pupupu People and Society | Weird News - Part 2

10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All Time

johnnie hdr 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Striding Man
All Dressed Up and Somewhere to Go
Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky

Johnnie Walker’s first foray into print advertising left something to be desired: the 1883 illustration featured a broken-hearted Scot boo-hooing over a bottle of whisky smashed at his feet.

The exercise-obsessed dandy who would lead Johnnie Walker to the pinnacle of scotch supremacy didn’t hit the ground walking until 1909. Modeled after the company’s founder, John “Johnnie” Walker, the character was drawn by famed illustrator Tom Browne under the direction of George Walker, John’s grandson. Initially called “The Regency Buck,” the icon’s moniker was later toned down to the more descriptive (if less dashing) “The Striding Man.” The family name had more than a little to do with the logo’s ambulatory nature.

Why It Worked: His top hat, walking stick, breeches and riding boots promise a refined product for an upscale market. Combine that with his elusiveness (yes, he can see you fine through his solid-gold eyeglasses, he simply doesn’t have time to dally with the likes of you) and it makes for a very attractive symbol for the rung-climbing careerist set with money to spend. This formula also dovetails nicely with Johnnie Walker’s ladder of incrementally expensive color-coded whiskies.

Evolution: During the 1950s The Striding Man took a break from pounding the pavement for a bit of sport, appearing in adverts engaged in the gentlemanly pursuits of golf and billiards. He hit the bricks shortly thereafter and remained relatively unchanged until very recently.  All that pacing must have helped him think, because he presently seems to have solved the riddle of invisibility (see right.) If you thought he the was hard to pin down before, try to catch him after he strips down. Why the change? Graphic artists are ever striving to make marketing symbols simpler, and thus easier to recognize. And in this case you’re going to have to recognize him by his threads, because his face has vanished.

Dark Secret: Was once a bootlegger. During America’s bout with prohibition, the distillery engaged in what they called their “special trade,” that being the delivery of boatloads of their whisky into the hands of rumrunners working from small Canadian isles near the U.S. coast.

Claim to Fame: Aside from dominating the world-wide Scotch market, Johnnie Walker is Superman’s choice of liquor.

hamms bear 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Hamm’s Bear
Perhaps a Little Too Happy?
Hamm’s Beer

The joyous bear haunting baby-boomers dreams was conceived by Ojibwa Indian Patrick DesJarlait in 1952. Though his name was never revealed on air, around the brewery he was called Sascha, after the brewery founder’s wife. Which must have thrilled her no end — what woman wouldn’t want to be the namesake of an obese male bear?

Being saddled with a chick name didn’t seem to bother Sascha much. He spent most of his time dancing and getting into weird adventures with the other animals of the forest, to the point one wonders if there was something other than fish in the “Sky Blue Waters.”

The wildly-popular commercials employed plot devices ranging from good old-fashioned fun like pie fights and log rolling to more risque activities, such as train robbery, gunplay, arson, and gleeful wolf-abuse. The spots would saturate the airwaves for over 30 years, which is especially impressive when you consider Spuds MacKenzie lasted less than three.

Why It Worked: Most beer commercials of the day involved some shill bragging about how good their product was, while the Hamm’s spots came equipped with humor, plot and punch line. The occasional interaction between cartoons and real actors was ground breaking—Sascha beat Roger Rabbit to the punch by 40 years.

Evolution: Sascha’s appearance didn’t vary a great deal, aside from slicker graphics and the transition from B&W to color. He sired a cub at one point and eventually learned to speak (his sole utterance: “It bears repeating”). The only major mutation was the occasional Pinocchio-esque transformation into a real bear.

Sascha was eventually and inevitably slain by do-gooders who claimed he was hustling beer to children. The monstrous amount of Sascha-related ephemera cranked out during his long reign has become quite collectable, and the lovable mammal is still celebrated by The Hamm’s Club, which throws a yearly convention.

Dark Secret: Was probably a stoner. All the signs are there: perpetually goofy grin, impromptu hippie-style dancing at the sound of drums, and militant veganism (his single attempt to break his diet with a little fish concluded with him shooting a hole through the bottom of the boat.)

Claim to Fame: Sascha eventually reached such heights of popularity-inspired hubris that he felt compelled to step into the ring with undefeated boxing legend Rocky Marciano (Rocky remained undefeated at the end of the commercial.)

capt morgan 1 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeCaptain Morgan
Preening Pirate or Bloodthirsty Buccaneer?
Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum

He may appear a bit of a fop on the bottle, but the real Captain Morgan was cut from a rougher swath of cloth. Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a Welsh privateer who won English knighthood and historical renown for his daring (and quite bloodthirsty) attacks on Spanish colonies and shipping.

He was also a notorious drunkard. While pirating, and during his stint as the Deputy Governor of Jamaica, he drank rum by the gallon and was a dedicated habitue of the rough-and-tumble taverns of whatever port he might find himself in. He eventually drank himself into his grave.

Why It Worked: Pirates enjoy the same privileged status in the popular consciousness as ninjas, mafioso and gunslingers. At once flamboyant, murderous and disdainful of authority, the pirate was the ultimate rebel. And what red-blooded drunkard hasn’t yearned to sail the high seas in search of rum, wenches, and adventure?

Evolution: In the initial 1950s adverts, the Captain appeared unarmed and with his hat respectfully doffed (he was often found in the company of high-society types), but the homicidal gleam in his eye was unmistakable. No doubt fantasizing about running the gang of snobs through with his cutlass and making off with their wives and wallets.

They started “spicing” the rum in the 1980s and the icon became rather spicy himself. He shed his social graces, put his hat back on, and began brandishing his sword in a menacing fashion.

The present, more cartoonish incarnation of the Captain was drawn by fantasy and sci-fi artist Don Maitz, and while there is still fire in the Captain’s eyes, it seems more the leer of a sexual predator than the bloodthirsty gleam of a proper pirate.

Dark Secret: Though the label insinuates otherwise, the rum has no historical connection to its namesake. The Captain Morgan Rum Company came into existence in  1943 and didn’t start using Morgan’s image until the early 1950s. The “original” spiced version was introduced in 1983.

Claim to Fame: Killed legendary drunkard and actor Oliver Reed. Reed had a heart attack after downing three bottles of Captain Morgan’s Jamaican Rum (along with beer and other liquors) and whipping five Royal Navy sailors at arm wrestling in a pub on the island of Malta.

guinness toucan 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Guinness Toucan
Who Knew What a Toucan Could Do?
Guinness Stout

After relying on word of mouth for 170 years, Guinness rolled out its first advertising campaign in 1929. The memorable tag lines “Guinness is good for you,” “My goodness, my Guinness,” and “Guinness for strength,” quickly embedded in the public consciousness. (The  even more striking, though now less publicized, “Drink Guinness for a healthy baby and painless birth” was also an early motto.) These slogans were paired up with whimsical paintings by artist John Gilroy, including iconic posters featuring Guinness-strengthened chaps effortlessly hefting steel girders and pulling horse carts.

A fortuitous 1934 visit to a local zoo inspired Gilroy to populate his art with a menagerie of animals, including a pelican, a kangaroo, a sea lion, a turtle, an ostrich and a toucan. The pelican was originally intended to be the star of the group. Gilroy had an idea about encouraging Brits to drink “a Guinness a day,” so the pelican was pictured with its beak loaded with seven pints, accompanied by the verse:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
Its bill can hold more than its belly can.
It can hold in its beak
Enough for a week
I simply don’t know how the hell he can

Which didn’t go over so well, making one wonder if it was the word “hell” or the suspicion that the pelican might swallow all seven pints at once that stuck in the public’s craw. Popular mystery writer and poet Dorothy L. Sayers, working on behalf of the advertising firm S.H. Bensons, was tapped to pen a less offensive rhyme. No stranger to homonyms, Sayers came up with this winning ditty:

If he can say as you can
‘Guinness is good for you’
How grand to be a Toucan!
Just think what Toucan do.

Toucan did quite well, thank you very much. Muscling aside the foul-mouthed seabird, the exotic understudy soon became the star of the show. It eventually went solo and in time became synonymous with the Irish stout.

