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*Way Cool!! Thanks, Vil!
(London) With less than a week to go before civil unions become legal in the United Kingdom, singer George Michael has announced he will tie the knot with longtime partner Kenny Goss.
"We won't be doing the whole veil and gown thing," Michael said at a screening of a documentary about his career on Tuesday night in London.
Michael's relationship with Goss is covered in the documentary, George Michael: A Different Story, which follows the highs and lows his life and career.
The former Wham singer said he and Goss have not set a date. "It'll be relatively soon after it comes in, probably early next year," he said.
Same-sex domestic partnerships become legal in the UK December 5, but the first ceremonies won't take place until December 21.
Although they offer most of the same rights and responsibilities of marriage the civil unions cannot be called marriages.
Michael said he and Goss, who have been a couple for nearly ten years, planned a "small, private ceremony."
"I'm not very romantic about it to be honest," he said. "I think Kenny probably would be if I let him, but it's just not me."
Nevertheless, Michael said that legalizing their relationship provides them with protections if something should happen.
"We want to do it, just in case," Michael said. "You never know, I could get hit by a bus and the poor man could have nothing."
Michael is the second big British star to announce he is entering into a civil union.
Elton John will tie the knot with his longtime partner David Furnish on December 21. The ceremony will be a small private affair at Elton's country home near Windsor Castle.
By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Todd Brabender remembers the December nearly 20 years ago when he and some University of Kansas friends gathered around a Christmas tree hanging upside-down from a water pipe in his apartment. It seemed like such a crazy idea then. But not anymore.
The centerpiece of holiday decorating is more often being inverted — hung from the ceiling or mounted bottom-up on the wall — by those looking to save space, more prominently display pricey ornaments or simply distinguish their Christmas tree from so many millions of others.
Upscale retailer Hammacher Schlemmer sold out of its $599.95 pre-lit inverted tree, a 7-foot evergreen that rises from a weighted base, before the end of October. Online tree seller ChristmasTreeForMe.com has sold out of two of its four upside-down models. Tree importer Roman Inc. sold out, too.
"This has turned into a worldwide deal," said Bill Quinn, owner of Dallas-based ChristmasTreeForMe.
Odd as it may sound, the trend may have originated long ago. Legend has it that a seventh-century English monk went to Germany and used the triangular shape of the fir tree to explain the Christian belief in a Holy Trinity. Converts came to revere the fir and by the 12th century, the story goes, it was being hung from ceilings at Christmas.
But few believe history is moving the trees out of warehouses and into living rooms.
"My suspicion is that the vast majority are buying them because they seem to be nontraditional," said Edward O'Donnell, an expert on Christmas traditions and history professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. "It's funny and it's off the wall. Or off the ceiling."
Consumers began buying overturned trees after seeing them on display in stores, said Dan Loughman, a vice president of product development at Roman Inc., which stocks about 200 kinds of trees.
Retailers use the trees because they take up less floor space, put more ornaments at eye level, and provide additional room to stack merchandise at the bottom — or, actually, the top.
"They want to replicate what they see in the store," Loughman said. "They go in a store and see a tree with red and white ornaments, they want that. Now that they're seeing the red and white ornaments on an upside-down tree, they want to replicate that."
Retailers that carry the upside-down trees — including Target — say they expect sales to grow next season, in part because of their scarcity and publicity this year.
It's no surprise another trend has entered the marketplace during the most commercial time of year, O'Donnell said.
"We're a relentlessly consumer-driven society," he said. "There's just so much pressure on marketers and on retailers to come up with something new every year."
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore scientists looking for ways to transmit the sense of touch over the Internet have devised a vibration jacket for chickens and are thinking about electronic children's pyjamas for cyberspace hugs.
A wireless jacket for chickens or other pets can be controlled with a computer and gives the animal the feeling of being touched by its owner, researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) told Monday's edition of The Straits Times.
The next step would be to use the same concept to transmit hugs over the Internet, it said.
"These days, parents go on a lot of business trips, but with children, hugging and touching are very important," the paper quoted NTU Associate Professor Adrian David Cheok as saying.
