Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lioness in heat to be exiled from zoo

MONCTON, New Brunswick (UPI) -- A lioness in a Canadian zoo in New Brunswick will be moved after attacking a juvenile male who didn't understand her needs while she was in heat, the zoo says.

A spokesman for the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. 11-year-old Kito apparently didn't get over the death of her first male mate in January.

The zoo brought in two cubs, a male and a female, after the lion's death as companions. The male, named Azizi, wasn't sexually mature, although Kito didn't seem to understand each time she went into mating estrus, Bruce Dougan, general manager of the zoo told the CBC.

"When she did that she became frustrated with Azizi, who didn't know what his role was in that situation," Dougan said. "He was a very young male, and that frustration turned to anger and then aggression."

Despite hormonal treatments, Kito attacked Azizi, and once inflicted a serious rake-gash on the young lion's back.

The felines are now separated by a fence and the zoo is working at relocating the frustrated Kito back to her source facility in Ontario, the report said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, December 25, 2009


At this time of the year, with pain in my heart and tears in my eyes at the loss of my best friend and soul companion, I reach out across the miles to greet all my blog readers. I promise to return in the new year with a vigor and the passion I once had. Now I wish to thank you for your support.


Friday, October 23, 2009


NOV 14, 1955 - OCT 18, 2009


NOV 14, 1955 - OCT 18, 2009


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Authorities search for police car thief

DULUTH, Ga. (UPI) -- Authorities in Georgia said a man arrested for driving under the influence slipped out of his handcuffs and stole a police cruiser.

Duluth Police Maj. Don Woodruff said an officer pulled over a U-Haul truck at about 5 p.m. EDT Monday and arrested the driver after determining he was intoxicated, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Woodruff said the officer searched the U-Haul truck and returned to find his police cruiser was gone -- and so was the suspect.

"He managed to slip one hand out of the cuffs and kick out the back window," Woodruff said.

Duluth, Atlanta and DeKalb County officers joined the search for the missing car and it was spotted driving later in the day on Memorial Drive. Woodruff said the suspect jumped out of the car and fled before officers could reach him.

Woodruff said there was no major damage to the car and none of the equipment was missing. Investigators said they determined the U-Haul truck the man had been driving was stolen.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monkeys relocated from Zambian State House

LUSAKA, Zambia (UPI) -- Zambian officials said 61 monkeys have been relocated from State House grounds since one of the animals urinated on the president in June.

Fred Hengeveld, marketing manager with the Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, said President Rupiah Banda asked the organization and the Born Free Foundation to remove the estimated 200 monkeys living on the State House grounds after one of the primates urinated on Banda during a June 24 news conference, The (Lusaka) Post reported.

"It is estimated that there are approximately 200 primates involved and the president wanted some of them removed, relocated and released humanely back into the wild," Hengeveld said.

The Munda Wanga trust said 61 monkeys have been removed from the State House.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dog flattens deputy's tires

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (UPI) -- Authorities in North Carolina said a pit bull used its powerful jaws to flatten the tires of a deputy's patrol car.

Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said Deputy Lynn Lavallis responded Sunday evening to a call placed by Gloria Bass, who told dispatchers her daughter was being chased by a dog that was attempting to bite her bicycle tire, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported.

However, Tanna said the deputy did not see the dog or the girl when she arrived at Bass's home, near Hope Mills. Instead, she said Bass's pet pit bull attacked the tires of her car while she was speaking to the homeowner.

"The dog didn't try to attack the deputy. He just doesn't like tires," Tanna said.

Tanna said Bass will be billed $504.60 for the cost of the tires. No action was taken against the dog because it was on its owner's property and did not injure anyone.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Base jumpers target Indianapolis buildings

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- Police in Indianapolis said they have received two recent reports of base jumpers parachuting from buildings in the city's downtown.

Investigators said a jumper described as a man around age 20 could face burglary and trespassing charges for using a fake ID to gain access to the top floor of the 21-story Barton Tower Apartments and prying open a fire exit before parachuting from the building Sept. 16, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Police said the man was seen driving away from the scene with an accomplice in a sport utility vehicle.

Authorities said they received a second report about a week later of a base jumper parachuting from either the Chase Tower or the nearby Hilton Garden Inn.

Investigators said there are no laws in the city specifically outlawing base jumping. They said arrests are only sought when a crime such as trespassing or property damage is committed in the process of a jump.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Police tape up alligator in Texas

SAN ANTONIO (UPI) -- San Antonio police said officers used duct tape and a prisoner transport van to capture and relocate a 4-foot alligator found in a residential neighborhood.

The police department said officers responded to a disturbance call at about 6 a.m. Monday and taped the reptile's jaws shut after being unable to reach a game warden, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The officers loaded the gator into an empty prisoner transport van and it was handed over to Game Warden David Chavez, who released it into the San Antonio River, where the species is native.

Richard Heilbrun, an urban wildlife biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said alligators measuring less than 6 feet long are only removed by officers if they are near a bus stop or an area frequented by children.

"It's not hard to do, just like the cops did, you jump on top of it and tape its mouth," Heilbrun said.

However, he cautioned against civilians trying it.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chance brings luck to pub lottery players

BLANTYRE, Scotland (UPI) -- A group of regulars at a Scottish pub got lucky when the one buying the lottery ticket decided not to play the usual numbers and leave it up to chance.

The ticket turned out to be worth 4.5 million pounds ($7.2 million) -- or 500,000 pounds for each of the nine friends, The Scotsman reported.

The nine, all regulars at the Doon Inn in Blantyre, have been playing the lottery for 15 years.

Sandy Morton, who bought the winning ticket, said he was in the pub Saturday when the numbers were drawn on television. He was writing them down and at first thought the ticket had five of the numbers until someone pointed out he had written one down wrong, and they had all six.

Jim McGrail, who was laid off three months ago, said the win was a nice turn in his luck.

"I was in the house at the time of the draw, but then Sandy called me," he said. "I thought it was a wind-up. It took another six members of the syndicate to phone me before I started to believe them. I raced down to the pub to join in the celebrations."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Police find joint in suspect's hair

PALO ALTO, Calif. (UPI) -- Police in California said they discovered a marijuana cigarette hidden in the dreadlocks of a suspect arrested on 10 charges.

Palo Alto police Sgt. Dan Ryan said Melvin Robbins, 21, of Mountain View, Calif., was pulled over for speeding at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, and officers soon discovered marijuana in the vehicle, the Palo Alto Daily News reported Thursday.

Investigators said Robbins, whose license was suspended, initially gave officers a false name, and they discovered he was on probation for a domestic violence charge and had four outstanding felony warrants when his real identity was established. A search of the car also yielded a gun with the serial number scratched off.

Robbins was arrested on the four warrants, three gun violations, marijuana possession, driving with a suspended license and giving false information to an officer.

Police said an officer noticed Robbins still smelled of marijuana at the Santa Clara County Main Jail, and a marijuana cigarette was discovered hidden in his dreadlocks.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Man Fined for Following GPS to Cliff

HALIFAX, England (UPI) -- A man who followed bad directions from his satellite navigation device and got his car stuck on a 100-foot-high cliff was fined $1,470 by a British court.

The Calderdale Magistrates Court in Halifax, England, was told Robert Jones, 43, was driving in the nearby town of Todmorden March 22 when his TomTom navigation system instructed him to drive down a dirt path leading to the cliff, The Sun reported Wednesday.

Jones continued driving until his BMW became stuck on a fence at the brink of the cliff. He paid $1,650 to have his car recovered from the location.

The court found Jones guilty of driving without due care and attention.

Jones said the incident has not soured him on the TomTom device.

"I still use mine. It's the only time it's ever let me down," he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, August 31, 2009

School doors glued shut

DELTONA, Fla. (UPI) -- A Florida school began classes 90 minutes late one Tuesday because officials were struggling to open doors that had been glued shut by teenagers.

Nancy Wait of Volusia County Public Schools said a surveillance video recorded three teenagers gluing the doors of Pine Ridge High School in Deltona shut overnight and officials are working to identify the culprits, WKMG-TV, Orlando, Fla., reported Tuesday.

Wait said the incident is not believed to have been a senior prank.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stolen cop car found in parking garage

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (UPI) -- Police in Mountain View, Calif., said a police cruiser that went missing from a concert turned up two days later in an apartment complex parking lot.

