Dumb Mom has Dumb Kid, Surprise!

I could think of many other ways to improve my kids grade point average than this!  Or at least make the sign legible!

After getting a GPA of 1.22 he was sent to the street corner for 4 hours with this sign –

“I did 4 questions on my FCAT and said I wasn’t going to do it … GPA 1.22 … honk if I needs education.”

New Olympic Sport – Hole Digging?

Those wacky folks over in Japan are at it again!

More than 1,000 avid fans descended on a camping site on the outskirts of Tokyo on Sunday, with more than 200 teams competing in the Japan All-National Hole Digging Competition. At stake was the much-coveted Golden Shovel award.

The majority of the teams taking part in the 11th annual event were made up of professional hole-diggers, such as road maintenance crews and gas company employees, organizers told Reuters, although there were a number of all-female teams and squads of school children.

Competitors were given 30 minutes to dig as deep a hole as possible, although extra points were also awarded for “the most creative hole” and the most original costume worn by the diggers.

All shovels were measured to make sure they met width regulations, while the other rules of the sport included the penalty of disqualification for any team that tried to put earth back into a competitor’s hole.

The winning team managed to reach a depth of 3.26 meters (10 feet 8 inches) in the allotted time, taking home the first prize of Y100,000 (£753) and the Golden Shovel.  $1,000 is pretty good for dig’in a nice hole?

Robotic Monopoly Game? Say It Ain’t So!

Monopoly of the future is soon to be available in a space-port store near you. In the new version of Monopoly, the game’s classic pastel-colored bills and the designated Banker have been banished, along with other old-fashioned elements, in favor of a computer that runs the game.

Hasbro showed a preview of the new version, called Monopoly Live, at this week’s Toy Fair in New York. It is the classic Monopoly board on the outside, with the familiar railroads like the B.& O. and the development of property. But in the center, instead of dice and Chance and Community Chest cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules. The all-knowing tower even watches over advancing the proper number of spaces.

Hasbro hopes the computerized Monopoly will appeal to a generation raised on video games amid a tough market for traditional board games, a category where sales declined 9 percent in 2010, according to the market-research firm NPD Group. “How do we give them the video game and the board game with the social experience? That’s where Monopoly Live came in,” said Jane Ritson-Parsons, global brand leader for Monopoly.

With free digital games everywhere, Hasbro is hoping to revive interest among young children and preteenagers in several of its games that cost money. (The new Monopoly, available in the fall, will be about $50). Battleship will undergo a similar digital upgrade this year, and other Hasbro games will be redesigned for 2012 and 2013, Ms. Ritson-Parsons said.

But for families used to arguing over Monopoly’s rules, players who slip a $100 bill under the board for later use and friends who gleefully demand rent from one another, it may not be so easy to adapt to a computer’s presence on the board.

“It seems that there’s a computer that makes most of the decisions for you — it changes a lot of the rules, it removes a lot of the skill,” said Ken Koury, a competitive Monopoly player and coach who informally settles rule disputes for others. “With this computer, I’m wondering what’s left for the player to decide — is it they just keep pushing buttons and wait for someone to win?”

Hasbro is aiming at luring 8- to 12-year-olds back to these board games. Its executives say this age group, accustomed to video games, wants a fast-paced game that requires using their hands. To move forward on the new Monopoly board, players cover their game piece with their hands, and the tower announces how many spaces the player can move. Players also hold their hands over decals to buy or sell properties, insert “bank cards” into slots to check their accounts, and send a plastic car moving around a track to win money or other advantages (only when the tower instructs them to, of course).

Hasbro executives also say that young players do not want to bother with reading instructions and toss rules aside.

“For games, but really for anything you buy today, you need to be able to take it out of the box and play it,” said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer. “You’re not ensconced in the rulebook.”

