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Alive 14

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                                Teh Dirk!

Ho there,  it's your favourite lukewarm news and views column,  based on the
offcuts  of  what  is  going around in this big wide  and  daft  world,  and
hopefully some stuff that I'll make up,  that almost seamlessly blends in to
look like real news? Maybe!

It looks like what might happen if I ever did a blog!

Bottlenose goes on holiday?

"Fishermen captured the four-finned dolphin alive off the coast of  Wakayama
prefecture (state) in western Japan on Oct. 28, and alerted the nearby Taiji
Whaling Museum, according to museum director Katsuki Hayashi. Fossil remains
show  dolphins  and whales were four-footed land animals  about  50  million
years ago and share the same common ancestor as hippos and deer.  Scientists
believe they later transitioned to an aquatic lifestyle and their hind limbs
disappeared.  Whale  and dolphin fetuses also show signs of hind protrusions
but these generally disappear before birth."

Someone tell the dolphin they're better off where they are,  in the sea! Too
many  people on land already.  In fact we're evolving fins to come in  where
they are now!

A very VERY big Mac?

Here's  a large portion,  yes!  It's a giant burger so gut-bustingly bad for
you  it  has  been named the Quadruple Bypass.  Containing  four  half-pound
burgers  and  layers of cheese and bacon,  the Bypass contains an  estimated
1,200 calories.

[Evil of DHS falls in love!]

Then  throw  in some 'Flatliner Fries',   cooked in pure  lard,   and  the
calorie  count  rises to 2,200,  which is nearly a man's  daily  recommended
intake.  (But  not THIS man!)  This fat-tastic creation is made by the Heart
Attack  Grill in Tempe,  Arizona,  which says it is 'absolutely committed to
creating  the world's greatest hamburger and french fries'.   It also offers
other burgers in less punishing sizes,  such as single,  double, and triple,
as well as the killer quadruple. Their slogan?  'A Taste worth dying for'!

Spot the thief competition!

In the long list of criminal dos and don'ts, one of the top pieces of advice
just has to be "Never rob a bank thinking that you're invisible when  you're
not  actually  invisible."  Sadly for one man in Iran,  he made that  simple
error  and  as a result,  police in Tehran are hunting a fake  sorcerer  who
convinced the man he was invisible and so could rob banks safely.

The man's ill-fated attempt started to go wrong shortly after he entered the
bank  when he started snatching money from the hands of customers.  For some
reason,  rather than being terrified of the mysterious invisible poltergeist
stealing  their cash,  the customers quickly overpowered the all-too-visible
thief.   "I made a mistake.  I understand now what a big trick was played on
me," the man told the court. (Yes you did make a mistake, didn't you!)

He  explained that he had paid 5 million rials to a wizard imposter,  who in
return  gave him some spells to tie to his arm.  The sorcerer told him  that
they  would  make  him invisible,  and that he could then rob banks  to  his
heart's content.

Bumfire night!

A  dangerous  prank quite literally backfired and landed  a  22-year-old  in
hospital with a scorched colon,  after he stuck a firework up his rectum.  A
soldier,  just  returned  from Iraq,  inserted a rocket in a launching  tube
definitely not recommended by the Fireworks Code and,  as onlookers cheered,
lit the blue touchpaper.

A  witness  Daniel Kassim,  16,  said:  "There were around 40 of us after the
bonfire had finished. This lad was saying, "This is boring, what can we do?"
He  then put a rocket up his backside and set light to it."   "Everyone  was
laughing  and didn't believe he'd do it.  He pulled his trousers down and it
exploded  within seconds.  No one thought he was hurt.  But then he stood up
and  walked a few metres before stumbling and falling to the  ground.  There
was quite a bit of blood."

The  Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reiterated  its  warnings
about  the  dangers  of playing with fireworks.   "It's very sad  that  this
person  had  to learn about the dangers posed in this way,"  it  said.  "But
strangely hilarious at the same time!"

The  other  question that springs to my mind is,  that as he was  a  serving
soldier  in  Iraq,  there would have surely been lots of willing  volunteers
from  one of the many factional militia's there,  able to lend a spare RPG 7
rocket  to  help with this gentleman's strange wish to put a rocket  up  his
rectum, without him having to come back home to do it in the first place?!

Would you like a free DVD player with that sir? Prepare to die!

Samsung  has partnered with a Korean university to develop a robotic  sentry
equipped  with  a  5.56mm machine gun.  Meant for deployment along  the  DMZ
between  North  and  South Korea the $200,000  robot  employs  sophisticated
pattern recognition software for targeting humans.  No three laws here,  but
the  robot  does  include a speaker that can be used  to  politely  issue  a
warning before taking the target out.

