Category Archives for "In the news"

Iron man gets goodbye from Dubai

Whoah !

Whoah ! Ralf Buchholz Guinness Book of Record holder

Dahlings, Dubai Government officials thought they had met they devil incarnate when the encountered Rolf Buchholz. So being like any rational Goverment Official, they refused him entry into the country. From BBC news:

The 53-year-old German has 453 piercings on his body and face, as well as two horn implants on his forehead.

Mr Buchholz told the BBC that airport staff said they feared he may be practising “black magic”.

The computer expert was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records in 2012 as the world’s most pierced man.

Mr Buchholz told the Associated Press news agency that he was initially allowed through immigration, but was later stopped prior to customs and put on a flight to Istanbul.

As a result, his scheduled appearance at the Cirque le Soir nightclub in Dubai’s Fairmont Hotel on Friday was cancelled.

Herr Buchholz, has 453 piercings of which 278 of which are around a certain part of the male anatomy.

So why customs and not immigration? Perhaps the customs officials didn’t want to bother checking his precious metals after he had answered the question”Anything to declare?”.

“Ja, let me show you.”

Ciao for now, Cleo.

Ripping Yarns : Scuba diving artist covers underwater museum exhibit with stranger covering

'Yarn bombing' : A project by artist Agata 'Olek' Oleksiak

‘Yarn bombing’ : A project by artist Agata ‘Olek’ Oleksiak

(WTF)² is probably the best summary to the story of the Polish Artist, Agata ‘Olek’ Olksiak who is supposedly wanted in Mexico, for illegally covering sculptures at a Mexican underwater Museum with crocheted covers.

1. Crochet? WTF

2. An underwater museum with sculptures? WTF.

Having never heard of the Cancun Underwater museum, I was amazed to find it has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor.

Having never heard of the artist Agata ‘Olek’ Olksiak, I was amazed to find out that crocheted covers are her thing in life. She even covered the Bull in Wall street.

And there was I thinking that Underwater basket weaving was a joke to describe a useless degree.

‘El bent for Leather: Spanish S&M hotel ordered to be delayed

Torture sign.

Coming soon to a Hotel near you.

Dahlings, I LOL’d after reading  about  a S&M hotel in Spain being delayed by local opposition. From the Telegraph:

The hotel, due to include 20 S&M-themed rooms and a dungeon, was preparing to open last week in a village of 2,500 residents in Valencia, but was prevented from doing so after the mayor of “quiet” Vilafranca, complained.

Set to be called Roissy Castle, the hotel was the brainchild of a local businessman who said he wanted to capitalise on the bestseller’s popularity, according to the Spanish expat newspaper The Local.

“With the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon in full swing, I saw a business opportunity that hadn’t been exploited yet in Spain,” he told the newspaper.

One of the reasons for the opposition, is that it is near a church.

Since Spain is such a conservative country based on conservative Catholic principles, I understand their opposition.

Can you imagine the embarrassment if the local Bishop needed to conduct a Spanish Inquisition and ended up with fur lined handcuffs instead?

Ciao for now, Cleo.

Kicking someone when they are down: Sickly looking passenger kicked off when not actually sick

Keith Richards. Need I say anymore?

Keith Richards. Please don’t fly Delta.

Dahlings, Delta kicked 72 year old Suzzane Hays, off a connecting flight after a fellow passenger complained that she looked ill. The poor dear has already flown in from Ohio and was on her way to Orlando. From the article

Before Flight 19 would depart from Detroit to Orlando, there was a problem. Hays said a passenger who was next to her decided to talk to the airline crew about her looking tired and drowsy.

“Then she came back and said they’ve moved us because I might be contagious,” said Hays. “Contagious with what?”

Shortly after that, Hays said she was asked to leave the airplane. She said she was devastated.

“I started crying and crying,” she said.

Hays said she was told if she did not cooperate, they would call the police to escort her off the aircraft

Other sources say that Delta then gave her a $20 voucher for ‘soup and tea’ – as if that will cure her pale complexion ! – and she caught a later flight without incident.

