And Keith Richards gets blood transfusions in Switzerland (not): Five sickened with Q fever after sheep cell injections

ABC News reports five Americans came down with an unusual illness after traveling to Germany for a controversial treatment involving injections with sheep cells, health officials reported Wednesday.

a-human-q-fever-cluster-linked-to-a-sheep-farm-in-lavaux-switzerland-4-638The treatment is not permitted in the United States. The five New York residents received the “live cell therapy” in May last year. About a week later, they developed fever, fatigue and other symptoms of a dangerous bacterial illness called Q fever.

Two told investigators that they were part of a group that, for the last five years, had traveled to Germany twice a year for the injections. They said they get them to improve their health and vitality. There is no published clinical proof the treatments work, health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released a report on the outbreak, which included a Canadian case — another medical tourist who got the treatment in Germany at about the same time. The four women and two men ranged in age from 59 to 83.

Three of the six recovered. But three others were still experiencing symptoms more than nine months later, health officials said.

Live or fresh cell therapy involves injecting people with fetal cells from sheep. It’s sometimes offered as an anti-aging therapy, but also has been touted as a treatment for conditions ranging from impotence to migraines to liver disease.

Goat ‘arrested’ after refusing to leave Saskatchewan Tim Hortons

You’re not the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police): Where’s your horse?

This story could not be more Canadian:

goat.tim.hortons.sep.15RCMP in Warman, Sask., were allegedly forced to arrest a “stubborn” goat for refusing to leave a Tim Hortons on Sunday morning.

In a statement, RCMP said that employees initially “asked” the goat to leave – how politely Canadian, eh — and tried to walk him outside, but the rebellious animal turned around and sauntered back through the restaurant’s automatic doors.

Eventually two RCMP members were called to deal with the “disturbance.”

The officers believed that the goat was “cold,” and like many Canadians, was forced to take refuge in a Tim Hortons.

They added that the goat simply wanted to “sleep in the entrance.”

Faced with a noncompliant citizen, the RCMP officers “arrested” the goat and escorted him into their vehicle.

RCMP says the goat was “very unhappy” at his treatment.

“The members decided to take him home instead of holding cells at the detachment,” said the RCMP statement.

At first, they were unable to locate the owners of the goat after knocking on the doors of many local farms.


A NY rat carries a slice of pizza into the subway

Here’s a video of a very determined rat carrying a slice of pizza down stairs and into our hearts.

RatatouilleThe disturbing and oddly endearing 14-second video is going viral on Facebook and Twitter, being touted by many as “the most New York thing ever.” The YouTube clip was ostensibly shot in New York City on stairs leading down to the subway.

Why is it so popular? Well, it’s Monday. This has to be a metaphor for something.

Obviously, the Internet is having some fun with #pizzarat.

“I have taken the pizza wasted on the subway forgive me it was wasted on the ground forgive me it was so pizza and I’m a rat”


Flying brisket injures woman during fight at Kentucky barbecue festival

Thanks for the reader who sent this along: police were called to the Kentucky State BBQ Festival at 10:15 a.m. Sunday after a woman was hit with a brisket during a fight, according to a police news release.

Mary Berry, 35, of Bardstown told police she was hit in the right shoulder, neck and head by a brisket whose temperature was estimated to be 200 to 250 degrees. She was working at the festival for Fire House BBQ, the news release said.

Berry was treated at the festival by Boyle County emergency crews.

The brisket allegedly was thrown by barbecue pit master Mike Owings, 42, of Cunningham after tempers flared between Owings and another barbecue pit master over the sharing of a cooker.

Owings admitted to officers that he threw the brisket after losing his temper but “didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” authorities said.

He was charged with second-degree wanton endangerment, a misdemeanor, and was being held in the Boyle County jail.

Czech pub installs vomitorium for patrons

Vomiting in a nightclub bathroom during a big night out has never been so glamorous with one Czech establishment now offering a unique twist on an old feature — a flushing spew bowl.

vomitoriumukReddit user ThangCZ posted a photo of a modern-day spittoon, which are traditionally used to dispose of excess saliva or vomit.

It even comes complete with two handrails for proper steady spew technique and a sign for those who are unsure of how to correctly drunkenly purge their stomach.

The photo attracted hundreds of comments with many pointing out that while spittoons have fallen out of popularity in modern times, they are still commonly seen and used in German frat houses and European establishments.

Spittoons were common features of saloons and taverns in the 20th century, with many built directly into the bar.

Although spittoons were typically used for spitting tobacco, they were also often used by patrons to relieve themselves.

It is often wrongly claimed that rich Romans had rooms called vomitoriums where they could empty their stomach during large feasts. A vomitorium was actually an entrance/exit point in an amphitheatre that could fill the space much quicker.

