many bells down

Da Vinci Code Ruling’s Code Revealed!
April 28, 2006, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Books, News, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

You know, Mr. Da Vinci Code judge, if you're going to take the time to brainstorm a code that has to be cracked via mathematics, hint about it to the media and give out clues as to how to solve it, you should at least make sure your deciphered code says something cool or interesting. For example, "I like to dance around in women's underwear" would have been very interesting.  Profound song lyrics, like "Oooh, look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?" would have been cool and, by proxy, you would have seemed cool, the Founding Fathers wig part of your judicial attire included.  But "Jackie Fisher, who are you? Dreadnought," is neither cool nor interesting.  And, quite frankly, it's a bit of a letdown, since you've been snidely dropping hints about your awesome hidden message and it's not awesome at all.

As one of the anchors on Good Morning America said this morning (while holding back hysterical laughter, I might add), "Well, it's no 'Jesus was married,' but I guess if you're a naval enthusiast you'll be excited."  Or not! 


Judge in Da Vinci Code case has too much time on his hands.
April 27, 2006, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Books, News, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

Justice Peter Smith, who recently ruled that Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code did not plagerize other authors' works, has apparently embedded a code of his own in the first 14 pages of the ruling:

The first clue that a puzzle exists lies in the typeface of the ruling. Most of the document is printed in regular roman letters, the way one would expect. But some letters in the first 13½ pages appear in boldface italics, jarringly, in the midst of all the normal words. Thus, in the first paragraph of the decision, which refers to Mr. Leigh and Mr. Baigent, the "s" in the word "claimants" is italicized and boldfaced.

If you pluck all the italicized letters out of the text, you find that the first 10 spell "Smithy Code," an apparent play on "Da Vinci Code." But the next series of letters, some 30 or so, are a jumble, and this is the mystery that needs to be solved to break the code.

Doesn't England have criminals?  Isn't there someone they can arrest for robbery or jaywalking or something?  Seriously, they need to do something about this, because no officer of the court should have time to come up with a freaking code to insert into a judicial ruling. 

I bet he did this while he was on the clock!  I wonder how many taxpayers dollars were wasted?

I miss all the good stuff.
April 21, 2006, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Food, Miscellaneous, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

Apparently yesterday was National High Five Day.  I missed it.  What the hell?  I missed National Talk Like a Pirate Day, too. 

I am bitter, and unfulfilled.

There is a plus side, though:  I haven't missed National Ice Cream Day!  And May 11th is totally National Eat What You Want Day.  I can get on board with that!

Band in a Bubble?
April 21, 2006, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Music, Television, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

Apparently, UK band The Darkness, whose big US hit was "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," are contemplating living in a bubble while they record their album, and will document the whole experience for a reality TV show called Band in a Bubble. 

The program would feature the spandex-sheathed rockers locked inside a sealed capsule in London’s Trafalgar Square for a month, while they are filmed 24/7 recording their new album. The entertainment value of such a show would presumably stem from watching the band members crack under the pressure of constant camera scrutiny, ever-looming deadlines, and potential bickering between the Darkness's two Hawkins brothers, Justin and Dan.

I wonder if the bubble would be clear or opaque?  And what about going to the bathroom?  That could be a problem in a clear capsule.  When I went to England, you had to pay one pound to use the public loo (that's Brit-speak for the bathroom, you Americans!).  Would they have to pay, considering that the loo is outside and might therefore be considered public?

In other claustrophobic news, David Blaine is planning on living inside an aquarium for awhile.  His bathroom problems are on a whole different level!

Dear Pennsylvania: What’s your beef with hedgehogs?
April 11, 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Animals, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

baby hedgehog.jpgWhen I saw this post yesterday on Cute Overload (one of my favorite websites ever) I decided that I must have a hedgehog.  Immediately.  Seriously, just look at how cute that little baby is!  So, in pursuit of the latest cute thing to catch my eye and like any good journalist, I decided to do my homework.  Where do you get hedgehogs, anyway?  The only place I had ever seen them was in Boreham, England, where they were so plentiful you had to watch where you were walking in the grass or you might have stepped on one!