To that end, Hasbro is shortening and simplifying many of its popular games, changing the formats of Scrabble and Cranium so they can be played in five-minute spurts. Rivals like Mattel are doing the same with games like Apples to Apples. Even video games often come in bite-size pieces, like the popular Angry Birds.

“There is a recognition that people’s attention spans maybe aren’t as big as they used to be, or they don’t have the time to dedicate to this activity,” said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst with Needham & Company.

Ms. Ritson-Parsons said that while some aspects of the game had changed, Monopoly Live still emphasized social interaction.

“Getting rid of the instruction book encourages a lot more face-to-face interaction,” she said. “If you’re not having to read as much, you are all chatting more.”

Hasbro has kept key social elements, like allowing negotiation for property.  I just don’t think we are ready for this type of high tech monopoly game, I will stick to the old version.

Bird Kills Man in Cockfighting Incident

It seems one of these guys finally got knocked off by an angry bird.  Jose Luis Ochoa, 35, of Lamont, California, was declared dead at a hospital about two hours after he was injured in Tulare County on Jan. 30, the Kern County coroner said.

An autopsy concluded Ochoa died of an accidental “sharp force injury” to his right calf.

“I have never seen this type of incident,” Sgt Martin King, a 24-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, told the Bakersfield Californian.

Ochoa and the other spectators fled when authorities arrived at the scene of the fight, King told the newspaper. Police found five dead roosters and other evidence of cockfighting at the location.  According to Kern County Superior Court records, Ochoa paid $370 in fines last year after pleading no contest to one count of owning or training an animal for fighting, according to the newspaper.  Speculation is that Jose simply got too close to the action and was sliced by the razor on one of the birds legs.

Girl Can Count to 26 on Her Fingers and Toes

No image yet but I am sure one will pop up shortly.  A mother in Myanmar says her baby girl’s 12 fingers and 14 toes have been no disadvantage — her grip may even be stronger than normal — and now she’s grasping for a Guinness record.

Phyo Min Min Soe, 26, knew her girl Le Yati Min had a little something extra since nearly the moment she was born.

“I asked the nurses whether my kid was born complete with hands and legs,” says her mother. “They replied that the baby even has more than she needs.”

Born with 12 fingers and 14 toes, Le may be the most “digitally enhanced” person in the world. Now, the 16-month-old girl’s family in impoverished Myanmar is seeking a Guinness World Record to prove it.

A neighbor is helping her mother apply to claim the record hearing that a boy from India currently holds bragging rights for the most digits, with 12 fingers and 13 toes.

Polydactylism — being born with an extra finger or toe — is fairly unusual, but it is even more rare for someone to have spare functional digits on both hands and feet, as Le does.

Le lives with her family in a small wooden house on the outskirts of the Southeast Asian country’s former capital of Yangon, where she runs around with seven toes on each foot.

Proud mom Phyo Min Min Soe, 26, said Tuesday that she’d be happy to see Le gain a world record, but even without that, her daughter already has a happy life, and even some natural advantages.

“She seems to have a stronger grip on things — so she doesn’t drop things much,” she says, as Le plays nearby with a mobile phone.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the record for most fingers and toes for a living person is currently held by two people in India, who have 12 fingers and 13 toes each.

Dr. Craig Camasta, a surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia, said many parents of babies with polydactylism choose to have an operation to get rid of the extra fingers or toes to avoid social stigma, but that “It’s not necessary that the extra digits be removed.”

Cool Engraving for $100k

Graham Short etched the motto “Nothing is impossible” which measures just a tenth of a millimetre.

The letters are invisible to the naked eye, and can only be read with a medical microscope at 400 times magnification.

It took Mr Short, 64, around 150 attempts before he was able to complete it.

Engraving at such a level requires almost superhuman effort and dedication to remain completely still.

He was only able to work at night, when traffic vibrations are at a minimum, with his right arm bound to the arm of his chair with a luggage strap to minimise unwanted movement. He uses a stethoscope to monitor his heart, attempting a stroke of the letter only between beats, when his body is perfectly still. He swims 10,000 metres a day and can slow his heart rate to 30 beats a minute.