After nearly 50 years in the limelight, the toucan was retired in 1982, though a comeback tour has been rumored: in May 2006, Toucan Brew was introduced as part of the Guinness Brewhouse series, and its beak has lately been poking into a number of billboards around the UK.

Why It Worked: The toucan’s bright colors and the faraway locale it referenced were a welcome escape from the gray days of the economic depression of the 1930s and the wartime horrors of the 1940s. And its incongruity certainly hooked the imagination: what in high hell was a bizarre-looking tropical bird doing in Britain with a pint balanced on its beak?

Evolution: Under Gilroy’s firm hand, the toucan’s physical appearance didn’t vary much during its long rein, aside from its smile becoming more pronounced and mysterious. Its pose, however, changed with the times: it perched on a nest with its mate during the peacetime 1930s, flew in formation during the war, and popped a bottle cap and announced it was “opening time” during the reconstruction of the 1950s. Like most icons, it was never portrayed drinking the product.

Dark Secret: In the 1950s the toucan engaged in a bit of political incorrectness: in one ad it is seen wearing an Indian chief’s headdress and addressing the consumer in pidgin English: “Guinness—him strong. See what big chief Toucan do.”

Claim to Fame: A 1962 advertising study vetted the Guinness toucan as the most recognizable animal advertising icon in the world.

mr boston hdr 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeMr. Boston
The Streetwise Dandy
Mr. Boston Distillery

The Old Mr. Boston distillery sprang to life in 1933, founded by Boston natives Irwin Benjamin and Hyman C. Berkowitz. There was no real Mr. Boston, the icon is merely an artist’s conception of what a genteel 19th century Bostonian who liked a bit of liquor might look like. He was formally introduced to the drinking community in the inaugural 1935 edition of the Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide with this glowing copy:

He is a jolly fellow, one of those rare individuals, everlastingly young, a distinct personality and famous throughout the land for his sterling qualities and genuine good fellowship. His friends number in the millions, those who are great and those who are near great, even as you and I. He is jovial and ever ready to accept the difficult role of “Life of the Party,” a sympathetic friend who may be relied upon in any emergency.

While it’s easy to think of the beaver-hatted Mr. Boston as Johnnie Walker’s Yank cousin, Mr. B is by no means snooty. Far from it. Would a snob attach his visage and reputation to a mint-flavored gin, much less something called Wild Cherry Nectar? Assuredly not.

If anything, Mr. Boston is a rebel, a bold innovator willing to disregard any rule you care to set in front of him. During his long history, the gent has not only smiled agreeably from bottles of vodka, whiskey, rum, schnapps and gin, but also from, shall we say, less conventional potations. Have a hankering  for Pineapple-Flavored Gin? Blackberry Liqueur? A goddamn 12-pack of “Five Star Brandy?” Mr. B has you covered.

Why It Worked: Though his rarefied appearance suggests a superior product, his portly stature, easy-going grin, and the fact he was sometimes pictured casually slumped in a chair suggested he was willing to hook you up with a deal.

Evolution: Because the distillery changed hands on a regular basis, Mr. Boston was forced to endure a multitude of transformations. During the youth-worshipping 1970s, “Old” was dropped and he became progressively younger and more dissolute-appearing. In the mid-‘8os he vanished altogether (there were rumors he had checked into rehab). In 1995 Barton Inc. acquired the brand and brought back a simplified version of the original middle-aged gent.

Dark Secret: During the 1980s Mr. Boston’s line of budget-priced flavored brandies were a skid-row staple.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s and Party Guide is the best-selling cocktail guide ever.

miller girl 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Girl in the Moon
The Lunar Lady Is Watching You
Miller High Life Beer

Generations of High Lifers know her well, and they should: she’s been giving them the eye from the neck of The Champagne of Beers for a century. The mysterious belle raising a toast from the Moon was reputedly modeled on the granddaughter of company founder Frederick Miller. In her first appearance in 1903 she stood tippy-toe on a crate of beer with a whip in her hand, apparently working as an animal tamer of sorts. She traded the whip for a tray of beer shortly thereafter and seemed doomed to remain in that uncomfortable position until A. C. Paul, of Miller’s marketing division, got lost in the woods during an outing and had a “vision” of a “girl in the Moon” pointing the way back to civilization. Paul eventually found his way out of the woods (perhaps after sobering up a bit) and in 1907 the Miller girl found herself with a one-way ticket to the Moon.

At its peak in 1979, High Life was the number two beer in the land. It has since sunk to ninth place, well behind its upstart sibling Miller Lite.

Why It Worked: Mysterious, other-worldly and radiating gentility, the lunar lady is the very personification of understated class, which is perfect for a lager comparing itself to champagne.

Evolution: After ditching the whip, beer crate and tray, the Lady has remained a citizen of the Moon. The style of illustration has changed with the times and she has had occasion to shift her position (and who can blame her, that sliver of moon can’t be all that comfortable), sometimes facing to the right, with arm dramatically outstretched toward civilization, other times casually toasting the drinker.

Dark Secret: A high-minded but short-lived 2006 television campaign featuring a talking real-life Girl in the Moon failed so miserably that Miller fired the responsible advertising firm. Seems High Life drinkers preferred the Lunar Lady be seen but not heard.

Claim to Fame: Is the longest-lived icon in the history of American brewing.

schlitz bull2 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All Time The Blue Bull
Pop the Top, I Dare You
Schlitz Malt Liquor

Believe it or not, when Schlitz added malt liquor to its stable in 1963, their plan was to market it to an upscale clientele.  This was before malt liquor had acquired its rough and tumble reputation, and the marketing boys thought the stronger, richer, less carbonated brew might appeal to the sort of sport who imbibed imported ales in between cruising around in his MG Midget.

A far cry from today’s 64 oz behemoths of instant street cred, it was initially sold in dainty 8 oz cans, and print ads went so far as to suggest you should enjoy it on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Though they were also quick to point out it was smooth enough to sip “straight up.” Uh-huh.

Another ad featured a wealthy matron wrapped in pearls giggling over a tray of long-stemmed glasses bearing a bull logo, paired with the copy: “Mildred never used to be famous for her parties. Then she introduced Schlitz Malt Liquor.” Yeah. Bet it gave Mildred a big ol’ boost up the social ladder.

Unsurprisingly, this woefully misguided marketing strategy barely survived the decade. A much more masculine campaign kicked off in 1972 with a flurry of TV spots revolving around the idea that popping a can of Schlitz entailed the kind of macho excitement only a marauding 2000-lb bull bursting through the nearest wall and ripping the shit out of everything in sight could generate.

Why It Worked: Though the angry bull logo was the product of happenstance rather than the brain-child of cynical Madison Avenue types, it could well have been. Higher-alcohol content and bolder taste demands virile and macho imagery (see Colt .45, King Cobra, etc.) and historically, all the way back to those bull-worshipping Minoans, nothing suggests virility and machismo more than a bull with a bad attitude.

Evolution: The raging bull we’ve come to know and love appeared in Schlitz’s print advertising as early as 1933. Why a bull? Because Schlitz Brewery heir Henry Uihlein’s pride and joy was a prize Brahma named Prince. When Schlitz kicked off their malt liquor brand, the logo on the cans was a stately bull head that wouldn’t look out of place in a Minoan fresco (see right). Eight years later, once they realized who their market really was, the raging blue version made its leap onto the product and TV screens alike. Since then the icon has changed very little, aside from steadily growing in size on the cans and bottles. Spin-offs of the original formula featured a change in hue (Red Bull XL Malt Liquor), and a snarling “xtreme” bull head with a prominent nose ring (Bull Ice).

Dark Secret: Zane, the one-ton Brahma bull featured in the TV spots, was an eunuch. He was neutered in his youth and reputedly was as gentle as a lamb (and one helluva an actor.)

