How to Toilet Train your Pig!

Hey have you heard the one about the pig using the toilet? Well it might actually be a real situation! Taiwan has been experimenting with a simple solution to the perennial problems of pollution, smell and excessive water use on pig farms: train the pigs to use a toilet.

After some encouraging results the government now wants all the island’s pig farms to adopt the practice as it looks to burnish its green credentials, offering cash to farmers and pushing the benefits such as less watery manure that can be sold at higher prices.

“To use the pig waste as manure is a very good approach within the spirit of green energy, much better than just letting it go to waste and pollute river water,” Stephen Shen, Taiwan’s environment minister, told Reuters Television.

“And I think that can help us a lot in decreasing CO2 emissions and fighting global warming.”

The “toilet” consists of a series of iron bars installed about 20 cm above the floor in the corner of the pen. Pigs step between the bars to go about their business, with the waste collected in a single, easy to clean spot.

If all the around six million pigs in Taiwan — one for every four people — used such toilets, the government estimates that around 180 million litres of water used per day in cleaning would fall by half.

The environment ministry has helpfully published three suggestions on how to toilet-train pigs: put some feces in the cage as pigs will follow the smell; clean the rest of the pen so “the pigs are not misled to defecate outside the toilet” and let the pigs “become familiar with the new environment.”

Chang Chung-Tou, general manager of Long Kow Foods Enterprise, a pig farm with toilets in the western Taiwan county of Yunlin, says not only does he get more for his manure, but his potty-trained porkers live longer.

“Because we don’t need to flush the whole cage with water, the pigs are also less likely to catch colds. That helped us to raise the survival rate of our pigs from 70 to 90%,” Chang told Reuters Television in an interview at the farm.

He said he has been able to increase income from the less-diluted, and therefore better quality, manure he sells to other farmers as fertilizer to more than T$250,000 ($8,636 U.S.) a year from T$50,000.

If that is not incentive enough for others, the government will also help.

“As long as farmers are willing to try, we would give them financial aid,” said environment minister Shen.  I think this is a great idea, I wish my cat could be toilet trained!

I Said, “No Valentine’s Gifts”!

The party poopers over in Iran have banned the production of Valentine’s Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating romantic love to combat what it sees as a spread of Western culture, Iranian media reported.

The Feb. 14 celebration named after a Christian saint is not officially banned but hardliners have repeatedly warned about the corruptive spread of Western values. Under Iran’s Islamic law, unmarried couples are not allowed to mingle.

The printing works owners’ union issued an instruction on the ban, imposed by Iranian authorities, covering gifts such as cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts and red roses.

“Honouring foreign celebrations is the spread of Western culture,” said the union’s head, Ali Nikou Sokhan, ILNA news agency reported. “Our country has an ancient civilisation and various days to honour kindness, love and affection.”

Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular among the Iranian youth and is a money-maker for businesses in a country where 70 percent of people are under 30 and have no memory of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.

“Printing and producing any products related to Valentine’s Day, including posters, brochures, advertising cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned,” read the instruction. “Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban.”

Some nationalists have suggested replacing Valentine’s Day with “Mehregan,” an Iranian festival celebrated since the pre-Islamic era. Mehr means friendship, affection or love.  What is next, no candies for halloween!

Gross, Pubic Hair Sandwich

This guy better watch his step in the future because I think the cops will have a sharp eye on him!  A New Jersey cook has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and two years probation after he put his chest and pubic hair into a sandwich to get back at a cop.

Ryan Burke, 27, pleaded guilty Oct. 12 to aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and retaliation for a past official action.

Court heard on Feb. 21, 2010, two police officers walked into a restaurant for a meal break. Burke was working and told Evesham Township Police he recognized one of the officers. Burke had refused to stop for the officer for a traffic violation in March 2009, which resulted in charges.

The officer ate part of the sandwich before discovering the hair.

Burke was sentenced Jan. 14, police said in a release on Wednesday. He will serve his time on weekends.

My Six Year Old Ain’t No Cross-Dresser

Little Janice is going to be Bob for a day and little Ralph will be Cindy, OK? Attention all kindergarten to Grade 8 students: Cross-dressing day is now canceled.  King City Public pull pulled the plug on the “Opposite Gender Day,” when kids as young as six would be allowed to come to school dressed as the opposite sex, following an outcry from parents.

“Opposite Gender Day has been canceled in the wake of concerns of parents,” said Ross Virgo, York Region District School Board spokesman.

“The idea of (kids) experiencing being people of the opposite gender has offended some people in the community, and the school doesn’t want to do that.”

The chance to dress as the opposite sex was voluntary for students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8, Virgo said.

It was proposed by the school’s student council to principal Karen Goan, he said.

“They discussed the fun the day might generate, plus how the experience might help boys and girls understand a bit more what it felt like to be a member of the opposite sex … that was the plan,” he said.

It was Goan who gave Opposite Gender Day the green light, and it was the principal who promptly canceled it early Thursday, Virgo said. Juan Smith, whose two young daughters are students at the school, didn’t like the idea at all.  “If this was so innocent, then why did the principal not stop this right away?” McVety said. “This was part of a greater agenda to teach gender identity … and to confuse our children at a young age, and to tell them they can’t be truly happy until they discover their inner (gender) identity.”  No surprise here that most parents freaked out!