Investigators said someone stole Car 3006 from a concert Friday featuring rock groups Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction and apparently took the vehicle for a joyride before leaving it in the garage, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Monday.

Officers searched the streets of the city for the black and white Ford Crown Victoria after it went missing Friday and a police helicopter from the San Jose police department joined the search Friday night and Saturday.

A Mountain View resident called police at about 1:35 p.m. Sunday and said she spotted the missing police car in her apartment complex's parking garage. Police said the car was undamaged and a shotgun that was locked in the back of the car remained unmolested. However, officers said the keys were not with the car.

Police said they are hoping evidence gathered from the car will point them toward a suspect.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Man got 1,197 piercings in one day

ARLINGTON, Texas (UPI) -- A Texas body modification enthusiast said he broke a Guinness World Record by receiving 1,197 piercings in a single day.

Jeremy Stroud said Arlington body modification artist Tyson Turk spent about five hours May 2 inserting 800 needles into his back, 300 in his right arm, 50 in his leg and about 20 in his left arm, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Monday.

He said the needles were removed at the end of the day but they left scars all over his body.

"They're so close together that they leave a line. It kind of looks like I had stitches from my wrist all the way up to my shoulder," he said.

Stroud said two emergency medical technicians were on hand during the record attempt as well as a witness and a photographer to support his bid to make it into the record book. He said the original plan was 2,000 piercings, but the pain from the needles eventually started to catch up to him.

"I made it to 1,200 and my body was getting ready to shut down," he said. "I had no idea what I was getting into."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, August 28, 2009

Brits turn to wallabies for lawn control

BUNGAY, England (UPI) -- Wallaby breeders in Britain say demand is soaring as private land owners turn to the marsupials to keep their grass short.

Trevor Lay, owner of Waveney Wildlife in Bungay, England, said he used to breed only 15 animals a year for zoos and animal parks but since private land owners began buying the animals about five years ago he has been breeding 35 each year, The Times of London reported Monday.

"It's crazy. To be honest, if I had 100 I could easily get rid of them," said Lay, who has been breeding wallabies for 25 years and is the largest private supplier in Britain.

Fellow breeder Quintin Spratt of Tacolneston, England, said his business has also been booming as a result of people using them to control large lawns.

The breeders said prospective wallaby owners need at least half an acre of land with a lot of grass and a fence at least 5 feet high around the property.

"Anyone who can keep a rabbit can keep a wallaby. They are lovely, gregarious animals," Lay said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Overdue book back after 31 years

ARLINGTON, Va. (UPI) -- A Virginia library said a woman has returned a book she checked out more than 30 years ago.

Peter Golkin, a spokesman for the Arlington Central Library, said "The Patriot Chiefs" by Alvin Josephy was checked out March 16, 1978, and returned last Tuesday with a $25 check and a letter of apology, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"It's always great to get the books back, as opposed to any kind of income from fines or replacement fees," Golkin said.

Sarah McKee, 70, said she borrowed the book from the library so long ago that she had forgotten the book was not hers.

"To my great embarrassment," her note read, "I recently opened this book and discovered it is yours -- not mine. My apologies for my tardiness."

McKee, who now lives in Amherst, Mass., blamed the mistake on her poor memory.

"I never would have schlepped it around all these years had I not thought it was mine," she said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Happy Family of Brhadaranyakopanishadvivekachudamani Erreh Muñoz


Parece mentira, pero es real. Un mexicano de Coahuila tiene el nombre "más largo" del país y uno de los más exóticos del mundo: Brhadaranyakopanishadvivekachudamani Erreh Muñoz.

"Brhada", como le dicen sus amigos, es un médico veterinario que lleva su nombre de 36 letras con mucho orgullo. Tanto es así, que ha llamado a su hijo de la misma manera, aunque con una pequeña variación.
El cambio consiste en que los apellidos Erreh Muñoz fueron fusionados en una sola palabra, razón por la cual los tres hijos del veterinario llevan el apellido Errehmuñoz.
Lo interesante de la historia es que el apellido Erreh fue un invento del padre de Brhadaranyakopanishadvivekachudamani.
El padre de Brhada se llama José Refugio. A este hombre originario de Jalisco le pusieron Refugio como una ofrenda a la Vírgen del Refugio, porque fue el único bebé que logró sobrevivir tras la muerte de sus cuatro hermanos.
clic Participe: En busca de nombres curiosos
La "R" de Refugio
El problema es que a José no le gustaba llamarse Refugio y decidió presentarse en la vida como José R, nada más. Así surgió el apellido R, que terminó siendo Erreh, y que ahora significa "esposo, refugio, rosario, esposa, hijo".
No contento con inventar un nuevo apellido, don José decidió ponerle a su hijo Brhadaranyakopanishadvivekachudamani que es, nada más ni nada menos, que la mezcla de los nombres de dos filósofos hindúes.
Al principio, don José no sabía cuál de los dos filósofos elegir y al final, tras muchas horas de divagaciones, decidió ponerle los dos nombres en una sola palabra.
Brhada le dijo a BBC Mundo que el nombre del primer filósofo significa "el hombre se convierte en lo que hace", mientras que el segundo, al parecer, no tiene un significado muy preciso.

¿Pero por qué su padre quería el nombre de dos filósofos?
Es que mi padre es muy afecto a la literatura hindú y quería comenzar una tradición que se perpetuara a través de los años. Por eso yo también le puse a mi hijo ese nombre.
¿Y profesa la religión hindú o su familia tiene algún vínculo con India?
¡No! (ríe) No tenemos ningún vínculo y yo no soy hindú.
¿Y entonces por qué le puso el mismo nombre a su hijo?
Para seguir la tradición de mi padre, nada más.
¿Y por qué transformó el apellido Erreh en Errehmuñoz?
Un deseo de mi padre.
¿Nunca pensó en cambiarse el nombre?
No, nunca.
¿Y no ha tenido problemas con ese nombre tan largo?
Solamente con la documentación oficial. Por ejemplo. en mi credencial de elector o en la licencia de conducir no hay espacio suficiente, entonces han tenido que hacer un "oficio", un documento anexo para escribir mi nombre completo
¿Y en la escuela no le hacían bromas?
No, uno se acostumbra a que la gente pregunte siempre las mismas cosas... que por qué tan largo, que qué significa y así, pero el nombre no me ha dado problemas.
Nombres exóticos
En México son muy creativos para los nombres. De hecho, nadie sabe qué estaban pensando los padres de algunas personas cuando les pusieron nombres como Zoila Vaca del Campo, Hitler o Michael Jordan.

Entre las rarezas, está el caso de una mujer que fue inscrita el 22 de abril de 1914 en el Registro Civil del Distrito Federal con más de 30 nombres.
Los que la conocieron probablemente la llamaban María Saldivar, pero su verdadero nombre era así:
María de la Asunción Luisa Conzaga Guadalupe Refugio Luz Loreto Salud Altagracia Carmen Matilde Josefa Ignacia Francisca Solano Vicenta Ferrer Antonia Ramona Agustina Carlota Inocencia Federica Gabriela de Dolores de los Sagrados Corazones de Jesús y de María Saldivar y Saldivar.
"Mi nombre es para siempre"
El Registro Civil de Coahuila está impulsando una campaña que se llama "Mi nombre es para siempre", con el objetivo de que las personas le pongan nombres a sus hijos que sean fáciles de escribir, pronunciar y recordar.
En el caso del Distrito Federal, el Registro Civil no ha inscrito nombres largos o particularmente raros en los últimos años y está más bien preocupado por agilizar los trámites.
Su más reciente campaña está centrada en la digitalización de 27 millones de actas de nacimiento, matrimonio y defunción.
Sin embargo, las autoridades han visto casos en que la gente no está feliz con su nombre y trata de cambiárselo.
Hegel Cortés, director de la institución, le dijo a BBC Mundo que las leyes permiten el cambio de nombre ante el Tribunal Superior de Justicia sólo cuando existen razones de peso.
"Una persona no puede cambiarse el nombre sólo porque no le gusta, tiene que demostrar ante un juez que le causa menoscabo o discriminación".
En el terreno de los "nombres normales" que no causan mayores inconvenientes, los más comunes entre los recién nacidos en la capital mexicana son Fernanda y Valeria, mientras que en el caso de los hombres llevan la delantera Diego y Santiago.

