Oddly Enough Blog http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough News, but not the serious kind Thu, 15 Dec 2011 07:12:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 The last huzzah? http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/15/the-last-huzzah/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/15/the-last-huzzah/#comments Thu, 15 Dec 2011 07:12:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72210

So this is the end. The last post for this blog.

It’s a good thing we’ve said our farewells, because this is also the last day for new comments.

Today, this site freezes in time. You can always revisit it for a little nostalgia, like that old amusement park in the creepy part of town, with all the chains and cobwebs.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain was fond of telling his supporters, “Stupid people are ruining America!”

Well, maybe that’s true, Herman, but stupid people also provide cheap entertainment, which is a useful service. We should thank them for it, without using any big words.

My readers, my commenters, my friends, you are the best. You can find me on Facebook. Some of you have even found me in person, so please remember I know how to get restraining orders.

A new chapter begins today for the Oddly Enough Blog crew.

Lamar, my very popular sidekick, has been secretive about his plans, but I know he is up to something big. He’s so incredibly inept, how can he fail?

As for the old Blog Guy, I’m off to pursue my dream of running a third-rate Tiki Bar, Foot-Wash and Elephant Proctology Lab on the beach at Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, a spot my readers know well. You’ll recognize my place from the Basler BT-67 parked nose-down, out in back.

If you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to ask my advice on fashion, travel, careers, language, gadgets or whatever. As you’ve come to find out, I’m equally misinformed about everything.

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Top: Dr Thomas Hildebrandt of Berlin’s Institute for Biology and Wildlife Research cleans the rectum of Jamilah, a 29-year-old female elephant, before conducting a four-dimensional ultrasound examination on her at the Night Safari in Singapore April 11, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Chong

Right: Enthusiasts gather to drink medovukha, an alcholic honey based drink similar to mead, during a meeting of the Honey Club in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, August 13, 2011. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Right: LaMar’s Donuts, Aurora, Colorado, photo submitted by Matt Wedemeier

Bottom right: A soldier washes his feet at a military barracks in Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, November 3, 2010. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

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The best goofy but true stories from 2011 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/14/the-best-goofy-but-true-stories-from-2011/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/14/the-best-goofy-but-true-stories-from-2011/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 12:41:17 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72353

As I said recently in a post which began a countdown to tomorrow’s final entry in this blog, one of the things I have enjoyed most is presenting stories that are goofy but true.

Sure, it’s fun to make up funny stuff and riff on news photos, but real life often finds a way to top me.

Here are my seven favorite TRUE stories featured in my blog this year.

7. Come over to my yard for a fling?

We’ve had fun with an epidemic of consumer product recalls this year, but I still break out laughing over this one, a hammock that was recalled because its wooden stand may break ““if left outdoors.”

6. Wouldn’t hanging them be more humane?

What can I say? A prison program designed to rehabilitate prisoners by teaching them to play the bagpipes.

5. What year is it again?

An item in which we learned that in Peru, shops, banks and buses don’t allow blind people to enter with their guide dogs. Really.

4. I hope you’re proud of yourself

We met a lawyer who has appealed his client’s conviction of raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl on the grounds that a dog was used to comfort her during her testimony at trial.

3. Creepy gets a whole lot creepier?

We all remember this one, about a city in Turkey that has equipped the local morgue with the latest motion detector gadgetry in case any of the bodies stored there have been declared dead by mistake.

2. Stilettos making a comeback?

The year saw more than its fair share of bizarre legislation passed, but first prize probably goes to the Maine lawmakers who approved legalizing switchblade knives, but only for people with one arm.

1. Maybe the worst idea EVER?

Yeah, still my favorite. A plan to have prison inmates respond to emergencies, including residential fires, to work alongside “traditional” firefighters. What could possibly go wrong?

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Top: Inmates play bagpipes as part of their routine training inside Kotbhalwal central jail in Jammu May 20, 2011. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Jane Cosar and her guide dog walk in front of the conductor of a bus who refused to let her board the bus in Lima September 29, 2011. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Right: Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush walk past a hammock as they exit their summit meeting and head to a joint news availability at the Bush family home on Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine, July 2, 2007. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

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You’ve got till tomorrow to pay up, pal… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/14/youve-got-till-tomorrow-to-pay-up-pal/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/14/youve-got-till-tomorrow-to-pay-up-pal/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2011 10:32:12 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72182  

Blog Guy, I know you’re following the New Hampshire primary closely for your readers. All state primaries follow pretty much the same format, right?

