Coffins for Gay Market

Two undertakers in the German city of Cologne are trying to tap into the gay market by selling coffins adorned with images of mostly naked, muscular young men in athletic poses inspired by Italian Renaissance paintings.

'You should be able to have a coffin that lets you embark on your last journey in a way that reflects how you lived your life', said undertaker Thomas Brandl and business partner Michael Koenigsfield.

The gay couple also sells coffins and urns in rainbow colors and offers burials around a tree reserved exclusively for homosexuals.

Lovesick Worker


An Australian public servant, who works for the Department of Immigration, took the unusual step of e-mailing all staff to help him find a woman he met at a party.

' I understand this is not the most appropriate channel. It is not my intent to misuse this e-mail address,' he wrote, adding that the had struggled to wrote the message.

' The matter is being investigated by the values and conduct section of the department', declared a spokesman of the Department of Immigration, adding that the worker would be dealt with after that review had concluded.

Useless Robber Hands Himself In


A luckless crook surrendered to police after four robberies flopped in the same day.

Ralf Lautenbach fled after trying to hold up two hotels which set security guards on him - and then abandoned a break in at the local tax office in Muelheim an der Ruhr.

Finally the failing would-be crook handed himself in after he was trapped in his getaway car after using it to ram a bank security cash van. "He needs a change of job," said one officer.

10.10.10, 09.09.09 and 08.08.08


An American woman beat odds of 50 millions to one -according to statistics experts- when her baby was born on 10.10.10, her third child to be born on such a special date.

New arrival Cearra Nicole Soper followed brother Cameron, who was born on 09.09.09, and older sister Chloe, 08.08.08. Mum Barbara said: 'Cearra is our little miracle. Cloe is lucky number eight. Cameron is lucky number nine and she is our lucky number ten.'

The pattern is all the more remarkable because two of the babies were born prematurely. Cearra arrived almost a month early, and Cameron was born tow weeks before he was due.

Barbara and her husband are not tempted to complete a quartet and aim for another baby on 11.11.11.

Bum Rap


Wearing low-slung trousers that show your underwear may have been a hip-hop street fashion for years. But one town in Louisiana (US) was determined to make it very uncool, by hitting pants-flashers with high fines.

Delcambre council voted that sporting saggy trousers should be classed as an act of indecent exposure. Mayor Carol Broussard warned 'People who expose themselves this way will get a $500 fine and risk six months' jail. They'll be better off in a dress.'

Some residents said the law was racially-motivated as most of the town's hip-hop devotees were black. But Broussard insisted: 'White people wear this sagging style too.'

Theatre Sleepover


A London theatre is to stage a show which involves the audience changing into their nightwear and sleeping over in single beds.

Lullaby, produced by the Duckie theatre company, will transform the Barbican's pit theatre into a bedroom complete with en suite bathroom cubicles. Storytelling and cradle song will be followed by a night's sleep and a breakfast the next morning.

'Every time I go to the theatre I fall asleep, so I thought why don't we embrace that idea and make a show that deliberately send people to sleep?' said producer Simon Casson.

Joyful Waving


A bearded old man who sits by the road between two seaside resorts waving at passing cars has become an internet star. The man -who calls himself Moses-Peter- has spent years perched on a chair waving at passers-by for hours at a time.

Motorists have now set up a Facebook called "Strange Old Man Who Sits On A Bench On the Road Between Torquay and Paignton" which has attracted more than 10,000 followers, many of them holidaymakers.

"It gives me an overwhelming sense of happiness when he waves at me. This man is, somehow, magical", says one driver. The mystery man has refused to explain his actions, simply stating "I am spreading a message of joy, love and happiness."

Live and Let Leave


Latvian tourist chiefs scrapped a campaign after their slogan was mistranslated into 'Easy to go, hard to live.'

The Latvian tourist board planned the campaign to promote the capital city of Riga to English-speaking travelers. They hoped to show off the city's cultural highlights to turn around Riga's image as a destination for wild stag parties.