"You have 10 seconds to comply..."

Simply Dead?

Take  someone  with  too much time on their hands,  editing  privileges  for
Wikipedia,  a visceral loathing of Simply Red and Mick Hucknall, and you get
an entry like this..

Death  "Shortly after 01:00 GMT on November 18,  2006, Mick Hucknall died of
a  massive heart attack in his sleep at his New York apartment."   "Hucknall
quit smoking prior to his death and was losing weight,   fellow band members
of  Simply Red even said he looked healthier than ever.  Hucknall was warned
by  doctors several times to lose weight due to a genetic predisposition  to
heart  disease,  from  which his father had died at the age of  35.  Despite
this,  there  was public evidence that Hucknall was self-conscious about his
appearance when,  a few years before his death,  he cancelled his appearance
as  host of an awards show for the CBC because the advertising campaign  for
the special poked fun at his weight."

Not  to  mention some of the quotes on the trivia section  might  have  been
meddled with a tad too!

"Famous for his long dreads in the 1990s."

"TVGoHome   parodied  him  with  an  (imaginary)  programme  entitled   Mick
Hucknall's Pink Pancakes,  in which he pressed his scrotum against a variety
of publicly-viewable transparent surfaces."

And even, "He's ginger."

 Money's too tight to mention (so give me some more!)

Mick Hucknall NOT dead afer all shocker!

Overcoming  the  shock of his prematurely reported  Wikipedia  demise,  Mick
Hucknall  seeks to confirm his alive and living status in an article on  the
Guardian Unlimited website promoting the benefits of extended copyright  for
music.  In  doing  so,  he's  managed  the  apparently  impossible  feat  of
increasing by a power of 10x, his already heightened powers of tosserdom!

He  starts,  "Copyright  is  fundamentally  socialist - it  is  radical  and
redistributive,  subversive  even.  How  else  would you describe a form  of
property  that anyone can create out of nothing?  Copyright's  democratising
effect is seen most clearly in the music business."

Adding  "Copyright promotes artistic creativity and the free circulation  of

Then  he goes on to argue that "In this environment,  arguments against  the
extension of the copyright term in sound recordings from 50 to 95 years  are
retrogressive and misconceived.  Copyright is not a monopoly restricting the
free flow of ideas."

Aren't  we  forgetting about huge music megacorps who really don't  get  the
creative  freedom thing?  I think Mick is being naive and hopeful here.  The
tone  of the rest of the article dwelled on what a fantastic  job  copyright
can  do  for those small-time musicians and wannabe bedroom  record  labels,
without   looking  at  the  converse  situation,   where  power  is  already
concentrated in over-mighty hands.

But wait,  near the end of the article, he's got that covered too. He thinks
the answer might be some form of 'revolution lite'! My grud, he's too clever
for me!

"The  benefits  of extending the copyright term will last a  long  time.  We
should  not be deterred by the perception of where the current benefit  will
chiefly  fall.  If need be,  those who receive windfalls can be persuaded to
share them, just as the future cultural and economic benefits will be shared
across all of society, for generations to come."

This article was online,  so quite a lot of people had their say as well. It
is  fair to assume that there weren't that many comments in favour,   It  is
interesting  to  note  that the one person vaguely in favour  of  the  ideas
expressed  was  still  moved to say that he hated Simply  Red.  Here  are  a
selection of the best ones...

"Is this Mick Hucknall any relation to the Mick Hucknall who, six years ago,
moaned that his major label record deal meant the label owned the  copyright
on Simply Red's master tapes?"

"I  would  expect  Mick  to be aware that much  of  the  proceeds  of  music
copyright  are already sheltered offshore.  John Lennon isn't going to write
one more song because his copyrights get extended."

"I  blame Caxton myself,  if he hadn't forced that printing press on us then
we  wouldn't have had blokes down the market flogging sheet music copies  of
the popular music hall stuff."

"Copyright isn't socialist. This is drivel."

"It  says  at the bottom of the article:  "Mick Hucknall is lead  singer  of
Simply  Red""  Actually,  Mick Hucknall is CEO of Simply Red.  He hires  and
fires other people to produce the music and keeps the loot for himself.  And
then calls himself a socialist."

"One  thing that is often missed is that no form of IPR,  whether copyright,
patent or whatever, is worth the paper it's written on without the financial
muscle  to back it up.  If as an individual you find a large corporation has
infringed  or stolen one of your ideas,  try writing to them and asking  for
compensation without the serious threat of legal action."

And shortest and best of all..

"I  think we should have a special supercopyright law for anything  by  Mick
Hucknall: if anyone so much as listens to Simply Red, we shoot them."