Not at all. The New Hampshire race mainly involves a series of physical challenges between hopefuls and local voters. The one who wins the most fights wins the primary.

Wait just a minute, Blog Guy. Is that really true?

Sure. Here you can see former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney arm-wrestling a barber in Manchester. Romney beat the guy.

And here on the right is a photo of almost-candidate Donald Trump, picking a fight with a New Hampshire resident a few months ago. It’s a very brutal system.

Why don’t you have photos of the other front-runner, Newt Gingrich, in one of these fights.

As you can see here, Newt tends to hide and then jump out at the last minute.

This is very stupid, Blog Guy. Hey, in that other shot, why does the guy Romney just beat look so upset, like he’s gonna cry?

Oh, Romney just explained they had a $10,000 bet on the match.

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Top and right: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) talks to barber Willie Babeau at Chez Vachon Restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire December 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Right: Real estate magnate Donald Trump jokes with Robert La Mattina, owner of Tokyo Joe’s School of Self Defense in Nashua, New Hampshire while touring a Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce business expo at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, New Hampshire, May 11 2011. REUTERS/Don Himsel/Pool

Left: U.S. Republican presidential candidate former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich covers his face with his hands during his Lincoln-Douglas style debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire December 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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The stuff dream photos are made of… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/13/the-stuff-dream-photos-are-made-of/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/13/the-stuff-dream-photos-are-made-of/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:13:03 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72284

Hey, Blog Guy, I’m here! Do  you recognize me?

I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?

No, you dimwit. This isn’t “A Christmas Carol.” I’m the guy who sets up all those great fantasy photos for your readers, so I’m sorry to see it’s going away.

Well, thanks for all your good work. You’ve pulled off pictures I would have thought impossible, especially the ones involving world leaders.

You’re much too kind, Blog Guy. With the huge budget you gave me, let’s just say miracles could be performed.

I loved that time you got Nicolas Sarkozy to grab

Yeah, I know the one you mean. You’ve used it over and over in your blog.

And getting Muammar Gaddafi and Hugo Chavez to drive around together. I’ve used that one a lot, too.

So there’s still some money left, Blog Guy. Any fantasy photos of your own before this all ends?

Could you have Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dress up like shaggy dogs and eat pickles and radishes?

That’s easy. Here you go, Blog Guy.

Wow! Okay, one more. Can you photograph German Chancellor Angela Merkel doing dishes?

Hmmmmm. Not in a sink with suds, but I think I can get her to use a dishwasher. Is that good enough?

That sure works for me!

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Top: Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi smile during their informal supper at the Zavidovo residence outside Moscow, February 3, 2003. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/KREMLIN PRESS SERVICE

Right: German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks at a dishwasher during the presentation of the first fully functional “Energy Surplus House” in Berlin, December 7, 2011.REUTERS/Bernd Settnik/Pool

Left: French yachtswoman Maud Fontenoy poses with France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy after she was awarded Chevalier of the French order of Merit during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 12, 2007. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Bottom right: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (R) drives Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s limousine as they arrive at an event in Margarita Island September 28, 2009. REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout

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Seinfeld, a show about bupkis… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/13/seinfeld-a-show-about-bupkis/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/13/seinfeld-a-show-about-bupkis/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:00:32 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=71988

Blog Guy, you have the most authoritative entertainment news anywhere, so I’m coming to you first about something I heard.

There’s a rumor that my all-time favorite sitcom, “Seinfeld,” is coming back to TV next season. Any chance it’s true?

Basically, yes. They’re shooting it now, with Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus reprising their original roles.

That’s GREAT! I can’t wait to see what they…. Hey, wait a minute. What about Kramer?

Well, that’s the new twist. Kramer is out. Instead of New York City, the other three live in Israel, and their wacky neighbor across the hall is President Shimon Peres. I’m telling you, the stuff those guys get up to…

I have to say, Blog Guy, that sounds to me like a VERY different show.