Es que mi padre es muy afecto a la literatura hindú y quería comenzar una tradición que se perpetuara a través de los años. Por eso yo también le puse a mi hijo ese nombre: Brhadaranyakopanishadvivekachudamani Erreh Muñoz

El hijo del hombre con el nombre más largo sigue la tradición: lleva el mismo nombre que su padre!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


APIA, Samoa -- Sometime in the early morning hours of Sept. 7, residents of this small Pacific island nation will stop their cars, take a deep breath, and do something most people would think is suicidal: Start driving on the other side of the road.

Samoa is about to become what's believed to be the first nation since the 1970s to order its drivers to switch from one side of the road to the other. That's spawned an islandwide case of road rage. Opponents have organized two of the biggest protests in Samoan history, and a new activist group -- People Against Switching Sides, or PASS -- has geared up to fight the plan.

The prime minister who hatched Samoa's scheme, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, refuses to do a U-turn. Road-switch opponents are just trying to rattle the government, he says. He has compared a prominent opponent of the switch to a local "avaava" fish -- a sea creature that swims in shallow waters and eats garbage, an insult in Samoan culture.

The main reason for Samoa's switch is that two of its biggest neighbors, Australia and New Zealand, drive on the left-hand side, whereas Samoa currently drives on the right, as in the U.S. By aligning with Australia and New Zealand, the prime minister says, it will be easier for poor Samoans to get cheap hand-me-down cars from the 170,000 or so Samoans who live in those two countries. It could also help more people escape tsunamis, says Mr. Tuilaepa.

It all "makes common sense," says Mr. Tuilaepa in an interview in his office overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the capital city of Apia. Mr. Tuilaepa, who sports a wave of fluffy whitening hair and wears flip-flops, has run the country for more than a decade.

Opponents and some outside experts fear the switch will turn many of Samoa's already-dangerous roads into disaster zones. Roads wind through mountainous jungle terrain with sharp turns, few traffic lights and pedestrians and dogs sharing the lanes. Critics say the switch will add further confusion with drivers likely to forget which side they're supposed to be on.

The move will also add costs -- like carving new doors into buses so passengers can get off on the opposite side of the road -- that critics say are unnecessary in a country heavily reliant on foreign aid.

For car owners, the switch is also expected to drive the value of their vehicles off a cliff, since about 14,000 of the country's 18,000 vehicles are designed to drive on the right. Although such cars will be allowed after the changeover, they are likely to become less desirable.

"To be really quite frank, we find [the change] ridiculous," says Sina Retzlaff-Lima, whose Apia Rentals rental-car company has 40 cars made for driving on the right side of the road.

Globally, about 70% of the world's population drives on the right-hand side of the road. But other parts of the world -- including many countries that were once British colonies -- remain committed to the left.

The root causes of the gap stem from preferences when countries developed their first road rules, says Peter Kincaid, an Australia-based author of "The Rule of the Road," which analyzes world traffic patterns.

Mr. Kincaid says American drivers of horse-drawn carriages tended to ride their horses, or walk alongside them, on the left-hand side of their vehicles so they could wield whips with their right hands. That made it necessary to lead carriages down the right side of the road so drivers could be nearer the center of the street.

A handful of countries have switched over the years, mainly to match up with neighbors that had different standards. Several former British colonies in Africa, including Nigeria, went from left to right in the decades after World War II. Sweden switched sides, from left to right, in 1967, while Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, did the same in 1970 for reasons that even today remain unclear.

Since the 1970s, says Mr. Kincaid, international road rules have remained largely the same -- until Samoa.

With only about 200,000 people and a handful of traffic lights in downtown Apia, Samoa is the western neighbor of American Samoa, an American territory. It is known for its close proximity to the international date line, which makes it possible for some visitors to arrive in Samoa the day before they left.

Samoa settled on right-hand traffic in the early 1900s, when it was under German control. But doubters long thought it made more sense to line up with Australia and New Zealand, and the prime minister agreed, unveiling his plan in 2007.

The idea caught on in some villages, where residents figured it would become easier to get old cars from relatives.

"In the beginning it will be hard, but we'll learn -- we're not stupid," says Leau Apisaloma, a 54-year-old village chief who collects entrance fees from visitors at a beach an hour from Apia.

In Apia, though, opponents are determined to fight the change. Having just taken delivery of an expensive Toyota Tundra from America in late 2006, local lawyer Toleafoa Solomona Toailoa shifted the resistance into high gear. With allies, he formed PASS and helped lead two protest marches, including one featuring a petition with more than 30,000 signatures.

The government refused to budge. Mr. Toleafoa launched his own political party, with plans to contest the next election in 2011. Supporters also took the plan to court, on the grounds that it breaches citizens' right to life by making Samoan roads too dangerous. The case is pending.

With the deadline approaching, the government is speeding ahead. It has added road humps to slow traffic and erected signs that, when unveiled Sept. 7, will remind drivers to stay left. In a TV address about the road change last week, the prime minister warned that "the only thing to fear is fear itself." He listed a series of other steps, including declaring Sept. 7 and 8 national holidays. The government has also set up a "training area" near a sports stadium where drivers can practice the fine art of driving on the left side of the road.

One recent Sunday morning, a bus was seen barreling down the right side of the road in the training area, the driver apparently oblivious to the fact that it was the wrong side. After nearly running head-on into a sport-utility vehicle, the bus driver swerved then returned to the wrong side of the road and chugged on.

Monday, August 24, 2009


On Sept 7th Samoa will be changing their driving lane from right to left. It is causing an uproar on th island but the president of that small nation is unmoved in his decision. Here are some statistics on who drives where!!!

Countries that use left-hand traffic account for about 30% of the world's population, a sixth of its area and a quarter of its roads. Below, the list.

The Bahamas
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Christmas Island
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cook Islands
Falkland Islands
Hong Kong
Isle of Man
Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)
New Zealand
Nieu Island
Norfolk Island
Papua New Guinea
Pitcairn Island
St Helena
St Kitts-Nevits (-Anguilla)
St Lucia
St Vincent
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Tokelau Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
United Kingdom
Virgin Islands (U.S.)

Source: The Rule of the Road

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Great Pumpkin is from Kentucky

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- A 1,145-pound pumpkin from the "Kentucky Pumpkin Mafia" came in first place at the Giant Pumpkin Contest at the Indiana State Fair Sunday, officials said.

The Indianapolis Star reported John Van Hook, 42, of Somerset Kentucky, grew the winning pumpkin. Van Hook's brother, a fellow pumpkin grower, also attended the Indianapolis fair sporting a hat emblazoned with "Kentucky Pumpkin Mafia."

It was the second year in a row Kentuckians won top awards at the Indiana fair.

Kentuckians have some advantage over the Indiana growers because their warm season starts earlier, admitted Dwight Slone of Prestonsburg, Ky. Slone and his wife, Karen, entered a pumpkin weighing 1,126 pounds that took second place.

Roger Howard, 61, a pumpkin grower in Grovertown, Ind., agreed.

"They start their growing the first of April because they can, because it's warm down there, whereas up north I can't start mine until the end of April," Howard said.

Most other "weigh-offs" are held in October so everyone is playing on even ground and can catch up, he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, August 21, 2009

Man falls 30 feet; injuries slight

NEW YORK (UPI) -- A New York businessman stepped outside an off-track betting facility, lit a cigar, and fell through a rusted-out metal sidewalk plate, officials said.

Vincent Riggio, 59, fell 30 feet into the basement of a clothing store in the TriBeCa area when the corroded metal plate holding the basement's doors in place gave way, the New York Post reported Sunday.

"He came out, he had a cigar, he stepped on the platform and he fell," said Freddy Chew, a deliveryman. "I looked down the hole. He was down there, squatting down. There was a lot of dust."

Chew called 911 and Riggio calmly telephoned his wife to tell her what had happened.

When authorities arrived, one firefighter was lowered by rope into the basemen, put a harness around Riggio, and hoisted him up.

"He was banged up a little bit, but he had no life-threatening injuries," said Battalion Chief James Sheridan.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dog wants to help with mowing lawn

CINCINNATI (UPI) -- A retired Cincinnati firefighter says his pet Shih Tzu loves to sit on his riding lawnmower with him when he cuts his grass.

