Aquarium crocodile swallows cell phone

A visitor to an aquarium in the Ukraine was trying to take a picture of a crocodile with her cell phone when she dropped it right into the creature’s mouth, the BBC reports.

Last month at an aquarium in Dnipropetrovsk, Rimma Golovko reached her hand towards Gena the crocodile in order to get a good shot as it opened its mouth. She fumbled and the phone fell right into the Gena’s gullet. The reptile then gulped it down. She told the aquarium staff but at first they didn’t believe her. It was only after Gena’s tummy starting ringing that they realized the crocodile had, indeed swallowed the cell phone.

Funny? Well, yeah, but not for the croc. Gena has since lost its appetite and energy. Considering all the harmful chemicals involved in making a cell phone (they’re considered hazardous waste, after all) it’s not surprising the critter is feeling a little under the weather.

The aquarium’s vet has tried giving Gena laxatives-laced meat, but the it didn’t take the bait. Now he’s considering an operation.

And Ms. Golovko? She says she wants her Sim card back. Well, too damn bad, Ms. Golovko. I’m sympathizing with the giant predator on this one.

[Photo courtesy user MathKnight via Wikimedia Commons]

Man sues Chicago Hilton for $50,000 after tripping over luggage

It seems there’s no end to the ridiculous things people will sue over these days. There was the alcoholic who drunkenly fell down the stairs and then sued the hotel for over-serving him, the guy who got electrocuted while trying to sneak onto an Amtrak train and then sued the company for parking the trains where it did, and many, many more.

Now a man is suing Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton for $50,000 after he tripped over some unattended luggage in the hotel lobby. The complaint, posted on a Chicago legal website, alleges that “on or about October 7, 2007” the plaintiff, Richard J. Wood, “tripped, stumbled, and/or fell” over the luggage. (Well…which was it? Did he merely stumble, or was it a fall? And how does he not know which day it happened?)

The suit, in its convoluted legalese, alleges that the Hilton staff were careless and negligent in leaving the suitcase out where Wood could trip on it. Apparently, Wood bears no responsibility for not looking where he was going. There’s no word on how the man was physically injured, but the suit claims he suffered “great pain, anguish and suffering, loss of a normal life”. Was it $50,000 worth of anguish? Unless Hilton settles, it’ll be up to the court to decide.

Chicago backpacker gets lost (again) in Alaska

When Into the Wild, the story of Christopher McCandless’ epic adventure in the Alaskan wilderness, was published, the idea of setting off into the wild with nothing but a few pounds of rice and your wits to survive seemed terribly romantic….well, except that McCandless died because he was unprepared for the harsh conditions. Despite (or I guess, because of) that minor point, hundreds of people have followed suit to gawk at the ruins of the bus that McCandless lived, and died, in.

Over the years, several people who’ve set out for the bus have had to be rescued, costing the state around $2000 each. Understandably, many locals have have come to dislike the tourists who arrive, unprepared and ill-equipped, and put themselves in unnecessary danger. So they probably hate Don Carroll.

The Chicago-area 19-year old went looking for the bus with a friend, found it, and then got lost in the woods for three days with no food or water. The two ate berries and drank river water before being rescued by helicopter on Monday. But this isn’t Carroll’s first time being lost in the Alaskan wilderness. Back in June, Carroll, a seasonal resort employee, was hiking alone in Denali National Park and lost his way. Wearing just jeans and a hoodie, he suffered hypothermia, but managed to lead rangers to his location through text messages. He was rescued by helicopter then as well.

Caroll will head back to civilization in mid-September. Until then, hopefully he’ll stay out of the woods. It doesn’t sound like he is welcome there anyway. “If police see me in the woods, they’re going to arrest me,” he said in a phone interview. “The chief ranger said he’s not going to come looking for me anymore.”

[via Daily Herald]

British embassies tell citizens: “Don’t ask us how to make jam”

Embassies are there to help. If you’ve lost your passport, they’ll replace it for you. If you’ve been mugged, they’ll visit you at the hospital. If there’s a revolution going on, they’ll airlift you out.

But they won’t tell you where to buy the best shoes, give your kid a lift to the airport, show you how to pack your bag, and they will never, ever, tell you the right proportion of sugar and fruit that is needed to make good jam.

These are just a few of a long list of stupid requests British embassies have received from their citizens traveling abroad, and the ambassadorial staff is getting a wee bit ticked off. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now issuing clear instructions on what embassies will and won’t do. They’re busy helping out the guy who had his suitcase stolen or the drunken lout who got his penis set on fire by an angry woman he was harassing. They don’t have the time, inclination, or ability to predict the weather, manipulate the exchange rate, or pay taxi fare.

Yes, those are all actual requests.