The message was however completely ruined by one simple mistake. 'It is very embarrassing. It was of course meant to say hard to leave' a spokesman admitted, 'but apparently nobody checked it properly before the leaflets and posters went to the printers.'

Drink and Smoke More!


Russia's finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, has urged his countrymen and women to boost the country's revenues by drinking and smoking more. "If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help social problems," said Kudrin.

Russia, noted for its high consumption of both cigarettes and alcohol has among the lowest duties on cigarettes in Europe. In June, plans to double the excise duty on cigarettes for 1,000 cigarettes were outlined.

The comments by the minister seem to contradict recent government moves to control Russia's excessive nature and improve its life expectancy rates.

Hostage over ironing


A US man has been arrested for taking his mother hostage at gunpoint for six hours after she refused to do his ironing.

Robert Edward Tyrrell Jr, 29, lives with his parents. He stated that doing the ironing was "woman's work": When his mum refused to iron his clothes, he pulled out a gun, took his mother's keys and mobile phone, and refused to let her leave the house.

The 51-year-old mother eventually managed to escape, and went to the police station. Deputies were dispatched to the home where Tyrrell surrendered without incident. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Weirdwurst


Hoping to spice up their business, German butchers have introduced a new line of exotic-tasting sausages with flavors ranging from kiwi, cherry, lemon and even aloe vera.

Berlin butcher Uwe Buenger developed a "chili-honey" Bratwurst while rival Dankert came up with a "kiwi wurst" that also included pineapple and maraschino cherries.

For sausage connoisseurs there is also the "Truefflebratwurst" that includes truffle, spiced with black and white pepper.

Honeymoon in 2036


Two Texas prisoners, Diane Zamora, and Steven Mora, who had never met, were married by proxy and could look forward to their honeymoon - in 2036 at the earliest. Their prisons were 208 km. apart.

They began writing letters to each other after Mora saw Zamora on TV. Zamora was a former U.S. Naval Academy midshipman who, along with then-boyfriend David Graham was sentenced to life in prison in a 1996 trial for the murder of a 16-year-old girl who was her romantic rival.

She had to serve at least 40 years in prison and would not be eligible for parole until 2036. Mora was scheduled to get out of prison after a four-year sentence for threatening retaliation against someone who helped put him in prison on an earlier charge.

It seems however that the wait was too long, as they have divorced in the meantime.

"Beautiful" political party



A Romanian model who wants to improve the country's image has started a new political party for beautiful people. Sanziana Buruiana wants to heavily tax obese citizens at a rate of 10 euros per kilo overweight, and punish anybody making "dumb blonde" jokes. The 23-year old said: "Anyone like that needs to be put in prison."

Other plans include a fine of 100 euros for infidelity, and a law insisting that only models in bikinis are allowed to work as tourist guides. Buruiana suggests that this would boost Romania's popularity as a travel destination.

Thank Heavens for Online Sermons



Busy vicars have been offered a helping hand with their Sunday services: a website that provides a selection of ready-to-use sermons. The site describes itself as a 'fast-response service designed to hep busy Christian ministers and teachers, with sound ready-made sermons.'

Vicars can browse the site and buy a sermon of their choice for £8. Each piece is written to last between 10 and 12 minutes.

Closing Time!



Authorities in football crazy Bangladesh asked all manufacturing factories in and around the capital Dakha to suspend operations each evening until the end of the World Cup.

'We have issued the order to the factories to switch off for five hours every evening in a desperate move to save electricity so that people can watch the play on televisions,' said the managing director of the Dakha Electric Supply Company. 'This is an undesirable decision from an economic point of view but we were rather compelled.'

Although Bangladesh ranked 157th in the world, and lost 6-1 to Tajikistan in a two-legged first round Asian zone qualifier, the country's young and old in urban and rural areas, just go crazy whenever the finals are held.

Dalmatian House



One Croatian family have honored their pet dog by painting their entire home white with black spots.

