delaware, North Dakota and Ohio - allow the winners to remain anonymous, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)

View the original article here

Henkel pulls toilet freshener after Ukraine takes offence

KIEV (Reuters) - German consumer goods company Henkel has pulled a toilet freshener from the eastern European market after Ukrainians complained it looked like the former Soviet republic's flag.

A television advertisement for the Bref Duo Stick freshener run in Russia ( caught the attention of Ukrainians - many of whom watch Russian television - last week.

In the ad, the yellow-and-blue freshener which is shaped like a small flag is put under the toilet rim.

"A delirious idea from uncultured people," one person commented on the YouTube clip.

Tore Birol, Henkel's general manager for laundry and home care products in Ukraine, told Reuters on Wednesday the company had pulled the product within three days of seeing the complaints.

"We are very sorry if people were offended by the design of our new product," he said. "We stopped the production, distribution and television advertising (of the product)."

Birol said the freshener, which had been marketed in central and eastern Europe but not in Ukraine, was colored yellow to represent its lemon scent and blue to symbolize water and hygiene.

Misuse of state symbols became a sensitive issue in Ukraine earlier this month, when the authorities found that Jared Hasselhoff, a bassist for American rock band Bloodhound Gang, had urinated on the Ukrainian flag during a gig in Kiev.

Ukraine has since launched a criminal probe against him and barred the musician from visiting the country for five years.

(Reporting by Sergei Karazy; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

View the original article here

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Seattle police to give Doritos to pot-party revelers

By Jonathan Kaminsky

(Reuters) - Police in Seattle have no plans to issue citations to dope-smoking revelers when the city's annual Hempfest kicks off Friday, but officers will be handing out Doritos instead.

The annual festival, billed as the world's largest pot rally, is being celebrated for the first time since Washington state voters legalized recreational marijuana use last year.

Officers will be distributing 1,000 bags of Doritos tortilla chips at the three-day bash with labels directing people to the department's online pot primer, "Marijwhatnow?"

The guide explains that while recreational pot use is legal under Washington state's new law, it remains illegal to possess more than an ounce of the drug, smoke it in public, drive under its influence or to sell it without a license.

"We thought, 'what's more ironic than police handing out delicious snacks at a festival that celebrates pot?'" said Seattle Police Department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. "It's a conversation starter."

The ground-breaking ballot measure approved by voters last year made the Pacific Northwest state one of just two in the nation - alongside Colorado - to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Hempfest organizers last year raised eyebrows by officially taking a neutral stance on the measure, which called for a state-regulated regime of marijuana growers, processors and sellers that is set to take effect next year.

This year, they hope the collegial approach by the police will be mirrored by attendees, some of whom had been concerned that the initiative could negatively affect the distribution and use of medical marijuana.

"It's going to be part ‘protestival' and part victory celebration," said Vivian McPeak, the executive director of Hempfest, which is to set to feature 117 bands and 105 speakers on six stages this year.

Police have taken a hands-off approach to marijuana use at Hempfest since at least 2003, when Seattle voters passed a measure making the enforcement of pot possession laws the lowest priority for city police officers, Whitcomb said.

"There's a degree of latitude that happens every year," he said. "Our number one priority is public safety."

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Ken Wills)

View the original article here

Prowling Pa. ninja says he was trying to help cops

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Everybody agrees that a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man dressed up as a ninja and lurked near homes, but they disagree whether that's a good idea — or legal.

Todd Kapcsos, of Johnstown, was in court Wednesday to waive his right to a preliminary hearing on charges of loitering, prowling at night and disorderly conduct.

Police said Kapcsos frightened some elderly residents who saw him sneaking around while carrying a black baseball bat and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, another long shirt, a mask and a pair of gloves — all of them black.

He contends he was just trying to help police catch bad guys.

"I dressed up in all black, snuck around, went through bushes," Kapcsos told WJAC-TV ( He claimed to be practicing "ninja moves" including rolling into a ball so he'd appear to be a rock hidden in the shadows.

"There's not enough police officers," he said. "The community should do something rather than sit back.

But one neighbor, Chris Trevino, told the TV station, "It looked more like he was trying to break into homes, not like he was gonna be a ninja and save the world."