He worked from midnight to 5.30am most nights of the week, for seven months on his razor blade. On a good night he’d manage three minuscule letters.

The Wilkinson’s Sword blade is now available to buy, with a £47,500 price tag.

Mr Short, a copper and steel engraver by profession, makes the dies used to print the green portcullis on House of Commons headed paper and the letterheads for the royal residences – Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor Castle.

He is, by his own admission, obsessed with miniature engravings.  Weird hobby but very cool indeed.

Lighter Side of Getting Canned

After burning through 10 jobs in 10 years Franklin Scheinder decided to make a living telling his crummy job story! Schneider has skimmed money off token sales at a mall arcade, manned the cash register overnight at a XXX video store, harassed people during dinner as a telemarketer, worked at a failed start-up and shredded millions of dollars worth of contracts at a construction company (no one seemed to care).

And while his vivid descriptions of creepy regulars and unpleasant duties at the porn shop might have you believe he’d reached the bottom of the barrel, for Schneider, it was still a notch above telemarketing.

“Telemarketing required that you actively exploit people, whereas the porn shop was just selling people things to look at while they touched their genitals,” he said.

As it turned out, Schneider became quite good at exploiting people. For one week he said he was the top-selling telemarketer in America.

Despite his success (he even earned the executive parking spot), Schneider’s favorite crappy job was writing for Commotion, a doomed startup company that hoped to sell digital music and movies to college kids.

“Once it became clear that the business was going to fail and all hope was lost, it got sort of interesting. Fistfights, screaming matches, lots of [expletive]. It was like ‘Lord of the Flies’ with beanbag chairs and [worthless] stock options,” he told AOL News.

Today, Schneider remains happily out of work in Washington, D.C. His unemployment ran out at the beginning of last summer after 102 consecutive weeks. Although the system mandates a continued job search, he had been sending out a resume littered with typos, bad fonts and emoticons to ensure that no one would hire him.

Schneider is now “pretty much still coasting” from his book advance and occasional freelance writing.

“As I was writing the book, I realized that I will never work again. Even if I wanted to, I’m now completely incapable of holding down a job,” he said. “I’ve become so absorbed in my own little world, I’m like one of those kids who was raised by wolves.”

Fortunately, Schneider is blessed with cheap rent, helping him stretch his meager unemployment checks far enough to get by. He said his landlord moved to a Third World country years ago and hasn’t kept up with the rising property values.  Go Franklin go, all the power to your success!

The Pills Made Me a Sex, Drug Addict

The warning label on this drug would be quite long and more than a bit strange!

A French father-of-two is to take GlaxoSmithKline to court on Tuesday, alleging the British firm’s drug to treat Parkinson’s disease turned him into a gay sex and gambling addict.

The 51-year-old’s lawyers say their client’s behaviour changed radically after he was first administered the drug in 2003 for the illness, which causes tremors, slows movement and disrupts speech.

Didier Jambart, a married father-of-two who says he has attempted suicide three times, claims he became addicted to Internet gambling, losing the family’s savings and stealing to feed his habit.

He also became a compulsive gay sex addict and began exposing himself on the Internet and cross-dressing. His risky sexual encounters led to him being raped, his lawyers said.

The behaviour stopped when he stopped taking the drugs in 2005 but by then he had been demoted in his defence ministry job and was suffering from psychological trauma resulting from his addictions, his lawyers said.

The plaintiff is seeking a total of 450,000 euros ($610,000) in damages from Glaxo, which he accuses of selling a “defective” drug, and from his neurologist for having failed to properly inform him about the drug.

The drug, Requip, has been known for years to have undesired side effects but a warning only appeared on its package insert in 2006, his lawyers said.

Glaxo said it did not wish to comment on the case.  This is the kind of lawsuit you expect to see in the USA but not from France!