After the Tomasic family's pet dalmatian Bingo was run over and killed by a car, dad Goran decided to make their home a tribute by painting it black and white. 'We loved him so much we didn't want him to be forgotten so we painted the house to remind us of him all the time.'

The family now plan to replace their beloved pet with a golden retriever, much to the delight of their neighbors.

No More "Comrades"



China's bus drivers and ticket sellers have been urged to leave Communism behind, with a new training manual instructing them to call travelers "sir" or "madam" instead of "comrade." "Old Comrade" is listed as the final possible choice of address for elderly travelers, but it comes after "elder master" and "elder sir."

The manual suggests forms of address ranging from "student" to the plain "passenger" for younger travelers, for whom comrade has a different gloss, as slang term for gay.

Hippie Dictionary



Are you feeling screwed, blued and tattooed because the man slipped it to you? Like, stay loose, hit the pad and share a thumb with your pash. Huh?


If that made no sense to you, check out "The Hippie Dictionary". Using this book to translate, readers come up with a more conventional: "Are you feeling mistreated by the authorities? Relax, go home to bed and share a very large marijuana cigarette with your significant other."

However those expecting the dictionary to be a reference work, are in for a jolt. The book is full of slang and swear words culled from the vernacular of the 1960s and 1970s hippie youth, who questioned authority and created their own counterculture.

Among the book's gems are "absofuckinglutely" (without a doubt), "hey man" (the most prevalent greeting of the era) and "swacked" (high on drugs or alcohol). In fact, the book's entry for the term "hippie" said, "The true hippie believes in and works for truth, generosity, peace, love and tolerance. The messengers of sanity in a world filled with greed, intolerance and war."

Drink to Forget



The French Foreign Legion is going into the wine business to raise funds for its veterans. Called Esprit de Corps, to embody the legionnaire spirit, its red and rose vintages are produced from grapes grown on a property in southern France used to shelter its war-wounded and former fighters, who work in the vineyard.

An officer at the property in Puyloubier described the wines as 'strong when attacked, solid on the onslaught, full of grapeshot on the front line.'

Elvis Meet Lego



A Swedish couple won the right to name their baby son Lego. In the past, parents found it difficult to call their children Ikea, Veranda or Metallica. The Swedish Administrative Court of Appeals overruled a decision that prevented the boy from being named after the plastic building blocks.

Other have not been so lucky. The parents of 'Elvis' were told that her name was 'of a masculine type' and therefore 'clearly inappropriate.' Elvis' mother protested the decision. 'We thought it was a name that was pretty and gender neutral. We're not Elvis Presley fans at all.'

Sailing



A man who thought he was sailing around the British coastline was surprised to learn that he had in fact been circling the Isle of Sheppey. He had set out from Gillingham for Southampton but kept on sailing around the small island, off the coast of Kent, all day and night.

The aspiring sailor didn't realize until he ran out of fuel and had to call for assistance. He was using a road map to navigate and was making his way to Southampton with no navigation equipment.

Coastguards said: 'We passed on relevant safety advice and advised him that the best way to Southampton would be by train.'

Circus Back in Town



The circus came to town in Turkmenistan for the first time since the Central Asian nation's late leader banned it. Hundreds of children lined up for their first visit to the circus, a form of entertainment that the autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov prohibited as 'alien'.

Nizayov, who ruled Turkmenistan for 21 years, also banned the cinema, opera, ballet, and even gold teeth.

DIY Power Drill Dentist



A man who worked as a dentist for years despite using a DIY power drill and a pair of normal pliers in his surgery was arrested. Alvaro Perez, 40, from Ecuador used screwdrivers and household pincers among other things when he treated his patients at his surgery in Sampierdarena, Italy.

He was arrested after one of his patients called the police saying that he had almost passed out with pain during surgery. Perez, who was charged with deception, had no dental qualifications but had hundreds of clients.

Some Rolling Stones with Your Wine?



