News from Around the World

AUSTRALIA –  Now that we’ve sort of forgotten about swine flu, maybe we could start worrying about Hendra Virus. This virus doesn’t bother to just make you really sick; it just kills. It’s killed 4 people in Australia already and is contracted by close contact with the bodily fluids of infected horses. Horses become infected with the virus by close contact with flying foxes. It’s only a matter of time before it gets us all!

NEW ZEALAND –   Eighty-two year old Polly Pollock has spent the last 16 years turning a dump near a housing estate into a green space. She’s planted about 3,000 native species trees and had to haul water in buckets to the site because there’s no running water.  She bought or grew all the trees herself. Now that she said the planting is done,  the Navy, who owns the land, told her she can’t use the land anymore. They said they said they’d look after it themselves now that it’s a popular park, walking and jogging trail. Polly is worried because their track record in greenspace maintenance isn’t good. Not to mention they’re a bunch of dickheads.


SCOTLAND – Okay, here’s this story entitled  “Drink a Factor in Surgery Deaths”. It goes on to say that, “Alcohol abuse was a factor in the deaths of one in 15 patients who died in hospitals last year while under the care of surgeons. A total of 3,461 people died in surgery in 2008. The report found that alcohol was implicated in the deaths of 194 patients, representing about 1 in 15 of of all surgical deaths.”  I can’t figure out from this article if they mean the patients were alcoholics or if the surgeons were all drunk while performing surgery. Can you?

IRELAND – So there’s this 19 year-old-kid who was dying of cirrhosis of the liver and was admitted into hospital with only 3 weeks to live if he didn’t get a transplant. Some people were a little ticked off that he might get moved to the top of the transplant list when they reckon it’s his own damn fault that his liver failed. His dad says the kid didn’t really drink any more than most kids his age and that he deserves a chance. While the debate raged on, liver boy, Gareth Anderson, snuck out of the hospital to go across the road to the pub for a pint.

ENGLAND – There’s an art installation in Trafalgar Square that consists of a plinth where people can get up and do anything they like for one hour at a time, as long as it’s legal. Justin Holwell decided to get naked, horrifying all sorts of men on behalf of their women and children. There’s a video.

CANADA – Our craziest story is the weird incident between former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant and bicycle courier, Darcy Sheppard. Apparently the two had some sort of altercation after Bryant’s car collided with Sheppard’s bike. Bryant took off and Sheppard went after him. At some point Sheppard grabbed the car, got smashed into a mailbox, then a tree and then got run over by the back wheels of Bryant’s car. He’s dead and Bryant’s in big trouble. I think. I’m not sure. They seem to be trying to make a case that Sheppard wasn’t a very upstanding guy and that he brought it all on himself.

USA – Baptist pastor Steven Anderson delivered a sermon recently entitled “Why I Hate Barack Obama.” He went on to tell his congregation that he prayed that the president would die.

If you want to know how I’d like to see Obama die, I’d like him to die of natural causes,” said Anderson.  “I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.

I’m pretty sure god is rolling over in his grave.

24 responses to “News from Around the World

  1. 1 Don’t believe everything they send out of Australia, everyone knows foxes can’t fly this is obviously one of those internet myth things.

    2 Yes the Navy is full of dickheads.

    3 They’re Scottish. Both patients and surgeons were probably as drunk as the reporters who broke the story.

    4 Cousins of the Scots but never could hold their liquor, wusses.

    5 It’s England how would anyone know if they were doing something odd or outrageous. Hopefully the only thing that was stiff was his upper lip as it should be.

    6 It seems up in the air right now whether Bryant was attacked by the cyclist or not. Hopefully there will be video to help sort this out and it won’t depend on unreliable testimony from anyone.

    7 God isn’t in a grave. He is however deeply ashamed of the way some people claim to be on his team and then act like total a holes. He may very well shed a tear over this one. Or if he is in a bad mood might smite him with brain cancer of his own. God is very good at smiting. Only problem is with a brain that small it might not be fatal for it to go cancerous.

  2. So much stuff… I picked two.

    I read the Scotish study and it’s not clear really. But I think they mean alcohol consumption by patients. Unless it’s ok to stop and have a quick G&T mid exploratory surgery. (But tres very not clear.)

    On Bryant, I can’t figure this one out. I reckon Bryant should have known better. Morally, I just can’t see how it could strike you as a good idea to take off when someone is hanging off your bumper. Sheppard is reported to have been drinking and his gf called 911, so he may have been looking for a fight… either way, we just gotta love each other a bit more. I think the song Wrong by Depeche Mode somes this one up.