That night, July 15, Trevino saw Kapcsos "running like a ninja, not like a normal person jogging. He was going back and forth creeping."

So she called the police.

"The ninja ran across the alley and right into the arms of a police officer," Trevino said.

Kapcsos was lurking in the Moxham section of Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Several high-profile crimes have occurred in the neighborhood in recent months, including three of the city's five homicides. The last one occurred Aug. 6 — a stabbing at a car wash — about three weeks after Kapcsos was arrested.


Information from: WJAC-TV,

View the original article here

Utah beauty queen accused of throwing bombs resigns title

(Reuters) - A Utah beauty queen accused along with three friends of throwing homemade bombs in a Salt Lake City suburb resigned her Miss Riverton title on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the city's website.

In the statement, city officials said they had been informed by the director of the Miss Riverton Pageant that Kendra Gill, 18, had resigned her position effective that day.

"Prior to the alleged incidents of August 2, 2013, Kendra had done a good job during the short time she served as Miss Riverton," the statement said.

Gill, crowned Miss Riverton in June, and three other 18-year-olds were arrested earlier this month following a bomb-throwing spree that began the evening of August 2 and was aimed at people and property in Riverton neighborhoods.

The bombs were constructed from household chemicals, aluminum foil and plastic water bottles, arrest records show.

When questioned by police, one of the teens said he had spent the evening "‘pranking' with fireworks with friends," according to booking documents.

They were charged on Friday with four counts each of felony bomb possession, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Gill's attorney, Walter Bugden, could not be reached for comment late Tuesday evening and officials with the Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Catherine Evans)

View the original article here

Chinese zoo tries passing off dog as an 'African lion'

Officials at a Chinese zoo attempted to pass off this Tibetan mastiff as an African lion (AFP)Officials at a Chinese zoo attempted to pass off this Tibetan mastiff as an African lion (AFP) The People’s Park of Luohe in the Chinese province Henan has an amazing “African lion” on exhibit for spectators. But the most amazing fact about this proud creature is that it’s actually a dog, not a lion.

As Agence France-Presse reports, the hoax was exposed when the dog, a Tibetan mastiff, started barking.

According to the state-run publication Beijing Youth Daily, a mother and son heard the unexpected sound coming from the alleged lion during a recent visit to the zoo.

The paper says the zoo has been replacing exotic species with substitutes, including placing two rodents in a snake’s cage, a white fox in a leopard’s den and a common dog in a wolf’s pen.

“The zoo is absolutely cheating us,” the visitor, Sharon Liu, told the paper. “They are trying to disguise the dogs as lions.”

Liu and other zoo visitors reportedly paid 15 yuan ($2.45) for the chance to see the dog and other substitute animals up close.

And this is far from the only case of animal impersonation in China. There have also been recent reports of Chinese zoo officials painting dogs black and white to make them look like pandas.

Liu Suya, chief of the zoo’s animal department, told the paper that the actual lion has been temporarily sent to a breeding facility.

"The wolf is somewhere else in the pen and the dog is a pet,” another zoo official told the Oriental Daily. “The African lions will be back. They went to another zoo to breed."

The zoo’s head also told the paper that the signs outside the African lion cage would be changed until the actual lion returns.

View the original article here

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Zealand woman drives, texts while sleeping

Auckland, New Zealand Harbour (Getty) Texting while driving can be deadly. Adding to the danger: texting and driving while asleep at the wheel.

A woman in New Zealand managed to drive — and even send her friends text messages — for hours while asleep, according to a story in the New Zealand Herald. Miraculously, she did not get into an accident.

According to News 3 New Zealand, the unnamed woman, who reportedly suffers from a sleep condition and was taking sleeping pills at the time, got behind the wheel and drove around New Zealand all night.

The sleep-driver reportedly left her house in Hamilton, headed to Auckland and then to her former home in Mount Maunganui on the coast late on Tuesday night, driving for a total of five hours and about 190 miles.

As she sleep-drove, she texted her friends, who believed she sent them while half asleep, says New Zealand’s News 3.