Music can influence the taste of wine. Different types of music stimulate different parts of the brain, and prime us to taste wines in a corresponding way.

Researchers have discovered that when a powerful piece of music such as Carmina Burana is heard, a Cabernet Sauvignon is perceived as being 60% more powerful, rich and robust than when no music is heard.

Other suggested music included 'Honky Tonk Woman' by the Rolling Stones to accompany Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Power of Money



By texting 'How do I return the 2,000 yuan I owe you?' to her stolen cell-phone, a woman named Ajuan managed to retrieve the phone and catch the greedy thief red-handed.

The suspect stole Ajuan's cell phone but she baited him several days later by sending the text message and asking for his bank account number. He instantly replied with his wife's account number but immediately headed to the bank when Ajuan suggested that he open a new account.

Police nabbed him as he was about to text Ajuan his new account number.

Flight Diverted After Beer Stolen



An Air Canada Flight was diverted after a passenger stole beer from the drinks trolley. The flight from Vancouver to Fort McMurray, Alberta, was diverted to Kelowna, BC, where Police arrested the 23-year-old thief.

Police said the passenger had stolen beer from a drink trolley and tried to flush the empty cans down the 50-seat jet's toilet to dispose of the evidence. The man faces several charges.

Keep Your Hands Clean



A British prison said a bunch of inmates were caught with their hands clean - using hand sanitizing gel to get drunk.

Peter McParlin of the Prison Officers Association said inmates were using it to make illicit alcohol. The gel had been distributed around the prison to stop the spread the the swine flu virus.

The prison banned inmates from using it and McParlin said the use of illicit concoctions made by mising alcohol with fruit, water and sugar was as bad as drug use - o worse.

Let the Music Play and Become a Marine Love Machine



An Aquarium which piped the music of Barry White into a tank to encourage two sharks to breed says the tactic has paid off.

Bosses at the Sea Life London Aquarium say the legendary 'walrus of love' has transformed shy shark Zorro into a marine love machine.

The therapy has worked so well that staff are now having to warn guests about his frisky behavior as it is very public, very frequent and looks far from romantic: "We are absolutely delighted that Zorro is finally getting it together with his intended but the courtship rituals of the zebra shark can appear quite violent and some guests have been a little alarmed."

What's Your Name?



A film-mad Norwegian changed his name to Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacca Highlander Elessar-Jankov.

The man, formerly known as just Andreas Jankov, said his best loved films were Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and also MacGyver.

'I wanted to make a name for myself - literally. It's a tribute to them for all the hours of pleasure I have had watching them. It also reflects the fact that there is a part of every one of those characters which I would like to be like.'

Return to Sender



Police in Poland have arrested a man for a series of raids in which he allegedly climbed into large parcels and posted himself to businesses.

Stanislaw Muchy, 39, would then apparently climb out at night after staff had clocked off and burgle the premises. He made his getaway by sealing both himself and his loot into another box addressed to his Warsaw home, say police.

His scheme came to an end after he fell out with an accomplice, whose job was to deliver hin to courier firms, who contacted police. After being tipped off, police said: "We arranged a special delivery of our own."

Everest's Spring Clean Up



Twenty climbers set off to Mount Everest to try and remove decades-old garbage from the mountain in the world's highest ever clean-up campaign.

Many climbers have cleaned Mount Everest in the past but no one had dared to clean above 8,000 meters, an area known as the "death zone" for the lack of oxygen and treacherous terrain.

The climbers will risk the zone's thin air and freezing temperatures to pick up empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, torn tents, ropes and utensils.

The mountain has become known as being the world's highest garbage dump. Many climbers leave their gear and trash behind as they descend due to exhaustion. The team hopes to bring down at least 2,000 kg of garbage.

Hiding Bad Grades



An 11-year-old US boy faked his own kidnapping to avoid bringing home bad school report. The pupil claimed a man in a red car grabbed him as he left school in Huntsville, Alabama, and forced him into the vehicle.