After reading this, my ancient diety friend, Set, popped up and whispered a travel tip in my ear: “Cleo, Next time you are stuck in a middle seat on a full flight, simply call up the FA and say that the person in that isle seat next to you has a funny complexion and looks contagious. It may help that if you add that in your opinion you are ‘fearful for everybody’s safety’. Ten minutes later, that coveted Isle seat now becomes free !”

Thank you Set, you wicked devil.

Ciao for now, Cleo.


China Syndrome vs French connection : Some Chinese tourists not liking Paris after actually visiting

Shenzen's Window of the World: Quickest way to see the world..

Shenzen Window of the World: Around the world in 80 minutes..

Dahlings, Bloomberg had a story about the Chinese tourists who have this ideal image about France and when they actually visit , they have a rude awakening about the place. Complaints include stolen bags at the airport, dirty streets and targeting of Chinese by pickpockets.

Like their Japanese counterparts, first-time visitors from China — fed on media reports and movies like “, An American in Paris,” or “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain” — arrive expecting to see a quaint, affluent and friendly European city with smartly dressed men and women smelling of Chanel No. 5.

Instead, they discover Paris’s grittier side — packed metros, rude waiters and pickpockets intent on robbing cash-carrying tourists — all of which sends them into psychological shock.

“Chinese people romanticize France, they know about French literature and French love stories,” said Jean-Francois Zhou, president of the Chinese association of travel agencies in France. “But some of them end up in tears, swearing they’ll never come back.”

Et pourquoi mon ami? Violà, je cite Bloomerg:

Because they carry large amounts of cash, Chinese tourists are often targeted by pickpockets

“Sometimes, they’ll try to pay for an ice cream with a 500-euro bill,” Zhou said. They usually convert large amounts of yuan to limit money-changing fees, and the use of credit cards isn’t as common in China as it is in Europe, he said.

Chinese media reported that 48 tourists were robbed in May as they headed to their hotel in a suburb of Paris. In France, the problem was highlighted by the mugging of a group of Chinese tourists in Le Bourget, near Paris, said Muriel Sobry, police chief of 8th arrondissement of Paris, which covers the avenue des Champs-Elysees.

“Paris is a romantic city, but it’s naive to believe it’s crime-free,” she said.

I visited Shenzen a few years ago- see photograph – and walked around the “Window of the World”. Here you can get a bit of France, England, Germany (Complete with ‘Franziskaner’ beer), Ancient world and the Mario Brothers in same place.

If WoW really wants that authentic European experience they need a few adjustments: import some pickpockets, drunken locals, change names of ice cream to Gelato and increase price to 13 Euro each, Industrial strikes and wet weather.

By the way on Paris: Don’t take it personal. The Parisians hate also each other. Their hate is really a form of love. They love to hate you !

Ciao for now, Cleo.

That Giant Sucking Sound : Surge pricing on Uber

Some Giant sour suckers: Coming to a town near you.

Some Giant sour suckers: Coming to a town near you.

As we said before on the ‘sharing’ economy, careful what you wish for. Houston is allowing the likes of Uber and Lyft into it’s market but it will also liberalize it’s standard fares to allow surge prices.

To see what surge prices may look like, read the Marketwatch article titled “Uber car service twists sharing economy into ‘sucker’s economy’. It’s main piece is about riders at a San Francisco festival being charged anything from $290 to $470 to go a few miles.

The story originates in Scallywag which shows screen dump of such a trip where the driver took a 11 mile trip instead of a 4 mile trip and in the meanwhile, the fare came to $391.





Something fishy with SEAS : Seaworld stock price plumets on Orca backlash

SEAS Sick: Seaworld's stock price drop. charts courtesy of

SEAS Sick: Seaworld’s stock price dropped by 33% today

Per Bloomberg “SeaWorld Drops as Killer Whale Controversy Hurts Sales” where the shares of “Seaworld Entertainment systems” (ticker symbol SEAS) dropped by 33% to $18.90 and all time low since it was floated as an IPO in 2013.