    God and Santa man…

  3. @Nat – Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m in the car with my wife and someone attaches themselves to the door, I’m not about to stop and make sure he’s safe…

    As for the Scottish alalcohol deaths. I think it just shows that someone need a better editor. How hard would it have been to say “Surgeons under the influence” or “the patient drank too much” It’s didisappointing because the BBC usually has a pretty high quality of news.

  4. WHY is the U.S. always the country with the most whacked out crazies out of all the other countries??? ARE WE TRYING to win these contests???

  5. Comments from around the world:

    Australia: Hendra Virus sounds like the name of a kickass female punk rocker.

    New Zealand: Polly Pollock is awesome and she looks a lot like the late Fruitcake Lady. If you don’t know who that is look her up. She was hilarious!

    Scotland: Not only is the story vague, but the math is wrong.

    Ireland: Sounds like a guy who knows the best way to spend his last 3 weeks.

    England: I don’t know what a plinth is but I like the word.

    Canada: Well, it’s always okay to kill a butthole, right?

    USA: Ain’t religion cute?

  6. Dr. Monkey – Well, you know… I like to inform.

    Bandobras – Ya, on the cyclist thing. Whatever happened afterwards, dude’s car did clip the bike originally which pissed the bike guy off and bike couriers are not shy about getting into with motorists who don’t respect the rights of cyclists. Sure it was probably really stupid of him to grab on to the car, but maybe the former attorney general should have just stopped his car at that point and called the cops or something instead of driving madly away with a cyclist hanging off his car.

    Nat – I know. The Scottish thing was confusing — maybe, as Bandobras suggests, the reporters were all drunk, too. I agree about the Bryant/Sheppard thing as I said above. I’m not sure why they’re dragging Sheppard through the mud in this thing to the extent they are. The stories are that he’s had a tough time of it lately, and yes he’s been known to drink and he had been drinking earlier in the day, but if you’ve ever seen bike couriers in Toronto I think they’d have to be insane to drink while on the job. Most of them are professionals and know and do their very difficult job really well. However I guess when it comes to a contest between a former attorney general and someone on the fringes of society the deck is going to be stacked.

    MG – There’s no reason he couldn’t have stopped his car and called 911. He’s pretty safe in the middle of the city inside his car — especially from an unarmed guy on a bike. Racing away to try to shake him off is an insane thing to do. Of course, so is hanging on to a car while it’s driving. (PS: It’s BBC Scotland however. Maybe it was deliberately vague??)

    Cedar – If there had been a contest I think it would have been a tough call among all of these. Although your guy is pretty damn crazy. And he has a congregation, who is now arming themselves before coming to church because all the supposedly non-crazies are threatening them with death and stuff….. Okay, you win.

    Geewits – As has been suggested on the Scotland story, perhaps the reporters and maybe even the researchers were all drunk, too? And liver boy – I guess you have a point. For the definition of a plinth go look at the video.

  7. That Polly Pollock is a hero! Good for her for putting that much time and energy into helping the environment (Dickheads be damned!)

    One sad and crazy story from Canada is about that chick who abducted a baby and smashed its face into a sidewalk before someone intervened. WTF is wrong with people? Seriously?

  8. Wouldn’t it be ironic, if Steven Anderson got brain cancer instead?

    That’s the type of stuff that God would have done, in the Old-Testament.

  9. Oh, Nat you’re so misguided. As a Scot myself, I can confirm that no way would the surgeon stop for a G&T mid-surgery. G&T is an ENGLISH drink. Any self-respecting Scottish surgeon would have a pint of 80 shilling with a whisky chaser before laying in with the scalpel.

  10. I’ll comment on the one in Toronto because, well it’s all over the news. What a juicy and sexy story! this will sell newspapers for weeks! Many stories are flying around, yes the guy, according to the girlfriend WAS stoned but then again, that’s what she says.

    I think we may find, once the truth start to emerge, that both parties were at fault because there is this sense of entitlement from both sides. Couriers, cyclists, cars, scooters, motorcycles ALL are stupid at some point and tragedies ensue. How many time have we seen a courier zoom down the road, jump on the sidewalk regardless of pedestrians’ safety just to make it to the front door of a building to deliver this “VERY RUSH” envelope? I’ve seen it again and again in the downtown core.

    I just hope (against all hope) that the media won’t make it a circus but judging from what’s been happening so far, I think it’s going to happen nonetheless. Of course, the fact that it’s a political figure makes it even more juicier…

  11. Bryant’s defense will be that he was afraid the bike guy would beat him up (he couldn’t hide in the car because it was a convertible and I think the roof was down). But when one road rager is driving 2 tons of metal and the other is not, you can guess who is going to lose. If Bryant had stopped the car and they’d beat on each other, at least they both still be alive. A rational person does not keep driving the car, trying the “brush” the person off against hedges and trees.