Former firefighter and paramedic Bill Rinear said he bolted a wicker container to the top of his lawnmower so Minnie the Shih Tzu can enjoy taking part in the outdoors chore, The Cincinnati Enquirer said.

The sight of a dog sitting atop a moving lawnmower apparently draws it fair share of attention.

"People get out of their cars and just stare at us," Rinear said. "They wonder: 'What kind of an idiot has a dog riding in a basket on top of his lawn mower?'"

Rinear says he just like to spend time with his small 6-year-old dog.

"I'm the kind of idiot who used to unzip his sweatshirt and tuck her inside," he told the Enquirer. "When I would cut grass, she would stick her head out of the opening."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Man won't give up his short shorts

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (UPI) -- A Canadian yoga instructor says he will give up working out at a gym in Kamloops, British Columbia, sooner than give up his short shorts.

Mohd Abdullah, 48, told The Province he has received two warnings about his shorts since he joined the Tournament Capital Center a year ago. Officials at the gym said other patrons have complained Abdullah's attire is too short, too loose and shows a bit too much.

"I think it is discriminating and at the same time, I think it is a double standard," he said. "Here you have women that are wearing shorts that are half my size and with, excuse my lingo, the boobs half falling out -- and that's acceptable."

Abdullah teaches computer science at Thompson Rivers University and is also an instructor in pilates and yoga.

He said he owns six to eight pairs of shorts, one of them bought at Wal-Mart more than 10 years ago.

"I'm not going to change my style, not when I'm half a century old," he said. "I'm just going to keep wearing what I wear."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Man crosses tracks during live safety spot

LANGLEY GREEN, England (UPI) -- The makers of a BBC TV spot about crime and safety on British railways said the live special accidentally featured a man running across the path of a train.

BBC reporter Richard Westcott had been delivering the message at a Langley Green, England, railroad crossing when a man appeared over his shoulder, ducked under the lowering level-crossing barriers and walked across the tracks in the path of the oncoming speeding train, the Daily Mail reported.

A Network Rail spokesman said people running across the tracks while fast-moving trains approach is far from uncommon in Langley Green.

"Youngsters and adults alike break the law jumping over the barriers," he said.

The spokesman reiterated that ignoring barriers and warning lights is a dangerous pursuit.

"Trains in this country can run as fast as 125 mph and take up to half a mile to come to a halt," he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lost tortoise found nearly a mile away

NORTH LINDEN, Ohio (UPI) -- An Ohio couple said their beloved pet tortoise is home again after almost a week of wandering following its escape.

Lisa Dupler and Nicole Zahrndt of North Linden said they tirelessly covered the neighborhood in more than 100 "missing-tortoise" signs and offered a $100 reward for the safe return of Ophelia -- a male African Spur Thigh tortoise -- after the tortoise tunneled underneath their backyard fence Wednesday, the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.

The pair said their lucky break came when they got a phone call from Stacy Sturgill, whose boyfriend, Louis Maher, had seen a story in the Dispatch about a missing tortoise and spotted the animal outside Sturgill's apartment, nearly a mile from the tortoise's home.

Dupler and Zahrndt said they were so delighted by Ophelia's return they upped the finder's fee to $120, which Sturgill and Maher said they plan to spend on an air-conditioner.

Ophelia's family said they plan to make their fences deeper because African Spur Thigh tortoises can burrow up to 30 inches deep and make tunnels up to 10 feet long.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Police: Man tried to sell fake TV

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (UPI) -- Police in California, acting on a tip that a man tried to sell a flat screen TV for $100, said they detained a man and found a TV box containing an oven door.

San Leandro police said the man was pulled over last week and officers noticed a box in his car purporting to contain a brand-new, 37-inch Sony TV -- but all they found inside the box was a glass oven door disguised as a television, the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune reported.

Police said they pulled the man over because of an anonymous call from someone who said a man tried to sell him a TV for $100 out of his car in a Wal-Mart parking lot and gave police a description of the beige 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

The man, Anthony Myles, 52, was arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license. Police said no other charges were filed.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Boy, 9, lands 150-pound shark

BURIEN, Wash. (UPI) -- A 9-year-old Washington state boy said it took him almost an hour to land a 150-pound sixgill shark while fishing with his grandparents near Burien.

Cosmo Miller, 9, said he used a 30-pound test line to reel in the shark while fishing last week with his grandparents in Puget Sound, The Seattle Times reported.

"It was really hard," Cosmo said, "but I had a really big fishing pole."

The boy, who released the shark after taking pictures for posterity, said it wasn't his first encounter with a sixgill shark. He said he broke two poles fishing for sharks before he landed his prize catch using dogfish as bait.

Dave Woltz, his grandfather, said watching Cosmo wrestle with the shark was quite a sight to behold.

"It was quite a thrill watching a 9-year-old kid pull in that fish," he said. "We had been fishing for about four hours and were ready to come in when all of a sudden he hooks this big thing. His face was beet red, and I offered to help him, but he said no."

Cosmo said the shark was the largest fish he had ever hauled in, far surpassing his previous personal record of a 27-pound salmon.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Like any proud Grandma, today I take time to say Happy Birthday to my granddaughter, Ciarra Alexandria Thompson on her 7th Birthday.

My little Princess Aurora II is 7 years old and following in her grandma´s steps by being a dancer, a talker and a very intelligent little girl.

I love you baby girl.

From Princess Aurora I
(Grandma Brenda)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Clinton, 2 journalists depart NKorea for US

By JEAN H. LEE, Associated Press Writer Jean H. Lee, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 48 mins ago
SEOUL, South Korea – Former President Bill Clinton brought two freed U.S. journalists out of North Korea early Wednesday following rare talks with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the women sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling were heading back to the U.S. with Clinton, his spokesman Matt McKenna said, less than 24 hours after the former U.S. leader landed in the North Korean capital on a private, humanitarian trip to secure their release.

The women, dressed in short-sleeved shirts and jeans, appeared healthy as they climbed the steps to the plane and shook hands with Clinton before getting into the jet, APTN footage in Pyongyang showed. Clinton waved, put his hand over his heart and then saluted.

North Korean officials waved as the plane took off. McKenna said the flight was bound for Los Angeles, where the journalists will be reunited with their families. The White House had no comment.

Their departure was a jubilant conclusion to a more than four-month ordeal for the women arrested near the North Korean-Chinese border in March while on a reporting trip for Current TV, the media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore. They were sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry and engaging in "hostile acts."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had urged North Korea last month to grant them amnesty, saying they were remorseful and their families anguished.

North Korean media characterized the women's release as proof of "humanitarian and peace-loving policy."

Their families said they were "overjoyed" by the pardon. Lee, 36, a South Korean-born U.S. citizen, is the mother of a 4-year-old. Ling, a 32-year-old California native, is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, a correspondent for CNN as well as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "National Geographic Explorer."

Clinton's landmark trip to Pyongyang also resulted in rare talks with reclusive Kim Jong Il that state-run media described as "wide-ranging" and "exhaustive." The meeting was Kim's first with a prominent Western figure since reportedly suffering a stroke nearly a year ago.

While the White House emphasized the private nature of Clinton's trip, his landmark visit to Pyongyang to free the Americans was a coup that came at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear program.

State media said Clinton apologized on behalf of the women and relayed President Barack Obama's gratitude. The report said the visit would "contribute to deepening the understanding" between North Korea and the United States.

The meeting also appeared aimed at dispelling persistent questions about the health of the authoritarian North Korean leader, who was said to be suffering from chronic diabetes and heart disease before the reported stroke.

Kim smiled broadly for a photo standing next to a towering Clinton. He was markedly thinner than a year ago, with his graying hair cropped short. The once-pudgy 67-year-old, who for decades had a noticeable pot belly, wore a khaki jumpsuit and appeared frail and diminutive in a group shot seated next to a robust Clinton.

The journalists' release followed weeks of quiet negotiations between the State Department and the North Korean mission to the United Nations, said Daniel Sneider, associate director of research at Stanford University's Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Clinton "didn't go to negotiate this, he went to reap the fruits of the negotiation," Sneider said.

Pardoning Ling and Lee and having Clinton serving as their emissary served both North Korea's need to continue maintaining that the two women had committed a crime and the Obama administration's desire not to expend diplomatic capital winning their freedom, Sneider said.