“The company acknowledged for the first time that pressure from animal-rights groups is reducing attendance, said Barton Crockett, an analyst at FBR & Co., calling second-quarter results “surprisingly weak.” The theme-park operator fought off a proposed ban on keeping orcas in captivity in California with a lobbying campaign that raised doubts about claims that the animals are harmed in its parks”

Things are not looking good for the brand as the drop was on major selling volume.

Bridge over ruffled waters : NYPD Red faces after white flag raising was an ‘art prank’

Source of the trouble.

Source of the trouble.

It looks like the mystery of who placed the two white flags over the Brooklyn Bridge has been solved. The NYT broke the story that it was two Berlin artists who did it as an art project. The date was chosen as the anniversary of the death of John Roebling, then German born engineer who built the bridge.

To recap, this incident had caused major embarrassment to the NYPD where the two US stars and stripes flags were replaced by two white ones right under their noses in the early hours of the morning.  NY’s doughnut eaters then assigned almost 3 dozen ‘crack’ detectives to solve the case.

On Tuesday Stephen Davis, the police department’s chief spokesman, invited them to return to New York: “If they want to come in and speak with us, we certainly would be more than happy to entertain them.”

Yeh, sure you will. Continue reading..

Now, Play nice and Share : Uber dirty tricks on it’s competitor, Lyft

A well known board game.

A well known board game but we do not remember it’s name.

After reading a news article in CNN Money, it seems like the Uber and Lyft are not getting along where Lyft is accusing Uber of dirty tactics by calling in rides, then canceling them last minute.

According to data provided by Lyft, 5560 rides were ordered by Uber affiliates then cancelled. The smoking gun is the telephone numbers from which the rides were ordered, cross-reference back to known Uber recruiters. One account in LA had 49 cancellations from October to May.

CNN also reports that Uber were busted doing something similar in a NY rival taxi App, called “Gett” and after that Uber agreed to “”tone down their sales tactics.”

So much for the sharing economy where CNN quote an earlier interview with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick by Laurie Segall

“The taxi industry [is] trying to protect a monopoly that has been granted them by local officials, so they’re trying to slow down competition.”

Oh the hypocrisy.

Meet the new Taxi boss. Same as the old Taxi boss.

Motorcycling in Houston: Reality hits the road

An unfortunate ranking  for Houston.

An unfortunate ranking for Houston.

8/10/ 2014: A Houston Chronicle headline opens with “Motorcyclist killed in six-vehicle crash in east Harris County

The key points to the story per the Chron:

Around 10:30 p.m., the driver of a 2006 GMC Sonoma pickup was traveling east in the 17600 block of East Freeway where traffic was slowing because of a lane closure. Investigators learned the unidentified pickup driver was traveling on the inside improved shoulder when he failed to control his speed and crashed into the back of a motorcycle.

The motorcycle was forced toward the inside eastbound lanes, striking the left side of 2014 Dodge Dart. The rider slid across the roadway into the center lane while the motorcycle hit a wall and caught on fire, authorities said.

At the same time, the Sonoma continued traveling east where it rear-ended the back of 2011 Cadillac CTS, authorities said. The Cadillac then crashed into the Dodge Dart before striking the back of a 2014 Ford F-150.

Some years back, a daughter’s boyfriend told me of the time when he got knocked off his motorbike from behind while waiting a red light in Houston. He was hurt pretty bad. The woman driver was drunk.

My first ever vehicle was a motorbike where it was my main mode of transport for many years. It was not that I didn’t like cars, but it was the only thing I could afford. A condition of getting the bike was a promise to my mother to take a defensive driving Motorcycling course. I learned a lot : about where on the road to drive; to be continually aware of the road – who is doing what ahead and behind; preventive actions to take when seeing a car waiting at a junction; the underlying assumption that the other driver has not seen you. Continue reading..

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