At first the information was really encouraging.  Hedgehogs are way cheaper than designer dogs, running about $100 to $150 (shipping adds another $200 to the cost, however).  They eat dry catfood (sweet! I know I'll have plenty of that) and are easy to domesticate.  They have distinct personalities and can be litter trained.  And the babies are called hoglets.  Hoglets!!!  Sure, you need a special permit to own one in Pennsylvania, which I'm sure is a pain to procure, but wouldn't a little hedgehog be worth it?  Yes, I decided.  I must have a little prickly ball of love.  Must.

But then I came upon the most disturbing news I think I have ever heard.  Hedgehogs, if found in Pennsylvania, are confiscated and "taken away," which can that they are shipped out of state or that they're euthanized.  Special permit my ass!  And since I live in Pennsie, this put a pretty severe dent in my plan to own a hoggie.  According to HedgeHogCentral,

A very unfortunate political battle has developed within the State of Pennsylvania making hedgehogs illegal to the point where threats have been made against even the transport of hedgehogs through the state on the way to another state.  All of this is the result of an initial (and unusual) law established in the 1990s. Under that law, hedgehogs within the state were legal, but it was illegal to import fresh bloodlines into the state. A few breeders violated that law resulting in the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) declaring all out war on all hedgehogs within the state. Breeder's homes have been raided and their hedgehogs confiscated with all of the zeal of a major drug bust. Suffice it to say, owning a hedgehog in Pennsylvania under the draconian rule of PGC is extremely dangerous for both owner and hedgehog.

Okay, so it's a little melodramatic, but a 2002 Citypaper article seems to confirm the website's assertion.  The big concern among officials, according to the article, is that the hedgehogs will escape and wreak havoc on PA's natural wildlife.  That would be a pretty good reason…except the hedgehogs most often found in the United States are native to Africa and thrive in warm climates; they are unlikely to survive a cold Pennsylvania winter.  In fact, PA is one of only five states where hedgehogs are illegal – the others, like Arizona and Hawaii, have warm climates where hedgehogs could thrive.

Pennsylvania doesn't just ban hedgehogs – it bans all exotic animals.  So it doesn't look like I'll be getting a duck-billed platypus either.  At least not anytime soon. And that makes me very sad inside.

[Photo Source]

The Dread Rabbit Robert
April 10, 2006, 3:12 pm
Filed under: Animals, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

giant rabbit robert.JPGJust in time for Easter, a giant rabbit is reportedly terrorizing British gardeners. He has an appetite for leeks, Japanese onions and spring carrots.  Witnesses describe the beast as “massive” and “clever,” with one ear bigger than the other – and marksmen are on orders to shoot and kill the naughty bunny on sight. 

According to the British Rabbit Council, some breeds of rabbit can grow to be two feet in length or even bigger. 

Pictured is German rabbit breeder Karl Szmolinsky and Robert, also known as “Big Boy” (okay, I gave him that nickname), his giant breeder rabbit.  There’s no known relation between the ginormous bunny causing havoc in England and Robert – I just wanted to throw in a Princess Bride reference.

On a somewhat unrelated note…how long do you think before Paris Hilton gets herself one of these?

[More cool, funny bunnies]

Riddle me this, Kelly Clarkson!
March 22, 2006, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, Things that make you go 'Hmm.', Web

kelly clarkson.JPGHave any of you tried the Kelly Clarkson Riddle yet?  It’s maddening, it’s frustrating, it’s intriguing, and it’s a great way to pass the time if you’re bored.  And also to brush up on your Kelly Clarkson trivia, because that kind of thing is important.

Try it out, let me know how far you got!  (I haven’t gotten very far, thus proving that I have not advanced in riddle/deduction skills since failing to solve The Eleventh Hour mystery when I was 5 years old.  I’m planning to try it again, though.  I’ll let you know how I do.)