No, it’s pretty much the same, apart from being totally in Hebrew. They’re even recycling some of their more successful plots.

Really? So what’s going on in this top photo, with Seinfeld and Peres?

I believe Jerry is talking to Shimon about some kind of contest the four of them are having. I wish I could tell you more, but this is a family blog…

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Top: Israel’s President Shimon Peres (R) meets U.S. comedian, actor and writer Jerry Seinfeld in Jerusalem November 23, 2007, in this handout photo by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO). REUTERS/Moshe Milner/GPO/Handout

Left: Peres meets actor Jason Alexander at the president’s residence in Jerusalem October 25, 2011. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Right: Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends a ceremony to unveil her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, May 4, 2010. REUTERS/Fred ProuserREUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

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Yule laugh, yule cry… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/12/yule-laugh-yule-cry/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/12/yule-laugh-yule-cry/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 10:51:01 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=71331

Blog Guy, what do you think is the biggest holiday for your blog?

Christmas, for sure. We celebrate it for most of the year. Not only that, we’re able to appreciate BOTH holidays.

You mean the religious Christmas and commercial Christmas?

No, I mean the magical goosebump childhood excitement Christmas, and the darkly absurd, “Look, somebody shot at Santa’s helicopter!” Christmas.

Well, those two aspects do fit together better than most people think, don’t they?

Indeed, it’s almost like “The Gift of the Magi.”

In the midsts of this wonderful season, here are eight of my favorite blog posts from Christmas past. In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!”

8. “I’m Santa! HO HO hold your fire!”

7. Heartwarming holiday story restores my faith in man…

6.The Steamy Lingerie Models who Saved Christmas!

5. Have yourself a creepy little Christmas?

4. Eleven pipers piping, ten snipers sniping…

3. Dogs and their Christmas Decorations

2. How Blog Guy made the naughty list

1. You must be Round John Virgin?

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Top: A dog sits beside Christmas decorations displayed along a busy street in Manila December 11, 2010. REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

Left: Model Marisa Miller presents a creation during the 2009 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York November 19, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Right: Participants in SantaCon Boston 2010, a gathering of people dressed as Santa going from bar to bar, drink at the Asgard Pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts December 18, 2010.     REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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She’s goin’ for your knee again, Ronald http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/11/shes-goin-for-your-knee-again-ronald/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/11/shes-goin-for-your-knee-again-ronald/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2011 14:51:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72231

Blog Guy, with your blog going away soon, we need some closure regarding Ronald Basler.

You mean that total stranger whose spam keeps landing in my rbasler e-mail account?

Yeah. Remember, the last time we looked at the spam Ronald seemed to be shopping for a Russian bride, but then it looked like he was being unfaithful to her, getting photos of single women. So what’s he up to now?

I’m still getting mixed signals from his spam. He may be worried about the future, going the tarot card route. He appears to be in a holiday mood, what with a letter from Santa AND personalized Christmas ornaments.

And his career?

He seems to be considering being an event planner, a school counselor or maybe even a marriage counselor, though I’m not sure I’d want marital advice from somebody with his personal track record.

What do you think he looks like, anyway?

Judging from his spam, I don’t think he’s any Brad Pitt. He’s still trying to do something about his severe acne problem, and looking for free laser hair removal.

Ewww! I notice Ronald also seems to have chronic knee pain, Blog Guy. What do you suppose that’s about?

The guy is being unfaithful to a volatile Russian bride who wears stiletto heels. You do the math.

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Top: Screen grab from my actual e-mail inbox

Left: Antonio Vazquez Alba alias “El Brujo Mayor” holds Tarot cards while making a prediction in Mexico City April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Dan

Bottom left: A woman puts on a high-heeled shoe during a high-heel race in St.Petersburg, Russia, July 21, 2007. REUTERS/Alexander DemianchukLopez

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Your favorite posts of all time… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/09/your-favorite-posts-of-all-time/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/09/your-favorite-posts-of-all-time/#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2011 06:33:18 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72086

I mentioned a few days ago that this blog is going away soon, so it seems appropriate to take a look back at what readers clicked on the most.

