Friday, April 13, 2007

Coffee-Soaked Awards - Week of April 9, 2007

Welcome to the second week in April, a time where we start getting our Stanley Cup groove on, and where we watch friends and loved ones, along with enemies and the people we feel relatively impartial to, scramble to complete their tax forms in time. But hey, this year they aren't due until the 17th, so there's a little breathing room.

Anyway, it's Friday, and that means it's time for us to meander our way through the news once again with our weekly awards. And don't worry, unlike some people out there, we'll be sure to keep each and every email you send to us. Just in case we also want to fire some people. So let's get this ball rolling, shall we?

Slipping the Bone Award
There are a multitude of uses for bone marrow. It can help out cancer patients, be an important piece of stem cell research, and feed encroaching zombie populations. Well now, scientists in Germany have found a way to develop immature sperm cells from marrow, marking the first time that such cells have been created artificially. Finally, when the living dead rise up to attack, we'll have one more reason to keep the skeletons on our side, other than simply to bolster our forces.

Howl at the Moon Award
Major thanks go out to Robin W. for passing this article along to us. Shaun Ellis, the founder of a wolf sanctuary in England, was recently interviewed by 20/20. During the interview, Ellis talked about his experience emulating wolves to help raise a pack of pups. He would not only act the part of an alpha wolf through noises and movements, but he even went so far as to claim his food from carcasses (his was, naturally precooked and wrapped before being placed back into the dead beast). The upside? The wolf pups were raised with a surrogate parent that helped them learn how to survive. The downside? Ellis will never be able to look at Red Riding Hood the same way again.

Killer Chickens Award
For years, scientists (and film-makers) have speculated that dinosaurs and birds were somehow linked, largely due to bone structure. Well, the recent discovery of proteins from a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton shows that the two species have more in common than just bone structure. This new finding suggests that perhaps the Cadbury company should change the commercials for their eggs from the standard clucking bunny to something a little closer in the evolutionary chain. Might we suggest a clucking stegosaurus?

Keeping Us Safe Award
This award has to go to the United States government, especially in light of their recent grades regarding cybersecurity. Overall, the government received a C minus, but the real allstars here at Homeland Security (D), and the departments of Defense and State (F's, both). When asked how they plan to improve their defenses against cyberterrorism and other related attacks, the government responded by saying, "We deleted all those emails that were bad for us personally. What more do you want?" But hey, look on the bright side. In a lot of schools, a C- is still a passing grade...

East, West, What's the Difference? Award
We hand this award to the Segbroek police station in The Hague, Netherlands, for mistakenly placing west-facing arrows in their cells. The arrows were intended to point towards Mecca, but were actually facing away, causing praying Muslims to worship in the wrong direction. Suspicion abounds that small Dutch fairies in wooden shoes actually turned around the stones on which the arrows were placed. The misdirected prayers will eventually reach Mecca, but first they'll have a layover in Taiwan.

It Was the Best of Rides, It Was the Worst of Rides Award
Quick, name an author that deserves their own theme park. No, really, it's alright, we'll wait. Ok... got one? Now name the author who's theme park is about to open near Chatham, England. That's right, Charles Dickens is getting his own theme park, named Dickens World, opening on April 20. Story-themed rides and Dickensian characters will abound at the theme park, which, according to organizers, is not "Disneyfying Dickens". Expect a follow-up next year, as Maine debuts "Six Flags over Stephen King".

Putting the "No" in Paranormal Award
Oh, Malaysia. How we all aspire to take the stand that your Islamic scholars did, and call for a stop to all shows involving genies, ghosts, and other supernatural things. The reason behind this? It could "undermine the faith of devout Muslims". Of course, this means that the "Haunted Mansion Travelling Road Show" will have to skip Kuala Lumpur yet again.

Bringing UnSexy Back Award
Thank heavens there are people like The Phoenix, who took the time to assemble a list that the world probably didn't need, but can now look on with a sort of perverse glee. That list? The 100 Unsexiest Men of 2007 list. We do find it interesting that people such as Don Imus, Karl Rove and Flavor Flav ranked as being less appealing than a cartoon character meant to be purposely revolting. Oddly enough, that guy we keep running into at the bar with all the gold chains and the extremely greasy hair didn't make the list. Then again, we can never argue with the inclusion of Ann Coulter (number 80, for those wondering).

Well, that wraps up our awards for another week. If this weekend is anything like the last couple, then we're only a couple of days away from another freakish April snowstorm. In the meantime, huddle up with you 1040s, and get those taxes prepared. Then cuddle up to your fifths, and drink away the misery of having to pay in again, when you know the IRS is just using the money to buy new shoes. Stay safe out there.

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