Claim to Fame: Took the silver in the malt liquor category at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival. The less venerable (though equally macho) Samurai Malt Liquor took the gold–go figure.

wild turkey 1 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Wild Turkey
The Dirty Bird Comes Clean
Wild Turkey Bourbon

According to company legend, Wild Turkey got its name via this charming tale: In 1940, Austin, Nichols and Co. executive Thomas McCarthy brought a jug of undiluted high-proof bourbon to share with his friends during their annual turkey shoot. His chums liked it so much they insisted he bring more of that “wild turkey bourbon” to future outings. McCarthy, a N.Y. businessman with a background in marketing, figured there might be a demand beyond his hunt-mates and launched the brand in 1952.

Nothing enthralls a bourbon drinker more than knowing the aged corn liquor he holds in his hand was conspired by a bewhiskered 19th-century hillbilly, which explains why bourbon distilleries spend so much of their advertising budgets obsessing about their respective histories. Austin, Nichols and Co. (originally a N.Y. based food distributor) likes to hint that they can trace their liquor lineage to 1869, but the fact of the matter is they’re adopting the history of a distiller (Ripy Brothers) they bought out in the mid-20th century.

Though it hardly matters. Wild Turkey, under the firm hand of master distiller Jimmy Russel, continues to produce excellent high-proof bourbons in an era when other distillers (see Jack Daniels) are watering down their liquors at the behest of marketing surveys.

Why It Worked: The wild turkey is a crafty and, might I say, tasty creature. Benjamin Franklin was so taken by its charms that he wanted it to be our fledgling nation’s national symbol instead of the bald eagle. And since Wild Turkey doesn’t own a deep history that would allow them to put a bewhiskered hillbilly founder on the label, the next best thing is an animal hillbillies might want to shoot.

Evolution: Aside from the usual simplification, the turkey has changed very little during its relatively short history. While it appears on the entire range of Wild Turkey products, its position and size varies somewhat: it appears largest and proudest on the label of the 101-proof Russel’s Reserve, and hides almost shamefully on the neck of their 60-proof honey liquor.

Dark Secret: It may say Real Kentucky on the label, but Wild Turkey is owned by Frenchmen. The Pernod-Ricard Group bought the distillery in 1980, and they’re not too shy about the fact. Says master distiller Jimmy Russell: “Wild Turkey is a little family distillery. It’s just that the family lives in Paris.”

Claim to Fame: Was Hunter S. Thompson’s choice of liquor. He rarely traveled without at least one bottle in his bag.

jager 2 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All TimeThe Jäger Deer
Shoot Me, Shoot Jesus
Jägermeister Liqueur

There is something unsettling about the level gaze of the Jägermeister deer. While most animal icons demurely look askance, this beast stares you directly in the eye. It also appears to have Christ on its side, or at least on its mind.

Jägermeister is German for “expert hunter” and if you examine the edge of the label you’ll find a German poem by Otto von Riesenthal, which roughly translates into:

This is the hunter’s badge of honour
That he protect and nourish his game
Hunt sportingly, as is proper
And honor the Creator in creation.

So what’s with all the religious stuff? you’re probably thinking. The deer’s got a neon cross stuck in its antlers and the label’s got some goofy rhyme kissing up to the Creator–what gives?

Well, back around the 7th Century, a pagan sportsman named Hubert was about to bag a magnificent stag when a glowing crucifix appeared between its antlers. And if that wasn’t disconcerting enough, Christ himself gave a shout out, proclaiming in a very loud voice: “Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord and lead a holy life, you shall quickly fall into the abyss of Hell!”

Hubert didn’t need to be told twice. He was soon ordained and spent the rest of his life putting the arm on the local pagans and idolaters and erecting monasteries. Then, long after he died, he became St. Hubert, patron saint of hunters. And opticians, but that’s another story.

So, in 1935, Curt Mast, an avid hunter and inheritor of a venerable German distillery, adapted the legend and imagery of St. Hubert to his spanking new concoction. A combination of 56 herbs, roots and spices, Jägermeister was meant to be something you’d more likely keep in your medicine rather than liquor cabinet. Early advertising swore it was a cure for incessant coughs, digestive problems and other common ailments. It became somewhat popular in Germany, but that was about it.

The Jäger blitz, launched in 1970, targeted nearly every country on the planet, and was met with immediate success. Eschewing traditional advertising methods, the liqueur was introduced with a clever grassroots strategy of throwing bar parties (manned by squads of “Jägerettes”) and sponsoring hard-drinking metal bands, including Metallica, Pantera and Slayer. Its rapid expansion was also facilitated by false rumors suggesting the liqueur contained deer blood and/or heroin extract.

Evolution: The Jäger deer hasn’t changed a hair since it appeared 70 years ago, and isn’t likely to, so long as it maintains its stranglehold on the liqueur shot niche.

Dark Secret: Jäger creator Curt Mast was allegedly a member of the Nazi party and fast friends with Hermann Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe.

Claim to Fame: The de rigueur shot of frat boys and bikers alike, Jägermeister succeeded in capturing the highly-prized middle ground between girly and manly shots.

bacardi bat 2 10 Greatest Alcohol Icons of All Time The Barcardi Bat
Piss Off the Bat and He’ll Bomb You
Barcardi Rum

If company legend is to be believed (and it rarely should), a bat found its way onto the Bacardi label in 1862 because the wife of the distillery’s founder noticed a colony of fruit bats hanging around the rafters of the converted warehouse that was their first distillery. The bat was considered a noble and lucky creature by the local Cubans, so it seemed a smart move to attach the symbol to the fledgling rum.

An alternative history, strenuously denied by Bacardi, is that the bat got the nod because every morning distillery workers had to fish the lucky, noble, and thoroughly intoxicated creatures out of the rum vats.

The rum found quick favor in Cuba and spread rapidly throughout the Americas. Prohibition gave it a boost, thanks to Cuba’s close proximity to the U.S. coast,  and by the ‘50s the bat was flying high as the best-selling rum in the U.S.

Then came the communists. Despite the fact that the Bacardi family helped bankroll the Cuban Revolution, they were driven out of the country and their holdings nationalized when Fidel Castro seized power. The Bacardi clan never forgave this betrayal, and have used their considerable political and financial influence to make things difficult for Cuba ever since.

Why It Worked: The aforementioned locals not only considered the bat good mojo, they were also largely illiterate. They couldn’t read the verbose Spanish praising the product on the early labels, but they could recognize the bat just fine. When the rum spread to more literate countries, the exotic mammal matched up well with what Westerners thought of rum: nocturnal danger with a hint of vampirism.

Evolution: The prototype bat was a fatter specimen, but aside from the usual streamlining, Bacardi has remained true to the original logo.

Dark  Secret: Embittered Bacardi helmsman Jose Pepin Bosch bought a surplus B-26 bomber with the hopes of bombing his ex-pal Fidel’s oil refineries (the bold plan was foiled when a picture of the bomber appeared on the front page of New York Times). He was also allegedly involved in the CIA plot to assassinate Castro.

Claim to Fame: Bacardi was the first “civilized” rum. The founder, Spanish emigrant Don Facundo Bacardi Masso, tamed the raw New World spirit by experimenting with charcoal filtering and oak barrel aging.

21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)

Poor Man’s Hummer
Jonesville, Virginia:
William Anderson, 51, was arrested after attracting attention by applying for welfare at the department of social services while driving an H2 Hummer. Thinking it an odd sight, the local sheriff ran the plates, and the vehicle came up as stolen.

franksingleton 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)Repeat Offender
West Palm Beach, Florida:
Things were looking up for Frank Singleton, 21, as he was released from jail. However, when he realized that he didn’t have a ride home, he walked straight into the prison parking lot and attempted to carjack a woman. He was foiled when he realized that he couldn’t drive a car with a stick shift. As he was re-arrested — this time, for felony carjacking — Singleton told police that he simply “didn’t feel like walking.”

