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How bizarre! How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2012-11-24 10:46:02
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Santa stuck by beard at Reading shopping centre

biz0001_400A Santa Claus was left dangling from the ceiling after his beard became trapped while abseiling inside a Reading shopping centre as part of a Christmas lights switch-on show. He was stuck for about 30 minutes about 15ft off the ground in the Broad Street Mall on Saturday afternoon. Eyewitness Ryan Gaudreau said: "Everyone was laughing at him - he didn't really know what to do."

Stephanie Maynard, marketing manager at the centre, said Santa was not hurt. "He could have just taken his beard off and let himself down but he was such a professional and he didn't want to let the children down," she said.  "He lost his footing as he came through the hole in the ceiling and there was a sudden jolt and he got caught in the clip on the rope.

"Some people were absolutely mortified while others thought it was the funniest thing ever. They had to let another rope down and get him down and there was such a roar from the crowd. Usually after the lights switch-on the centre empties but there were so many people still there waiting to see if Father Christmas was going to get down."


Impatient billionaire gets psychiatric evaluation after allegedly pulling gun on elevator operator

biz0002_0266-year-old New York billionaire Stewart Rahr, who apparently calls himself "No. 1 King of All Fun," has had two of his guns confiscated and may lose his handgun license after he allegedly pulled one of them on a Trump Tower elevator operator who didn't wait for him. The confiscation comes after Rahr was banned from Nobu for life because he allegedly fought with a manager and tried to bribe a group of diners into leaving their table. So what the hell happened with the elevator? Rahr tells the Post he "was with Sen. Charles Schumer outside the mogul’s 24th-floor headquarters on Nov. 1 when 'I told the guy, ‘I’m in a hurry. I’ll be back in 30 seconds.'" But the anachronistic elevator operator had already started to shut the door. It's so hard to find good help these days!

And waiting apparently pissed off the buddy of Donald Trump and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, so the drugstore-billionaire went and found the elevator operator later on and "chewed him out" (seriously, an elevator operator). And that is where the unnamed operator and Rahr's stories differ:

"His union rep called the police and said I pulled a gun on him. I never pulled it out. I have no idea how he knew I had a gun." Rahr, who now devotes his time to philanthropy, claimed the weapon, a licensed revolver he has owned for years, wasn’t even loaded. “They opened it and saw there were no bullets,” Rahr said of cops.


Man charged with stealing 3 pens at Slidell sheriff's office

biz0003_400A Mississippi man who went to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office in Slidell asking for a copy of a police report was arrested after being caught on surveillance video detaching pens from metal chains and putting them into his pocket. The Times-Picayune reports 33-year-old Edward Alan Lucas, of Picayune, Miss., was booked Tuesday with one count of misdemeanour theft.

Capt. George Bonnett says clerks at the office said Lucas was acting suspiciously, walking up and down the area in front of the records division counter, while they were pulling the file he requested. After he left the building, he says the clerks noticed three pens were missing. Bonnett says detectives questioned Lucas and he admitted to stealing the pens. It was unclear whether Lucas has an attorney.


Phantom Island

biz0004It's a mystery worthy of James Bond. A tiny island in the Pacific which appears on a range of maps seems to have disappeared without a trace. Australian scientists who went in search of Sandy Island - which appears midway between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia on Google Earth among other world maps - found nothing but sea when they arrived. The Times Atlas of the World appears to identify the sizeable phantom island in the Coral Sea as Sable Island, and weather maps used by the Southern Surveyor, an Australian maritime research vessel also say it exists. But when the ship, which was tasked with identifying fragments of the Australian continental crust submerged in the Coral Sea, steamed to where it was supposed to be there was nothing there. The island supposedly sits in an area of very deep sea, making its existence something of a geological oddity that researchers wanted to investigate.

However, when they got there, it was nowhere to be found.  'We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400 metres (4,620 feet) in that area - very deep,' said Dr Maria Seton, of the University of Sydney, after the 25-day voyage. 'It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre. 'How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out.' The island's appearance on Google perhaps should have sparked suspicions. Compared with nearby islands on which the undulations of ground are visible, Sandy Island appears merely as a dark blob. News of the invisible island sparked debate on social media, with tweeter Charlie Loyd outpointing that Sandy Island is also on Yahoo Maps as well as Bing Maps 'but it disappears up close'.

On www.abovetopsecret.com, discussions were robust with one poster claiming he had confirmed with the French hydro graphic office that it was indeed a phantom island and was supposed to have been removed from charts in 1979. Another claimed: 'Many mapmakers put in deliberate but unobtrusive and non-obvious "mistakes" into their maps so that they can know when somebody steals the map data.' Google was not immediately available for comment. But the Google Maps product manager for Australia and New Zealand told the Sydney Morning Herald a variety of authoritative public and commercial sources were used in building maps. 'The world is a constantly changing place, and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour,' Nabil Naghdy told the newspaper. The closest landmass to the invisible island is the Chesterfields, a French archipelago of uninhabited coral sand cays.

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