When the dead walk the earth, you will still look your best!

Now here's something that you don't get every day.  With the interest in all
things Zombie at a high, especially in the pages of this issue of Alive Mag,
Canadian artist, Rob Sacchetto has gone that unnecessary step further.

He  has  set up a website,  where you can order a portrait of how you  might
look,  if  the  worst  happened,  and you joined the zombie hordes,  after a
certain  amount  of  initial mutilation of course.  All you need  is  80  US
dollars,  and a decent headshot or facial portrait, and his sick and twisted
imagination does the rest.

If  that  seems expensive,  you do get a real portrait,  created by hand,  on
real  canvas  or paper,  and not a digital image.  He assures us that "These
portraits are badass, you will love your Zombie Portrait."

Here's an imperfect 'before and after' example,  of how you might look. Both
of these seem to bear some resemblance to our dear editor-in-chief, Cyclone!

And here's the URL.

No iTrip to jail!

In  a world where there seems to be increasing restrictions,  and more well-
meaning  attempts  to  solve a problem by passing a law against  it,  it  is
refreshing to occasionally see a legal frontier rolled back a little bit for
the public's benefit.

In  this light,  it is interesting to hear that short range FM  transmitters
like  the iTrip were unbanned from the 8th December in the UK.  The  devices
were unbanned following a year-long attempt to change the law by UK wireless
regulator  Ofcom.  After  waiting for interested parties to comment  on  the
proposals,  drafting the legislation modification etc. Ofcom finally altered
the 1949 Wireless Telegraphy Act.

So people called Felice who enjoy their wire-free in-car entertainment  have
nothing to fear from UK law anymore!

Fifteen minutes of fame? More like five minutes!

PR  guru,  Max  Clifford has produced a ten point guide on how to  become  a
'celebrity'.  By 'celebrity', I mean annoying nonentity who is overexposed a
lot in the media,  and manages to be famous just by being around, and having
no real talent for doing anything, apart from attention seeking.

Here are those tips (sigh!)

1.  Appear on a reality series - "Oooh er,  its thingummy!  You know, her on
Celebrity Death March!"

2.  Enter  a  talent  contest  - Shiny cheeked  fairly  presentable  singing
hopeful, cruelly beaten down by Simon Cowell!

3. Be abysmal on a talent show - "Vee arr der Cheeky girls!"

4. Gain fame by association - Any footballers wife?

5.  Date a celebrity - Rat faced bloke,  Kevin wossname, hung around Britney

6.  Flaunt  your body - Britney/Paris/Chantelle/Madonna/Beckham stick insect

7. Date a Royal Family member - Never say Di!

8.  Make  a home sex video - Paris Hilton in a porno movie shot through a US
Army sniper night vision scope!

9.  Be  a  success on MySpace - Eh?  Do they mean the Saddam Hussein Myspace
site or what?!

10. Be in the right place at the right time - Any or all of the above, under
a falling piano!

You couldn't make it up, episode 9417!

In an otherwise straight-laced and factual report that the incidence of  the
HIV  virus can be reduced by up to 50% in men,  if their organs of  pleasure
are  circumcised,  there was a rather unfortunate hilarity collision of  the
name of the proponent of that report, with the subject matter in question.

So here we go..

"Dr  Kevin De Cock,  director of the HIV/Aids department of the World Health
Organization  told  the  BBC  the results  were  a  'significant  scientific
advance'  but  were  not a magic bullet and  would  never  replace  existing
prevention strategies."

"Dr  De Cock said that countries in Africa who wanted to use  this  approach
would still have to decide what age groups to target and there would have to
be training and hygienic practices in place."

Whatever next, a gynaecologist with the name of Dr Fannyfumble?!

A real Xmas Bargain! (Or possibly not..)

You  might think that there has been a breakthrough in the pricing of  large
screen  LCD  TVs,  as Woolworths were offering these on their website for  a
price of 150 UKP in the pre-Xmas shopping rush!

However,  it  turns  out  to  be a simple mistake on  their  part  screaming
"TYPING ERROR!" and they didn't actually mean to do that. The real price for
a  Sharp  'Aquos' 37 inch LCD Television is nearer to 1500  UKP.  Woolworths
pulled the site offline,  said it was a mistake,  and aren't going to honour
those  orders  which  made it through before they did!  Quite a  few  people
tried, and the site got overloaded a little bit!

A career in catering beckons for this young man?

Marco Castro, a high school student, is facing criminal charges after school
officials say he ejaculated into the school cafeteria salad dressing.

Castro  is  accused of spiking a container with his own  semen,  at  Wheaton
North High School.