Now Hiring
Athens, Georgia:
Demetrius Robinson, 28, wanted to rob a Golden Pantry store late one night, but he needed to pass the time as naturally as possible until he and the clerk were alone, so he decided to fill out a job application. Not a bad idea, except he left his real name on the application, along with his uncle’s phone number. After he robbed the store, it didn’t take long for police to track him down. He didn’t get the job.

chriskron 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)Worst. Burglar. Ever.
Fort Myers Beach, Florida: Amateur criminal and professional dimwit Christopher Kron created his own personal “how not to commit burglary” instructional video when he tried to rob a restaurant after closing one night. Mistake #1: He tripped the alarm when he broke in. Mistake #2: He failed to flee after hearing the (not silent) alarm. Mistake #3: When ADT called the restaurant after being notified of the alarm, Kron answered the phone. Mistake #4: He gave the ADT employee his real name. Mistake #5: When he finally got the bright idea to leave, all he took was a bottle of Grand Marnier and a beer. Mistake #6: Having gotten away with the crime, he returned to the restaurant the next day and was recognized by an employee who had seen the surveillance video. Kron was arrested on the spot.

Dumb in an Elevator
Oslo, Norway: Two men in their early 20s (age and IQ) decided to vandalize an elevator in a train station by violently kicking the closed doors…while they were still inside. The doors jammed, and the elevator stopped, sounding an alarm that alerted security guards. The guards tried to lower the elevator, but the doors jammed even more, so they called the police and the fire department. The two vandals were eventually freed — and promptly arrested. Their actions were recorded on the elevator’s security camera.

Keep Your Eye on the Road
Osternarke, Sweden: A 56-year-old woman’s boldly dumb defense in her trial for drunken driving was that the alcohol did not affect her driving because she kept one eye closed to avoid seeing double. She was sentenced to two months in prison.

randylewis 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)World’s Greatest Dad
Bristol, Tennessee:
In his stunted way of thinking, Randy Lewis, 43, was at least trying to be responsible by not driving drunk during a beer run. Instead, he had his 10-year-old son drive. The boy proceeded to crash the car at an estimated 90 miles per hour. The elder Lewis had not only a blood-alcohol content of over three times the state limit, but he also had cocaine in his system — not to mention two other children in the vehicle. Lewis was charged with drunk driving, reckless endangerment and child abuse and was booked wearing a t-shirt reading “Buy this dad a beer.”

Note to Self
Marysville, California: Arthur Cheney, 64, was arrested after police spotted him driving a car that resembled one used in a local bank robbery. Something told them that they had their man when they noticed a yellow Post-It note on the car’s center console with a handwritten message reading, “Robbery – 100s and 50s only.”

krystianbala 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)A Novel Approach
Wroclaw, Poland: Polish author Krystian Bala, 34, might’ve gotten away with murder…if he hadn’t written about it in his book. His 2003 novel Amok became a beststeller in Poland, but he paid the price when police noticed that the details of a murder in the book eerily matched those of an unsolved 2000 case. The similarities led the police to investigate further, discovering connections between Bala and the victim, including the fact that the victim was romantically involved with Bala’s ex-wife. Although it wasn’t proven that the author was the sole perpetrator, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail for his part in the crime.

Pee Bandits
Crescent City, California:
Krystal Evans, 26, and Denise McClure, 24, were arrested for destruction of evidence when they sifted through a DHL delivery van looking for Evans’ probation-mandatory urine sample that was on its way to a forensic lab. The pair knew that Evans’ sample would test positive, meaning she’d be sent back to jail, so they attempted to grab the urine before it reached its destination. The driver, however, caught them and called the cops. Ironically, Evans’ sample tested negative, but the sample she had to give after being arrested for the pee caper came up positive for meth.

charlesfuller 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)Billion Dollar Dummy
Dallas, Texas: Rule #1 of trying to cash a bogus check: make it out for a reasonable amount. Charles Ray Fuller, 21, broke that rule and all conventions of common sense when he tried to cash a check for 360 BILLION DOLLARS. To top it off, the check wasn’t even made out to him. He was arrested on forgery charges.

Tattoo Clue
Billings, Montana:
A wanted man with an unusual surname was arrested after police noticed the name tattooed on the side of his head. Officers working on a separate case happened to walk past Sterling F. Wolfname, 26, when they saw the word “Wolfname” tattooed on his head. The name matched that of a suspect in a fatal beating in Wyoming. Wolfname lied about his identity, but his tattoo gave police a “heads up.”

andrewlibby 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)“Porn Inspector”? Nice try.
Longmont, Colorado: Andrew Libby, 33, was arrested for impersonating a cop and demanding copies of pornographic movies from an adult video store. Claiming to be an “age verification detective,” Libby told the store’s employees that his job was to make sure the movies’ stars were at least 18 years old. The workers didn’t buy his story (his Fabio hair probably didn’t help).

Bills, Bills, Bills
Brooklyn, New York: As Victor Marin, 20, was stealing $218 in cash from an apartment he had broken into, for some reason he decided to take out his own wallet and lay it on a bed. When he left, he forgot something — wait for it — his wallet! When Marin returned minutes later, the apartment’s resident was back. Standing outside, Marin offered to return the money in exchange for his wallet, which contained his ID and credit cards. The victim told him to stuff the money under the front door, but since the wad included 93 dollar bills, it was too tall to fit, and Marin had difficulty shoving the bills inside. That gave police time to show up and arrest him.

johnpearce 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)Hangman
Dartford, England: John Pearce, 32, came to realize the hazards of daylight burglary when in the course of climbing through a window, his foot got caught in the window, leaving him dangling upside-down in plain sight of pedestrians walking down the busy sidewalk. Onlookers proceeded to mock him mercilessly until police arrived.

Gulfport, Florida:
Shaquille McKinney, 14, decided to try his hand at telemarketing. Trouble is, he was selling drugs, and the potential buyer turned out to be a policeman. When McKinney cold-called Detective Matt Parks, the cop told him he had the wrong number. Before hanging up, the teen asked Parks if he wanted to buy drugs. The policeman agreed to meet in a nearby parking lot, where McKinney was arrested.

henryearl 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)1,000 Strikes?
Lexington, Kentucky: If there’s a lifetime achievement award for petty crime, Henry Earl would win hands-down. Since 1970, he’s been arrested a whopping 1,333 times (and counting), although he serves an average of less then four days per offense. Dumb or  dedicated? You be the judge.

Ice Cream Men
La Plata, Maryland: Wesley Jumper, 36, and Shawn Stewart, 36, are apparently very dirty and very stupid. How else could you explain their decision to 1) steal $500 worth of soap and shampoo from a CVS drug store, and 2) use a Good Humor ice cream truck as their getaway vehicle. The truck, which Stewart used for day job, was easy enough for the police to spot, and the men were promptly arrested. No word on what happened to the confiscated Nutty Buddies.

Drunk Driving Test
Bendorf, Germany: A 27-year-old man arrived for his road driving test smelling of alcohol. Although he insisted to the instructor that he hadn’t had anything to drink, he proceeded to drive erratically, at which point the instructor directed him to pull into a parking lot…at a police station. The man was booked for driving with a blood-alcohol content of three times the legal limit. And he failed the test.

eloisereaves 150x150 21 Dumbest Criminals of the 21st Century (So Far)This Crack’s Wack
Hawthorne, Florida:
Eloise Reaves, 50, stretched the limits of “to serve and protect” when she approached a policeman and asked him to help her get her money back for the poor-quality crack cocaine she’d just purchased. She showed him the crack, which she had tucked away in her mouth, and he placed her under arrest. The accused salesman was not charged.

Dear Dummy…
Boyds, Maryland:
While awaiting trial for murder and armed robbery, inmate Quinton Thomas sent a friendly letter to a chum suggesting that he kill any witnesses who were planning to testify against him. He figured he could be so bold because he knew that the prison staff didn’t screen outgoing mail. However, he must’ve sent the letter to the wrong address or affixed the wrong postage, because it was sent back “Return to Sender,” making it INCOMING mail, which IS screened by the staff. He was convicted on three new counts — one of solicitation to commit murder and two of witness intimidation — in addition to the original charges.

Ten Most Dangerous Drugs

According to a study published  in The Lancet, alcohol and tobacco rankamong the ten most dangerous substances used by humans. Both alcohol and tobacco have been assessed to be more dangerous than illegal drugs like marijuana or ecstasy.

heroin Ten Most Dangerous Drugs

The following three factors were considered in ranking the harmfulness of each drug that was evaluated:

  • Physical harm to the user
  • Addictive potential of the drug
  • The drug’s overall impact on society

Psychiatrists who specialize in treating addictive behavior and legal or police officials with scientific or medical expertise were asked to assign a score to each of the three factors listed above for each drug that was evaluated in this study. All told, 20 different drugs were evaluated, including cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, and LSD.

