Sunday, February 15, 2009


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More foxes on trampoline action

Turntable kitten

Dog with an enormous tongue

Cooper the cat shows his stuff in photo exhibition

Upon their first exhibitions, some artists can't wait to elaborate on the intent of their work. Others are aloof, projecting an enigmatic presence. Cooper meows. Purrs, too.

For this Seattle cat, photography is his medium, a gift from his "parents" - filmmakers Michael and Deirdre Cross, who gave him a very small and light digital camera that hung from his collar one day a week for a year. It was programmed to take a picture every two minutes.

They wanted the answer to a question many pet lovers have asked themselves: What does he do all day?

He came back with thousands of answers - 16 of which are framed and on display at the Urban Light Studios in the Greenwood Collective. The exhibit opened with a reception last night as part of the Greenwood Art Walk. The show runs until March 10.

"We never thought we'd have an artist that is an American Shorthair cat," said Kevin Law, owner of the gallery and a professional photographer. "But after reading the PhinneyWood blog and seeing his photos, I was immediately blown away. He has classical compositions right out of a photo textbook. There may be no intent behind them, but they're beautiful artwork."

Each framed shot is $275, one of a limited edition of 100 prints. Part of the proceeds from exhibition sales will benefit PAWS, a progressive animal welfare society with doors just down the street from the gallery.

Cooper's blog. You can see Cooper's photos here.

Transgender woman pleads guilty of exercising husband to death

An elderly Ohio man was "exercised to death" by his transgendered wife - who forced him to swim even as he gasped for breath, authorities said.

Christine Newton-John, 41, pleaded guilty last week to reckless homicide in the death of James Mason, 73, and could get five years in prison.

Police said she was caught on video dragging her frail hubby around the pool in their apartment complex, stopping him from getting out 43 times.

"The man was exercised to death," Middlefield Police Chief Joseph Stehlik said.

"The video is bone-chilling," he said. "The whole case is very sinister. My personal feeling is that what she did was more intentional than reckless."

A grand jury indicted Newton-John on reckless homicide, and she pleaded guilty on Thursday.

10 items from London Transport lost property office


Firefighters get more than they bargained for responding to call

A ruckus at the Black Angus Inn in Anchorage ended with the hotel flooded, a man under arrest for assault and firefighters who were trying to control the sprinkler system mooned by an unruly guest.

The bare-bottomed woman also ended up in jail after refusing to leave the crew alone, according to police.

"She was drunk and obnoxious, getting in the way of the firefighters," police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. "She was mooning the firefighters, asking to see their penises."

Full story here.

Sniffer dog employed to hunt for tigers

Maggie the German wirehaired pointer has arrived in Cambodia with an unusual task — sniffing out tiger droppings in one of Cambodia's largest nature reserves.

The unorthodox move to employ a dog trained in Russia to search for signs of the big cats is part of a campaign to boost a tiger population in Asia that has plummeted to as few as 5,000 from 100,000 a century ago.

Starting next week, the salt-and-pepper, 6-year-old will begin scouring the undergrowth and sniffing for tiger scent on trees at the 1,158 square mile (3,000 square kilometer) Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area in northeastern Cambodia.

It is unclear how many tigers are even left in Cambodia, where — like in much of Asia — poaching and habitat encroachment are blamed for decimating the population.

The turn to dogs comes after camera traps and field surveys failed to find the big cats last year. The last sign of a tiger was in 2007, when a paw print was spotted in the park.

"We think this is the best method when we have a large area and not that many tigers," said Hannah O'Kelly, a wildlife monitoring adviser for the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

Full story here.

The world's oldest love triangle?

She may not have all her own teeth and she's a bit hard of hearing, but temptress Pena Dobrava can still stir violent passions in men. She sparked a vicious duel between two rival suitors - as they laid into each other with their walking sticks.

It ended with Dancho Dimitov, 86, in hospital with head injuries after being whacked by jealous boyfriend Boris Stoykov, 74.

The pair came to blows when Boris was tipped off by a neighbour that Dancho was trying to steal Pena, 75, from him. He had even been seen clambering over her back garden fence to secretly chat her up. Furious Boris stormed off and confronted Dancho outside a cafe in Gramada, Bulgaria.

One witness said: "It was unbelievable. I heard screams and saw the older one taking a swing with his stick at the other man's head. They were both bashing each other and cursing. I thought someone was going to die."

Police were called to separate the pensioners and are now considering pressing charges against one or both of them.

Dancho said from his hospital bed: "I thought I was the only one for Pena. I even loaned her money. I feel such a fool." Angry Boris said: "I hope he's learned his lesson. Next time he won't get off so lightly."

Man charged in adult diaper fraud

The owner of a Texas medical supply company is charged with fraudulently billing the U.S. government for $1 million (£696,475) in adult diapers that customers never received, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

Ernest Hogan, 59, who ran Shanet Medical Source in Houston, is accused by federal prosecutors of routinely billing the federal Medicaid program for adult urinary incontinence supplies, including diapers, underpads and pull-up briefs.

From June 2004 until March 2006, Hogan filed more than $1 million in false Medicaid claims and was paid $683,360 for those claims, according to the indictment handed down by a grand jury on Wednesday.

Hogan surrendered to investigators on Friday and was later released on a $100,000 bond, said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston.

Judge takes 12,000 words to clarify the meaning of tree

A High Court judge, Mr Justice Cranston, has taken 12,000 words to answer the question: What is a tree? The judge thought it necessary to spell out the exact legal definition of a tree because of confusion in the planning process.

While trees could obviously be the object of tree preservation orders, the question remained about the status of saplings. For clarity the judge ruled that size did not matter, and that the smallest sapling was, legally speaking, a tree.

His conclusion clashes with that of Lord Denning, a former Master of the Rolls, who ruled that a tree was only a tree if its trunk had a diameter of at least seven inches.

In opening his judgment Mr Justice Cranston said: "What is a tree? In particular does it include a young tree, a sapling?" He continued: "On one occasion Lord Denning said emphatically that many saplings were not trees and that in woodland a tree was something over seven or eight inches, 180 to 200mm, in diameter."

The issue arose in the case on which he was ruling, because while section 198 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provided for tree preservation orders (TPOs) to preserve trees, groups of trees and woodlands, he said that there was "no statutory definition of a tree". He concluded that "with tree preservation orders there are no limitations in terms of size for what is to be treated as a tree. In other words, saplings are trees".

The case was brought by Palm Developments Ltd who had challenged a Government decision to not allow works in a young patch of woodland in North Halling, by the River Medway in Kent.