Solve Canadian constitution with round-robin hockey tournament: There once was a Rhino in Guelph

Almost 30 years on, it’s hard to believe Marty is the one being roasted in the Guelph newspaper, where he’s the executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association, and I’m unemployed, coaching hockey and hanging out at the beach (with a PhD).

doug.nona.marty.1988Marty was always the front man, quick with a quip, as shown in the story below, and I was the asshole who enforced deadlines. Nona more so.

Back in 1988, after we’d all quit the official student newspaper – I was editor – we started up our own paper at the University of Guelph. And at some point there was a federal election, and I told Marty, you should run as the Rhino candidate. Good PR.

I’ll always remember the skinnier, younger versions of ourselves, and it was a good time.

The story below explains it better:

They would nationalize Tim Hortons, repeal the law of gravity and promote higher education by building taller schools.

Ah yes, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada — the only party to promise not to keep any of its promises — is back for another kick at a federal election, and at federal candidates. For almost 40 years, Rhino candidates have used satire and pranksterism to lampoon the political process.

It’s been 27 years since a Rhino ran for election in Guelph. Back in 1988, a federal election was too rich a target for Marty Williams, who was Guelph’s last would-be Rhino MP.

“For me, it was improv comedy,” says Williams, who is now the executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association. “I grew up reading Mad Magazine. Poking holes in the pompous came naturally to me.”

marty.bed.1988(Marty, left as I usually saw him when a column was due). Williams recalls that it wasn’t really his idea to become a Rhino candidate. The notion was proposed by two friends while he was a student at the University of Guelph. “I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, stop bugging me,’ and by the time I got back to the campus, they had organized a press conference. I was interviewed by the local media and it got on CBC radio.

“It was silly fun. Our defence policy was to bring back Bobby Orr and we wanted to have Free Trade vacations with people in Mexico . . . in February. Good for us, not so good for them.”

Back in 1988, says Williams, it only cost $200 to register as a candidate, and the party needed 50 candidates across the country to be a registered party on the ballot.

“For $200, it was a good glimpse into how politics works at the local level. I was invited to all the debates and everybody was asked the same questions.”

Williams said that he particularly enjoyed the debates at high schools. “Most of them were too young to vote, but it’s about trying to engage them in the issues.” Williams said that the students responded when “someone could take a question and have some fun with it. It’s more fulfilling to take a satiric slant when you know something about what you’re talking about.”

The debates weren’t all about riffing off the headlines, though. “At the time, there was still apartheid in South Africa, and we were asked a question about apartheid. When it was my turn to respond, I said that some things just aren’t funny, and I got a round of applause for that.”

For the 1988 election, there were 74 Rhino candidates across Canada. For the 2015 election, there are (at last count) just seven, and none in Guelph or area. In the age of satiric political talk shows, are the Rhinos still relevant?

“How could we have possibly thought in 1988 that a political candidate would be caught on camera swearing at reporters? … Peeing in a cup? How could you even make that up?

“What would you be talking about (in this election) that is conventional wisdom that should be stood on its head?,” Williams said.

And the sources for political satire are many and varied today: “Visual evidence of people behaving badly can be circulated around the world in a blink of the eye. With memes and posters, everyone becomes a satirist in this day and age.

“It was much more somber and polite (in decades past). It was more of an ‘old boys’ network back then,” and thus easier to lampoon. “That seems like such an innocent age now.”

In 1988, Williams finished seventh of eight candidates with 240 votes. “I’m amazed I got that many … even I didn’t vote for myself.”

Part of his work with the Downtown Guelph Business Association is to encourage small businesspeople and property owners to engage with the federal election. Williams says that many people don’t see a federal election as a “local” issue.

“The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has put out a good position paper. The federal government has the levers and the ability to do a lot for cities, including a small city like Guelph.”

As for this election, Williams hopes all eligible Guelphites will vote. “If you think about every admirable country in the world — lowest poverty rates, best treatment of women or minorities — those are countries with governments that were chosen by voters.

“The cynical can say that your vote doesn’t matter, but the places where people participate are the best ones. Anarchy has not proven to be a book for personkind. The best places in the world are where people get out to vote.”

Below is an op-ed we wrote and it may have gotten published. I never read my own work once it’s published, onto the next thing.

The Rhino constitutional process

A referendum? Seven provinces or 50 per cent of the population? An election? The Rhinoceros Party recently came up with a better way to improve the country’s constitutional competitivenes, one that is deeply rooted in the Canadian psyche: a round-robin hockey tournament.

bobby.orrThe tourney opened in ritualistic Canadian style, with Maureen Forrester singing the Canadian national anthem. Don Getty followed with the French version while Eric Lindros performed an interpretive ice dance of the DeGaulle classic, Viva Quebec Libre. In justifying his performance, Mr. Lindros, back from the Albertville Olympics said, “Hey, I’m just like every other Canadian. I don’t mind playing in front of the French as long as the Americans are watching.”