Ranked from most to least dangerous, the ten most dangerous substances were deemed to be:

  1. Heroin – popular street names include smack, skag, and junk.
  2. Cocaine – often referred to as snow, flake, coke, and blow.
  3. Barbiturates – popular slang names include yellow jackets, reds, blues, Amy’s, and rainbows.
  4. Street Methadone
  5. Alcohol
  6. Ketamine – a powerful hallucinogen, often referred to as Special K.
  7. Benzodiazepines – a family of sedative drugs.
  8. Amphetamines – known as greenies among baseball players.
  9. Tobacco
  10. Buprenorphine – also called bupe or subbies.

The remaining drugs that were assessed in this study ranked as follows:

  1. Cannabis – includes marijuana.
  2. Solvents – volatile substances that can be inhaled, such as glue, nail polish remover, paints, hair spray, and lighter fuel (gas).
  3. 4-MTA – is a derivative of amphetamine and has similar effects to ecstasy.
  4. LSD
  5. Methylphenidate – central nervous system stimulant, commonly sold as ritalin.
  6. Anabolic steroids
  7. GHB – short for Gamma hydroxybutyrate, a powerful central nervous system depressant, most commonly known as the date rape drug.
  8. Ecstasy
  9. Alkyl nitrates – group of drugs commonly referred to as poppers.
  10. Khat – an amphetamine-like stimulant.

It is estimated that tobacco causes 40 percent of all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is involved in more than 50 percent of all visits to hospital emergency rooms. In light of these statistics, the authors of this study question why alcohol and tobacco are legal to use within current drug policies for Britain and the United States, while less harmful drugs like ecstasy and LSD are deemed illegal to use.

The bottom line: alcohol and tobacco are two of the most dangerous substances that you can expose yourself to on a regular basis. In terms of overall potential to cause harm, if used regularly, alcohol and tobacco belong in the same category as other recreational drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Note: To receive valuable tips on how to use your food and lifestyle choices to promote steady cleansing and detoxification of your blood and tissues, please feel free to sign up for our free natural health newsletter below.

Extreme Pizza Situations

Most people are content with a regularly sized pizza from the local pizza place. But there are others, rich in money and time, who are hellbent on making the acquisition and consumption of pizza mind numbingly and needlessly complicated. And here they are:

Largest Pizza Ever Made

worlds largest pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

On December 8th, 1990, a monumentally wasteful record was set by Pick ‘n’ Pay hypermarket in Johannesburg, South Africa when a pizza measuring 37.4 meters in diameter was, for lack of a better term, constructed. It’s said to have been made using 500 kg of flour, 800 kg of cheese and 900 kg of tomato paste.

Longest Pizza Delivery

airplane pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

Lucy Clough of Domino’s holds the record for longest pizza delivery in history. She took a Dominos vegetarian supreme pizza the distance of 16,950km from Feltham, London to 30 Ramsay Street, Melbourne, Australia, on November 19, 2004. It took 2 days to arrive… which means it was outside the 30 minute window. Yay Free pizza!

Honorary Mention
Bernard Jordaan of Butler’s Pizza had the previous record. He once delivered a pizza from Cape Town, South Africa to Sydney, Australia (What is with these crazy Aussies? Don’t they have pizza in Australia?) The trip totaled 11,042 km (6,861 miles). This had remained the record until Lucy Clough ruined everything.

Most Expensive Pizza

most expensive pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

So we’ve covered the Largest Pizza and the Longest Delivery…how about the Most Expensive? Domenico Crolla created the most expensive pizza which had edible gold, medallions of venison, sunblush-tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, lobster marinated in fine cognac and champagne-soaked caviar. The pizza was sold at auction for charity. It dawned a hefty price tag of $3000.00. Well, if it’s for charity…

Most “Extravagant” Pizza

extravegant pizza Extreme Pizza Situations

If you’re looking for an ‘Extravagant’ pizza then stop by Nino’s Bellissima restaurant in New York. For the modest price of $1000.00 (or $125 a slice) you could get your hands on a 12 inch ‘Luxury Pizza’ with six different kinds of caviar, fresh lobster, chives and crème fraîche, In these tough economic times, opting for a slice might be the more sensible thing to do.

Woman Who Eats Nothing But Pizza

While this woman is clearly insane, it’s still interesting to know just how long one can live consuming nothing but pizza.

Top 10 Drug Lords

Offhand, drug lords make for a problematic top 10, as reliable data concerning their operations doesn’t exist, making their “achievements” impossible to verify and subject to all sorts of exaggeration and rumor. However, such legends and modern folklore also present the best criteria by which to rank these kings and queens of the black market; what follows is a list of the top 10 drug lords based on an amalgam of their influence, innovation, notoriety, and legend.

10.“Freeway” Ricky Ross

ricky ross 150x119 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: USA
Clients: The Western United States
Product: Crack cocaine

A major crack distributor during the 1980s, Ross’ operation is alleged to have purchased in excess of 400 kilos of cocaine a week while selling as much as $3 million of crack every day. As a result, some consider him to be solely responsible for the crack cocaine epidemic in the U.S., a claim flatly refuted in 1999 by the U.S. Department of Justice, who acknowledged the mammoth size of his operation, but dismissed any notion that Ross — or any one individual — could conceivably shoulder all the blame.

Downfall: In 1996, Ross was set up by his partner to sell 100 kilos of coke to an undercover DEA agent.

2008 status: Ricky Ross is currently incarcerated in the U.S.

9.Paul Lir Alexander, aka “The Baron of Cocaine”

paul lir alexander 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: Brazil
Clients: USA
Product: Cocaine

Some early aspects of Alexander’s story — namely his claims of having been trained by the Israeli Mossad — are highly suspect. What is known about him is that he became a major Brazilian coke trafficker before his luck ran out, and he also became a DEA informant. As an informant, he was instrumental in bringing down a number of major traffickers, or — to put it another way — he succeeded in eliminating many of his competitors, as Alexander did not bother to shut down his own operation while ratting out others.

Downfall: Alexander had a habit of double-crossing people, and the DEA didn’t appreciate that.

2008 status: Alexander is currently incarcerated in Brazil.

8.Santiago Luis Polanco Rodriguez, aka “Yayo”

Country of operation: USA
Clients: USA, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic
Product: Crack cocaine

Rodriguez brought crack to the masses by using a more traditional business model than is typically seen in the drug trade. His clever merchandising techniques included weekend discounts, the use of business cards, brand recognition, and distribution to dealers in glassine envelopes (the kind stamp collectors use). In the words of sociologist Robert Jackall, “One has to recognize his particular and peculiar genius even if one doesn’t honor it.”

Downfall: Rodriguez ditched a massive DEA dragnet in 1987, but non-drug-related trouble in the Dominican Republic earned him some prison time.

2008 status: Today, Rodriguez lives lavishly with his wife and children in the Dominican, beyond the reach of U.S. authorities.

7.Felix Mitchell, aka “The Cat”

sab felix mitchel Top 10 Drug Lords

Country of operation: USA
Clients: USA
Product: Heroin, crack cocaine

“Mob 69,” Mitchell’s massive, gang-controlled drug operation, was the first of its kind, and he controlled it in part with a brilliant bit of PR: Sponsoring local athletics and taking children on field trips to zoos and amusement parks. Yet, when he was thrown in prison, a new kind of inner-city violence was born: what had been a tightly controlled monopoly under Mitchell became an unstable battleground in his absence, replete with drive-bys and increased violence between competitors vying for his business.

Downfall: Mitchell’s notoriety made him a target for authorities, earning him a life sentence in Leavenworth.

2008 status: Mitchell was stabbed and killed less than two years into his sentence. His funeral was a spectacle: Rolls Royce limousines followed a horse-drawn carriage bringing his casket through crowded Oakland streets lined with thousands of mourners.

