Friday, December 23, 2005

Strange But True #4

Every year, especially at Christmas time, thousands of letters are sent to Israel addressed to Jesus. What happens to these? Many Rabbis and other Orthodox Jewish religious persons recognize that these are often prayer requests from children or others of a great need and these letters are hand delivered to the Wailing Wall so that the God may be able to hear these needs and read these letters.

In Portland, Oregon, the director of Portland's nonprofit Catholic Providence Hospitalwas paid a $1 million dollar salary for just two months of servive to the company before retiring with a $5.5 million dollar retirement plan. A spokesman for this hospital claimed that there was nothing "unusual" in this.

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, a clearly disturbed woman who imagined that David Letterman was communicating with her through "code words" such as "Oprah", and also claimed that Letterman wanted her to be his "co-host" was able to get a Santa Fe District Court Judge, David Sachez to grant a restraining order against David Letterman. Letterman has been forced to hire legal representation and attempt to get this restraining order overturned or dismissed. This same woman once made bizarre similar claims against Kelsey Grammer and Regis Philbin. There is further bad news in this. It appears even this disturbed woman is watching NBC less and like most of the viewing public has switched her viewing to CBS.

The origin of the Mr. Peanut figure logo from Planters started in 1916, when the young company held a contest to sketch a company mascot figure, and a 14 year old schoolboy won a $5 prize with the winning drawing of a peanut with arms and legs. Later a commercial artist added the now famous top hat, cane and monocle to the figure inspired by the 14 year old, so that the figure was more distinctive as well as a copyright protected mascot of the Planters company.

The origin of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny started in the 1930's in tight depression era times in a small trailer on Warner Bros. lot called "Termite Studios". During the depression era, money was very tight, so the artists at Termite Studios had to draw up a strip on a celluloid panel, photograph the panel, then erase the panel so it could be reused because the office supply budget was so tight. Other companies with far larger budgets have been able to sell the old celluloid panels for as much as thousands of dollars as collectables.

Both the newsmedia and the White House made it seem as though the recent Iraqi election was a nearly trouble free and smooth event. Instead the truth is that more than 1,250 election complaints have been made. These include ballot box stuffing, fraud, intimidation so voters would not vote and even allegations that Iran sent in counterfeit ballots by the car or truckloads to bolster the votes of the Shiite religious coalition candidates who are aligned with the Iranian born cleric, Ali al-Sistani. Both the moderate secular Shiite candidates and the Sunni candidates are threatening to have no role in the Iraqi government unless these election abuse allegations are addressed.

They say that there is no such thing as a "free lunch". Wal-Mart has been forced to pay millions of dollars of dollars for denying a half hour paid lunch to some employees. Who knew that lunch could cost so much?

Few know about the true history of "infomercial king", Kevin Trudeau. According to the Wall Street Journal he served nearly two years in a federal prison for various crimes commited. In 1990, he pled guilty to larceny charges in Cambridge, MA. A year later he was convicted in Boston of credit card charges of misappropriating credit numbers from a memory improvement tape program that he was marketing. Later problems with the Federal Trade Commision banned him from selling products such as health supplements, so he has taken to marketing a "Natural Cures" book instead. However some complaints that the book is very general and the information is so incomplete that customers complain that this book is nearly useless have been made. Yet Trudeau heads a multimillion dollar empire that sells this book and signs buyers up to a subscribtion newsletter service for a monthly credit card charge. Trudeau has been able to live by his wits for years in a twisted "Horatio Alger" sort of way. The American dream?

Orange County Choppers, the company that is subject of the wildly popular cable TV show, AMERICAN CHOPPER is not a California company, but a Rock Tavern, New York company, located in Orange County, New York.


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