NTU is thinking of a pyjama suit for children, which would use the Internet to adjust changes in pressure and temperature to simulate the feeling of being hugged. Parents wearing a similar suit could be "hugged" back by their children, the paper said.
SALZBURG, Austria - Prosecutors on Tuesday accused a former fingernail designer of deliberately putting his hands beneath a passing train so his fingers would be severed and he could collect on a euro1 million ($1.17 million) insurance policy.
The 35-year-old defendant from the town of St. Johann, whose name was not released in line with Austrian privacy laws, is being tried on federal charges of insurance fraud stemming from claims filed in November 2003, when the incident occurred.
The suspect told police he was riding his bicycle when he lost control and rolled down an embankment and onto railroad tracks just as a train was passing by, losing a thumb on one hand and an index finger and a pinky on the other.
Insurance company investigators became suspicious after they found that the man had taken out the policy a few months before the alleged accident.
State's attorney Elvira Gonschorowski-Zehentner said Tuesday that prosecutors had reason to believe the man cut off his own fingers in an attempt to cash in on his insurance.
But the defendant's lawyer, Karl Wampl, dismissed as outlandish the notion that the man would intentionally have mutilated himself in such a fashion, contending he could have used a power saw to cut off his fingers rather than risk death faking an accident with a train.
The suspect has admitted that he had accumulated about euro150,000 ($175,000) in debts at the time he lost the fingers, prosecutors said.
If convicted, the man faces up to 10 years in prison, authorities said.
by Doug Windsor, 365Gay.com New York Bureau
(New York City) A television ad that was banned by NBC, CBS and UPN has won a prestigious national advertising award.
The commercial, produced last year for the United Church of Christ, was aimed at attracting gays and others who feel alienated by other denominations. (story)
The 30-second spot features two muscle-bound "bouncers" standing guard outside a picturesque church and selecting which persons are permitted to attend Sunday services. Written text interrupts the scene, announcing, "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we." A narrator then proclaims the United Church of Christ's commitment that: "No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here."
CBS told the denomination that because the ad implies the acceptance of gay and lesbian couples it violated network standards. Viacom, which owns CBS also owns UPN. NBC declared the spot "too controversial." The ad also was refused by ABC. (story)
A number of privately owned stations, some affiliated with the networks, aired the commercials anyway.
This month the ad was hailed by the Association of National Advertisers which awarded the UCC its 2005 Multicultural Excellence Award.
The commercial beat out MasterCard and Microsoft for the award.
“This is a biggie,” declared Marilyn Dubasak, project manager for the UCC’s Stillspeaking Initiative which was responsible for the ad campaign.
The commercial was produced by Gotham Inc. of New York City.
“I have been in the business for 26 years and you don’t have too many moments like this,” said Michael Jordan, creative director for Gotham.
The ad also has won an Addy Award for best single national spot and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s outstanding advertising award.
The UCC has a long reputation for welcoming gays and lesbians. Although its individual churches are mostly autonomous, many offer blessing services for same-sex couples. In 1972 it became the first mainstream denomination to ordain an openly gay man.
Am I the only one who can't figure out why the cell phone companies refer phones as costing $0.00 and not "FREE"?
The Wizard may have figured this out as far as SaskTel mobility is concerned:
From October 21 to December 31, 2005, when you sign up on a new three-year contract
You also can get:
* A phone for as little as $0,
* Six months of unlimited local calling in Saskatchewan,
* Three months of unlimited text, picture & video messaging*, and
* A mysask.com Puretracks™ $10 Music Card.
...All for just the monthly rate plan fee plus a monthly $6.25 System Administration Fee, plus a $0.49 911 fee, per phone.
By Michael Sirak JDW Staff Reporter
The US Air Force has unveiled its first hand-held laser weapon that gives security forces a non-lethal option for controlling crowds and protecting areas like checkpoints, according to service officials.
While only in prototype form and years away from fielding, the weapon, known as the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHaSR) system, holds great promise, they said.
The PHaSR is about the same size and weight of a fully loaded M60 machine gun - around 9 kg - but shoots a low-power beam of laser light instead of bullets. The light it generates is capable of temporarily impairing an individual's vision, much like the disorienting glare one sees when looking into the sun, said the officials.
