Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S

Monkey Wrench

Belgian convict escapes after helicopter crash lands in jail

BRUSSELS - A notorious criminal escaped from a Belgian prison Sunday after a helicopter crash-landed inside the prison grounds, the local public prosecutor said.

Serial escapee Nordine Ben Allal managed to flee in a car after the hijacked helicopter crash caused confusion and threw up billows of smoke in the grounds of the Ittre prison some 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the Belgian capital, the Nivelles region prosecutor Jean-Claude Elslander told reporters at the prison south of Brussels.

Bizarro Earth

Dutch protesters make bid to save "magic mushrooms"

Protesters turned out on Amsterdam's central Dam Square on Saturday, hoping to stop the government from banning magic mushrooms and asking to "save the 'shrooms".

Carrying banners reading "When will they ban bread?" and "Boss of your own brain", more than 100 people, some wearing hats resembling the bright red cap of the popular fly agaric variety, protested to keep hallucinogenic mushrooms legal.


After several incidents involving tourists -- in March, a French teenager jumped to her death from a bridge after taking mushrooms -- the Dutch government plans to ban them.

Arno Adelaars, author of a book on magic mushrooms, said this would only drive users underground and what was needed instead was better information how to use mushrooms right.


Teenager in go-cart leaves police standing

A teen-ager speeding through a German town in a go-cart with seven squad cars in hot pursuit managed to give the frustrated officers the slip, police said on Friday.

After leading the convoy on a 5-km (3-mile) chase through the winding streets of Moenchengladbach, the 18-year-old driver spotted a private garage with an open door, where he decided to lie low, police said.


Watch out! Cheney Going Hunting in New York State

Attention, late-night talk show hosts: Vice President Dick Cheney is going hunting on Monday.

Cheney became the butt of jokes for shooting a companion in 2006. On Monday, the vice president is picking up his shotgun for an outing in New York's Hudson River Valley. He is expected to spend the day at a hunting club in Dutchess County before returning to Washington.

Magic Hat

Harry Potter a 'Thatcher satire', says philosopher

HARRY Potter is a left-winger and the seven books by JK Rowling are a diatribe against Thatcherite Britain, a French philosopher said on the day of the last novel's publication in French.

"One can equally say that modern England is a world where the Muggles have indeed taken power, first with Margaret Thatcher and then with Tony Blair - a world where the omnipotence of the middle class is given free rein," he said.
What a load of horsehockey! It's not the middle class that has taken over, it is the pathological minority that has forced the middle class to become slaves and mindless drones.


Well, you don't see something like this every day

An Australian barmaid has been fined for crushing beer cans between her bare breasts while an off-duty colleague has been fined for hanging spoons from her friend's nipples, police said Wednesday.

Police in Western Australia said the 31-year old barmaid pleaded guilty in the local magistrate's court to twice exposing her breasts to patrons at the Premier Hotel in Pinjarra, south of the state capital, Perth.


Navy's Definition of Ignorance: US Signs Maritime Pact With Mongolia

Somebody should have looked at a map.

The State Department with great fanfare on Tuesday signed an agreement with landlocked Mongolia that will allow Mongolian ships to be boarded and searched if they are suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

This despite the fact that Mongolia - a vast land that's home to the Gobi Desert, windswept steppes and largely populated by nomadic yak herders - has no navy at all and lies thousands of miles from open waters.

Still, its tiny merchant marine is recognized as one of 32 "flag of convenience" countries by international maritime authorities.


Ecuador Demands Military Base in Miami

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, who has refused to renew the lease on the Manta air base on Ecuador's coast which is set to expire in 2009, has demanded a military base in Miami in return.

Correa said "We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami - an Ecuadorean base" adding "If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the US."

Life Preserver

US: Firefighter revives cat after house fire

A southern Illinois firefighter is proof that saving lives doesn't just involve people. Firefighter Dave Chambers helped rescue several animals during a house fire last week, including a kitten that wasn't breathing when it was carried out of the home.

Chambers performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the cat. He said the cat came out of it and, perhaps as a show of gratitude, jumped on his lap and started purring.


Gives new meaning to "going in the car"

If you're stuck in traffic when Mother Nature calls, Japan's Kaneko Sangyo Co. has developed the loo for you.

The manufacturer of plastic car accessories drew back the curtain on Tuesday on its new portable toilet for cars.

The toilet comes with a curtain large enough to conceal users and a plastic bag to collect waste.