"Nobody wanted this to be a distraction from the more substantially difficult issues we have with North Korea," he said. "There was a desire by the administration to resolve this quietly and from the very beginning they didn't allow it to become a huge public issue."

Speaking out for the first time since their capture, Gore said in a joint statement with Current co-founder Joel Hyatt that everyone at the media outlet was overjoyed by the prospect of their safe return. "Our hearts go out to them and to their families for persevering through this horrible experience," it said.

The Lee and Ling families thanked Obama, the secretary of state and the State Department.

"We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home," it said. "We are counting the seconds to hold Laura and Euna in our arms."

The Committee to Protect Journalists also welcomed their release.

In North Korea, Clinton was accorded honors typically reserved for heads of state. Senior officials, led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, who also serves as the regime's chief nuclear negotiator, met his private unmarked plane as it arrived Tuesday morning.

Video from the APTN television news agency showed Clinton exchanging warm handshakes with officials and accepting a bouquet of flowers from a schoolgirl.

Kim later hosted a banquet for Clinton at the state guesthouse, Radio Pyongyang and the Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported. The VIPs and Kim posed for a group shot in front of the same garish mural depicting a stormy seaside landscape that Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, posed for during her historic visit to Pyongyang in 2000.

North Korean state media said Clinton and Kim held wide-ranging talks, adding that Clinton "courteously" conveyed a verbal message from Obama.

In Washington, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denied Clinton went with a message from Obama. "That's not true," he told reporters.

In the past, envoys have been dispatched to Pyongyang to secure the release of Americans. In the 1990s, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a congressman at the time, went twice on similar missions: in 1994 to arrange the freedom of a U.S. pilot whose helicopter strayed into North Korean airspace and again two years later to fetch an American detained for three months on spying charges.

Richardson, Clinton and Gore, Clinton's vice president, had all been named as possible envoys to bring back Lee and Ling.

However, the decision to send Clinton was kept quiet, revealed only when he turned up Tuesday in Pyongyang accompanied by John Podesta, his one-time White House chief of staff, who also is an informal adviser to Obama.

The trip was reminiscent of one 15 years ago by former President Jimmy Carter when Clinton was in office, also at a time of tensions over North Korea's nuclear program.

Carter's visit — he met with Kim Jong Il's father, the late Kim Il Sung — helped thaw the deep freeze in relations with the Korean War foe and paved the way for discussions on nuclear disarmament. Clinton later sent Albright to Pyongyang for talks with Kim in a high point in the often rocky relations with North Korea.

Discussions about normalizing ties went dead when George W. Bush took office in 2001 with a hard-line policy on Pyongyang. The Obama administration has expressed a willingness to hold bilateral talks — but only within the framework of the six-nation disarmament talks in place since 2003.

North Korea announced earlier this year it was abandoning the talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, China and the U.S. The regime also launched a long-range rocket, conducted a nuclear test, test-fired a barrage of ballistic missiles and restarted its atomic program in defiance of international criticism and the U.N. Security Council.

Last month, the U.S. Navy tailed a North Korean cargo ship as it sailed south suspected of carrying cargo banned under a U.N. resolution on board until the vessel turned around and returned to port.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry recently had harsh words for Clinton's wife, describing her as "a funny lady" who sometimes "looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping."

Kim inherited leadership of impoverished North Korea upon his father's death in 1994, 20 years after being anointed the heir apparent. Kim has not publicly named his successor but is believed to be grooming his third son, 26-year-old Jong Un, to take over.


Associated Press writers Anne Gearan in Washington, Samantha Young in Sacramento, Calif., Lisa Leff in San Francisco and AP researcher Jasmine Zhao in Beijing contributed to this report.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Dueño recupera celular perdido cuatro días en el mar

El teléfono llegó a la orilla del mar en perfectas condiciones en Taiwán tras flotar 37 kilómetros y fue descubierto por un salvavidas quien buscó al impresionado dueño para devolverlo.

Taipei.- Un teléfono móvil perdido en el mar por cuatro días llegó a la orilla en perfectas condiciones en Taiwán tras flotar 37 kilómetros y fue descubierto por un salvavidas quien buscó al impresionado dueño para devolverlo, dijo el viernes el hombre que lo encontró.

Yu Hsin-leh de Taipéi perdió el teléfono el 24 de julio mientras buceaba cerca de la ciudad porteña taiwanesa de Keelung, reportó el periódico United Daily News de Taiwán.

El lunes, el aparato apareció en Longdong Bay Park en el cabo ubicado más al noroeste de la isla tras flotar por numerosos pueblos y zonas rocosas.

Un pequeño estuche resistente al agua protegió al teléfono en el mar, indicó el salvavidas Lin Huan-chuan, quien lo encontró.

Lin dijo que recargó la batería y llamó a la esposa de Yu al encontrarla en la lista de números guardados del teléfono.

"Todas las funciones del teléfono eran normales", dijo Lin. El dueño estaba extremadamente sorprendido ya que pensó que lo había perdido para siempre", agregó.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested f or diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes..

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually si ded with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, SHOW it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?


The quote of the month is by Jay Leno:
'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of swine flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'

Monday, July 6, 2009

Meditation may lead to a bigger brain

LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- Push-ups may lead to a better body, but meditation may lead to a better brain, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, said.

The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of people who meditate.

The study, published in the journal NeuroImage, found certain regions in the brains of long-term meditators were larger than in a control group.

"We know that people who consistently meditate have a singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability and engage in mindful behavior," lead author Eileen Luders, a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, said in a statement. "The observed differences in brain anatomy might give us a clue why meditators have these exceptional abilities."

Those who meditated showed significantly larger volume of the hippocampus and areas within the orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal gyrus -- all regions known for regulating emotions.

Luders and colleagues examined 44 people -- 22 control subjects and 22 who had practiced various forms of meditation -- including Zazen, Samatha and Vipassana, among others.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Swedish toads win song contest
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (UPI) -- The online European Bombina Song Contest, which compares the songs of fire-bellied toads in European countries, was won by an amphibian choir in Sweden.

Sweden's toads won 70 percent of the votes in the contest, beating out toads singing in their natural habitats in Lithuania, Germany and Denmark, Swedish news agency TT reported Monday.

Claes Andren of the Nordens Ark wildlife preserve in Bohuslan, Sweden, where the toad songs were recorded, said the country's amphibians also won the previous competition in 2007.

"Last time we claimed 80 percent of the votes," he said.

Andren said fire-bellied toads were declared extinct in Sweden in 1960 but the species is being reintroduced to the country using eggs from Denmark.

"Now Sweden has one of Europe's finest populations of fire-bellied toads," he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, June 20, 2009


U.S. teenagers big on hugging
NEW YORK (UPI) -- Hugging among U.S. teenagers has become so prevalent some schools say they've banned the embrace or imposed limits on how long they last.

"Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory," said Noreen Hajinlian, principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., which banned hugging. "It wasn't a greeting. It was happening all day."

Hajinlian's school is among those from New Jersey to Bend, Ore., that have clamped down on hugging, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Ritual hugging has become so popular that students feel pressured to partake, said Gabrielle Brown, a freshman at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in New York.

"If somebody were to not hug someone, to never hug anybody, people might be just a little wary of them and think they are weird or peculiar," Brown said.

The phenomenon reflects how physical boundaries have changed, said Amy Best, a sociologist at George Mason University.

"We display bodies more readily, there are fewer rules governing body touch and a lot more permissible access to other people's bodies," Best said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, June 19, 2009


NYC's West Village has lots of rats
NEW YORK (UPI) -- New York officials say complaints about rats are down overall this year, but residents of the West Village say they're having a rough time with the vermin.

Some residents of the area -- which is home to many celebrities -- have told Fox 5 TV rats are overrunning the neighborhood. Some are even chasing down mice and eating them.

The health department has dispatched the rat patrol, the TV station said, and advised residents to call 311 to complain if a building has a rat problem and the landlord isn't handling it.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Three sisters in 40s graduate together
RALEIGH, N.C. (UPI) -- North Carolinian Valerie Noel says graduating from the University of Phoenix with her two younger sisters was the culmination of a collaborative dream.

Noel said she and her sisters obtained human services/management bachelor's degrees at the Raleigh, N.C., campus of the for-profit educational institution thanks to their ability to lean on one another in their individual times of need, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported Sunday.

