Archive for August, 2012

Witch claims to have folk hero’s skull

"Don't Take Your Guns To Town" by Johnny Cash would be written many year after Australia's most infamous criminal Ned Kelly (pictured) failed to take that advice. (AP Photo)

"Don't Take Your Guns To Town" by Johnny Cash would be written many year after Australia's most infamous criminal Ned Kelly (pictured) failed to take that advice. (AP Photo)

A long-sought Australian relic — the head of bandit folk hero Ned Kelly — has (allegedly) been discovered in the cupboard of a New Zealand witch, according to reports.

The witch seemed apologetic when turning over the skull, saying “I have treated it with respect; I haven’t lit candles in it or drunk red wine out of it or anything bohemian like that.”

Anna Hoffman, 74, told New Zealand’s Herald on Sunday newspaper that a uniformed security guard had given her the skull at a family dinner 30 years ago while she was on holiday in Australia.

“We got talking about skulls and the next day he turned up with this skull. He said it was Ned Kelly’s skull, and told me to ‘put it in the bottom of your bag and wrap it up’.”

Australia, if history is correct, was once loaded with scoundrels like Ned Kelly, …

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Poodle moth too cute to be real?

Photo copyright Dr. Arthur Anker.

Photo copyright Dr. Arthur Anker.

Nature is chock full of amazing stuff.

There are microbes that feed on arsenic as though the deadly poison were Krispy Kremes and bipedal ape-like creatures inhabiting the woods of North Georgia.

Neither of those turned out to be true, but thankfully there’s this picture of the adorably weird Venezuelan poodle moth. Unlike black lions and other animal hoaxes, this creature may be real.

NBC keeps a lid on the hysteria with the headline “Bizarre poodle moth fascinates and frightens the masses online.”

I’m not sure why anyone would be scared of a butterfly’s ugly cousin, but I think you will agree the tropical critter is interesting. The NBC writer, who has perhaps spent too much time with action figures, says the moth resembles “a Power Rangers villain — for example, Finster, the loyal servant of Rita Repulsa.”

Zoologist Arthur Anker allegedly took the poodle moth picture Jan. 1, 2009, but scientists traversing the park in Venezuela where it …

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Florida orgy ends in violence, arrests

Booking photos of the unhappy couple. (Hernando County Sheriff's Office)

Booking photos of the unhappy couple. (Hernando County Sheriff's Office)

Love is complicated, but so is lust when five people have sex at once.

In Florida, a “naked Weeki Wachee couple” was jailed after pummeling one another during an orgy at their home north of Tampa.

HernandoToday.com reports the woman, Tina Michelle Norris, 39, became enraged when she witnessed her boyfriend, James Albert Barfield, 56, having sex with another woman. Police say Barfield admitted to losing his temper while observing Norris having sex with two men.

A roommate of the couple not involved in the complicated sexual maneuvering told police she “heard yelling and screaming in the hallway” and observed the nude couple “pushing and shoving each other from one end of the house to the other (while) breaking things in the process.”

Both were charged with domestic violence. Norris, who police described as very intoxicated and uncooperative” was also charged with resisting arrest.

The other three sexual …

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Police: Drunk lab tech lowered pants, freed monkeys

A clothed monkey reached for comment had no comment on the unclothed human.

A clothed monkey reached for comment had no comment on the unclothed human. But, he did remind folks to watch "Animal Practice" on NBC.

An experiment on primate alcoholism may have gotten out of control recently in Augusta where police found an allegedly intoxicated lab technician with his pants down in a room with uncaged monkeys.

Georgia Health Sciences University lab tech Coley Mitchell, 32, was arrested on charges of public intoxication after a co-worker spotted him partially unclothed in a locker room in the Sanders Research and Education Building last Monday.

The Augusta Chronicle reports Mitchell was seated in a chair with his pants half-down while two monkeys roamed the room freely.

In other area drinking news, a fancy golf club in Augusta is now admitting female members.

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Man sells kidney for iPad, iPhone

An Atlanta woman enjoys her iPad while her dog enjoys Piedmont Park. (AJC Photo/John Spink)

An Atlanta woman enjoys her iPad while her dog enjoys Piedmont Park. (AJC Photo/John Spink)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve often wondered how much a redundant internal organ would fetch on the open market.

In China, the answer is about $4,000.

Defendants in an illegal organ transplant trial cut that deal with 17-year-old Wang Shangkun, who used some of the money to buy an iPad and iPhone, reports the China Daily.

The gang that obtained the kidney was able to sell it for about $33,000. The article does not say what the gang paid a military surgeon to remove the kidney.

Wang, who is in poor health after the 2011 surgery, has been unable to attend the trial.

But his mother told the judge his sad tale.

“My son was tempted by the illegal organ traders and might have been afraid of getting caught with such a large amount of money, so he bought a cell phone and a tablet PC,” she says in the China Daily.

The black market for organs has no trouble finding sellers.

China’s Ministry …

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Climax, Georgia No. 2 on ‘Most Unfortunate’ town names list

Getting here is harder than you might think. (AJC file photo)

Getting here is difficult. It's like a five-hour drive. (AJC file photo)

In college, I once drove my girlfriend to Climax, a little city in southwest Georgia so close to Cairo you could smell the syrup if they were still making it.

Long a geographic punchline, Climax narrowly missed having the “Most Unfortunate” city name, according to a poll conducted by family history website FindMyPast.com.

Boring, Oregon and Hooker, Oklahoma are off the hook too.

The new Number One? Toad Suck, Arkansas, which, according to legend and Wikipedia, got its name from the heavy drinkers working the docks (and the liquor bottles) along the Arkansas River.

“They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads,” is the unfortunate quote.

Climax, as all south Georgia boys know, got its name because it was the highest point on the rail line between Savannah and the Chattahoochee River (which separates Georgia and Alabama).

Josh Taylor, a genealogist and spokesperson for FindMyPast says such places …

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Study: Cats wiping out backyard wildlife

Reptiles such as this are most often killed by cats. (Photo by Amy Edmondson Ford)

Reptiles are easy prey. (Photo by Amy E. Ford)

Cats can be cuddly, but America’s second most favorite family pet is also an accomplished killer.

Researchers at The University of Georgia have concluded domesticated cats are wiping out neighborhood wildlife.

USA Today sums it up as mundanely as possible: “That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter.” [Video of the carnage]

While icebergs are largely homogeneous in structure, the wildlife gnawed upon by Fluffy is quite diverse.

Mammals’ eternal foe, the reptiles (and their slimy cousins, the amphibians), take the brunt of the feline assault — lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41% of the animals killed by the 60 Athens-area cats equipped with collar cameras.

Cute creatures, such as chipmunks and voles, made up 25% of the tiny corpses; insects and worms 20%; birds 12%.

I’d have thought birds, as tasty …

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