Police say that although the woman was texting during her drive, she was unconscious the entire time and has no memory of the nighttime ride.

Law enforcement began tracking the woman’s movement through her cell phone after receiving a call from a concerned friend, but weren’t able to find her as she kept driving.

“While all this was going on, police were scanning any reports of unusual or concerning driving as we attempted to find the Toyota and prevent a potential tragedy,” Sgt. Dave Litton was quoted in the Daily Mail.

Police said that the woman’s cousin finally found her at her former residence on the coast, asleep, slumped over the wheel of her car.

“While her being found safe and well is a relief for everyone involved, the potential for tragedy was huge and we're urging people suffering medical conditions to be open and honest with their doctors and seek advice on the medication they are prescribed,” Litton told the New Zealand Herald.

Police have sought an urgent order forbidding the woman to drive and to seek medical advice on her suitability to remain holding her drivers license, the New Zealand Herald adds.

View the original article here

'Bucket List Bandit' gets 11 years sentence in Pa.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A bank robber nicknamed the "Bucket List Bandit" after allegedly telling a Utah teller he had just four months to live was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in federal prison for a string of heists spanning 10 states.

Michael Eugene Brewster's public defender told the federal judge who handed down the sentence that a medical evaluation found his client didn't have cancer or any other terminal illness.

Brewster's case made headlines after the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah, gave Brewster the nickname because of the comment he reportedly made to a Wells Fargo Bank teller during a July 6, 2012, robbery in Roy, Utah. The FBI used the nickname to publicize subsequent robberies until they learned Brewster's real identity.

"The impetus for the crimes was greed, not grief," U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin told Brewster. His lawyer, Thomas Patton, declined to comment.

Brewster's sentence works out to a year for each of the 11 bank heists he committed across the country last year, though under federal sentencing guidelines, he might have received as little as 6½ years. Those guidelines, which take into account a person's criminal history and the seriousness of the crime, were increased because of the number of banks Brewster robbed, resulting in the longer sentence.

"Given what he did, and his age and all of the circumstances, he's going to be away a long time and substantially for most of the rest of his life," U.S. Attorney David Hickton said. "We're satisfied that justice was done."

Brewster, 54, formerly of Pensacola, Fla., was sentenced in Erie, the city 120 miles north of Pittsburgh where his nationwide robbery string ended Sept. 10. It began June 21, 2012, in Arvada, Colo.

Brewster was arrested three days after the Erie robbery when he ran a stop sign in Roland, Okla. Federal prosecutors brought him back to Erie and easily linked him to the other heists because he was seen wearing the same pale blue polo shirt, glasses and brushed back hair in surveillance videos.

According to court documents, Brewster stole a total of $33,858 and sometimes threatened tellers with violence and claimed to have a gun. Nobody was injured in the robberies.

The smallest amount Brewster stole was $632 from Landmark Bank in Columbia, Mo., on Aug 29, and the most he netted was $7,000 taken during the Utah heist that fueled his nickname.

Although the surveillance videos made it clear that one man was responsible for several robberies, the FBI didn't know who he was until a tipster saw news coverage of the Pennsylvania heist and gave agents Brewster's name and birth date.

In some cases, Brewster explained his actions by claiming to be terminally ill and, according to the FBI, specifically told the Utah teller, "I have four months to live."

View the original article here

Central Pa. farmer's corn crop yields 4-headed ear

HANOVER, Pa. (AP) — When farmer Ben Klunk tells people about the mutant corn he found, they're all ears.

Klunk said Wednesday he discovered an ear of sweet corn with four heads on his central Pennsylvania farm and has been keeping it in his refrigerator.

Klunk said that when he pulled the corn out of the crop he initially thought there was mud holding it together, but his wife said that wasn't the case.

"It started out as one," Marie Klunk said, "and then it split, and then another one split."

The farmer, who's 81, said he's never seen corn multiply in such a way: He'd never found a double- or triple-headed ear of corn, let alone a quadruple one.

"And I've pulled a lot of sweet corn!" he said.

The Klunks said they don't plan to eat the corn, which was pulled from their farmland in Hanover, 20 miles southwest of the state capital, Harrisburg, and was first reported by The Evening Sun newspaper. They said if it stays fresh for another 10 days they'll enter it into a contest at the South Mountain 4-H Fair.