    So Bryant’s other defense will be temporary insanity. Because he lost perspective (rationality) which is one definition of what insanity is.

  12. Hannah – I haven’t heard that smashed baby story. There seem to be so many of those these days, I hate reading them. And ya, Polly said she never had land of her own to work, so this was a joy for her. But, can you imagine going through life with a name like Polly Pollock? What were her parents thinking?

    Friar – I’m sure if god’s paying attention to any of this nonsense, that’s exactly what he’ll do. Although since that’s what we’re expecting him to do, he might not — he’s kind of all about big surprises.

    Loth – Of course! Thanks for clearing that up. I thought you might have some insight into this story.

    UA – No question couriers work in a dog-eat-dog world and cut a lot of corners when it comes to personal safety and abiding by traffic laws. I suspect the whole thing is going to be swept under the carpet once the media frenzy dies down.

    Julia – Ah, I didn’t know he was in a convertible. Let that be a lesson to him to drive a sensible car and not some flashy show-off car! Also, he’s just been out to dinner with his wife – do you suppose he’d had absolutely NOTHING to drink?? A cocktail and bottle of wine could explain some of his poor judgement

  13. We may be missing some of the details about the Bryant Sheppard catastrophe. As said Bryant was in a convertible and therefore he and his wife were in possible danger if the cyclist was belligerent. The other thing to think of is that although we have heard of only one biker they usually travel in gangs and biker gangs can be very dangerous and scary. I think it is informative that one of the first things he did was to hire a PR firm to guide him through this. Stay tuned and hold onto your hat the spin is beginning.

  14. @Julia – I don’t know that people act rationally when other people are angrly hanging from thier cars. I think you have it right though. I think his defence lawyer is going to say that he was threatened and did what he did to protect himself and his wife. Sadly, we’ll never hear the other side of the story.

    @XUP – Now that you mention it, the Scottish story probably was specifically vauge. Probably made for a more interesting read than the “Scotts are drinking themselves to death” option.

  15. 1. Flying foxes? Really? Man, with those things flying hither and nither, poisonous snakes and spiders plus great whites of the coast, it’s no wonder they drink a lot Down Under.

    2. What Bandobras said re: dickheads. And I gotta say that ol’ Polly is either high as a kite, having a really satisfying BM or is staring at ET.

    3. Note to self – don’t have surgery in Scotland. In a distantly-sorta-related story didja hear that at least 475 people — mostly Han Chinese — have been randomly stabbed with syringes in China? Some reports say up to 1,000 people have been jabbed with syringes and that many did not even know it until the perpetrators ran away.

    4. A 19 yr old with cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism is just plain sad.

    5. It’s shocking cuz it was a “plinth” and not the more naked-friendly “plonkth”. Damn English will never learn.

    OK.I made up that word.

    6. Stooooopid thing for the ex-AG to do… BUT, I have been cut-off, bumped into, almost tee-boned by and damn near run over by cyclists on many occasions. The vast majority of them do not respect the rules of the road whatsoever. However, the difference between me and the guy-whose-career-is-kaput is that I haven’t killed anyone… you’d think he would have had the presence of mind to chill before acting.

    7. Ah, them crazy baptists. Something I just don’t get about christians is their professed love for some guy with the intials JC… who, like me, was a peacenik. And then, in his name, they go off and advocate the killing of blacks, muslims, gays, liberals, pro-lifers, jews, a-rabs, pro gun-control folks, and now Presidents. Hmmmm…

  16. USA – Gotta love the fundies

    Gabon – all hell broke loose after the recent election. The french embassy was burned down among other mayhem.

  17. Bandobras – Ya, it’ll be interesting what they find decide to tell us about what they figure out.

    MG – A bizarre news story which ever angle you view it from.

    Trashee – If those foxes can fly, who’s to say they won’t fly over here and start exchanging bodily fluids with our horses who will then want to exchange bodily fluids with us and then we’re all gonna die!! We need that vaccine pronto!! And, are you really surprised that religion leads to violence and craziness? Hasn’t pretty much all the violence and craziness in the world sprung from religion one way or another? Don’t you find that odd? I always did.

    Jazz- Damn those Gaboners. Why can’t they learn to behave themselves like civilized people like the rest of us. (see examples above)

  18. Man! I totally read that as “Eighty-two year old Polly Pollock has spent the last 16 years TAKING a dump near a housing estate…”


    I think I am safe from the Hendra Virus as I pathologically avoid horse juices and flying foxes.

    And, finally, Gareth Anderson is a drunk after my own heart!

  19. holy crap maybe i should start reading the news again, these are hilarious.

    the last one, the baptist minister is nothing short of an idiot.

    i love this quote, “they’re a bunch of dickheads.” that’s a really shitty thing to do after all of her hard work.