Upon completion of testing, one prototype will be handed over to the Department of Defense's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) and the second to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ): the law enforcement arm of the US Department of Justice. Both organisations support the programme, with the latter interested in its civil applications.
The game designers across the nation are playing is; can they design a logo and get it approved without the client realising it's a big spurting penis?
We asked our readers to send in the best Phallic logos from around the world for our team of experts to evaluate. Now we present to you the very cream of the Phallics.
From correspondents in Huddersfield:
A SELF-styled British witch doctor has been fined pound stg. 250 ($583) after refusing to give a blood test when suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol.
Nyararia Mukandiwa, 33, was stopped after driving erratically in the West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield last year, but refused to give officers a blood sample on the grounds that as a witch doctor it was likely to send him into a zombie-like state.
He was initially cleared of drink-driving but the High Court has found him guilty of refusing to give a sample and fined and banned him from driving for 18 months.
I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.You must grow on your own! ,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
THIS DAY IS YOURS DON'T THROW IT AWAY
May God Bless You,
"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world"
It was once customary for ruling men in China to wear facial makeup as a symbol of wealth.
In the late 1800s, it was the custom for Mandarin Chinese bureaucrats to let one of their fingernails grow out four to five inches. The long fingernail displayed their wealth and their exemption from physical labor.
The Coca-Cola penguins make their debut when they join the Coca-Cola Polar Bears at the North Pole in the new spot entitled "Arctic Beach Party." In the ad, the bear family is awoken by the sounds of a party accompanied by the Beach Boys tune "Little Saint Nick." While investigating the noise, the polar bear cub slips down a hill into a group of dancing penguins. As the penguins and bears eye one another, a small penguin appears and offers the cub a bottle of Coca-Cola, signaling the bears to join the holiday celebration.
I just saw the Coke penguin/Polar Bear commercial. And apart from the fallacies (the two creatures actually being together and not being eaten, and that penguins live in Antarctica and not in the north), I did appreciate one thing.
Polar bears are all left-handed. It's a genetic thing. And in the commercial, the baby bear holds the bottle with his left hand (before double fisting it).
So the ad execs can get that right, an obscure fact, but not the state of nature. Awesome.
(Hollywood, California) World AIDS Day, the international event designed to strengthen global efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS, will be observed on Thursday, December 1, 2005.
This year’s World AIDS Day comes on the heels of a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men of all races in the U.S. — stable for the preceding three years — rose 8 percent in 2004. Nearly two-thirds of new male infections are among men who have sex with men, and HIV continues to affect African American and Latino men and women in greater numbers than their white counterparts.
“World AIDS Day is an important opportunity to bring much-needed media attention to HIV awareness and prevention strategies,” said Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Neil Giuliano. “This is particularly important at a time when gay and bisexual men of color — who are disproportionately impacted by the disease — are often rendered invisible in media coverage.”
According to the CDC, about 18,000 Americans die of AIDS each year. The group estimates that about 900,000 people in the U.S. are infected with the virus, but that as many as a quarter of them do not know it. The virus is believed to have killed about half a million Americans since 1981. The World Health Organization estimates that 40.3 million people currently have HIV worldwide.
Learn More from AIDS Saskatoon.
There's a scuba diving geologist who has made it his business to measure the relative sizes of the rises, drops, cavities and undulations of coral formations.
Of course this can only be done in the summer months so he takes the winters off to avoid the frigid air.
You may tag him as *ahem*....a 'frost-free reef ridge rater'.
A man goes into a cocktail lounge and approaches a blonde sitting by herself:
Man: "May I buy you a cocktail?"
Lady: "No thank you; alcohol is bad for my legs."
Man: "Sorry to hear that. Do they swell?"
Lady: "No, they open!"
Rocky road ice cream was named after boxing great Rocky Marciano.
Dreyer’s Ice Cream (sold as Edy’s east of the Rockies) invented rocky road in 1929. William Dreyer added walnuts (later replaced with almonds) to his chocolate ice cream and, using his wife’s sewing shears, cut marshmallows into bite-size pieces to make the first batch of rocky road, a name that gave people something to smile about in the face of the Great Depression.