But the Klunks aren't sure it'll last that long in the refrigerator and suspect it's already turning. If that happens, they said, they'll just throw the mutated husk away.

View the original article here

Man lost toes after being treated by Colorado veterinarian

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A man had to have three toes amputated after being treated by a 78-year-old Colorado veterinarian with no license to practice medicine on humans, police said on Thursday.

The veterinarian, Francis Freemyer, who operates a small animal practice in Greeley, Colorado, was ticketed for "unauthorized practices," a misdemeanor, Greeley police said in a statement.

Police said they were investigating whether Freemyer may have treated other people illegally.

The investigation began when medical staff at the North Colorado Medical Center contacted police in June to report that an unidentified patient claimed to have been treated by the veterinarian.

"Ultimately, the patient required surgery to remove three toes due to a lack of proper medical care," the statement said.

Freemyer could not be reached for comment by Reuters, but told Denver television station KUSA that he had treated a woman's dog with a topical skin cancer ointment.

The woman later applied the leftover salve to a male neighbor who was complaining of a foot infection, according to the interview.

The man then came to Freemyer's animal clinic for a follow-up visit.

"He came and talked to me, I said, 'hell, I don't treat people, but you've already put it on there,'" Freemyer said, adding that all he did was put a wrap on the man's wound.

Greely Police Sergeant Susan West said Freemyer took payment from the man. "There was an exchange of money in his office for his services," she said.

A review of state board of veterinary medicine disciplinary records showed that a Francis Freemyer, who has practiced veterinary medicine in Colorado since 1959, has twice been admonished by regulators.

In one instance, he was fined $1,500 for signing off on an inspection report that said he had examined and vaccinated 13 greyhounds when he had only examined 12 of the animals.

In another disciplinary action, Freemyer was fined $250 for failing to keep records of the examination and treatment of a cat in violation of "generally accepted standards of veterinary practice."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Dan Whitcomb and David Brunnstrom)

View the original article here

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Topless activist on hunger strike in New Jersey jail

By David Dankwa

SOMERSET, New Jersey (Reuters) - An activist for the right of women to go topless who is serving a 16-day sentence related to an arrest for topless sunbathing is set to be released by the end of the week from a New Jersey jail, where she is currently on a hunger strike, officials said.

Phoenix Feeley, a New York resident, is serving the sentence in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution for refusing to pay $816 in fines in connection with her 2008 arrest at a beach in Spring Lake where she was sunbathing topless in violation of a town ordinance in an act of civil disobedience.

Monmouth County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cynthia Scott declined to provide the exact day Feeley will be released, although August 16 marks the end of the sentence imposed by a municipal judge.

Scott said Feeley is currently in the correctional facility's infirmary and on constant watch because she has not eaten in nine days, choosing to only drink water.

"Her vitals are being checked regularly and she remains in good health," Scott said, adding that Feeley was offered an organic supplement but declined to take it.

Feeley is a member of GoTopless, an organization that is campaigning for the right of women to go topless in public on the basis of gender equality. According to the organization, New Jersey is one of about a dozen states in the country with ambiguous topless laws. Three states - Indiana, Utah and Tennessee - have outright bans on women going shirtless in public.

This is not the first time Feeley's topless agenda has brushed with the law. Seven years ago she was arrested in New York for baring her chest on the streets. She sued and won a lawsuit against the New York Police Department. It is now legal in New York for a woman, as well as a man, to go topless in public for noncommercial activity.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)

View the original article here

Vietnam offers free Marxism degrees to draw takers

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Market forces are working against college degrees in Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, where the Communist government has resorted to offering free tuition to attract students.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decree last month giving free tuition to students agreeing to take four-year courses on Marxism-Leninism and the thoughts of Ho Chi Minh, the country's revolutionary hero, at state-run universities.

Students have been shunning such degrees because employers are not interested in it, said Pham Tan Ha, head of admission and training at Ho Chi Minh City Social and Human Sciences University. Degrees in subjects like communications, tourism, international relations and English are more popular because students believe "they will have better chances of employment and better pay when they graduate," he said.