The games featured the best political ice skaters from each special interest group and province — Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Minnesota (they’re so distinct they’re from a different country).

The Reproductive Technologies team was disqualified in its first game for failing to wear protective cups. The ordinary Canadians team was also eliminated for insisting on playing in Ea-Z-Boy recliners and using short-wave radio frequencies to direct the puck from hand-held remote controls.

The Manitoba team, featuring the Axworthy line (which is difficult to understand but easy to get through), adopted a defensive style of play, and spent most of their game explaining why it’s not their fault. They lost to the Saskatchewan team featuring Roy Romanov, the golden jet of the tourney, who one day hopes he will be so famous that Oliver Stone will make a movie about him.

The New Brunswick team, after refusing to play against an opposition, finally capitulated and easily defeated the Confederation of Regions team who had an overabundance of right-wingers.

The B.C. team was distracted because captain Mike Harcourt was preoccupied with his intense endorsement schedule for the Hockey Helmet Club for Men. “I’m not just a premier, I’m also a client,” said Harcourt for the fawning Newsworld anchors. Regardless, the team’s hopes were undermined by malcontents when B.C. goaltender Bill Vander Zalm sold the net to a Hong Kong business-type, who thought he was buying Annette Funichello. Vander Zalm will appear in a Hong Kong court after the Chinese take over.

The Newfoundland team was easy pickings for the Missing Link team from P.E.I. because star Clyde Wells was out in the parking lot letting the air out of everybody’s tires and stuffing tailpipes with cod. When asked about the old “Newfie cod up the tailpipe trick”, PEI captain Joe Ghiz responded, “No, my eyebrows are just bushy.”

Following the precedent set by the former U.S.S.R., two new teams were added to the tourney. The Prairie unified team was constructed so Manitoba could receive welfare payments from Alberta instead of Ottawa, while the Atlantic-unified team was convened to reroute welfare from Ottawa to Maine-based Irving Oil.

The Yukon team spent most of their first game in the dressing room when favorite daughter, NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin, dropped by to say a few words. The team emerged inspired but was unable to overcome the 224-0 deficit.

A crowd favorite was the Triple-E Senate team, featuring the high-scoring line of Eddie Shack, Eddie Johnson and Eddie Giacoman. Just like the Senate, they were fun to watch but highly ineffective.

Quebec GM Claude Ryan finally dealt Eric Lindros to where all Quebecers think he belongs: the North West Territories. “See the endorsements you get in Inuvik,” said an enthused Ryan.

During the Dairy Farmers versus the Canadian Book Publishers game, the “No Whey” team was accused of simply milking the publicity by fielding a marketing-board approved 3.8 players and then refusing to play the third period. “We were cheesed off,” said coach Eugene Whelan.

The tourney was so successful that Bob White was thinking of cloning the technique for the next round of labor negotiations at the Oshawa car plants. “I can hardly wait for the union workers to play the GM all-executive team,” said White.

However, just when it had appeared the Rhino party of Canada had achieved consensus where other parties had failed, Ovrid Mercredi insisted on a bingo tournament where the caller fires appropriately labelled lacrosse balls into the crowd, modeled after the democratic native decision-making process. Newfoundland insisted on a fishing derby and Manitoba demanded a curling bonspiel. The tournament adjourned lacking a clear winner, but Mercredi’s suggestions were thought to hold potential for Senate reform.

Marty Williams and Douglas Powell were the candidate and campaign manager for the Rhino Party in the riding of Guelph in the 1988 federal election.

Watch NFL linebacker Brian Cushing puke an endless stream of vomit

In hockey coaching camp, we’re told, the old school ways of making kids skate until they puke is a no-no.

I agree.

Apparently, the concussion-free National Football League hasn’t gotten that message, as Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing demonstrated at a NFL training camp.

Watch Cushing prove to everyone that he’s only human by puking for nearly a minute during last night’s episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Low water activity, but gross: US couple eats bite of unrefrigerated wedding cake each year for 60 years

A couple who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week have revealed one secret to keeping their marriage from getting stale: eating cake that is very, very much so.

marriageAnn and Ken Fredericks of Satellite Beach, Florida, celebrate their anniversary by eating a bite from their wedding cake every year — the remains of which they’re now keeping covered in plastic wrap inside a metal coffee can, Florida Today reports.

But they don’t store it inside a refrigerator or freezer. The cake’s actually sitting inside a closet at room temperature.

Ann Fredericks, 81, said their children are “appalled” they’re still eating the decades-old dessert, but said the dark fruit cake will keep indefinitely. They pour brandy over the cake to moisten it before digging in, and usually break open a bottle of champagne to go with it, she said.

“Believe me, it’s quite tasty, as long as it’s got enough brandy on it. And it’s never made us sick,” she told Florida Today.

She did tell ABC News that “it’s a little dry.”