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Thu, 09 Dec 2021
The World for People who Think

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!


Euro MPs spurn 'pure vodka' bid

The European Parliament has voted down a bid by MEPs from Poland, Finland, the Baltic states, Sweden and Denmark to tighten the legal definition of vodka.
The so-called "vodka belt" countries wanted to restrict the term to spirits made only from potatoes or grain.

But a majority of MEPs voted in favour of a looser definition.

Vodka made from anything other than potatoes or grain will have to say so on the label - but no minimum size for the declaration will be stipulated.

MEPs agreed on a looser definition taking in sugar beet, grapes and even citrus fruit, which are used as ingredients by producers in countries such as Britain, France and Germany. They account for nearly a third of EU vodka production.


Customs find snakes in garden gnomes

[Australian] Customs and Quarantine officers have broken a smuggling racket in which snakes and lizards were sent as gifts, concealed in the hollow spaces of pottery figurines and garden gnomes.

Garden gnomes sent to an address in Blacktown were seized on June 10 when a customs officer saw snakes moving in the package, a customs spokesman said.

Monkey Wrench

I'll take a six-pack of pizza-beer please. What?

Just in time for summer, Kane County real estate broker Tom Seefurth says he has managed to bring two of the Chicago area's favorite warm-weather tastes into one glass.

Seefurth brews beer and ale at his home in Campton Township, and he's proud of his latest creation -- pizza-flavored beer. It grew out of an experiment last fall in which he added tomatoes, oregano, garlic and basil to one batch of brew. He calls the result Mamma Mia Pizza Beer.


Doggie DaVincis paint abstract works of art - and they're selling

The owner of a fledgling dog-training academy in Salisbury has come up with a bizarre money-raising scheme.

Mary Stadelbacher figured that if she could teach dogs to become service animals for the disabled, why couldn't she teach them to hold a paintbrush and swab a piece of art?
Two years later, the owner of Shore Service Dogs has a collection of abstract paintings created by her three service dogs in training. Twenty of the works are being shown this month at a gallery at Salisbury University.


Florida's flying fish can knock you out cold

Its waters are already infested by man-eating alligators and razor-toothed sharks, but now Florida residents are being warned of another peril - flying fish.

A prehistoric fish has literally leapt its way to the top of the Sunshine State's wildlife danger list after a series of incidents that have left dozens of river users injured. Officials at Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission (FFWC) have launched a campaign to warn people that a brush with an "armour plated" sturgeon - an endangered species that dates back 225 million years and can grow to 8ft and weigh 200lb - could send them to the surgeon.


Mating hares block Milan airport runways

Italy - Wild hares at Milan's Linate airport seem to have only one thing on their mind, and their excessive mating and growing numbers have blocked takeoffs, landings and radar systems.


Nice Try! Happiness is paying your taxes, study suggests

Contrary to the common notion that paying taxes can be a painful experience, researchers at the University of Oregon say the practice actually may trigger feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

"Paying taxes can make citizens happy," Ulrich Mayr, a professor of psychology, said in a release accompanying the study in the Friday issue of Science.

"People are, to varying degrees, pure altruists. On top of that, they like that warm glow they get from charitable giving. Until now, we couldn't trace that in the brain."

Comment: Next thing they'll say is that death is happiness.

To feel 'happy' check out this Poster to see where US taxes go.


Toddler Served Margarita in a Sippy Cup

A toddler who was served a margarita at a restaurant earlier this week is doing well, and investigators say the incident appears to have been an accident. Police say 2-year-old Julian Mayorga ordered apple juice but instead received an alcoholic beverage in a covered, plastic sippy cup on Monday night at an Applebee's franchise in Antioch, between San Francisco and Sacramento.

The boy's mother, Kim Mayorga, said she noticed Julian making funny faces and pushing away his cup. She opened the lid and was hit by the smell of tequila and Triple Sec. The toddler grew drowsy and started vomiting a few hours later and was rushed to the hospital.

"I wasn't going to make a big deal about it," the mother said Thursday, "but then he got sick."

Evil Rays

Indians talk too much on mobile

The argumentative Indian is also atalkative Indian. An average Indian spends more time talking on his mobile than his counterparts anywhere else except the US, according to the latest data available with telecom regulator Trai.

With over 160 million mobile subscribers, India has the highest monthly 'minutes of usage' (MOU) per subscriber in the Asia-Pacific region. The figure, according to the December 2006 data, is 454 minutes a month for GSM users and 424 minutes a month for CDMA subscribers.However,Trai chairman Nripendra Misra says the figure should be closer to 500 minutes a month if latest data are taken into account.

At 450 million, China has the largest number of mobile subscribers, followed by the US, India and Russia. However, despite its numbers, the average usage at China Mobile, the country's leading telecom service provider, is just upwards of 303 minutes a month, with China Unicom hovering close to 220 minutes a month.

Bizarro Earth

Tough Job: William 'will quit Army early to learn how to be king'

Prince William will leave the Army to become a full-time working royal in just 18 months, it can be revealed.

The second in line to the throne will finish his military training at the beginning of 2009 and plans to devote himself to charity work as well learning about the "art of kingship".

He insists, however, that he will not become what he describes as a "full-time meet and greeter", like other members of the Royal Family.

The prince says he wants to take time to learn more about his own strengths and weaknesses as well as the country of which, one day, he will be king.

The revelation comes only days after Prince Harry, "humiliated and depressed" after being banned from going to Iraq, told friends he had decided to quit the Army and become a fulltime working member of the Royal Family.