Students who study certain medical specialties such as tuberculosis and leprosy also will get a free ride under the decree. Ordinarily they would have to pay the equivalent of about $200 a year for tuition.

Currently, all Vietnamese students must take at least three classes in Marxist-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh studies, but few go beyond that minimum requirement.

Vietnam is run by a Communist regime but embraced free-market reforms in the 1980s. These days, the country's past is mostly apparent in its large and inefficient state-owned sector, a repressive state apparatus, the occasional Soviet-era statue or building and lingering alliances with other leftist countries.

Getting a good job — rather than the nuances of a discredited political and economic ideology that runs counter to the capitalism coursing through the country's towns and cities — is the primary concern of most young Vietnamese and their families.

More than 60 percent of the country's 90 million people are under 30, a demographic sweet spot that can lead to fast economic growth in developing countries. Competition for well-paying jobs on graduation is intense among the around 500, 000 graduates who enter the job market each year.

Many employers, among them multinationals looking to staff factories or service industries, complain about the quality of graduates that Vietnamese universities are producing. There are many private universities alongside the state-run system, but for those with money, studying overseas is considered the best option.

Duong Van Quang, a second-year student at the Hanoi University of Pharmacy, said students wanting to join the government bureaucracy, especially in rural areas, were the most likely to take a degree in Marxist-Lenin philosophy. He felt it unfair that they should get a free education, regardless of the subject.

Others met over lunch hour in the capital, Hanoi, weren't enthused by the subjects either.

"Studying Marxism and Leninism is rather dry and many students don't like it," said 23-year-old Tran The Anh, a fifth-year student. "The number of students studying these courses is very modest because many of them believe that it is difficult to find a job after graduation."

Phan Thi Trang, another pharmaceutical student, conceded that the subjects might be interesting if she studied them further. But she'd had enough of them for now.

"They are just not applicable to my daily life," she said.

View the original article here

Is ‘Armageddon’ coming? NASA’s asteroid hunter Don Yeomans won’t miss a thing

PASADENA, Calif. — At first glance, Don Yeomans looks like your friendly suburban neighbor. But behind the calm and cool exterior, the NASA scientist has one of the most important jobs imaginable: finding the galaxy’s deadliest asteroids before they pose a threat to all life on Earth. The prevailing view among scientists is that a giant asteroid hit the Earth about 65 million years ago, wiping out nearly all life, including the dinosaurs. And according to many of those same experts, it’s only a matter of time before another extinction-level event occurs.

Thankfully, the world is being kept safe by Yeomans, NASA’s very own asteroid hunter.

Yeomans, 70, who was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Alive, told Yahoo News about the science behind asteroid hunting, how he finds them and NASA’s plan to make sure the “big one” never makes it to Earth.

In the 1998 film “Armageddon,” NASA discovers that a Texas-size asteroid is headed straight for Earth and we only have 18 days to stop it. So how does that scenario compare to reality?

“Well, that movie was definitely pure fiction,” Yeomans told Yahoo News in an interview at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

“First of all, there aren’t any asteroids in near Earth space that are anywhere near the size of Texas. And if there were, we would certainly find it decades, perhaps even 100 years, in advance of any close Earth approach,” he said.

For years, Yeomans has led NASA’s efforts to detect these so-called near Earth objects. He says they’ve found about 95 percent of them and that the space organization is prepared to deal with any that should pose a threat.

“You have to get an object about 30 meters in size or larger, about a third the size of a football field, or larger, before it can actually cause ground damage,” Yeomans said.

But should an object that big hit the Earth, even a skeptic like Yeomans describes the scenario as a “hellish environment” that would almost certainly wipe out humanity.

Such an impact would “shut out much of the sunlight and kill the plants, of course. You’ve got acid rain, you’ve got re-entering fiery ejecta,” Yeomans said. “You’ve got a pretty hellish environment.”

Based on the odds alone, it’s somewhat remarkable that a giant asteroid hasn’t wiped us out already.