I must say, this list of the top 10 posts for the past five years surprised me. But I can’t argue with our official traffic statistics, these little nicks by the snack room vending machine were definitely made by Lamar.

Some of the items make sense. People would want to know which jobs they should avoid, what not to do with cameras around, and even the worst idea of all time.

But some of these others just seemed to be popular for no apparent reason. And as for the one in first place, maybe it has something to do with the photo.

Here are your favorites. If you call in the next 30 minutes, this treasured collection can be yours for the low, low price of….

10. Ten jobs you’ll avoid if you’re smart

9. We found him! He really exists!

8. I wish to file for 82 divorces, please…

7. Sarah! Time for another big hug!

6. That just seems CREEPY

5. Maybe the worst idea EVER?

4. Oh sure, Mom, you saw WHO?

3. When models dress themselves

2. Ten stupid things you shouldn’t do with cameras around

And this blog’s most popular post in all recorded history was…

1. You call it fashion, I call it flashin’

 

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Top: A woman (front) kneels down  to get her picture taken beside the table of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) at Yankee Kitchen Family Restaurant during a campaign stop in Boardman, Ohio, August 30, 2008. Obama is joined by vice presidential running mate Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) (R) and their wives Michelle Obama (2nd L) and Jill Biden.   REUTERS/Jim Young

Left: A model displays a creation at the GUT’S DYNAMITE CABARETS 2009 Spring/Summer collection fashion show during Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo September 4, 2008. REUTERS/Michael Caronna

Right A man displays snakes while selling snake oil street-side in Yangon July 22, 2009. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

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Nine ways to lose weight and live forever http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/08/nine-ways-to-lose-weight-and-live-forever/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/08/nine-ways-to-lose-weight-and-live-forever/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2011 15:42:07 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72133

People say to me all the time, “Bob, your blog is SO stupid, how do you get people to read it?”

These folks don’t understand how online journalism works. You can write anything you want, and if you put a good headline on it people will read it. Especially if you hint at immortality, easy weight loss or better sex.

If your headline offers a numbered list, that’s even better. The best thing of all is a moderately clever play on words, which will attract people who think they are smart, and improve your demographics.

Toss in a photo of a nice dog or the Duchess of Cambridge, and it’s a hit.

This is a very good deal, because it means I work about five minutes a day.

Looking back at the blog for this year, here are my favorite headlines. Smart people, come on down!

9. Let me regalia with a story…

8. The Rhymes they are A-Changin’

7. Along came a slider who sat down beside her…

6.  Rewriting Jane, an Austen-tatious move

5. The King’s playin’ with his crotch again

4. The strain on Cain is changing his campaign?

3. Shermanize me another burger, honey!

2. Who’s your crawdaddy now?

And my very favorite headline of 2011…

1, Cleopatra? Who died and made YOU queen?

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Top: Dylan, a Newfoundland dog, pulls Christmas trees from the forest to a customer’s car at Dalby, near Pickering, northern England December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Right: Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in west London December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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He’s making a list, and Czeching it twice… http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/07/hes-making-a-list-and-czeching-it-twice/ http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/2011/12/07/hes-making-a-list-and-czeching-it-twice/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 17:22:14 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/oddly-enough/?p=72049

Blog Guy, I need to tap your background in psychology. I can’t get my husband to enjoy the Christmas holidays. When he sees festive decorations he just breaks down and sobs.

Hmmmm. Did he by any chance grow up in Prague?

Why yes, he spent his childhood there!

I thought as much. Have a look at these photos from Prague, where revelers dressed as Saint Nicholas and a devil approach small children on the street and demand to know if they’ve been good or bad. It’s enough to warp any child for life.

You mean a child has to figure out what a saint and a devil are doing together, and then decide whether to tell them the truth about his behavior?

That’s about it.

But that reduces a lovely tradition to a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity.

Bingo. The very definition of Kafkaesque, and you know where he was from.

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Revelers dressed as Saint Nicholas and a devil look at children at the Old Town Square in Prague, December 5, 2011. The revelers  approached children on the streets as part of a tradition to determine if they had behaved well during the past year; and depending on their answers, would receive presents, sweets or coal accordingly. REUTERS/David W Cerny

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