"When you didn't think you could go on, we could call on each other," she said. "We could help each other."

Noel said she and her sisters Jeanette and Delores, all in their 40s, initially learned about the university, which also offers courses online, from their friend, Hazel Henry.

While the sisters celebrated with Henry and one another after Saturday's graduation ceremony, Noel admitted the true motivating force for the siblings was missing.

"He was an inspiration," she told the News & Observer of the sisters' father Arthur, who died of cancer in 2007.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Urinals among top memorabilia requests

NEW YORK (UPI) -- An executive involved in the sale of pieces of the old Yankee Stadium says urinals are a hot commodity for those seeking New York Yankees mementos.

Steiner Sports Chief Executive Officer Brandon Steiner said while his company routinely receives requests for Yankee Stadium urinals, the bathroom items from the former MLB stadium are not available for sale, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.

"People always ask for the bathroom stuff, like the urinals," Steiner said. "There were some strange requests."

For those seeking an item from the former home of the New York Yankees there is a July auction that will find the actual Yankees dugout telephone up for sale.

The old stadium's foul poles will also be up for auction, along with the carpet from the team's clubhouse.

Plumber Joe Pesco of New Rochelle, N.Y., told the Daily News not being able to buy a stadium urinal was not too heartbreaking as he chose two seats instead.

"At least I can put the seats somewhere," Pesco said. "I don't have any place to put a urinal."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Florida madam to face fines, house arrest

BOCA RATON, Fla. (UPI) -- The alleged Florida madam of a celebrity Internet call girl service is likely to face fines and house arrest under a plea deal, sources say.

Without naming sources, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported Monday that Michelle Braun, 31, of Boca Raton, will strike a deal with prosecutors under which she'd draw probation, house arrest, a $30,000 fine and a promise to cooperate with FBI and Internal Revenue Service investigators.

The newspaper said Braun used two Web sites to advertise the availability of well-known pornography stars and Playboy Magazine centerfold models for introductions to wealthy men willing to pay up to $50,000 for "an evening of undiluted pleasure." Authorities say Braun raked in at least $8.5 million from the businesses.

Braun's attorney, Marc Nurik of Fort Lauderdale, said she is not a madam but a matchmaker, saying men responding to the Web sites weren't paying for sex but a chance to meet well-known centerfold models and porn stars who were looking for wealthy men.

The Internet, he told the Post, is allowing such women to meet admirers from all over the world and Braun, he said, is "just representative of a new wave of the industry."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, June 15, 2009


252-lb hooker 'one woman demolition job'
BERLIN (UPI) -- Numerous neighbors of a 252-pound prostitute in Berlin are asking a judge to put her out of business because of the shaking of her apartment.

Tenants of the building where Ilnes Lorbach, 36, lives and legally entertains her prostitution clients told the Administrative Court in Berlin the sex worker's lovemaking causes their apartments to shake, the British tabloid The Sun reported Thursday.

One neighbor told the court a pair of valuable Baccarat crystal glasses fell from a shelf and broke as a result of the shaking.

Carolso Hoffmann, who lives next door to Lorbach, compared his living situation to "that film 'Earthquake.'"

"I don't know if the earth moved for her clients but it did for us," he said. "When you have a 100-plus kilo women grappling like a wildebeest with her clients then you know about it, you really do. She's a one-woman demolition job."

Lorbach told the court she is "a mother and as a working woman," attempts to be "as discreet as possible."

The judge in the case reserved judgment for "a later date."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, May 1, 2009


Geographers map 7 deadly sins in U.S.
LAS VEGAS (UPI) -- Geographers have mapped the sinfulness of the United States, attempting to come up with numbers for each of the seven deadly sins.

Thomas Vought and colleagues at Kansas State University devised indexes for sloth, gluttony, lust, greed, wrath, envy and pride, The Las Vegas Sun reported. Sloth was based on spending per capita on arts and entertainment compared to the employment rate; gluttony on fast-food outlets per capita; lust on rates of sexually transmitted disease; greed on average incomes compared to the number of people living below the poverty line; wrath on violent crimes per capita; and envy on property crimes.

The researchers decided that pride is the master sin and therefore merged the rates of the lesser sins.

Vought presented the findings at the American Geographers' meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas, a city sometimes regarded as the sin capital of the United States. The researchers said the Las Vegas area, Clark County, beats the rest of Nevada in most sins but ranks third behind southern gambling centers like Biloxi, Miss., in pride.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, April 30, 2009

HOMBRE 90, GANA $4.4 millones en Loteria

Man, 90, wins $4.4 million lottery
TORONTO (UPI) -- A 90-year-old Toronto-area man who won a $4.4 million lottery jackpot says he suspects his late wife and mother had something to do with the win.

Maurice Ducharme, a retired autoworker and World War II veteran, told the Toronto Sun he's been playing the Lotto 6/49 game since it started in June 1982 but never won anything substantial.

He said while the win felt "magnanimous," it made him miss his wife more. She died two years ago, he said.

However, the father of four and grandfather of eight said he didn't miss the irony of winning the jackpot last Saturday, which was his mother's birthday.

"I don't know if she had anything to do with it," Ducharme said. "Between her and my wife, maybe they cooked something up."

Ducharme said apart from sharing the windfall with his family, he's planning trips to Barbados and Florida and is considering buying a new Ford Mustang, the report said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Influenza - Topic Overview

By Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

The outbreak of a new form of swine flu has prompted the United States and the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency. President Obama has called the emergency a "precautionary tool," since so far the outbreak has had only limited impact in the United States. But public health officials are scrambling to determine the extent of the outbreak.
This outbreak could peter out, like a 1976 swine flu outbreak did. Or the virus could spread easily from one person to the next, sparking a pandemic in which millions of people are infected. Richard Besser, the acting CDC director, says it's too early to say if we'll see more severe disease here in the United States. "Viruses are unpredictable and variable over time," he said yesterday. "What we say and what we learn will change."
Here's the rundown on what we know so far, as well as the options for avoiding swine flu and for treating it if you get it.
How is swine flu different than seasonal influenza and bird flu?
This is a new flu bug that includes genetic segments from human, swine, and avian flu viruses. It is an influenza A H1N1 strain, named for two proteins in the bug's protein coat. H1N1 viruses often circulate without causing major outbreaks. But since this flu virus is new, people might not have immunity to it. That's why the global public health system is on alert. No one knows where this outbreak might lead.
What symptoms would tell me I have swine flu?
Swine flu symptoms are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu, according to the CDC. Those include:
-Lack of appetite
Some people with swine flu have also reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How can I tell if someone sitting next to me has swine flu?
You can't. If someone is showing the symptoms described above, it couldn't hurt to keep your distance. Jeff Duchin, chief of the communicable disease section at Public Health Seattle, says it's best to say 6 feet away from someone who has the flu because the virus spreads in droplets when people talk, cough, or sneeze. Of course, your neighbor might just have a stuffy nose caused by a mild cold or seasonal allergies.
Should I be wearing a face mask, like they're wearing in Mexico?
Not unless you're taking care of a person who's sick with swine flu or are sick yourself. Wearing masks is a popular reaction to respiratory outbreaks in parts of the world, but it's not a step that the U.S. government has recommended for the current outbreak. The CDC has an online guide to using masks and respirators to prevent flu transmission.
Is there a vaccine available for this new swine flu?
No. Developing and producing a vaccine matched to this flu virus will take several months. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said yesterday that a swine flu vaccine could be added to the seasonal flu vaccine now being produced for next fall, either as a replacement for one of the three strains in that vaccine or as an addition that makes it a four-strain vaccine.
What's the best way to avoid getting exposed to the swine flu virus?
For now, avoid people who are coughing or sick. The CDC also recommends hand washing to reduce the risk of flu. Though frequent hand washing hasn't specifically been proved to protect against swine flu, it does reduce the risk of respiratory infections generally.
What other things can I do to get my family prepared?
It never hurts to think about what you would do if swine flu hits your community hard, the CDC's Besser says. That may mean that schools would be closed, as has been done in Mexico. The federal government's pandemic flu website has suggestions on getting ready at home and at work. One example: Do you have enough food in the house to feed your family if you had to stay home for a week? You can also check with your employer to make sure the company has a plan in case of a flu pandemic. And you can prepare yourself for the possibility you'd have to work from home for a while.
Is it dangerous to eat pork?
No. This flu virus is spread from person to person by touching surfaces infected with the virus or by inhaling viruses from someone coughing. You can't get swine flu from eating pork.
What should I do if I or someone in my family is sick?
"Calling the doctor is never the wrong thing to do," says Mark Metursky, a professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and immediate past chair of the chest infection network for the American College of Chest Physicians. You'll know you have the flu and not just a cold if you've got a fever of 102 or more, a headache, and muscle aches.
"If you have a respiratory infection with fever, don't go to work or school," says Duchin. To minimize the risk of infecting others, avoid traveling by air and taking public transportation if you have the flu.
People aren't at risk of swine flu for now, Metursky says, unless they have traveled to Mexico of are exposed to someone who has.
What medications work against swine flu?
Laboratory tests suggest this swine flu is susceptible to the antiviral drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir). To be effective, these drugs need to be taken as soon as possible after a person has flu symptoms. "The sooner you talk to your doctor the better," Metursky says. The CDC has new recommendations for using antivirals to treat swine flu; people who are sick and have recently been to Mexico or who have been exposed to people with swine flu should speak with a doctor about whether to take an antiviral medication.
Should I stockpile Tamiflu?
The federal government doesn't recommend that people stockpile Tamiflu at home, saying it should be saved for people who are sick with influenza now. But many public health scientists have set aside some Tamiflu for themselves in the past few years because of concern about the possibility of a pandemic caused by bird flu. It's your call.
I'm not sick. Should I avoid traveling?
This might not be the wisest time to vacation in Cancun, but travel hasn't been banned by the CDC and WHO, so it's up to you. Airlines will let passengers to certain destinations re-book their trips at no cost. Check the CDC or WHO website before traveling, because the advisories could change at any time.
Why has the swine flu been deadly in Mexico but not in the U.S.?
No one knows for sure. It could be that Americans who've gotten infected had better, faster access to health care. Or it could be that the U.S. is just at an earlier stage in the outbreak, Duchin says. If that's the case, U.S. deaths could occur as the outbreak matures.