Back in 1908, an asteroid estimated to be about 60 meters in diameter exploded over Siberia. The blast, known as the Tunguska Event, is said to have knocked down 80 million trees across more than 2,000 miles. The blast was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. Thankfully, the impact occurred in a very remote area. Otherwise, it’s widely assumed that the damage to a populated region would have been catastrophic.

“Statistically, you’d expect an object of that size to hit the Earth about every million years or so. The last big one, of course, was 65 million years ago, about six miles diameter. It took out the dinosaurs,” Yeomans said.

Which means we’re long overdue for another giant asteroid impact.

NASA’s surprisingly simple solution to saving us from a giant asteroid

So, for the sake of argument, let’s say Yeomans and his colleagues at NASA do eventually spot a giant asteroid headed for Earth. What exactly could they do to stop it?

As he explains in his book “Near Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us,” the U.S. government tasked MIT students with this very scenario in 1965. Their solution? Launch a nuclear missile into space and blow up the asteroid.

Crazy as it may sound, Yeomans says that’s still one of the leading scenarios. But not before NASA tried some less explosive approaches first.

“The easiest approach is what I call KISS: Keep it simple stupid,” he said.

Basically, NASA would launch a spaceship that would intentionally crash directly into the asteroid, sending the deadly rock off course.

“You just sent a spacecraft up, run into it, slow [the asteroid] down just a few millimeters per second. So in 10 or 20 years when it was predicted to hit the Earth, it would miss by a wide margin,” Yeomans explained.

And then there’s the nuclear option.

“If you don’t have 10 or 20 years, you might want to send up a nuclear explosive device that would be set off either just off the surface, or you might try to bury that explosive device in the object in order to disrupt it completely,” he said.

So there you have it. Nearly every one of us gets up each morning and heads to work. But only one man is working every day to save the planet from asteroids.

And while Yeomans comes across as a humble, down to earth guy, he didn’t hesitate when we asked who would play him in a movie.

“That would have to be Harrison Ford, of course,” he said.

View the original article here

Survivors of Ore. boat explosion include 2 cats

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — When the engine of their tuna boat exploded last week, owners Mark and Cynthia Schneider had no choice but to jump into the ocean and leave behind their two cats on the doomed vessel.

After being rescued by a nearby boat, they were stunned when they looked out at their sinking boat and saw one of the cats — a tabby named Jasper — on the bow. The other cat, a calico named Topaz, was in the ocean and eventually swam through the debris to safety on the rescue boat.

Jasper remained stranded at sea on the bow. As the boat sank deeper into the ocean, he was forced to jump in and swim toward his owners about 100 yards away. The cat made it to safety unharmed.

"They've got pretty good survival instincts," Mark Schneider said.

The 60-foot Sea Princess departed from Winchester Bay in late July and sank 80 miles off the coast on Aug. 5. The Schneiders, who have been fishing together for 27 years, lost their boat, $40,000 worth of tuna and most of their possessions. The story was first reported by KTVZ of Bend.

Mark Schneider, 52, said he checked the engine room about 45 minutes before the explosion and nothing seemed amiss. Then the engine backfired several times before a blast that tore off the side of the boat. The Schneiders suffered flash burns to their faces, but did not require hospitalization.

Not immediately realizing the extent of the damage, he headed to the engine room to assess the situation. When he looked over his shoulder, he saw ocean and sky where there should have been hull. Water started pouring in, and he and Cynthia knew it was time to abandon ship — but not without Jasper and Topaz.

"I kept calling for the kitties and calling for the kitties, but I'm sure they were traumatized by the blast and didn't know what the heck was going on," Schneider said. "Cynthia finally snapped me out of that and said: 'We gotta get off the boat. We gotta get off the boat. Get in your survival suit.'"

The couple went overboard and spent 15 to 20 minutes in the water before they were rescued by their friend and fishing partner Rick Goche.

Mark Schneider said the bow of the boat was a natural spot of refuge for Jasper.

"When we were in port he would just sit up there on the bow and watch the seagulls and people walk by on the dock," Schneider said. "That was kind of a secret hiding place for him, and I'm sure that's where he went when he didn't feel safe."