"A  letter went home to parents on Thursday,  in which principal Jill  Bullo
wrote  that  on the 6th Dec,  the student took the salad dressing  container
into  the  boys  restroom,  ejaculated into it,  and placed it back  on  the
cafeteria condiment table."

Criminal charges are being brought against him, and it will indeed be ironic
if  the only job that he can get afterwards,  would be working at  somewhere
like McDonalds!

It's cheap funeral time!

Cumbria County Council may have the answer if a beloved elderly relative has
just died and the funeral expenses are too much. You can cut her up and take
her down to the local rubbish tip!

According  to a local newspaper,  Dave Straughton of Workington asked for  a
waste  disposal permit.  His initial description of "General domestic waste"
was  rejected  by  the  council,  who wanted a  more  specific  description.
Straughton  said he had a guitar and organ to dispose of,  and then asked if
the council would accept dismembered body parts in bin bags.

The  council officer apparently didn't have a problem with that  description,
and a few days later, the permit turned up. It read "The following waste can
be disposed, Guitar, Organ, Grandma's dismembered body parts in bin bags."

The council's sense of humour extended to just one employee,  as the issuing
officer  got  "recycled" out of a job himself when this unusual  permit  was

And  Mr  Straughton  didn't  actually have a  diced  granny  pending  urgent
disposal,  he  was being sarcastic and taking issue with the council's waste
management policies!

Bleating his Meat??

I took this straight from the BBC news website.  There is no editing, just a
straight cut and paste, there was no need for any other comment really!

                       Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat

A  Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife",  after he  was
caught  having  sex with the animal.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took
him to a council of elders.   They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry
of  15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.   "We have given him the goat,
and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi,  of Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State,  told the Juba Post newspaper
that  he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February  and  immediately
rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.  "When I asked him: 'What are
you doing there?',  he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied
him  up."

Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.  "They said
I  should not take him to the police,  but rather let him pay a dowry for my
goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.

I'm not going to say anything else, I promise!

 Sitting on the Devil's Sofa!

A  Chinese  to  English  translation  software  glitch  was  thought  to  be
responsible for this little faux-pas.

A  Toronto  family has been left traumatised after  a  software  translation
error  led  to the dark brown upholstery of their new  sofa  being  labelled
"nigger  brown".  It  was  apparently caused by a mis-spelling of  a  colour
description "Niger brown" from the original Chinese.

Cue huge amounts of embarassment and threats of legal action all round!

Doris  Moore  explained that it was her seven-year-old  daughter  who  first
spotted the offending tag. She recounted: "My daughter saw the label and she
knew the colour brown, but didn't know what the other word meant. She asked,
'Mommy,  what colour is that?' I was stunned.  I didn't know what to say.  I
never thought that's how she'd learn of that word."

The  apology  was not enough,  she considers that the incident has "taken  a
toll on her family" and is seeking compensation.

She  said:  "Something  more has to be done.  We don't just need a  personal
apology,  but  someone needs to own up to where these labels were made,  and
someone needs to apologise to all people of colour.  I had friends over from
St Lucia yesterday and they wouldn't sit on the couch."

Coming up next, rational person with similarly labelled sofa refuses to take
part  in  idiot circus of overreaction,  accepts apology,  removes offending
label, and thinks nothing more about the matter!

Chernobyl on Sea?

Russia has started to build the worlds first purpose-built floating  nuclear
power  station which will be called the "Academician Lomonosov." It will  be
ready for 2010, and they are hoping to build six more of these.

The  9  billion  rouble  floating nuclear stations  will  have  two  nuclear
reactors  (of  a  type previously used on  their  ice-breakers),  which  use
uranium  enriched  to  a maximum of 20 percent.  Total capacity will  be  70
megawatts and the stations will also desalinate sea water.

The Russians are confident that this is a safe way to bring nuclear power to
remote regions of the world. Greenpeace disagrees.

"This  is  the most dangerous project that has been launched by  the  atomic
sector in the whole world over the past decade," said Ivan Blokov,  campaign
director of Greenpeace Russia. "It is scary as this is basically going to be
a floating atomic bomb."

As this project has been greenlighted by the Russian leadership,  who have a
renewed  interest in developing nuclear technology,  what's the betting that
Mr  Ivan  Greenpeace  bloke  will  get to  personally  sample  some  of  the
more  delightful  by-products  of their nuclear industry  before  too  long?
Polonium 90 ring a bell for instance?

The fat lady has breathed out of tune..

This has been fun,  but the deadlines are getting too close again,  so it is
time to say goodbye. See you back in a future issue!

                      CiH at various times between November 06 and April 07.

Alive 14