6.Carlos Lehder

carlos lehder 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: The Bahamas
Clients: USA
Product: Cocaine

Lehder made two significant contributions to the illegal drug trade: 1) He cofounded the Medellin Cartel, possibly  the  most profitable and violent drug cartel in history; 2) He revolutionized the transport and distribution business by upgrading from drug mules to prop planes, flying drugs from Colombia to the U.S. via the Bahamas. In one stroke, he increased volume exponentially; profits — in staggering numbers — inevitably followed.

Downfall: Lehder’s megalomania got the better of him. He commandeered an entire Bahamian island and transformed it into his own untouchable transport headquarters, where an estimated 300 kilos of coke arrived every hour.

2008 status: Lehder is currently incarcerated in the U.S.

5.Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha

jose gonzalo rodriguez gacha 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: Colombia
Clients: North, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and possibly Asia.
Product: Cocaine

As a young man, Rodriguez was a hired gun for emerald-mine mobsters, working for notorious coke traffickers like Veronica Rivera de Vargas before moving up to become the Medellin Cartel’s No. 2 man behind Pablo Escobar. He would ultimately amass a fortune in the billions, drawing the attention of Forbes, which put him in their list of global billionaires in 1988.

Gacha was nothing if not tireless, always looking for new, creative trafficking routes from Mexico into the U.S. He is also credited with substantially raising the brutal profile of the Cartel by hiring foreign mercenaries to come to Columbia and train the cartel’s troops in such things as assassination and guerrilla warfare.

Downfall: Increasing violence on behalf of the Cartel, including multiple assassination orders direct from Rodriguez, led to a crackdown on Medellin in the late 1980s.

2008 status: Gacha died in 1989, following a gunfight with Colombian police.

4.Griselda Blanco, aka the “Cocaine Queen of Miami”

griselda blanco 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: USA
Clients: USA
Product: Cocaine

As the undisputed “Cocaine Queen of Miami,” the brutal, ruthless and probably psychotic Blanco proved a highly effective trafficker for the Medellin Cartel, amassing a personal fortune estimated at $500 million.

She also liked to wear haute couture fashions and loved to smoke crack, but her greatest passion — as well as the source of her enduring legend — was in ordering creative, cold-blooded assassinations, possibly as many as 200, including one failed attempt in which the hitman was instructed to use a bayonet.

Downfall: Blanco’s ruthlessness — which included the shooting death of a 2-year-old — gave DEA agents added incentive to hunt her down. In 1985, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking.

Status: Released from prison in 2004 and immediately deported to Columbia, Blanco’s current whereabouts are unknown.

3.Khun Sa, aka “The Opium King”

khun sa 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: Burma (Myanmar)
Clients: Predominantly the USA
Product: Heroin (opium)

In the mid-1960s, Burmese warlord Khun Sa disappeared into the jungle with an army of 800 men and began to cultivate opium. An entire town sprung up around his operation, and at the height of his power, Khun Sa was the world’s most prolific heroin trafficker, producing as much as three quarters of the world’s supply and regularly running mule trains loaded with heroin through Thailand en route to the U.S. The DEA, which referred to him as a ruthless “Prince of Death,” desperately wanted to bring him to justice and continually offered Burmese officials as much as $2 million to hand him over.

Downfall: In the mid-‘90s, allegedly concerned that officials would in fact turn him over to the U.S., Khun Sa surrendered to the Burmese government, which then steadfastly refused to extradite him.

Status: Khun Sa lived a luxurious life in Rangoon until his death in late 2007.

2.Amado Carrillo Fuentes, aka the ““Lord of the Skies”

amado carrillo fuentes 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: Mexico
Clients: USA, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
Product: Cocaine

Fuentes learned the drug trade by working for Colombians during the cocaine boom, but his first brilliant move was to eschew cash payments. Instead of cash, Amado took his pay in coke and used it to develop his own distribution system. As Colombian cartels buckled under the crackdown of the late 1980s, Fuentes was turning the colossal Juarez Cartel in Mexico into a $30-million-a-day juggernaut — in large part due to his audacious decision to use a fleet of 727s to ship product from Peru, Bolivia and Colombia to Mexico. At his peak, he had Mexico’s top drug enforcement official on his payroll, and his own net worth was believed to be somewhere around $25 billion.

Downfall: Although a sophisticated and diplomatic businessman, Amado’s operation was so huge that he inevitably became the most wanted trafficker in the world.

Status: In 1997, plastic surgeons altering his appearance fatally botched the procedure; those surgeons were later discovered stuffed into oil drums.

1.Pablo Escobar

pablo escobar 150x150 Top 10 Drug LordsCountry of operation: Colombia
Clients: North, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and possibly Asia.
Product: Cocaine

Pablo Escobar was not the most intelligent drug lord, nor was he the most organized or the most innovative. Simply put: He was the most ruthless, and this made all the difference. The head of the Medellin Cartel ran his empire with virtual impunity within Colombia, carrying out a campaign of violence against anyone who dared challenge it, resulting in the assassination of 30 judges, over 400 police officers, and the bombing of Avianca Flight 203 in the mistaken belief that Colombian presidential candidate Gaviria was on board (he wasn’t, but 107 civilians were). Estimates put the Medellin kill toll at over 3,000.

At its peak, Escobar’s cartel is believed to have controlled four-fifths of the world cocaine market, seeing an estimated annual revenue of $30 billion (roughly double the revenue for Oracle between Colombia and the U.S.).

Downfall: Anxious about being extradited to the U.S., Escobar brokered a sweetheart deal with the Colombian movement that put him in the most luxurious prison imaginable, but Escobar couldn’t stay out of trouble and soon he fled the prison.

Status: Pablo Escobar died in 1993 after being hunted down by Colombian and U.S. government forces.

Top 10 Bizarre Phobias

coulrophobia 9 Top 10 Bizarre Phobias

From Wikipedia: “A phobia is an irrational, persistent fear of certain situations, objects, activities, or persons. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one’s control, or if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made.” Here are the top 10 Bizarre phobias!

1. Ithyphallophobia – Fear of Erections

2. Ephebophobia – Fear of Youths

3. Coulrophobia – Fear of Clowns

4. Ergasiophobia – Fear of Work

5. Gymnophobia – Fear of Nudity

6. Neophobia – Fear of Newness

7. Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the 13th

8. Panphobia – Fear of Everything

9. Taphophobia – Fear of being Buried Alive

10. Pteronophobia – Fear of being Tickled by Feathers

Bonus: Luposlipaphobia


Disturbing photos from Brazilian Prison

As you might know from time to time we put some serious stuff in our issues! Today is not an exception. Below are some photos of the Brazilian prison that leave a mixed impression. On the one hand, the photos are quite professional and therefore interesting to look at. On the other, the reality they depict is very sad!

There are serious issues in regard to abuses of human rights in Brazil. Brazil had a remarkably poor record during the dictatorship of the 1960s, and still has many problems today. These include the use of police brutality, corruption, torture and summary executions by civil and military police and prison authorities. In the recent years, the 1992 Carandiru Massacre is considered the major violation of the human rights in Brazil.

Prisoner violence

Brazil’s prisons are overcrowded and unhealthy, there are now over 300,000 inmates. Beatings, torture and killings by prison guards occur throughout the prison system. Children are abused in the juvenile justice system. According to the Ministry of Justice 13,489 under 18s are in detention. Humans are producing waste, and then smothering other human beings face in their feces until suffocated and dead.

Prison overcrowding results in a prominent occurrence of prison violence and murder as well as frequent revolts and escapes. In order to deal with these problems, prison administrations often divide prison populations according to gang affiliation. According to Global Justice, there have been claims of gang affiliation being assigned.

Living space, food, and cleanliness conditions are inhumane and bribery for privileges and transfers is rampant.

In December 2007, a case of prison gang rape in Pará brought media attention to the condition of human rights in the Brazil prison system.