The couple lives in Central Oregon when they are not at sea, and were there Wednesday as they try to figure out their next move. They sold their old boat a few summers ago to upgrade to the larger Sea Princess, a wooden boat built in 1924 that provided more stability in choppy seas and had more storage capacity. It was a fixer-upper that took a lot of time and money to repair, Schneider said.

View the original article here

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Story behind those empty boxes at Best Buy

Prank label in Best Buy store. ( might have been confused by a new product that made its way into five Los Angeles Best Buy stores on Friday. Complete with a bar code, price and label, the box read: “Another gadget you don’t really need.” Pranked!

The fake-out gadget containers, surfaced by Daily Mail and getting plenty of attention on the Web, were confirmed to Yahoo News to be the work of the Los Angeles-based street artist known as Plastic Jesus, who appears to be channeling the antics of another guerrilla-style artist, Banksy.

The boxes, which were sneaked onto the store shelves, looked real and came with a price tag, a QR code and the brand's own Geek Squad Protection offer.

But a closer look reveals a description that reads: “Useless PLASTICBOX 1.2 for $99.99. Another gadget you don't really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of use.”

The manufacturer’s warranty warns that there is none “with this piece of crap.” It added: “If you are dumb enough to buy it you deserve all you get.”

A fake product next to a real one at a Best Buy. (

Photos show the realistic-looking boxes placed next to other electronics offered at the big-box store, including items such as GPS navigators, tablets and other must-have gadgets that draw in consumers.

“We are sold this equipment, often with the pre-release hype lasting many weeks and resembling a block buster movie, and told, 'This gadget is THE ONE,' only to be left disappointed,” Plastic Jesus, who didn't give his legal name, told Yahoo News in an email. He added, "I felt the best way to show my frustration at the gadget industry was with some action that I think many people will relate to.”

The artist's work includes stencils and street installations. He first gained attention earlier this year with his street stencil of Lance Armstrong cycling with a drip.

"A few stores were affected and the boxes were removed immediately," Jon Sandler, spokesman for Best Buy, told Yahoo News in an email in response to the prank. "We are also flattered that Best Buy is so top of mind for Mr. Plastic Jesus, and are happy that he presumably had the opportunity to witness our expert Blue Shirts and Geek Squad members in action during his visits. Hopefully he also had the chance to check out our fabulous back to school deals."

View the original article here

Florida resort hit by sinkhole invites guests to 'come on down'

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A Florida time-share resort where a sinkhole devoured a building Sunday night said that it is open for business and next week's guests should "come on down."

Paul Caldwell, the general manager of Summer Bay Resorts, which is located 6 miles from Walt Disney World, made the pitch to guests at a news conference on Tuesday. He said that geological and structural testing under way on the 100-foot wide cavern and the surrounding buildings should be complete by Wednesday.

Guests staying in the downed building were evacuated by an alert security guard who ran inside to wake occupants as the structure was twisting and collapsing around him. No one was injured.

A total of 36 people were evacuated from two buildings on the sprawling 64-acre property, which has a total of 900 units, the resort said.

The state of Florida, which is prone to sinkholes because of its porous limestone foundation, is set this fall to begin the creation of a statewide geological map showing the relative vulnerabilities to sinkholes. The map could be used by local governments making decisions on building permits.

The map project received funding two weeks ago for its first stage with a $1.1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which follows a spate of sinkholes in 2012 in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby, according to Patrick Gillespie, spokesman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Sinkholes are a common feature of Florida's landscape, typically becoming sites for springs, lakes and portions of rivers after they occur. They most commonly occur as a result of naturally acidic underground water flowing through and dissolving the underlying limestone. North and central Florida generally are more vulnerable than south Florida, Gillespie said.

In 2012, a long drought lowered the water table and emptied natural voids in the limestone, which then collapsed under the weight of torrential rains from Debby, Gillespie said.

In March, a sinkhole under a Tampa-area home opened and swallowed the bedroom of 37-year-old landscaper Jeff Bush, whose body was never recovered.

In 1981, in Winter Park near Orlando, a sinkhole measuring 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep swallowed a two-story house, part of a Porsche dealership and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The site is now an artificial lake.

(Editing by David Adams and Leslie Adler)

View the original article here