Yummy, Yummy

joey_chestnut

A competitive eater who has already triumphed at a famous hot dog eating contest swallowed 103 small hamburgers in 8 minutes Sunday to take home $10,000.  Joey Chestnut, 23, of San Jose, Calif., surpassed the previous record of 97 Krystal burgers — 21/2 inches square — held by Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, set at last year’s Krystal Square Off.

Chestnut beat 12 other contestants. Kobayashi, who won all previous Krystal Hamburger Eating Championships, didn’t compete this year because of lingering jaw pain from having a wisdom tooth extracted in June.   The 29-year-old Kobayashi received chiropractic treatment before losing his hot-dog-eating belt in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July tussle in New York.  None of these competitive eaters are fat, go figure?

Odd Crime News

Weird crime shorts:

-A former bank executive who was said to have “Robin Hood” mentality has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for taking money from some accounts and repaying others, as well as pocketing some of the money for himself.

The judge at Friday’s sentencing hearing also ordered Thomas Mariotti, 37, to repay more than $691,000 to his former employer and to Tall Oaks Country Club, one of the affected accounts. Mariotti will remain free on bond until he surrenders himself to prison officials next month. A psychologist who testified at the sentencing hearing said Mariotti had a “Robin Hood” mentality because he took money from the bank to help support bad loans he had made. In one case, he paid off a $45,000 loan, said his lawyer, Ron Hamm. In June, Mariotti waived indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.

-A man was in jail Saturday after refusing to sign a $15 jaywalking ticket two days earlier. Leroy Franklin Cladd Jr. was cited for not using a crosswalk late Thursday night. He balked at signing the ticket, a misdemeanor that landed him in jail. He was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, police said. Cladd was being held at the Manatee County jail on $250 bond. What a fine waste of tax payers money and cops time!

Prison Break

A 19-year-old German woman escaped from prison by hiding in a suitcase in Northwest Germany on Friday, according to the London Metro.  A fellow inmate, 17, was being released from a youth prison and carried her friend out of the jail as her luggage.

Both inmates were serving time for theft and the 19-year-old was due to be released in two weeks. They are both still on the loose.  I wonder if we will see this one on Prison Break?

Weird Auction, Town for Sale

Bobby Cave is the owner of a town called Albert and he decided this year to sell it, but how?  Then a friend mentioned the online auction site eBay Inc. Now, with the click of a mouse — and at least $2.5 million — Albert could be yours.  After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up and restore the 13-acre town about 50 miles north of San Antonio, Cave said he’s ready to move on to his next venture.

Eric Meissner, Cave’s friend and co-listing agent, said Albert qualifies as a town, or at least was once a town, because it used to have a post office. Albert dates to the late 1800s and is now unincorporated.  No one lives there permanently, but the tavern that Cave created from the frame of the old general store is open on weekends. There are also the “cleanest public restrooms in Texas,” built by Cave, and a pavilion, 85-year-old dance hall, tractor shed and three-bedroom house. All of that, plus peach and pecan orchards, come with the land.

Cave said he will even throw in his plan to turn the place into a tourist destination, including plans for a restaurant and cabins.  The eBay auction closes Nov. 23. On Wednesday, about a week after bidding opened, offers topped $300,000. But that was still less than Cave’s “reserve price” of $2.5 million, the least he will take for the property.

Hani Durzy, an eBay spokesman, said listing an entire town for auction is very uncommon.  Bridgeville, in northern California, was the first town ever put on the eBay auction block. The 83 acres were twice sold on the site, in 2002 (that deal fell through) and again last year.  I can’t wait to drive through and try out those clean restrooms!

Very Weird Animal Experiments

I recently came across a couple of disturbing accounts of weird experiments performed on animals at the museum of hoaxes website.

-What would happens if you give an elephant LSD?

On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out. Warren Thomas, Director of the City Zoo, fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant’s rump. With Thomas were two scientific colleagues from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Louis Jolyon West and Chester M. Pierce. 297 milligrams is a lot of LSD — about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. In fact, it remains the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. The researchers figured that, if they were going to give an elephant LSD, they better not give him too little.

Thomas, West, and Pierce later explained that the experiment was designed to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant — musth being a kind of temporary madness male elephants sometimes experience during which they become highly aggressive and secrete a sticky fluid from their temporal glands. But one suspects a small element of ghoulish curiosity might also have been involved. Whatever the reason for the experiment, it almost immediately went awry. Tusko reacted to the shot as if a bee had stung him. He trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. The three scientists sheepishly concluded that, “It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD.”