Summary executions and police violence

Police violence is one of the most internationally recognized human rights abuses in Brazil. The problem of urban violence focuses on the perpetual struggle between police and residents of high crime favelas such as the areas portrayed in City of God. Police response in many parts of Brazil is extremely violent, including summary execution and torture of suspects. According to Global Justice, in 2003, the police killed 1,195 people in the State of Rio de Janeiro alone. In the same year 45 police officers were killed. Police violence is often reacted to by local communities and trafficking groups with demonstrations and violent resistance, causing escalation and multiplying victims. Unofficial estimates show there are over 3000 deaths annually from police violence in Brazil, according to Human Rights Watch. There are constant complaints of racism, abuses, torture, executions and disappearances. Not all states record police killings or keep accurate statistics.


Torture in Brazil is widespread and systematic according to the ex-UN Special Rapporteur. Occurrence of police torture accompanies murder or effecting intimidation and extortion. Torture has also been widely reported in detention centers and mental institutions.

Agrarian violence and oppression

The agrarian struggle in Brazil is manifold, touching on the topics of deforestation, dam building, eviction, squatting, and wildlife smuggling. The enormous Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil involves large and migrating homeless populations. Landowners resort to assassins and death squads to drive and intimidate landless populations from their land. Other cases of agrarian human rights violations involve government takings, such as for various hydroelectric operations across Brazil. Wealthy international corporations have enormous bargaining power and often refuse to remunerate displaced populations upon the flooding of their ancestral homes. Further agrarian violence arises from smugglers of exotic animals, wood, and other minerals from extracting contraband from forest or agrarian areas.

Slave Labor and Labor Exploitation

Slavery and labor situations like depression era company towns still exist in remote areas in Brazil like the Amazon (A fictional portrayal of such a town occurs in The Rundown).

“Debt slavery” (where workers are forced to work in order to pay an ever-increasing debt) still exists in some rural areas, though it is illegal and the government actively fights against it

The “debt slavery” is particularly worryingly in large sugar cane farms, since sugar cane is a raw material for Ethanol, a product that the Brazilian government is currently actively encouraging the production and research.

Indigenous violence

As deforestation companies move in to take advantage of the large area of space the Amazon offers, indigenous tribes that live in the forest are attacked or subject to violence. Drugs and diseases are introduced into the tribes because of the people moving in on the terrain. In order to protect the land that is rightly theirs, many indigenous people attack the new arrivals – who fight back – which leads to violence and deaths.


In line with the military government’s negotiated impunity upon the return of Brazil to democracy, impunity continues to derail human rights prosecution. Police and prison violence is often covered up or ignored by authorities. Police officers who are imprisoned often serve in privileged security positions inside Brazilian prisons. Brazilian politics are also rife with impunity, continued through dismissal of overzealous officials and pointed bureaucratic oversight.

Violence against human rights defenders

Many human rights defenders who have arisen to oppose human rights violations and their families and friends suffer violence and persecution across Brazil. Telephone death threats are prominent and often followed through by ambush or assassination. Government officials, attorneys, union leaders and even religious leaders have often been targeted, as with Antonio Fernandez Saenz affair. The danger of human rights defense entered the world press with the murder of Dorothy Stang in 2005 and Chico Mendes in 1998.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Global Justice, Pastoral Land Commission

6 Not-So-Secret Secret Societies.

  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.This is the granddaddy of all not-so-secret secret societies. Freemasonry, or “The Craft” as its members call it, most likely has its roots in 17th-century stoneworkers’ guilds. Mason lore, however, extends its origins back to biblical times, linking the society to the building of the Temple of Solomon. Freemasonry is split into numerous subgroups and orders, all of which consider God the Grand Geometrician, or Grand Architect of the Universe. At their hearts, these groups are all means of exploring ethical and philosophical issues, and their rituals and symbols are famous (or infamous). Take, for instance, the square-and-compass logo often seen on the backs of Cadillacs. Or the use of secret handshakes, passwords, and greeting postures/gestures called “due guards,” all collectively known as the Modes of Recognition. The list of famous Masons is massive, a virtual Who’s Who of modern history, explaining the many conspiracy theories regarding the Masons’ influence and intentions. Mozart, FDR, Harry S. Truman, George Washington, Mark Twain, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, John Wayne, W. C. Fields, and Douglas MacArthur were all Masons. But perhaps the Masons’ greatest strides have been made in fast food: KFC’s Colonel Sanders and Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas knew how to secret-shake with the best of ’em.

2. The Illuminati

illuminati pyramid  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.Over the centuries, lots of groups have called themselves the Illuminati (“Enlightened Ones”), but the one we’re talking about here began as the Bavarian Illuminati. A radical product of the Enlightenment and offshoot of the religion-based Freemasons, the Illuminati espoused secular freethinking and intellectualism and proved a threat to Europe’s old order. Although they were officially banned by the Bavarian government in 1784, some claim that they live on to this day in other guises. So, what’s the Illuminati’s goal? To establish a new world order of capitalism and authoritarianism, of course! They’ve been accused of manipulating currencies, world stock markets, elections, assassinations, and even of being aliens. One common myth is that the eye-and-pyramid image on the dollar bill is a symbol of the Illuminati watching over us. Nope. It’s a symbol of strength and durability (though unfinished, symbolizing growth and change), and the all-seeing eye represents the divine guidance of the American cause. Or so the government says.

3. Opus Dei

opus dei  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.This organization has a $42 million, 17-story headquarters building on Lexington Avenue in New York City, claims 85,000 members in 60 countries, and was featured in Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code. Now that its existence has been significantly unsecretized, this ultraorthodox Catholic sect has definitely raised its share of eyebrows. Founded in 1928 by Saint Josemaría Escrivá (a Spanish priest who bore an uncanny resemblance to Karl Malden), Opus Dei is the short name for the Prelature for the Holy Cross and the Work of God. The sect (some would say cult) stresses a return to traditional Catholic orthodoxy and behavior, especially celibacy, with members falling into one of three levels. Numeraries live in Opus Dei facilities, devote their time and money to the prelature, attend mass daily, and engage in mortification of the flesh (wearing a spiked chain around the thigh called a cilice, taking cold showers, or flagellating themselves with a knotted rope called “the discipline”). Next come Associates (kind of like Numeraries, but living “off campus”), then Supernumeraries (the rank-and-file members). The group did gain the praise of Pope John Paul II, and has engaged in a lot of charity work. Yet, critics accuse the group of being linked to fascist organizations like Franco’s government in Spain, and of anti-Semitism and intolerance, even of other Catholics.

cilice 2004  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.

4. Skull and Bones

skull and bones  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.Top dog among all the collegiate secret societies, Yale’s Skull and Bones dates to 1832 and goes by other spooky names like Chapter 322 and the Brotherhood of Death. With a large number of Bonesmen who have attained positions of power, including the president and the head of the CIA, it’s no wonder that rumors abound that the society is hell-bent on obtaining power and influencing U.S. foreign policy. The fact that they meet in an imposing templelike building on the Yale campus called (what else?) the Tomb doesn’t really help. Bonesmen are selected, or “tapped,” during their junior year and can reveal their membership only after they’ve graduated. But they can never talk about it. The Bones have been accused of all sorts of crazy rituals and conspiracies, including drug smuggling and the assassination of JFK (a hated Hahvahd man, after all). It’s even rumored that the skull of Geronimo resides in the Tomb, stolen from its resting place by Prescott Bush, Dubya’s granddad. In one of the more commonly known rituals, the initiate spends all night naked in an open coffin, confessing all his sexual experiences to the group. So, who’s lucky enough to have made such a confession? George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, John Kerry, William Howard Taft, McGeorge Bundy, William F. Buckley, and Henry Luce are just a few.

5. The Bohemian Club

010  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.This is a weird one. In the majestic forests of Sonoma County north of San Francisco lies the Bohemian Grove, the 2,700-acre wooded retreat of the Bohemian Club, the nation’s most exclusive men’s club. Every July since 1879, the “Bohos” have gathered at the Grove for a two-week encampment, where they’re divided into more than 100 residential camps with names like Owl’s Nest, Cave Man, and Lost Angels. Membership has included, well, just about everybody important: Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon (who once called it “faggy”), Gerald Ford, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and many CEOs and wealthy business leaders like Malcolm Forbes. Each encampment opens with a robed-and-hooded ceremony called the Cremation of Care, in which an effigy called “Dull Care” (symbolizing worldly concerns) is burned before a 40- foot concrete statue of an owl, symbol of wisdom and the club’s mascot. Throughout the week, plays are staged (called High Jinx and Low Jinx), there’s lots of eating and drinking (and, reportedly, urinating on trees), and members are treated to speeches called Lakeside Talks. Some opponents go so far as to accuse the group of Satanism, witchcraft, homosexuality, and prostitution, while more reasonable observers object to the Lakeside Talks as national policy discussions to which the public is not privy. But above all, it’s seen as a way that some of the elite meet others of the elite, thereby ensuring that they’ll all stay elite. All this makes the club’s seemingly anticonspiratorial slogan—“Weaving spiders, come not here”—that much more ironic. [Photo of Reagan & Nixon at the Bohemian Club courtesy of Wikipedia.]