He claimed that he managed to jump out of the car, leaving behind his school bag which contained his report, and ran to his grandparents' house.

The boy eventually confessed to making the whole thing up to cover up his bad grades. Police said he faced no charges.

Hospital Food Bingo



A hospital patient is writing his own bed blog with photos of the meals he is served, asking readers to guess what they are.

The man, 47, who wants to remain anonymous, has been stuck on a ward for 22 weeks, after being struck with a rare bone infection, and is currently in traction.

After suffering months of NHS catering he launched a blog calling himself Traction Man. It includes a Hospital Food Bingo board game where he has posted pictures of the food for his followers to identify.

'Go' Before Flying



A Japanese airline asked passengers to visit the lavatory before boarding in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) sayd empty bladders meant lighter passengers, which means lighter aircraft and lower fuel use.

It hoped that the weight saved would lead to a five-tonne reduction in carbon emissions in the course of a month. ANA started the policy as a one month trial but stated it would be expanded if successful.

Is It Chiie or Chile?



The general manager of the Chilean mint has been sacked after thousands of coins were issued with the name of the country spelt wrongly. The 50-peso coins were issued in 2008, but no-one noticed the mistake until 2009. Instead of C-H-I-L-E, the coins had C-H-I-I-E stamped on them.

The 50-peso piece is 2.5 centimeters across, just under an inch, making it difficult to immediately see on the faulty coins the word.

The coins have since become collectors' items and the mint says it has no plans to take them out of circulation. But the mistake has cost the mint's general manager, Gregorio Iñiguez, and several other employees, their jobs.

50th Birthday party for Fridge



A Coventry couple invited their friends and family to a birthday party - for their 50-year-old fridge. Paul and Val Howkins Bought the Prestcold fridge for £65 in 1959, and insist it is almost as good as new.

"Everyone tells us to get rid of it but we don't want to. The Thermostat went about 30 years ago and when I took it to Prestcold to get another one the man said where on earth did you get that? They didn't even make fridges any more by that point."

Mr Howkins managed to source a new part and the fridge has continued working ever since.

How Old Is Too Old?



A new survey shows that the average Briton believes youth ends at 36 and old age starts at 58. The findings come from the European Social Survey, which took part in 21 countries.

In general, men regarded the end of youth and start of old age to begin two years earlier than women did. There were also large differences between countries: youth was perceived to end earliest in Nordic countries, such as Norway (34) compared to countries like Cyprus, where the average perception is that you stop being young at 52 and start being old at 67.

Another Brick in the Wall



A German Artist has spent the last three years traveling the world using Lego to fix crumbling walls and monuments. Jan Vormann has carried out his brightly colored plastic repair work in locations from the old quarter of Tel Aviv to New York's Bryant park.

Estimating to have used upwards of 1,000 of the little building bricks, he often enlists the help of passers-by intrigued by his careful placing of Lego bricks.

"It draws people's attention through the colored block and makes them aware that this wall or statue or construction is not complete anymore, for whatever reason" said the artist.

Topless Snowlady



Police in New Jersey ordered a snow sculpture modeled on the famous nude Venus de Milo to be covered up after a neighbor complained.

Elisa Gonzalez carved the ancient Greek-style torso from snow on her front lawn and says her work was initially a hit. "We got a lot of attention from people in the neighborhood. Some of them got out and took pictures ans spoke to us".

One neighbor clearly felt the snow nude - headless, armless and cut off above the knees - was too hot.

"We had a visit from the local police who told us that a neighbor had complained about the statue and we needed to cover it up or knock it down. We didn't want to have any problem with the police, so we covered it up".

Please, Rob Me!



Home owners could unintentionally be exposing their empty homes to crime when posting their whereabouts on social network sites.

Two developers have created a website called PleaseRobMe that lists the locations of 'empty houses out there'. The site extracts information from players of the online game Foursquare, which is based on a person's real world location.

The developers designed the website to prove a point about the dangers of sharing precise location information on the internet.