In the years that followed controversy lingered over whether it was the LSD that killed Tusko, or the drugs used to revive him. So twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to settle the debate by giving two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko received. Reportedly he had to sign an agreement promising to replace the animals in the event of their deaths. Instead of injecting the elephants with LSD, Siegel mixed the drug into their water, and when it was administered in this way, the elephants not only survived but didn’t seem too upset at all. They acted sluggish, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations such as chirping and squeaking, but within a few hours they were back to normal. However, Siegel noted that the dosage Tusko received may have exceeded some threshold of toxicity, so he couldn’t rule out that LSD was the cause of his death. I know this was back in the early 60’s but I am sure there are some sick experiments going on nowadays all around the world.

-Have you ever seen a dog with two heads?

In 1954 Vladimir Demikhov rocked the scientific world by unveiling a surgically created monstrosity: A two-headed dog. He created the creature in a lab on the outskirts of Moscow by grafting the head, shoulders, and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd.

Demikhov paraded the dog before reporters from around the world. Journalists gasped as both heads simultaneously lapped at bowls of milk, and then cringed as the milk from the puppy’s head dribbled out the unconnected stump of its esophageal tube. The Soviet Union proudly boasted that the dog was proof of their nation’s medical preeminence. Over the course of the next fifteen years, Demikhov created a total of twenty of his two-headed dogs. None of them lived very long, as they inevitably succumbed to problems of tissue rejection. The record was a month.

Demikhov explained that the dogs were part of a continuing series of experiments in surgical techniques, with his ultimate goal being to learn how to perform a human heart and lung transplant. Another surgeon beat him to this goal — Dr. Christian Baarnard in 1967 — but Demikhov is widely credited with paving the way for it. I guess this story makes you wonder about “the end justifying the means’. The “greater good” and all that.

Doctor can I have a note for….

Need a doctors note to get out of writing that big test? Or do you just want a refund on your unused gym membership without the pentaly? The Excused Absence Network has your back. For around $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or an authentic-looking funeral service program complete with comforting poems and a list of pallbearers.

Some question whether the products are legal or ethical – or even work – but the company’s owners say they’re just helping people do something they would have done anyway. The company’s customers receive templates so they can print the notes after typing the name and address of a local doctor or emergency room. Those who choose jury duty as an excuse to miss work enter their county courthouse information on the form.

Though the company’s disclaimer advises the notes are “for entertainment purposes only,” its website shows pictures of people sunbathing and playing golf using the fabricated excuses. One testimonial says: “I’ve managed to take the nine weeks off using these templates! It couldn’t be any easier!”

Actually, for one New Jersey woman it wasn’t so easy. She was arrested this year after using one of the company’s notes to support her claim she was too injured to appear in traffic court for a speeding ticket. She was caught after court officials called the chiropractor listed and he told them he never heard of the woman.

Vision Matters co-founder Darl Waterhouse said people looking to trick their bosses probably won’t get caught because of federal restrictions on the release of patient medical information. But some are concerned about potential problems.

If bosses find out the notes are not authentic, they might think the medical provider helped in the scam, said Dr. John Z. Sadler, a psychiatry and clinical sciences professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Reputations could be unfairly damaged, and accreditation or licence problems could arise, he said.

Many businesses require documentation if an employee misses work. But several companies declined to reveal their specific policies or say whether the possibility their workers might use fake excuse notes is a concern. An annual nationwide survey of more than 300 human resource executives found an absenteeism rate of about 2.3 per cent this year. That’s down from 2.5 per cent in 2006, the highest rate since 2.7 per cent in 1999.

The survey was conducted by the Harris Interactive consulting firm for CCH Inc., which provides employment law information. The executives surveyed said that two-thirds of employees who call in sick at the last minute are really missing work due to family issues, personal needs, stress and an entitlement mentality. Personal illness accounts for only 34 per cent of the absences.

The Vision Matters founders said many employees are fed up with working long hours for little pay, then having no flexibility if they needed to tend to a sick relative or attend their children’s school activities.

Liddell and Waterhouse met about four years ago while working in security for a manufacturing company. After seeing several employees write fake doctor notes, the men launched the Internet business on about $300 each. Liddell runs the company from a laptop in his home in Thackerville, a town of about 400 just north of the Oklahoma-Texas line. He won’t reveal sales numbers, but says the website gets about 15,000 hits a month. Sounds like this business is a big winner and very creative too!