6. The Trilateral Commission

trilateral  6 Not So Secret Secret Societies.While not, on its face, as juicily sinister as some of the other societies on this list, the Trilateral Commission has been accused of all sorts of underhanded shenanigans by its critics. Formed in 1973 by David Rockefeller, the Commission includes over 300 prominent citizens from Europe, Asia, and North America in a forum for discussing the regions’ common interests. But conspiracy theorists hold that the Trilateral Commission, along with the Council on Foreign Relations and others, is really just a front for a larger, more sinister order called the Round Table Groups, founded in London over 100 years ago and bent on the creation of a new world order, a global capitalist police state. Yikes! (For the record, some say
the Round Table Groups are themselves just fronts for another society, the Illuminati, so who knows?) American members of the Trilateral Commission have included Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Dick Cheney, and Dianne Feinstein.

via: mentalfloss.com

Stupidest Man Alive…

Leamington man loses $150,000 in Nigerian scam

stupidest man alive world Stupidest Man Alive...

A Leamington man has fallen prey to international scam artists who strung him along for more than a year with the promise of millions in cash, but ultimately bilked him and his family of $150,000.

John Rempel said he quit his truck driving job, lost friends, borrowed money and crossed the globe in pursuit of a non-existent inheritance, after he was contacted by e-mail in what is known as a Nigerian 419 scam.

Rempel said he borrowed $55,000 from an uncle in Mexico and his parents gave him $60,000 on credit to cover fees for transferring $12.8 million into his name.

“They’re in it now because of me,” said Rempel, 22, breaking into sobs. “If it wasn’t for me, nobody would be in this mess. You think things will work out, but it doesn’t. It’s a very bad feeling. I had lots of friends.

“I never get calls anymore from my friends. You know, a bad reputation.”

His troubles began in July 2007. He said he got an e-mail from someone claiming to be a lawyer with a client named David Rempel who died in a 2005 bomb attack in London, England, and left behind $12.8 million.

“They used to come in the mail,” said Leamington police Const. Kevin O’Neil. “Now the majority of these are sent through e-mail. Keeping up with the times, using all the wonderful technology that’s available to them.” [Read more…]

12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered

 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered The Horror Film in Context (Bowdoin)

I love scary movies – especially bad ones (Chopping Mall, anyone?) That’s why I wish Bowdoin’s course “The Horror Film in Context” was offered as a graduate class at Iowa State.

It’s not about the psyche of Freddy and Jason, however – students taking the class can expect to discuss why society is infatuated with horror movies and death in general.

 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Simpsons and Philosophy (Cal-Berkeley)

I’m sure my husband is considering enrolling at the University of California at Berkeley as we speak, just to take “Simpsons and Philosophy.” You’ll need to know more than Simpsons trivia – the class takes an in-depth look at how the long-running cartoon depicts social issues such as racism and politics. Passing the class, which includes writing a 22-minute show for the final exam, earns students two credits.

3 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Maple Syrup – The Real Thing (Alfred)

Chances are you probably don’t spend too much brain power pondering maple syrup, besides wondering whether it’s most delicious on French toast or pancakes. Alfred University in New York is changing that for all students who take the course “Maple Syrup – The Real Thing.” It covers every aspect of the sweet breakfast topping, from production to products to, yes, recipes.

4 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered The Science of Harry Potter (Frostburg State)

Another course near and dear to my heart is “The Science of Harry Potter,” offered at Frostburg State University in Maryland. This class combines the fantastical with the physical by asking if some of the seemingly impossible things in the popular series could actually be plausible.

Think about it: if there is a possibility that an invisibility cloak or a flying broomstick could actually exist, wouldn’t you want to know?

5 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Oprah Winfrey – The Tycoon (U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Oprah is conquering the world. The talk show, the book club, the magazine… and now, history class? The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offered “History 298: Oprah Winfrey – the Tycoon” in its class schedule several years ago. Like many of the other courses on this list, the class was more than meets the eye. Although it appears to be about the famous talk show queen, the class uses Oprah’s cultural rise to study race, class and gender issues.

6 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Far Side Entomology (Oregon State)

I took an entomology class during my undergrad and found it much more interesting than I thought I would. Imagine how enthralled I would have been with Oregon State’s “Far Side Entomology,” which used Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons to study insects. Larson’s tactic of giving his insects human qualities make them more relatable, which in turn gave students research ideas and questions they may have not otherwise thought of. Before you commence transfer proceedings, know that this class is no longer offered.

7 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered History of Electronic Dance Music (UCLA)

Do you still love C+C Music Factory? Get pumped to Deee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” while driving? Then the UCLA’s “History of Electronic Dance Music” would probably be a cakewalk for you. According to the syllabus, “Class lectures will deal with the historical narratives told about the music, musical form and technique in dance music, the political and cultural implications of the relentless hedonism of the dance floor, the influence of chemicals and technology on music production and consumption, and the aesthetic possibilities and pitfalls when popular music is no longer synonymous with popular song.”

8 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered The Future is Lost: TV Series as Cultural Phenomenon (Tufts)

If, like me, you’re desperately jonesing for more Lost, go ahead and enroll at Tufts University, the home of a 13-week Lost seminar. Be prepared to talk about more than Jack’s propensity for crying and Sawyer’s offensive nicknames for the other Lostaways, though. Topics include thematic complexity, mechanical complexity, literary references and philosophies. The course culminates with students pitching an idea for a television series to the rest of their classmates.

9 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi (Bates)

If you’re excited about Whoopi Goldberg’s The View debut, it’s too bad you missed out on Bates College’s “Goldberg’s Canon: Makin’ Whoopi,” the only course anywhere (that I could find) dedicated to the former Caryn Johnson. As far as I can tell, the last time the class was offered was the 2003-04 school year, so anyone wanting to discuss her “controversial persona as an antagonistic public figure” (so says the syllabus) is out of luck for now.

10 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Muppet Magic: Jim Henson’s Art (UC-Santa Cruz)

For some reason, I feel like the ratio of  readers who grew up watching and learning from Sesame Street is probably high. Thus, by my theory, most of us would be thrilled to count Theater Arts 80L, “Muppet Magic: Jim Henson’s Art” at the University of California Santa Cruz as part of our course load. The class studies how Muppets have changed television, film and art since Jim Henson created them.

11 12 College Classes We Wish Our Schools Had Offered Getting Dressed (Princeton)

Seriously, some days getting dressed takes a lot more effort than it should. Enter Princeton’s “Getting Dressed” class, a freshmen-only course that lets students discuss controversial topics such as jeans, baseball caps, tattoos, flip-flops and Chuck Taylors. It’s more complicated than just figuring out what to wear in the morning, though. The class discussed how people use fashion to do everything from study history to assess character. Although it doesn’t appear that the class is offered any longer, Princeton does offer other interesting-sounding freshmen seminars, including “Google and Ye Shall Find?” and “Good to be Shifty: American Swindlers.”

Biblical Model for Home and Family (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

A real controversy exists around the “Biblical Model for Home and Family” course at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The class, for females only, teaches cooking, sewing, and says that wives should submit graciously to their husbands. OK, what I said at the beginning of this article was wrong: I’d much rather sit through “Research Methods and Theory” than learn how to “submit graciously.”

Suitable for Drunk Driving!


suitable for drunk driving Suitable for Drunk Driving!

To prevent traffic accidents, to enshure driving safety…

pupupu pupupu