German Sense of Humor

I always thought the Germans were a little stiff but I guess they are kind of wacky too!

Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum, is the latest creature to rocket from Germany’s front pages to international recognition, capturing the world’s imagination with her bright, black eyes turned toward her pointed pink nose.

Since the first photos were published in December, the marsupial from Leipzig Zoo has attracted more Facebook fans than Chancellor Angela Merkel. By Wednesday more than 111,000 fans from as far away as Bangkok and Montreal and clear across Europe were exclaiming “so cute!!” and “so sweet.”

Experts say that like Knut, Berlin’s famous fluffy white polar cub who was abandoned by his mother, and Paul, the late octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of all of Germany’s 2010 World Cup games and Spain’s victory in the final, the hype surrounding Heidi is fed by a human weakness for cuddly looking critters and the ability of modern mass media to spread images around the globe instantly.

Bangkok resident Julie Queen-Vichitthanarurk said she heard about Heidi on the local radio station on the way to work, and raced home to find a picture on the internet and become a “fan” on Facebook.

“Right away when I saw her picture, I feel in love with her!” the 40-year-old told The Associated Press in an Facebook message. “There is just something so sweet about her that made my heart melt.”

It is exactly that feeling that humans crave, making such “cute” animal images so popular.  I don’t’ find it cute but each hey who am I to judge?

Freeze, Drop the Snow Brush

Well I guess this is a more polite way to rob a place, no surprise it is in Canada. A masked man wielding a snow brush held up the store Tuesday, police said. The clerk complied with the demands and placed the cash draw on the counter.

After grabbing an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect fled.

Police Insp. Paul Stacey said the choice of weapon suggests the robbery might have been a spur-of-the-moment decision.

“It doesn’t look like it was planned out,” he said.

Although Stacey has seen everything from bits of wood to tire irons — or anything criminals can get their hands on — used as weapons, the snow brush “probably tops” the list of unusual items used to intimidate or threaten someone during a crime.

Despite it being a non-conventional weapon, Stacy said given the threat was real, the culprit once caught could face weapons-related charges.

Police are looking for an Arabic man, between 25 and 35 years old.

He is about 5-foot-11, 220 lbs. and was wearing a white t-shirt over his head, blue and white striped golf shirt, grey sweat pants and runners.

Police are trying to identify a suspect in a surveillance photo in a bid to catch the culprit behind this crime.

Is a Penis Museum Sexist?

Sigurour Hjartarson will finally get to claim the penis promised to him by an Icelander 14 years ago. It will be the first! The donor of the penis, Pall Arason, passed away on January 5, 2010 and Hjartarson, the curator of Iceland’s Penis Museum, is now preparing to collect the museum’s first human specimen.

Hjartarson said while he does not know if the agreement – made 14 years ago – will be respected, he does not think there will be a problem, according to media reports.

The Icelandic Penis Museum has penises of every species of living thing that has a penis except for a human. Hjartarson told the local media he has long waited for a full human specimen.

Just in case the Arason deal doesn’t work out, the curator has three other donation pledges for a human specimen.

Hjartarson is founder and owner of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which offers visitors from around the world a close-up look at the long and the short of the male reproductive organ.

His collection, which began in 1974 with a single bull’s penis that looked something like a riding crop, now boasts 261 preserved members from 90 species.

The largest, from a sperm whale, is 70 kg (154 lb) and 1.7 meters (5.58 ft) long. The smallest, a hamster penis bone, is just 2 mm and must be viewed through a magnifying glass.

A German, an American, an Icelander and a Briton had promised to donate their organs after death, according to certificates on display at the museum.

The American, 52-year-old Stan Underwood, supplied a written description of his penis — which he purportedly nick-named “Elmo” — for display alongside a life-size plastic mould of the member as well as his pledge to donate it.

The museum, originally opened in Reykjavik in 1997, has now moved to the quiet fishing village of Husavik, 480 km (298 miles) northeast of the capital.

Open from May to September, it is housed in a plain brown building, the entrance marked by a tall brown phallus near the door and a penis-shaped sign over the front porch.

A growing number of people from all over the world view the collection each year, 60 percent of them women.

The specimens, most of which were donated by fishermen, hunters and biologists, are kept in glass jars of formaldehyde or dried and mounted on the wall, creating an atmosphere that is part science lab, part trophy room.

It Must Be a SNOW-PERSON

Sex and snow-persons don’t mix!  A Union County deputy responded to a complaint about an obscene snowman, and despite disagreeing with the deputy, the snowman maker eventually agreed to remove the offending body parts.  Last week a deputy spoke to the 45-year-old man who lives on Buffalo Westsprings Highway about the dyed-pink, male genitals on the snowman in his yard.

According to the police report, the man told the deputy that the snowman was on his private property, so he believed he could display the snowman with the pink parts left in place.

The deputy told the man he could either remove the genitals or be charged if he refused. The man said he disagreed, but he removed the offending parts from the snowman to avoid arrest.