Where do I look for more news on swine flu?
The CDC's new swine flu website is a good place to start, for information both on the state of the outbreak and on how to keep your family healthy. Other good options:
-The World Health Organization is tracking swine flu cases worldwide.
-The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is following swine flu, bird flu, and the possibility of a flu pandemic.
-The Infectious Diseases Society of America gears its swine flu news to doctors, but that information on treatment and avoidance is useful for individuals, too.
-The federal government's pandemic flu website provides a broad range of information on preparing for a pandemic.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I got this info in my email. I own a sp myself so I thought it would be good to let others know how the multitudes feel.

I spa... do you?

Reading the news, one would think "spa" has become a four letter word. The media have us thinking that spa is distasteful luxury; that spa is what greedy overpaid executives indulge in instead of working diligently.

I beg to differ. Spa is not a luxury; spa is not something to be ashamed of; spa is not for the (bailout) rich and (in)famous. Spa is about wellness. About wellbeing. About health. About aging gracefully. Spa is about taking care of yourself. Whether you spa at home (our Spa Facial at Home set is the way to do it); spa at a spa (click here for some of my favorite locations); spa at your dermatologist's (I love injectables...) - Just Spa.

Let us not allow anyone make us feel bad about taking care of ourselves. We work too hard. We sleep too little. We worry too much. The golden rule goes "do unto others as you would have them do unto you;" I say rather, treat yourself as you would treat your loved ones. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself.

It's friday, start today. I spa - do you?

Happy spa-ing,


PS - Thank you to ISPA's marketing committee for coming up with the trademarked "I Spa, Do You" tagline.

This message was sent to you by Alchimie Forever LLC, 2440 M Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20037.


Police: Excavator used to break into bank
ATLANTA (UPI) -- Police in Atlanta said they have arrested a man who allegedly used an excavator stolen from a construction site to rip open the roof and front door of a bank.

Officers said a witness called 911 and reported seeing the man steal the excavator, which is more powerful than a backhoe, and take it to the bank, WSB-TV, Atlanta, reported.

The witness said the suspect used the tool to rip open the roof and front door of the SunTrust bank. However, the man jumped from the excavator and fled once police arrived.

Police said they chased the man down and he was taken to the Fulton County Jail.

Two armed security guards have been placed on sentry duty at the bank, police said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Friday, April 3, 2009


Burglar suspect, victim busted for pot
ELKHART, Ind. (UPI) -- Police in Indiana said a burglary victim was arrested along with the suspected perpetrator after officers confiscated more than 31 pounds of marijuana.

Investigators said Juan Trujillo, 21, was jailed on suspicion of burglary and marijuana possession, both felonies, after police found him with 30.24 pounds of marijuana that he allegedly took from the Elkhart home during the burglary, the Elkhart Truth reported.

Cpl. Scott Hauser said the renter of the house, identified by his surname Fernandez, arrived home and gave police permission to search inside, where they discovered an additional 14 ounces of marijuana.

Fernandez was arrested on marijuana possession charges. He could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Transforming car-plane to sell for $194K
PAXON, Ill. (UPI) -- An Illinois man who helped create a car that transforms into an airplane said the vehicle will be available for public purchase within about two years.

Sam Schweighart, 31, of Paxon, Ill., said the Terrafugia Transition, which took its first flight March 5, is expected to retail for about $194,000, the Champaign (Ill.) News-Gazette reported.

He said about 50 people have already put down $10,000 deposits on the transformable vehicles.

Schweighart, who holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created the car along with colleagues from the same university. He said the Transition runs on high-octane gas or aviation fuel and gets 30 to 35 miles per gallon on the ground. In the air, the Transition uses about 5 gallons an hour and can remain airborne for 460 miles at a time.

"If you need to drive and fly a short distance, it solves several problems, including finding or paying for a hangar," said Thomas Haines, editor in chief of the news site for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. "It's really meant for a special kind of consumer."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (UPI) -- A Tennessee man arrested buying beer at a convenience store was old enough to purchase alcohol -- he was just missing his clothes.

James Golden, 48, Hendersonville, told police he thought the clerk might appreciate it if he "went into the store nude" earlier this month, according to an affidavit filed by officers.

The clerk at the Stop N Buy apparently didn't and Golden later apologized, the Hendersonville (Tenn.) Star News said Wednesday.

No word on whether Golden had the money and ID needed to acquire a six pack to go since he obviously lacked a pocket.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Poll: British moms are unhappy with bodies
LONDON (UPI) -- Youthful celebrity mothers, or "yummy mummies," are making many British mothers feel inadequate, it was reported.

A poll conducted by the Mumsnet Internet site revealed less than 25 percent of 1,300 mothers were happy with the way they looked, and 50 percent said they were unhappy in general, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

"There is a really ugly underbelly to the cult of the celebrity yummy mummy. It leaves women feeling inadequate about their bodies at a point when they have enough to deal with, adjusting to a whole new role in life," psychologist Susie Orbach said.

Forty percent of mothers less than 26-years-old reportedly said they became upset when seeing pictures of celebrity moms like Victoria Beckham.

Thirty-seven percent of women said they were glad to sport a bikini after having a baby, almost half the number of women who said they would wear a skimpy swimsuit before childbirth.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, March 30, 2009


Suit: Woman forged $1.26M refund check
INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- Indiana's state attorney general is suing a California woman who allegedly wrote her name on her employer's $1.26 million tax refund check.

Attorney General Steve Carter alleges in the lawsuit filed in federal court that Lucia Abrantes illegally put her name on the refund check Indiana issued to Verizon Capital Corp., The Indianapolis Star reported.

Carter claims Abrantes, who is described in the suit as a "rogue employee" of Verizon, deposited the money in her bank account and had it sent overseas.

The banks that processed the check, J.P. MorganChase of New York and Washington Mutual Capital of Washington, were also named as defendants in the suit, which says the institutions should not have processed the altered check.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Tennis club bans girl for grunt
MELBOURNE (UPI) -- A Sunbury, Australia, tennis club has told a 9-year-old girl she cannot play unless she remains silent on the court, the girl's parents said.

Duncan and Ruth Edwards said their daughter, Lauryn, was banned from the Mount Carmel Tennis Club because of the loudness of her grunts when she strikes the ball, the Melbourne Sun-Herald reported.

"They told me to guarantee she won't grunt or she can't play," Duncan Edwards said.

He said he was outraged by the club's behavior and he has contacted authorities with Tennis Australia and Tennis Victoria to help remedy the situation.

"It's pretty slight and now and again she hits it hard and makes a loud noise and that's it," he said. "From just one comment, this has all blown up stupidly. There's no rule against it, so they've made a rule against it."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The History and Origin of Valentine's Day
BY Tony Luck

The oldest Valentine card still in existence was sent in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans, at the time a prisoner in the Tower of London, to his wife. The Duke's Valentine's card is now preserved and displayed in the British Museum.

However, the origins of Valentine's Day lie in ancient Rome. Over the years the ever expanding Roman empire became more difficult to police and there was an increasing shortage of soldiers. Believing that married men were too attached to their families and unlikely to sign up for active service, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage, thinking this would increase the number of quality recruits.

The story goes that a Christian priest by the name of Valentine, seeing the unhappiness and trauma that resulted, secretly married couples in defiance of the new law.

It wasn't long before Emperor Claudius found out about Valentine's actions and the priest was imprisoned and eventually executed on February 14, 270.

Whilst in prison, Valentine was befriended by his jailer, a character called Asterius. Asterius had a blind daughter and the jailer asked Valentine to cure her, which he supposedly did. Shortly before his execution, Valentine asked for writing implements and signed a farewell message to the jailer's daughter "From your Valentine", a phrase that has lived on, much to the delight of modern day florists, rose growers and card companies!

Friday, February 6, 2009


CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP): President Hugo Chavez condemned Saturday's attack on Caracas' main synagogue, which he said was being used by "the bourgeoisie" to fan unrest ahead of a crucial referendum next week on his bid for unlimited reelection.

"They accuse me of being anti-semitic. I don't hate Jews, and I call on all Venezuelan Jews not to let themselves be used," Chavez said during a military parade in Maracay, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Caracas.

"The government rejects any attack against any temple of the Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, or any other faith," Chavez said in regards to early Saturday's attack on the Tifert Israel Synagogue by 15 people who destroyed scripture books and sprayed the building with anti-semitic graffiti.

President Hugo Chavez as he delivers a speech in Maracay during a military parade. AFP PHOTO
Chavez accused the "Venezuelan bourgeoisie" of turning the attack into an "international scandal" to promote anti-government unrest ahead of the February 15 referendum on a constitutional amendment lifting term limits for elected officials.

"Don't let yourselves be used by the war laboratories of the bourgeoisie, who are trying to stop the 'yes' vote from winning," Chavez told the Jewish community.

The brainchild of Chavez, the referendum is his second attempt at keeping himself in power beyond his constitutionally mandated two terms in office that expire in 2012. A similar referendum was defeated in late 2007.

Elias Farache, president of Venezuela's Jewish Association, last week blamed the synagogue attack on tensions fueled by Chavez' decision to break diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv in protest over Israel's military assault in the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro met with Jewish leaders Wednesday to convey Chavez' repudiation of the synagogue attack, which he later described to reporters as a "top-level professional, surgical operation" that was under close investigation.

"We'll capture (the culprits) and we'll punish them with the full weight of the law, whoever they are," he added.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Spain issues Cuba's first 'grandchildren' passport

Published on Friday, February 6, 2009
By Esteban Israel

HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters): Spain issued on Thursday the first of a projected 200,000 passports for Cubans who qualify for Spanish citizenship under the country's "historical memory" law.

The first recipient, 38-year-old cardiologist Norberto Luis Diaz, said he already had his bags packed for a flight on Sunday to Spain, retracing in reverse the journey his grandfather made when he emigrated to Cuba in 1916.

"It's the most important day of my life. I am happy," he said upon receiving his purple-colored passport in the office of Spain's consul general.

The Law of Historical Memory makes grandchildren of Spanish immigrants eligible for citizenship, and Spain has estimated 1 million people around the world, including 200,000 Cubans, could apply.

There are special provisions for descendants of exiles who had to flee the country and renounce their citizenship due to the Spanish civil war.

The Spanish consulate in Havana has received more than 25,000 applications since the law took effect on December 29.

A Spanish passport will allow Cubans to emigrate legally to Spain or, if they stay in Cuba, make it easier for them to travel abroad.

"This passport will allow them to travel, but our evaluation is that this in no way signifies an exodus of Cubans," Consul General Pablo Barrios told reporters.

Cuba, battered by economic crisis for more than 15 years, could have the second highest number of people qualifying for Spanish citizenship, following only Argentina.
Diplomats at the Havana consulate did not know if other "historic memory" passports already have been issued in other countries.

While a smiling Diaz received his passport, dozens of other Cubans waited in line outside the consulate to make their applications.

Some arrived from the farthest corners of the island, including Reymundo Puentes, who came from Puerto Padre, more than 435 miles east of Havana.

"I have always had the desire to know my ancestors' roots. If they have given us this opportunity -- OK, it's good," said the 58-year-old evangelical preacher.

An estimated 1 million Spaniards emigrated to Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century, including the father of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.

"I don't feel like I'm going to a strange country. I return to my ancestors," said the cardiologist Diaz, who said he has a work offer waiting for him in the Spanish city of Valencia.

"Long live Spain," he shouted.

Monday, February 2, 2009


These are our rules!
Please note.. these are all numbered '1 '

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon
or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only IF YOU WANT HELP SOLVING IT. THAT'S WHAT WE DO.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are.
Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the OTHER ONE

1. You can either ask us to do something
Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT NEED DIRECTIONS AND NEITHER DO WE.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A COLOR. PUMPKIN IS ALSO A FRUIT. WE HAVE no IDEA WHAT MAUVE IS.

1. If it itches, it will BE SCRATCHED.
We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or
motor sports

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS A SHAPE!

1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Pass this to as many men as you can -
to give them a laugh.

Pass this to as many women as you can -

to give them a bigger



Sunday, February 1, 2009


Seagulls attack shoppers for food
SOUTH SHIELDS, England (UPI) -- Pedestrians on a South Shields, England, street say aggressive seagulls have been stealing food from shoppers.

One shopper, a 27-year-old woman, said a seagull snatched a sandwich out of her hands on King Street, The Telegraph reported.

"All I was doing was trying to eat my sandwich and I get attacked by a giant seagull," she said. "It was quite scary -- I had no idea they were so ruthless. It was like that Alfred Hitchcock film, 'The Birds.'"

Catriona Campbell, 19, a sales assistant who works outside on King Street, said the seagulls are "horrible."

"I once saw one land on a man's head. It just reached over and grabbed his pasty out of his hand then flew off," she said. "It happens all the time. It's because people don't dispose of their leftover food properly and the seagulls take advantage of an easy meal."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


DAYTON, Nev. – Gabriel Hurles' sixth birthday party wasn't a surprise, but his present sure was. The kindergartner was so engrossed in the cupcakes his mother brought to his class on Wednesday that he didn't notice the enormous wrapped box off to the side.

"That's one big, giant present," a 6-year-old classmate told him. "See what you got, Gabriel."

Gabriel peeled back the wrapping paper to find the surprise of his young life — his father, an Army mechanic back in Nevada on leave from his second tour in Iraq.

"It's my dad!" he announced to his classmates at Sutro Elementary School in Dayton, a few miles northeast of Carson City. "Hi, Daddy."

Army Spc. Casey Hurles, 23, hadn't seen his son since he left in June. When he learned his leave would coincide with his son's birthday, he hatched a plan to hide out in the 4-foot-tall box.

"It was such a rush of emotion," said Hurles, who said he got butterflies in his stomach while waiting in the box.

After Hurles sat down and ate a cupcake with the birthday boy, teacher Dawn VanSickle presented him with a banner from the class that read, "Welcome Home. Thank you for your service."

VanSickle said she was happy to arrange the reunion in her classroom.

"One of the first things (Gabriel) shared about himself was that his dad was in Iraq and that he was waiting for his dad to come home," she said. "He talks about his dad all the time."

Hurles, who joined the Army four years ago, is a mechanic in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He completed one tour in Iraq and is seven months into his second tour. He expects to finish sometime this summer.

Gabriel said he looks forward to playing with his dad over the next two weeks but understands why he has to leave again.

"He has to work," Gabriel said. "He works in the war."